Be A Pioneer! 1961 Dodge Wagon


You can say a lot about Dodge styling of this vintage, but you can’t say it was boring! This 1961 Dodge Pioneer wagon has had a lot of work completed, although there is plenty to go. It’s located in Dixon, Missouri and is up for sale here on eBay, with a buy it now of only $3,400 but lower offers are being considered.


Just look at those side panels in the rear! Those must be some of the most stylized tail lights there have ever been! With all the glass intact and a pretty decent body, you’re partially there. The seller says he purchased the car from California several years ago, has accumulated a lot of parts for it but now has to sell it on before completion. What a shame for them, but possibly a great deal for you!


I’m not sure whether the wide whitewalls are what the car was delivered with, but I’d sure put a new set on when I was complete with whatever I was going to do to the car. You can see some rust on this side, and the seller does say it will need new floorboards. Since I didn’t find any, either I hope you are luckier or you’ll be fabricating patches. Carpet and undercoating has hidden my ugly but functional floorboard welds before! I err on the side of strength and weld integrity versus pretty.


I love the “space age” flavor of this interior! And what’s that under the dashboard? Yes! Air conditioning! Yay! Yes, the upholstery will need replacing, but the door panels don’t look too bad.


Now we’re getting positively modern! Rear air conditioning and a nine-passenger seating configuration, just like a modern SUV. Well, not really, because no modern SUV that I’m aware of has a bench seat in front. (Jamie quickly looks at the Chevy Suburban website, and finds they are nine-passenger as well, although how without a bench front seat I don’t know). Anyway, you can certainly take your whole family!


What do we have here? Surprise! A fully rebuilt 318 “poly” V8 engine rebuilt with NOS parts. There’s a NOS carburetor that goes with the car. There are also new brakes, a flushed and tested radiator, a flushed and epoxy coated fuel tank, and even NOS glass for the tailgate (of which there are two). The seller also mentions “lots of miscellaneous parts in boxes.” This sure seems like a lot of car for the money; anyone out there agree with me?


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  1. Steven C

    This thing is awesome. I have always loved mopar’s crazy styling from this time period, those taillights! This looks like a really good project.

  2. John K

    Yes, those tail lights are fantastic, but I am really pleased to see a wagon with fins!

  3. Rich

    I would jump on this. That’s a heck of a deal and really awesome styling.

  4. Skip G.

    Nice ol’ wagon. When I worked at Rix Funeral Home in Odessa from ’63-’66, our competitor, Chapel of the Roses had a ’61 Dodge wagon as one of their backup ambulances. It was solid white with only a set of red grille lights and underhood siren. But one of their guys had taken a standard 2-lamp beacon and outfitted it with straps that came from a wooden luggage rack and then added a lighter plug to the cord. I only saw that Dodge run once and it was nice enough. We were running a ’61 Pontiac wagon with a roof-mounted Q siren, flashing lights and red beacon at the time..and it was a fast ol’ wagn.

    • mark

      “When I worked at Rix Funeral Home in Odessa from ’63-’66, our competitor, Chapel of the Roses had a ’61 Dodge wagon as one of their backup ambulances.”………………………………….I would say that the “ambulance” was never used. It seems to me that if they have already made it to the funeral home there would be a very limited use for an ambulance.

      • Skip

        Mark: I guess you’re much too young to remember that until the mid-to-late ’60s, the funeral homes were also the primary, and sometimes, sole providers of ambulance services within a community. Note I said that I worked for Rix from 1963 until 1966. In late 1966 we exited the ambulance service when a new free-standing ambulance-only service opened up. Our owner was quite happy to cease ambulance operations because it was never a money-maker. The other two remained until mid-1967. The private ambulance co., Baker Ambulance (for whom I worked for a short time prior to moving away for college) became the sole ambulance provider until 1974, when the Odessa Fire Dept. established what we now know as EMS.

  5. DREW V.

    Wow, this car is only 4hrs away and just 22mi from where I use to live… Would love to have this as a cruiser, would paint it ack to the original Red and White and have fun at the car shows, could haul the swap meet items in the ack and put the car in the show… Wonder if he would trade for the 3 project cars I’ve got right now, ’79 T/A, ’65 Gran Sport and a ’79 pacecar Mustang??? May have to contact him and see…lol…

  6. Davnkatz Taylor

    What am I missing here? I don’t see the AC compressor

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      My guess is that the owner didn’t reinstall it after dropping the rebuilt engine in place.

    • Davnkatz Taylor

      Skip – – – I just turned 80 and I didn’t give your original comment and ambulance service a second thought. Why? Lert nme put it this way.

      I grew up in a small Texas town. Our funeral home had TWO vehicles. One (something like the 61 Dodge in this article but a 49 or 50 Chevy or Pontiac) with sirens, red lights, etc. The other a big, “new” Cadillac or Buick reserved for funerals.

      Our hospital, Built by Santa Fe and administered by the Sisters of Mercy also had an ambulance. I believe, but not absolutely sure, the hospital was called when railroad people needed an ambulance and the funeral service called when non-railroad people needed.

      • Skip

        Hi Davnkatz: Where in TX did you grow up? You’re only 10 years older than me, so I know what you’re talking about. I grew up around Ellis Funeral Home here in Midland as a kid. The first ambulance I remember was a ’48 Chevy Panel. Later they had a ’51 Chevy sedan-delivery and then a ’54 Ford wagon. And their hearses were what was called a “combination”. They could do double-duty a hearse or ambulance. What hospital did the Sisters of Mercy run? I remember Mercy Hospital in Slaton; and Slaton was once a big railroad town. At one time Englund Funeral Home in Slaton had the ambulance service there; but that’s been many years ago. The Sisters of Mercy left Slaton many years ago, and I think that Mercy Hospital closed. St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock was run by the Sisters of Orange; but they sold out and now what was St. Mary’s is now Lubbock Women and Children’s Hospital. Hard to keep up with these guys, you know!

  7. Davnkatz Taylor

    Jamie – I had another thought about that. Maybe the compressor was “froze” and couldn’t be repaired. That, and unable to
    cheaply” find a suitable replacement would explain it.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Could very well be!

    • Davnkatz Taylor

      Skip – – – You nailed it. Slaton is where I grew up. It was indeed Mercy Hospital. When the Santa Fe eliminated passenger service, the population of Slaton declined. Not sure what “order” but always known as Sisters of Mercy. Guess that due to aging of the Sisters and loss of revenue the hospital finally closed services. Some OLD sisters retired and younger ones transferred to other cities. Catholic church retained ownership and it is now Mercy Retreat (and retirement – hospice) Center.

      You can also get a room – ALA motel – there. Last time I stayed it was $10 a nite – and no locks on the door.

      • Skip

        I sort of thought that Slaton was the place when you mentioned the Sisters of Mercy. Fr. Joe James was the priest who covered Mercy and the small church in Slaton back then but he moved on to the larger St. John Newman’s in Lubbock. When Englund Funeral Home quit the ambulance business, Slaton was totally w/o an ambulance. I worked part-time @ AID Ambulance back then and we made a lot of runs into Slaton; but sometime in the mid-70s, Slaton PD took over ambulance ops in the city with a then-new Suburban ambulance. Now Slaton is served by Lubbock County EMS. The Mercy Retreat Center had opened as a retirement/nursing home not long before I left there; but I never knew about the motel part. No surprise there!

  8. Prowler

    Long roofs rock…..what a great shaggin.wagon

  9. William H

    Oh, man, I absolutely love this car and can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. It looks like a surprised Chevelle in the front and those tail lights with the wrap-around fins are beyond cool. Always loved the super futuristic, space ship stylings of some of the cars in the ’60’s. You can bet that cars designers will never, ever be as bold as they were back then. Would love to have this if it were closer, had space for it, etc, etc, etc. How to bring it back to life?? I think this would be an excellent candidate to bring the body back to as near stock and you could get it then find a totaled Viper for drive train and underpinnings. Certainly would make for a fun day at the tracj.

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