Big-Block Family Wagon: 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Estate

Up until the early 1990s, if you were a person with a large family, combined with dogs, luggage, or anything else bulky that you can think of, then the most common solution to your motoring needs was a large station wagon. Most manufacturers did quite well when it came to providing vehicles to fulfill these needs, but some were able to give what could be a bland family conveyance a bit of extra spice. That is precisely what you get with this 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Estate. There’s room for six, plenty of space for your luggage/dogs/whatever, plus a bit of mumbo under the hood. Located in Everett, Washington, you will find the Caprice listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached a mere $2,900, and I’m not surprised that the reserve hasn’t been met.

If you are going to follow the path of taking on a project car that will ultimately be used to transport the family, it isn’t a bad idea to start with a solid base, and that’s what you get with this Estate. There is a clear shot of the underside, and this shows a solid frame, while that same shot, combined with the lack of carpet, shows that the floors are also solid. There is rust beginning to appear around the side windows, and the owner does acknowledge the fact that this is common in the Estate. There is also a small amount appearing right at the bottom of the quarter panels. Apart from some surface corrosion here and there, the rest of it looks really good. The wood paneling looks pretty tired, but this could be replaced as part of the restoration, while the external trim and chrome all look pretty good.

While the interior will need some restoration work, it does have a few positive attributes that are worth considering. The first of these is that, apart from the lack of carpet, it does appear to be complete. The rear seat and rear door trims look like they are in good condition, while the dash pad looks to be free of cracks. On the negative side of the equation, the front seat will need a new cover, the front door trims may also need a trip to the upholsterer, new carpet will be required right through, and it looks like there is an aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted to the dash. For all of those negatives, there is no real reason why the vehicle couldn’t be used with the interior as it is.

Now we get to the meat of what this Caprice is all about. If you are hauling a fair load of family and assorted odds and ends, it never hurts to have a bit of horsepower to make life easier. What you get here is a numbers-matching 396ci V8, which delivers 325hp. This is sent to the rear wheels via the original 3-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission. Not only is the car numbers-matching, but the owner says that it does run and drive. Forget just hauling the family around, you could hook a caravan on the back for good measure, and the Caprice would tow it with ease.

The 1966 Caprice Estate was the first wagon with timber exterior trim to be built by Chevrolet since the demise of the woodie wagon in 1954. This one looks like a solid vehicle with a mountain of practical uses. The 396 V8 also promises that it would be an entertaining drive as well. That sounds like a pretty promising combination to me.

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Comments

  1. Mommas Lead Foot 🦶

    Nothing like giving your kiddies whip lash or bad curvature of the spine as you race the crotch rocket bike, Camaro, Corvette, challenger or anything next to you at the light. 😜
    I suggest seat covers in the back seat for easy clean ups of lost cookies 🍪👀👍

    Nice engine !

    6
    • Ledfoot

      You’re not racing much with 325HP in a heavy wagon.

  2. Will Fox

    One important note here; Chevy’s last “woodies” in `54 were dynoc only. That Chevy wagons to have real wood were in `49 or `50. Chevy ended up giving a big chunk of the station wagon market to Ford in not having woodgrain sides.

    4
    • Mountainwoodie

      Yes and no, no? The Ford wagons including 1951 that had wood into 1957 were trim pieces on a metal skin if I recall correctly. They’re often referred to as ‘Tin Woodies.
      While this is in no way a ‘woodie’, or even to my way of thinking a ‘tin woodie’, the trim gives a nice finish appearance to the body. I believe Ford had the same option into the same period but the ‘wood’ trim was not really wood on the Country Squire option or this for that matter.

      2
  3. Big_Fun Member

    Being familiar with these wagons, if you see rust around the windows, there is a LOT more hiding behind those stainless moldings. They also tended to leak on the inside, serious buyers should look for that. Removal of the entire side glass may be needed. Then a clean up (hopefully just that) or weld in new metal. The problem is lack of decent drainage in that area. Even morning dew can be part of the problem.
    Interior pieces are reproduced, as interior is same as Impala.
    Not trying to scare anyone off with the window issue. Just know that what you see is the “tip of the iceberg”. Otherwise, there is a lot to like here (pardon the pun).

    7
    • Miguel Member

      Big_Fun, that is what is happening to my 1969 Kingswood. It is rusting from the inside out.

      1
      • Big_Fun Member

        Sorry to hear that. A 1969 Kingswood a a great example to have!

      • Miguel Member

        Big_Fun I am going to be taking it apart soon to fix all the rust it has. I just need to build my shop first.

  4. Tom

    Love it! Too bad I don’t have room for it!

    2
  5. ccrvtt

    Check the motor mounts. Those torque-monster 396s had a penchant for twisting them up a bit.

    8
  6. Dave Mika

    And power brakes to boot!

    4
  7. Ted

    Seem to recall that this was for sale not too long ago but don’t remember which site it was on, anyone remember where?

    1
  8. PatrickM

    This bad boy has lived in the northwest for a long time. There is a lot of rain there. These rust issues lead me to think of a lot of sheet metal replacement, which means spending quite a bit of $$$. Most of the interior is going to need a lot of work, too. I think I can safely say that the current bid is just about tops. While this model of Chevy wagon usually has a lot to say for themselves, this one is farther down the ladder. Best of everything to seller and buyer.

    4
    • Greg

      Nice Try! I smell a bidder… :)

      I thought the PNW had a reputation for solid older cars (like Volvos, etc?)

      1
  9. CapNemo

    Inner door panels.

    1
  10. David Montanbeau

    This is our neighbor’s car here in CA.

    9
  11. ctmphrs Member

    I can’t take it anymore. There is no TIMBER used on cars.Timber is what logging trucks bring out of the forest.

    6
  12. Rick LaBeaume

    I took my drivers test in a 1967 wagon just like this. Talk about fun to parallel park this bad boy. I made though.

    2
  13. Miguel Member

    I love this color combination. You think it is just a boring white car then BLAM, you get hit with the turquoise interior.

    I love it.

    1
  14. Fresco

    Heres mine

    1

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