Collectible or Not? 1979 Chevrolet Impala Wagon

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This big, white wagon is a 1979 Chevrolet Impala Wagon and it’s located in Concord, California, 45 minutes northeast of San Francisco. The seller has this 46,000-mile wagon listed on eBay where the current bid price is $2,000 and there are five days left on the auction.

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Someone recently lamented why one of the cars that I wrote about was “collectible” and a 1979 Chevy Impala wasn’t. Well, here’s your chance. This car is as collectible as a Hemi Cuda is in my opinion; it’s all about what interests a person, not how rare something is or what the current “value” may be. This car is just barely pre-1980 which is sort of the golden year that we try to stick to here, but sometimes we creep over that mark and when we do it’s usually for a vehicle that we feel is collectible, or at least would be interesting to the readers. I know that a lot of you were born in the 1940s and 1950s, but just as many folks were born in the era of this Chevy wagon and for them this is a collectible vehicle in that it dredges up memories of that era; good or bad. And, that’s what this hobby is all about, at least for me: reliving the era that these great, fun, oddball, sometimes-not-worthy, cool vehicles came from.

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The owner of this fantastically-preserved sixth-generation Impala wagon says that there are “no squeaks or rattles – drives like near new.” Because of the color, or lack thereof, it may look like a car that would be in a fleet of city vehicles, but this one is almost totally loaded, with “power steering, power disc brakes, power door locks, rear power window, AM radio, roof rack, fold down rear seat, cruise, tilt, Rear Cargo Security Option Pkg.” Only power windows are missing on my wish-list.

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Acres and acres of light blue vinyl will greet the new owner. It’s all in nice condition, but there are a few little things to spruce up on the interior. Being a California car, the dash top has a couple of small cracks in it. And, the driver’s side sun visor is a little wonky, and the passenger side is a piece of hardboard, sans padding or vinyl covering. In fact, the entire headliner would get replaced under my watch and that, along with the cracked dash top, are really the biggest things holding this car back from being in excellent condition on the interior, in my opinion. You should be able to find parts for this car. The rear compartment looks good, with a nice storage space underneath – known as the “Rear Cargo Security Option Pkg” – back in the days before the pull-across “valuables-hider” that almost every vehicle has now. Of course, once you pull that thing across the back of your wagon or SUV you’re automatically telling people that you’re hiding valuables back there, that’s always seemed a little weird to me.

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The seller says that the engine is dusty but that it will clean up nicely, I agree. This is Chevrolet’s small-block 350 V8 and this one has a 4-barrel carburetor. A half-dozen years prior to 1979 that really meant something, but in this case it only yields 170 hp and 270 ft-lb of torque. The mention that the “A/C needs a charge but still blows cold.” That’s fairly amazing after being in use for almost forty-years. The “tires have lots of tread left and brakes are great.” These Michelin XW4 tires are similar to what our 1997 Outback came with from the factory and I tried to find exact replacements for the last time over a decade ago and they quit making them, so the next owner may want to check the tires before heading on a cross-country road trip. What do you think about this one? It’s certainly old enough to be shown as a “collectible” car now, and it’s in great condition. Do you think this white wagon is worthy of collector car status?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CoventryCat

    I love it. If it was 3000 miles closer, I’d have it!

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  2. Paul

    I echo that comment, CoentryCat, as well as your comment also Scotty. I would preserve them all if I could. The Pinto’s, Vegas, Chevett’s, the Hornet’s all the wagons every one of them. In fact, I have had thoughts of collecting them with the intension of starting a museum not only to preserve them, but to show future generations that the 70’s wasn’t all about Mustangs, Chevell’s, Comaro’s Cuda’s and Charger’s. This car is a perfect candidate for that. I am one of those guys that were born in the early 50’s and believe that all the recycled metal should come from somewhere else other than the automobile, no matter what it is. Thanks for sharing these remarkable cars

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    • Larry K

      Amen to that.

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    Bidding just went to over 3k while I was looking at pictures. Reserve was not met. I like the car, they were good cars in the sense that you would run them 100,000 miles and then throw it away.
    I see the car being used in small business, with literally a clean pallet for great advertising on that stark white paint. I don’t remember if you can fit a full sheet of plywood in there with the seats down. These big wagons pretty much disappeared in the mid 80’s replaced by mini vans, and Suburbans.
    I hope the seller doesn’t think the low miles on this car warrants a huge price tag. In the late 80’s I had a 76 Malibu wagon, that I hated so much I put it in a demolition derby. It did very well, until I went up against. … you guessed it, a full size wagon, very similar to this one. Again, it’s a nice car, collectible? Not to me, but certainly worth saving. Enough of them ended up crushed, and derbied. Parts are plentiful and cheap.
    Sorry I rambled on.

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  4. Glen

    I would never consider this collectable, BUT, anything in decent condition should be maintained. This wagon has value in that it’s useable. If the price stays reasonable, this will be a good purchase for someone.

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    • Paul

      I hear ya Glenn, but, as Scotty wrote;

      ‘I know that a lot of you were born in the 1940s and 1950s, but just as many folks were born in the era of this Chevy wagon and for them this is a collectible vehicle in that it dredges up memories of that era; good or bad. And, that’s what this hobby is all about’ Bingo, I say…

      It is our responsibility to save those memories, good or bad, for that generation. We do not have a monopoly on the best, or worst, cars from any era. This car is a sweetheart and everyone like it no matter what condition, well, there certainly is a condition limit… I used to walk into antique shops and say what is that??? I now walk into antique shops and not only recognize most objects I can also say that I used to have one of those when I was a kid. It always gives me a very warm fuzzy inside. That is what preservation is all about. We are all entitled to our own opinion, and I do respect yours, however, we do have to think about the generations coming behind us. If someone did not preserve what ever the item was in any given antique shop, then I would have gone warm fuzzyless

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      • Glen

        I appreciate your response, Paul.
        Collectable, to me, suggests a monetary value. I like your term “preservation”. I’ve seen several cars on this site that deserve/should be preserved, even if they don’t have much monetary value. Personally, I wouldn’t through anything out, if I had a place to put it!

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  5. Kincer DaveMember

    I love all these old cars, I was born in 1970 and my dad started taking me to the Chevy dealer when I was about 4 years old, I used to have quite a collection of brochures and by about 10 years old I loved cars and trucks so much I could tell you the year, make, and model of just about every American car made since 1950 with all the books and brochures I had, I read them over and over lol, seeing these old cars no matter what they are bring back so many great memories.

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  6. Mark Hoffman

    Nice car. Looks like a twin to the Impala wagon a friend delivered pizza with in 1988

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  7. Fred w.

    Dad had a ’79 Caprice Classic , I absolutely loved driving that car (hard to believe as I was only 22!). Compared to the previous barges it seemed like a sports car – rode nice but taut and cornered flat. The A/C back then was phenomenal – could turn the interior into a meat locker, compared to today’s cars with tiny compressors and ozone friendly compromise refrigerant.

    Dad was Ford guy and this was his first excursion into GM territory. He must have thought it was OK because he followed up with an El Camino after owning nearly every variation of Ranchero ever made (’57, ’63, ’69 and ’78). Or come to think of it, maybe it was because they discontinued the Ranchero!

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  8. The Chucker

    A set of torque-thrusts (dark grey, not polished) and T/A radials would look fantastic on this!

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  9. ronebee

    nice car. Collectable? No. Useable and Atttractive? Absolutely

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  10. Zaphod

    Memories aside, it’s a low end utility vehicle. When you say “collectible” what you’re really saying is ” appreciable”; will it be worth more down the road if I hoard it for a while? What’s the point? A station wagon like this is valuable only if it’s used. It’s not pretty, iconic, representative of the highest automotive manufacturing art, well handling or hand built. It’ practical. Buy it to use it, otherwise it’ s collecting anvils hoping the price of iron will go up in a glut market.

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  11. HoA Howard AMember

    Just a good ol’ car. Wagons are being considered nowadays, mostly for memories, but more accurately, people are finding out, they are much better than the drek offered today. ( funny how that is)I doubt it was any kind of municipal car, way too fancy for that. People in warm climates generally bought white cars. IDK, that coolant looks a little dark, might want to check that, but otherwise, a nice car, and you can haul a sheet of plywood. Try that with anything offered today.

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  12. whippeteer

    Not collectible to me, but it would be a good driver. I like the mention of no squeaks or rattles, because these are prone to them, especially as they age.

    I do question some of the “fully loaded” aspects. rear power window, AM radio, fold down rear seat, and Rear Cargo Security Option Pkg. They all had these in the base model. The rear cargo is the same as it is in every model that weren’t the 9 passenger models, 8 by this year probably. The only “security option” is that it locks.

    I want to know what they hauled in the back. A rabid Tasmanian Devil? How did the rear headliner get so ripped up when there is little wear in the rest of the interior? Granted the headliners, visors, and dashes did not fare well in this vintage.

    Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi whippeteer, I don’t think those are tears, looks like paint. Again, my point, you can haul a dresser in these, just wait until the paint drys :)

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      • whippeteer

        Definitely tears. If you look close, you can see the stray threads.

        Like 1
  13. Paul

    Oh, Scotty, forgot to ask you, would you please define the word ‘wonky’ in your write-up. I am from the East.

    Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi Paul, must be a regional dialect. His region( which isn’t far from my region)
      Wonky: crooked; off center; askew
      . unsteady; shaky
      . not functioning correctly; faulty

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      • Paul

        Hey Howard and thanks for the definition. Sounds like it came straight from the Funckenwagnel regional Dictionary. Cool.

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    • whippeteer

      I’m from the East. The rest of us know what “wonky” is… :D

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      • Paul

        Well, maybe I have lived a sheltered life.

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  14. Chebby

    Nice driver car, I had a 77 Caprice sedan and it was great. The 350 is a bonus and the wagon body would be great for really using the car to travel and haul stuff. Cheap to repair anything that goes wrong. A nice set of Chevy wheels would finish it off.

    I would not pay a collector price for it though, these aren’t that special. And the pale pasty interior is hideous, I call that color “stillborn blue”. That GM vinyl feels really cheap and cheesy too. A loaded Impala would have nicer upholstery, power windows, etc. Interesting to see what it sells for.

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  15. Jumping g

    Every time I see this style station wagon I have flash backs of the Chevy chase movies Vacation .Collector car NO..Fun ride definitely. .

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    This wagon could be cleaned up,set of nice wheels and dropped spindles. Replace the headliner down the road, have some fun! From what I understand 77-79 Caprice-Impala ended up in Saudi Arabia because the suspension where heavy-duty and their roads weren’t that good at the time. It’s a great versital vehicle as a family ride,swap meet and push car for nostalgia racing! Seen a few with big block motors installed and they will surprise you, torque plus horsepower! Hope the price stays low and we will see what the future holds!

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  17. Prowler

    Long live the long roofs

    Like 0
  18. Kent Pearson

    Nope, Just like a can of beans.

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  19. Roger

    Ima likin the wagon! I’ve really liked wagons ( Fords are my faves ) for a LONG LONG time, LONG before they had become cool. I like this one as well. I’d probably use it as a cheap ” shop truck ” for picking up parts and what not. That 350 could easily be livened up with out much work / money too. As to the AC system in it, I do not recall the name right this second ( MUCH, MUCH too early / late lol ) but I can tell you the GM AC systems of this Era were absolutely phenomenal in all aspects!. So a little reminiscin right quick —- as a kid, all the way up to about 9 years old ( 10 at the most ) my dad had an old Ford Country Squire wagon ( 1974-76 not sure on exact year but right around theses years ). It was that pale yellow with the fake wood lol. It stayed parked in our yard 51 weeks out of the year, used only as a huge storage container / filing cabinet. Then every year, for one glorious week it would get cleaned out and cleaned up for our family summer vacation! Oh yes, we would load up and head on down the Ocean – Ocean City MD that is!!!! 😊😊😊😊. And yes, ithe did in fact have the pop up rear facing seat and I would be in my glory as a kid with me and my best friend sitting back there for the whole journey down the ocean. So yes as the OP said; it’s all about the memories. While this Caprice is no 74 Country Squire with fake wood, it does invoke those very same memories and this here Caprice was probably built just a few short months after I was born! Just an FYI, as I mentioned the wagon was around till I was about 10. It was then replaced by an almost new real nice E-150 full conversion van. While I did love that old wagon, I sure
    Did welcomed the upgrade and the van into out family lol!

    Like 0
  20. Jake

    Love these wagons. In fact I have 3! They are the only vehicles I’ve ever owned. I drag race one of them cruze in another and sliding a duramax in the original one.
    No matter where you go everyone is amazed to see one and has a childhood story or memory about one.
    Their popularity is kind of two faced for me. I love that they are getting the recognition they deserve bit at the same time they are becoming popular again meaning the days of picking them up for under $500 are coming to an end. And up here in new England they are few and far between due to rust.

    Like 1
  21. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    I agree with Chebby, some rally wheels would go a long way on this car. Collectable? Not yet, but looking at prices of 40’s, 50’s and 60’s wagons I am sure her time will come.

    Like 0
  22. Larry K

    Mom had a 77 (not a wagon), 305, I was 16. I drove the snot out of it, took it off-road no problems until I was caught on private property. The cop couldn’t believe I drove it up and down those hills and through a creek.

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  23. hrhoward

    That was my first car, less the roof rack and pin striping. Dad bought it new and my mom drove it until about ’85 then I took it over. Finally sold it in ’98. Quite the blast from the past.

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  24. Melvin Burwell

    Nice wagon. I would rather have that than an suv. Good price for riding the family around town. Maybe a parts wagon. Im sure that will be sold quick. And a 350. Yeah.

    Like 0
  25. Jason

    Lovely looking wagon. I remember cars like this. My favourite years for this car are 1977, and 1979. My grandmother had a 1977 Impala. Hers was a 4 door sedan.

    Like 0

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