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A Long Story: 1970 Buick Estate Wagon


Reader Don called me about his wagon he’s listed on eBay. It was a one owner car and has only 90,000 miles. It is loaded with all the options of the day and everything works. An older couple took it to a body shop for a respray and couldn’t afford to pay for it when it was complete. They had previously had the engine and transmission rebuilt. It was stored at the body shop for over 6 years, but moved occasionally, so it was at least started and driven during that time. Don completed the lien sale and now has a clear title. He says it runs and drives great and has lots of power.

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Don says this 455 CID engine with 360 HP will smoke the tires.

The interior looks really nice and has been well cared for. The paint work looks perfect with no apparent flaws and no rust showing underneath. However, there is a bit of pitting in the chrome in places like the roof rack.

Don had put a reserve of $5000 on the auction and was delighted to see bidding go over $7000 rather quickly. Someone is going to enjoy this wagon. Do you think the bidding will go any higher?


  1. Avatar photo JW454

    I think I would install the faux wood appliques. I’ve always liked the look of the woody wagons… even the ones with the fake wood.

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    • Avatar photo Bill O Member

      So would I. It appears to have originally had the woodgrain since it has the outline molding.

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  2. Avatar photo Stang1968

    Maybe life happened and they had to use the funds elsewhere.

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  3. Avatar photo Galaxie Greg

    Very nice old wagon. I like everything about it. Everything there and in good shape….. but NO Tailpipes after the mufflers, just down-drafts. No really a good idea on something like this, Must have run out of funds there to. Otherwise very cool wagon.

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    • Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

      In another life (or so it seems) I was riding back seat in a late 60’s car with that type of exhaust termination. CO poisoning is nothing to mess with. Pipes must be properly run on this car, if it is intended to be driven.

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  4. Avatar photo piper62j

    Already at $7400 with a day and a half left.. Nice find.. Great car..

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  5. Avatar photo James

    I hope they don’t rip off the older owners and keep the money they get over the cost of the repair bill.

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    • Avatar photo Mike H

      The article suggests that the body shop had to enforce a mechanic’s lien against this car. I’m not sure how the laws vary from state-to-state, but here in MN the shop is entitled to storage charged at a daily rate. Even if he was frugal about the charges and hit the previous owner for $10 daily, that’s $3650 per year (over (4) years that’s $14,610 in storage alone); as the article states that the seller has been driving the car for the last 1-1/2 years I’m using (4) years as the length of time he pursued payment. The body shop is also entitled to collection costs, which may have included some court time and possibly an attorney.

      My point is that whatever “profit” is earned over and above what was originally owed against the bill should be considered the property of the body shop. The words “rip” and “off” paint an ugly and unfair picture of a business owner attempting to recoup their costs after a long struggle.

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      • Avatar photo St. Ramone de V8

        True, and this car takes up a lot of room. Beautiful car. Unfortunate story.

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    • Avatar photo David Member

      The owners never paid their bill. The bodyshop owner is out his labor and materials cost, never mind the years of interest. The bodyshop owner called the owners of the car on a regular basis and they always insisted they would pick up their car “soon”. I doubt he recovered the amount he was owed for the work, much less any storage fees. Once again, a generous business owner is taken advantage of. I suspect this wagon sold for between $2000 and $3000 in the lein sale.

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      • Avatar photo Mike H

        Exactly! If he actually manages to turn a small “profit” on this car then good for him. He’s had a long wait and a difficult road to get the car to the point where he can get rid of it.

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  6. Avatar photo DrinkinGasoline

    I personally wouldn’t mess with it…
    ” An older couple took it to a body shop for a respray and couldn’t afford to pay for it when it was complete”. For me, that’s a bad vibe. Unless that was a $3k + job (choke), I would think something could’ve been worked out. Yes, I’ve owned a business and I get it. With that said, it is clean although I would prefer the Olds Vista Cruiser wagon in those years.

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  7. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    I’m so glad to see it doesn’t have that ugly fake wood decals on the sides of it. This car looks so much better without and that 455 is a hot setup. A breath of fresh air in a land of jelly bean shaped cars that all look alike

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  8. Avatar photo CattooButt Member

    Couldn’t one add some Stage II heads on this and up the sleeper potential?

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  9. Avatar photo Andrew

    I wouldn’t fit in today’s garages anymore, or carpark.

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  10. Avatar photo Big Andy

    The Car is totally awesome! Plus it’s a Buick! It is unfortunate about the older couple; however, the owner of the shop gave them ample time to make arrangements to pay for the paint job. I’m sure the owner would have been happy to have been paid without the storage fee and return the car to the couple. The car is easily worth 10K without seeing it in person. Get a good tune up and she’s ready to go cross country!

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  11. Avatar photo Don

    Outstanding balance owed was more than $6000 + storage.

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  12. Avatar photo John Taggart Member

    I had one of these monsters and hauled a 21 ft Holiday Travel Trailer (1966 model) that was made like a tank back then. The 455 was s strong engine and would pass anything but a gas station. Comfortable roomy great big wonderful driver. Now close to retirement (should have done long ago) I would love t have this for my seasonal home but with all the buggies have had over the years my sole survivor is a 69 Buick GD 400 rag top 4 spd with 76000 original miles that I have owned since 71 and I will soon decide to retire and drive or sell my last toy. A die hard BUICK lover missing my boat tail and GN which I should have held on to

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  13. Avatar photo Mike

    Something about this story sound fishy to the Son of a Auto Body shop owner. Dad always required half up front on any deal, and we worked on payment plans, why would an older couple have it repainted and not have the money to pay for it.

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  14. Avatar photo Dan

    New owner here. Lots of fixes and some upgrades, our classic “Banana Boat” is ready for some road trips.

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  15. Avatar photo john taggart Member

    loved mine back in the day a family hauler boat and travel trailer hauler a great car good lick hand happy road trip I still have my 69 GS 400 rag top 400 4 speed with less than 75000 miles on it I keep telling the wife when I die cremate me pull the engine and tranny put me inside and through the crusher and bury me with it. LOL

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  16. Avatar photo Dan

    I’m debating my “end state” right now. Thinking my 2000 F250 SD will have the honors of my remains. The Wagon is the wife’s “sports car” and it needs to stay above ground. 😬

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  17. Avatar photo Dan

    It did go higher. And fir the past two years has been owned by Dan in Las Vegas. Did a boat load of work on this grocery getter and runs/looks better then it did.

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