455 V8 Sleeper: 1969 Buick Sportwagon

I’m not a huge fan of sales ads with the cars still being on the trailer. At least, if you say that it runs great, take it off of the trailer, take more than six photos, and then put it back on the trailer. But, it is what it is, as they say in 2018. And, what this one is, is a fantastic sleeper: a 1969 Buick Sportwagon with a bit of a surprise under the patina-heavy hood. This mean looking wagon can be found on Craigslist, or here on the CL archive, with an asking price of $7,500. It’s located in Topock, Arizona. Thanks to Curt K. for tracking down this Sportwagon!

I don’t mean to be so harsh with the seller, but when you have such a great looking unique car it would really pay off to spend the 20 minutes that it would take to roll the car off of the trailer and take some good photos of it. That being said, they do show both sides, the engine, and at least the front seat for interior photos. Isn’t this a cool wagon? I love this thing. It has patina-a-plenty but it doesn’t look like it has a rust-out problem anywhere that I can see. The seller said that this sleeper sat in a barn for 15 years, and in Arizona I’m surprised at how good it looks in the two interior photos that they show. I would have thought that mice would have eaten it up by now.

Other than the carpet and possible driver’s side floor troubles, the interior looks great as far as I can see. Even from the other side. This was Buick’s answer to the Olds Vista Cruiser and I like it a lot more. I don’t know if I have ever seen one in person and that’s pretty appealing to me; not having a car that I see every time I turn my head at a car show. Hagerty lists a #3 good condition Buick Sportwagon with a 350 V8 as being worth $7,900. I’m not sure if this car qualifies as a #3 car or not, and it sure doesn’t have a 350 V8. The seller says that this car has “34,000 miles and interior condition shows it.”

It’s got a “low mile 1972 455, th400, factory a/c.” I know, it isn’t original which is a drawback for a fairly rare and unusual car, but the added oomph of the 455 would be fantastic. The seller says that it “runs strong, drives great.” Buick topped out with a 340-hp 400 V8 for the 1968-1969 Sportwagon. By 1972, Buick’s 455 V8 would have started out with 350 hp so it isn’t that big of a boost but if this would have originally been a 230-hp 350 V8 car it sure would have been a nice bump in power. I always like my cars to be original or original-spec but there’s no going back now. I think this would be a super fun car to own, I absolutely love the look of it with the plain wheels and there’s no arguing with a 455 V8. Have any of you seen or, better yet, owned a Buick Sportwagon?


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  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    Ultimate sleeper IMO. Wouldn’t mind testing that one out.

  2. Metoo

    I have need of a home health nurse to come by every day (long story). Rita HATES station wagons. So I always make sure to show her the latest barn finds station wagon offering and ask “But what about this one, Rita?” LOL! She is unwavering in her disdain. Especially for any with wood side trim. She even disliked ” 32 woodies” despite liking the Beach Boys.

  3. Jack M.

    On the plus side it’s not listed for $1.

  4. Roach Cleatus Sargum

    This buck is a big engine tank which got the groceries quickly 💪

    • Metoo

      All big station wagons from the 60’s & 70’s were just sad early attempts leading to the greatest station wagon of them all………The Family Truckster!

      Like 1
  5. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one, Scotty! I need this. HP on a ’72 may be so-so but nothing you couldn’t fix with a mild rebuild, and it would still be a torque-monster. It weighs 1000 lb less than a Tahoe (4200 vs 5200). Throw a Megasquirt or FAST system on there and you could drive it anywhere and beat most 3-row SUVs on 0-60 and MPG, and you can drive the ’69 while the SUVs are in the shop having random BS air bag errors cleared because someone dared to reach under the seat looking for a pen.

    • JamestownMike

      Not sure you’d need to do all that. Remember, GM changed horsepower ratings from GROSS to NET in 1972, so that can be misleading. Also, this engine wasn’t really built for high horsepower, it’s more designed for torque……..major torque!

    • Poppapork

      Modern full size SUVs have a 0-60 time of mid 6 seconds, this wagon is not getting aywhere near that- with a 455 its a one tire burnout machine….

      Ps, fuel injection you mentioned is nice but to drive anywhere i would rather have an OD tranny….

  6. Rhett

    No need for EFI, it’s got a Q-Jet, probably the most sophisticated 4bbl out there. There’s been documented tests where a well set up Q-Jet out performs and out mileages some brand of bolt on EFI….All that aside, love this car. Reminds me of my old 71 Sportwagon, which made the ultimate sacrifice keeping me in one piece….

    Like 1
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      I agree that the smog (and obviously the change from Gross to Net HP) didn’t keep these big-cube motors from making torque. One of my favorite friend’s cars in High School was a 77? Chevy C20 454 Trailering special. The HP rating was not much over the 350 but you could be rolling 15 MPH then instantly roast the tires, something no 350 in those days could even think about. Still, if I was building this car to drive to California with my family on board, or I wanted a daily driver for ten years, I’d probably spring for the standalone EFI. I’d argue you could keep this ’69 running 20 years into the future for a fraction of the cost of doing the same with a 2017 SUV.

    • Metoo

      Well, that ain’t gonna buff out. LOL.

    • Rhett

      Not a train, a 75 Nova going about 60MPH with the drivers foot on the gas running a red light…car then spun around a few times and skimmed up the sidewalk and hit a mailbox, “push to walk” box, guidewire, phone pole, light control box and stone retaining wall. Rang my bell, and there wasn’t a salvageable piece on that car…too bad too, cause it was an awesome car.

    • Lumpy

      Might I ask how that crash happened?

      • Rhett

        Guy fell asleep, ran a red light. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time

        Like 1
      • Kim "LUMPY" Stilwell

        Well that sucks!

  7. Mountainewoodie

    I incorporate by reference anything I have said in the past about Craigslist ad posters wo refuse to do the minimum to clean up a car they want to sell. Double that for pix on trailers where flippers dont even bother to takem them down.

    That said, with an engine transplant, this one is suspect. besides I’d rather have the ’65 version of the Sportwagon, smaller and better lines to my eye at least.

    Like 1
  8. JamestownMike

    What a great car! I agree, if it runs, take it OFF the trailer! Not sure I’ve ever seen the Buick version of this wagon, so it must be pretty rare. It’s very similar to the Olds Vista Cruiser but I still prefer the Olds over the Buick.

  9. JamestownMike

    What makes you think this isn’t the original engine? Did I misread or misunderstand the ad? I thought the whole car only has 34,000 miles. The ad says, “34,000 miles and interior condition shows it.”

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      JamestownMike, the 455 wasn’t available in this car according to my research. Also, the seller says that it’s a 1972 455 and the car is a 1969.

      • Rabbit

        Spot on. Available engines were the 350, with either 2 or 4 barrels, and the 400 4bbl. Yes, I’m goofing off at work again.

      • JamestownMike

        Gotcha!……oops! Sorry.

  10. Beatnik Bedouin

    Now that would be a sleeper. Rebuild the engine to ’70 Stage 1 specs and take it to your local drag strip to surprise more than a few.

    Like 1
  11. Ken Carney

    Aw yeah! I’d buy this just to see the look
    on Mom’s face when she mashes the gas
    pedal! Should’ve bought the one offered to me back in ’87. It was the exact twin to this one, only it was painted creamy
    yellow with a brown interior. As I recall,
    It had a 400 big block with an automatic.
    Didn’t buy it because the wife said HELL NO! But we all know about that don’t we?

  12. Miguel

    At first glance I thought this my old car, but mine was a 1968.

    I question the price on a weathered wagon with a replacement engine.

  13. Chris

    Looks like it won’t take much to make this car roadworthy. Wish I could buy it.

  14. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I saw a quite of these wagons when they were new or late model cars. If I remember correctly G. M. Took the idea from greyhound busses of the era. The Olds vista-Cruiser being the more popular. Personally I’ve always preferred Buick’s over other models since my first was a 55 Buick Super and my current claim to classic ownership is a 64 Buick Riviera.

  15. DB

    Yes, I owned one and wish I had never sold it. It was destroyed shortly after I sold it.

  16. Scott C

    Just another flipper, seems they are everywhere these days, and the new intern is “barn find”!!! What they’re really saying is they conned the owner to selling it to them with Promises of beautifully restoring it, and then it’s not even off the trailer they’re so antsy to take pictures of it and post it. That’s the truth of the matter.

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Seems that the barn finder/collector TV shows have inspired a lot of people, Scott C.

      I’ll admit to enjoying watching ’em, simply because I love old stuff, but some of the prices offered by the finders/collectors can be amazingly stratospheric, compared to what one can score via word-of-mouth-type connections.

    • Brett

      Fyi….I still own the wagon, and not because I couldn’t sell it. All you clowns should find a better hobby than criticizing someone else’s things. How many comments about it on this site? And not one phone call resulting from it. That tells me one thing, you are simply on here to talk sh#t………otherwise someone would have at least called to get the story. A bunch of wanna bees….thanks again.

  17. Chebby Staff

    Sure it’s cool, but nothing about this wagon suggests low original miles. Least of all a crusty-looking engine from a different car.

    Like 1
    • Brett

      Well sir…..you are obviously an expert, could I please have your phone # so I can consult you before buying another low mile classic? Lol, this many opinions based on a short craigslist ad posted just to see if there is any interest, not one call to get the story? Lots of self proclaimed experts on here…..

  18. Scott C

    Yes, I agree, everyone’s 1971 4 door Ford LTD sedan with a 351 W is worth $9,500 because the saw a 69 Mustang Mach 1 with a 351W go for $35,000

  19. Bill Marlow

    Had a ’68 with a 400 / 4 bbl back in the early ’80s. We called it Das Boot. I’d give a bunch of kids a ride home after high school. Best was the day I blew the doors off a new 911 and a Camaro that where racing down Butterfield Rd. near Yorktown Mall. It’s three lanes wide there, and I was in the center lane sitting at a red light. They came flying up to me, and I took them both when the light turned green. Across the intersection is all that matters right?

  20. Max

    I recently bought A body 72 Buick Skylark coupe emerald green exterior color with black vinyl bench interior 350 4B, Factory AMFM radio, Factory AC, rally wheels 1 owner since new has 55K original miles

    Like 1
  21. James

    When I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s my dad had a ’72 sportwagon with a 455/t400. It was a green color similar to Pontiac verdoro green with green vinyl interior. It had the pup seats in the very back with the electric rear window.
    We took that on a few out of state camping trips.

    I remember one time he had some issues getting it started in a parking lot at the grocery store . My dad was getting ticked and frustrated. After letting it sit for a few minutes he was able to fire her up, and dumped it in low smoking the tires off. I remember he told me not to tell my mom that he wasn’t expecting that to happen. Lol

    He sold to some hippy dippy Berkeley painter in ’84 for $1000. The guy wanted a old Brady mobile to cart around his easles

  22. Charlie Gilg

    In Phoenix we had a 1972 Olds Vista Cruiser, 455 4bbl, 9 passenger w/woodgrain, bought about 1976. I loved the glass in the roof. It would get up and move pretty good, even if it was the beginning of the smog equipment power killers. Arizona actually checked emmissions every year, so getting a decent cam to get some power was not an option. Traded it in on a 1980 Bronco. Still miss that Olds.

  23. Ryan

    I had a red 71 Skylark custom conv. Black top and black interior. These cars are fun to drive for some reason. Nicest looking A-bodies in my opinion. The 350 got up and went just fine..

  24. Brian Dees

    My Dad bought a ’69 Buick Sportwagon brand new and it had the 400 cubic inch with 4 barrel. I learned to drive with that car and it was a torque monster; I could really lay a patch in that one! It was a beautiful car and we would fold the back seat down on road trips/vacation and star gaze through the glass roof at night. Wish we still had it!

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