Cheap Wagon Alert! 1971 Chevrolet Kingswood

“Cheap” and “wagon” are two of my favorite words and it only gets better when the two words are paired together. In fair condition and offering a nice “original” appearance, this Chevrolet Kingswood is ready to drive and haul all of your family, plus some extra gear. Needing a little work here and there this wagon is offered for a mere $3,250! Check it out here on craigslist out of Enfield, Connecticut. Thanks to Rocco B. for this affordable wagon find!

Packing some displacement, this Kingswood wagon is equipped with a 400 cubic inch V8 mated to a turbo 350 transmission. What is even nicer is that this wagon has covered only 105,000 miles which isn’t terribly low, but is certainly low for its age. Depending on your tastes, the engine bay could be cleaned up or left as is. The inner fenders and some of the firewall suffer from some minor surface rust that could certainly be touched up and offer an even tidier appearance. Although it would be fantastic if this wagon had air conditioning, sadly it does not. Although this wagon does offer power steering and power brakes.  The carburetor was rebuilt a few years ago, and in that time it would seem this wagon has been a trouble free driver in the mechanical department.

Inside you can see that the interior is in very reasonable condition for a driver, despite a few glitches, and some slightly different hues of color. The loop pile carpet is still surprisingly nice and springy in appearance, and looks as if it could be cleaned up nicely. The front bench is described as being in horrible condition, so a generic cover is fitted for the time being. The back seat and the storage area are clean, although the back seat and some of the storage areas plastics are a little off color. If you felt so inclined, the interior could certainly be spruced up to improve the one single part of this car that you will spend most time with.

Repainted in its lifetime, this wagon has a nice appearance, and the paint is described as decent, but that it could possibly use a solid polishing to make it smooth. Rust is difficult to see on this one, other than the passenger front fender’s lower section. Also the seller has been honest and made mention of some rust in the rear wheel arches, and in the lower section of the arches near the rear doors. This rust is looks very minor with no rust blisters to be seen. Also there are a few small holes that have developed in the spare tire well, but the sheet metal appears quite solid. The tailgate is a power unit that was replaced, and could use a bit of fine tuning. Certainly not perfect, but definitely a fun and affordable project for a like-minded wagon enthusiast. What would you do with this ’71 Kingswood?

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Comments

  1. Josh_T Member

    I drove a Pontiac Catalina Safari this vintage in high school. When one of the headlights was broken out I replaced it with a functional speaker.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Ok….?? That’s just weird but, to each his own. We would replace the inboard high beam headlamps with air intake ducts.

  2. Phil

    Damn my birthday is next week you suppose he would……nah too bad tho I LOVE this !!

  3. Jbh110tdi

    I remember my grandfather had one of these. The original engine had been run with either crap oil or very low oil and it had spun a main shaft bearing. My dad in his favourite job converted it to a diesel. I’m not entirely sure what engine was used but I know my dad played with the gearing and it went well and was doing 35mpg around town. My grandfather was a mechanical engineer with the RAF and was a dab hand with a laith and he made up all the brackets and had everything looking factory under the bonnet.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      The GM 350 was a common diesel conversion. While in the USAFSOC, I had the honor of training with the RAF. They were the best of the best !

    • Fiete T.

      LoL- my dad was a commander at Lakenheath. Oddly enough, my older daughter (who is freakishly like him in many ways), is a hard core anglophile…she was upset that she went tp Paris and not London on her way home from Ukraine and Poland last summer

      • Ken Martin

        What fun this huge car would be. I was a teenager when this car came out. In High School we’d load up a bunch of buddy’s and go crusin! Didn’t take much to get that 400ci woke up either. Used to drag race wagons just like this, on the main roads in my town, first thing in the morning, on my way to school. I won a lot with my Duster 340, but lost a lot too, with sleeper cars like this. Didn’t matter though. Those times were so fun, so simple, so pure. No feelings were ever hurt!

  4. elrod

    I drove one of these for many years. The power tail gate drops down into the body, and the glass goes into the roof leaving a barrier free opening! All in 1971! Suck it Honda! Incidentally – these 400 small blocks were all 4 bolt mains in these cars.

    • Sam M

      I’m pretty sure they were all 2 bolt mains on the 400’s,, iirc

      • elrod

        I was a factory GM mechanic during this time frame. My car had 4 bolts as did every one I ever took apart.

  5. Dave W

    I turned 50 this year
    So I remember very well many of these cars when I was really young.
    The thing that really sticks out to me is because I grew up in my dads shop working on cars or on his car lot.
    I remember in 1974 my dad buying a 1973 just like this from the local chevy lot with very few mile for 300 dollars because it had problems they could not figure out .

    He replaced the catalytic converter and tuned it up and made a couple hundred dollars on it.

    I was like seven years old and don’t remember for sure but I think the car had less than 10000 miles on it at the time.

  6. Rock On Member

    Dave W- I’m almost positive that your Dad didn’t buy a 1973 wagon as GM did not introduce the catalytic converter until 1975.

    • Dave W

      I could be wrong about the catylatic converter being the problem but I’m sure about the year.
      We moved from Iowa to AR in 1974 trust me I know the year.

    • Tony S

      We had a ’73 and it had a CC – the first gen pellet type which quickly plugged up.

      • Matt

        The cat converters didn’t debut until 1975…
        That’s a fact. Hence the famous line from the Blues Brothers !
        My 74 never had one and actually had true duals with mufflers. Looks factory but not sure.
        GM did roll out HEI ignition in 74 as an option before its official introduction in 75

  7. steve

    Big block, bucket seats, floor shifter, and air bags………YEAHHHHH BABY

    • 68 custom

      that 400 small block would respond well to some hop up items and save weight in this already heavy cruiser. a torque cam, set of vortec heads, headers, and a aluminium dual plane intake and a 600 Holley would wake it up! though a rebuild of the engine may be a good idea at the same time.

  8. Chebby

    As, or if, these become desirable it will be a shame to think of how many nice ones went straight to the demo derbies.

    1
  9. Vegaman_Dan

    Clean it up, fix the minor issues, and take it to local car shows. A clean original wagon. I love it. It would be popular.

  10. Rick Loera

    Yup, 1975 was the first year for Catalytic Converters. Automakers were still struggling with meeting 1975 pollution standards in 1973. Honda was able to continue without converters until the 1980 model year. That was because the CVCC motors offered in Hondas. Our California spec 79 Accord 4 door ran on regular fuel. Also Subaru had vehicles that met the 75 standards without converters. Datsun had models available outside of California up until 1979 that had no converters. Trucks were not required to have converters until 1977. Not positive, but I believe 1977. My dad’s 1976 Ford F100 with a 390 V-8 ran on regular gasoline. In 1977 Ford dropped the 360 and 390 options from the pickup line and used 351 and 400 CID V-8 engines instead. Those motors required catalytic converters.

  11. Rube Goldberg Member

    What a great alternative to the jellybean SUV’s of today. They do the same thing, and a set of “Town and County’s”, a sandbag or 2 in the back, and not much will stop her. We sure lost our way when they stopped making cars like this.

    1
  12. Trent

    My Mom had a 1973 Kingswood Estate (complete with the vinyl woodgrain) with a Turbo Jet 454 4v . That wagon would really move down the road but the gas guage would make a breeze in the process .

    • Rick Loera

      My mom’s friend also had a loaded 73 Kingswood wagon. Green exterior and brownish tan vinyl interior. Even had an AM/FM stereo . A time when it was a sea of AM radio in most cars. Great drive in movie car. Double and even triple feature movies.

    • KevinW La

      My parents bought the Pontiac Safari wagon with the 455 when I was in high school. That beast was fast! What a sleeper that car was.

  13. Rhett

    This looks very much like a car that sat outside on Hamilton Ave. in West Hartford for about 10 years, disappeared maybe 10 years ago.. could be the same car.

    I love the Clambacks, and I’m convinced there are no better engineered cars the 71-76 GM B, C and E bodies. I had a 76 Olds Custom Cruiser that I loved, eventually when everything wore out at once (suspension, brakes, steering) I cut the roof off and made a pseudo El Camino out of it. Gate and window worked great right till the end.

  14. Will
  15. Michael Dawson

    Nice driver, but I would HAVE to do something about the color variations in the interior panels. Seems like 1970s cars were the worst for this. Differing materials, while perhaps close to the same color when new, reacted differently to light and atmosphere. They produced some rather interesting color-shift results like shown here, but also deteriorated at different rates. Some items, like seat belt trim covers, would turn so brittle that they would literally turn into plastic DUST over time.

    • Rick Loera

      Noticed that especially on GM cars. I still have a 1972 Ford Gran Torino and none of the plastic has done that. Still looks great to this day, and I live in Central California where it is super hot. Every mid seventies Regal and Cutlass interior trim piece was crumbling by the early eighties. All my 85 and 86 Thunderbird interior trim pieces suffered the same fate as the GM cars. Only on the rear seat sail panel trim. Crumbles and has a weird smell. A post trim must be made out of the same plastic as my Torino because it has held up.

  16. waynard

    Looks very much like it was partially submerged for a while. Fair amount of money will go into this in cleaning and detailing, though it’s a pretty nice driver.

  17. Pugsy

    I would start by cutting off the backs of the front doors and using the back of the rear doors to get nice long two door doors.
    Then, the rear side glass would need to come down to line up with the door window glass.
    This would then snowball and the gate glass would need to go down to line up as well.

    Of course, drop the suspension a couple inches, if that, some nice mags and it would be a real slick looking machine.

    • Rhett

      Already been done. Big long thread on V8 Buick about a clamback Estate Wagon that someone did an awesome job on…

  18. charlie

    Pugsy, go for it! And 20 years from now people will comment on it as they are doing on the long coffin nose Cord of a few days ago. It is just an old car. Be creative!

  19. Pugsy

    I’m kind of busy cutting up a 41 New Yorker at present.

  20. Rustytech

    1975 was the first year for CC on Federal Emissions systems, but I think on California spec vehicles it may have been 1973. My dad had one of these when I was a teenager. It was a beast! Great dating car if you know what I mean!

    • Randy Fitz

      Even in California, there were no catalytic converters used prior to the 1975 models in late ‘74. People considering buying a new 1975 talked of their concern about finding unleaded fuel!

  21. Frank T

    My parents bought the ’76 version of this brand new. Square headlights! Yes neighbors stooped buy to see them! I grew up in it, drove it for a short while in high school (do the math). the tailgate leaked from day 1. Chevy never fixed it. That pic of the spare tire well all rusty is all too familiar. (not actually for the spare as I recall, im pretty sure that was the foot well for the rear facing seat in the ‘way back’). That well constantly had water in it from day one, Im talkng small fish could swim in it. My dad put a blanket there to soak up the water. the car smelled like mold until the day we pulled the motor and scrapped it. The rest of the car was a rust bucket..FYI: our 400 was a 2-bolt. put it in a 4×4.

  22. KR

    My parents had one….we rode it to the grand canyon. I caught the blankets puled up in the way back on fire with a cigarette lighter i got out of a bubble gum machine. Think i was 5 or 6

  23. Michael Dawson

    Gotta wonder about the wisdom of putting lighters in gumball machines, huh? We middle-agers and late Boomers sure grew up in a different era — and in a different mindset — than today. Thankfully, most of us survived despite the lack of certain “enlightenments.” Ha!

  24. Pat A

    We had a ’71 Kingswood in gold. No A/C. A/M radio. no power anything, except for the tailgate and window. my dad was 6-1, mom was 5-2. We were always doing the bench seat bop to move it forward for my mom. We had it from about 1974 to to about 2000. We sold it for $600 bucks to the crusher program here in Commiefornia. Hated to see that engine go. I wonder if the tailgate came from a later model, because the one we had, had louvers.

    1
  25. Rick Loera

    The louvers were 71 only. So you had the correct tailgate. Sounds like an interesting car. Love low option cars. I too remember the seat back and forth as well. It took both driver and passenger moving forward at the same time to get the seat just right.

    1

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