Garage Find: 1970 Buick 455-4 Estate Wagon

The moment that I spied this 1970 Buick Estate Wagon I thought, “Yeah, one of those, I haven’t seen one in years!” The immediate giveaway is the Fisher Body greenhouse that this Buick also shared with Chevrolet and Pontiac “B” body station wagons from 1970. With all of the current interest in station wagons, this seldomly seen today, Buick Estate Wagon is worthy of a closer look. It is located in Auburn, Massachusetts and is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,483.

Buick got out of the full-size station wagon business in 1964, letting their midsized Skylark/Century handle the people/cargo hauling end of the business. For 1970, they jumped back in with the Estate Wagon which was really a one-year-only design as full-size Buicks, and the rest of the B and C body GM line-up, changed dramatically for 1971.  Available in both two and three-seat configurations (six or nine-passenger), Estate Wagons came with or without external fake wood veneer but I recall seeing many more with it than minus it. With a 124″ wheelbase, this is a big car that tips the scale at about two and a half tons!

Parked in a dilapidated garage for 30 years, at some point, this big Buick rejoined motoring life. The seller is pretty candid that this wagon has rust and rot. There is evidence of some rust-through, and plenty of heavy surface rust too. While the body is not perfect, it is pretty straight with some minor contusions. The faux wood is faded, and some has gone missing, but it’s amazing that what’s still there has held up as long as it has. There are no images of the underside but if I were interested in this Estate Wagon, I’d want a good look at it. The seller states that he has installed a new set of L78-15 bias-ply tires, when was the last time you heard a size designation like that? I know they are still available from specialty suppliers but they were probably pretty expensive.

Under the hood is a first-year, 370 gross HP, 455 CI V8 engine. The seller claims that this car “runs, stops, and drives” so I guess that’s open to interpretation.  The seller has invested some time and money in this Buick by replacing the brake lines front to back, the master cylinder, the water pump, adding a new four-core aluminum radiator, installing new plugs wires, cap, rotor, points, air filter, oil filter, performing an oil change, replacing the fuel lines front to back, installing a new gas tank as well as the fuel sending unit. Of concern is the physical appearance of the engine, it’s very rusty which is cause for concern regarding that 30 years of storage and what else may have similarly corroded. As is usually the case, GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic transmission is in place behind the big 455 engine. Of note, this is a non-air conditioned car, a bit unusual for a Buick of this stature.

There are numerous images of the interior included in the listing but not a very good one of the passenger compartment. The seller does not state, and the images don’t indicate if this is a six or nine-passenger wagon. The rear cargo compartment appears the same for both versions when the way back seat is folded down. The tailgate is the same too. My guess is, it’s a six as there is no rear courtesy light or rear power window switch mounted on the driver’s side cargo compartment panel, back by the tailgate. Speaking of the tailgate, the underside has some pretty heavy rust brewing. The interior is worn and dirty but is still usable – a good cleaning could work wonders. The instrument panel is faded but the panel lense is still clear and reveals what appears to be 89K miles of use.

The seller suggests, “this will make for a great driver the way it is“. Probably true but the body is going to need some attention at some point and again, the condition of the underside and floors is unknown. This is a nice find because it’s not the commonly encountered Ford or Chevy, and as I mentioned at the outset, full-size Buick Estate Wagons just aren’t a common sight anymore. Here’s to hoping this old Buick is saved, any interest out there?

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Comments

  1. Dave

    A good candidate for an A/C system. What a wagon!

  2. Bob C.

    Looking at the back side, it resembles a Chevelle wagon from that era, only larger IMO.

    Like 4
  3. SDJames

    My parents had one of these in the mid 80s. We called it The Meatwagon because it reminded us of an ambulance. Later, one of my uncles made it into a demo derby car and got second place. I was 10 or 11. What great memories of wrenching on cars with my dad and uncles back in those days! :)

    Like 6
  4. ACZ

    You can see plenty of rust. Imagine how bad is the part you can’t see. Yankee rust bucket. Maybe some good trim but that’s about it.

    Like 8
  5. S

    Cool, and unusual, but too much rust for me. I hope someone who really likes these saves it.

    Like 3
  6. David

    A good candidate for an A/C upgrade. That year 455 is some engine!

    Like 1
  7. Maestro1 Member

    I’ll be darned. I had one of these as a commute car when they were new, 100 years ago it seems.
    Absolutely reliable, ran all the time, mine had A/C. I bought it from a leasing company. It had low miles, and same color. This one too much work for me, and too far away. Thanks for the memories………….

    Like 7
  8. 4 bbl

    No AC not good. No trailer hitch good. Single exhaust means it’s not the 455 monster motor. Too much rust it’s a $ 2500 station wagon maybe. These prices are kinda like DC ridiculous.

    Like 4
  9. Donnie

    Miss these…nice to see one again! 1 more year and you’d get the Clamshell tailgate and many came with AC. If not it was 9 passenger oven. Hated to see them crushed in the 80’s watching the monster trucks on Saturday morning. Lost a lot of Caprice / Kingswood Estates and LTD’s also. And the man is right, looks like ’67 Chevelle wagon tail lights only on a larger platform

    Like 1
  10. John taggart

    They were tanks i had one and loved it pulled a 22 ft holiday trailer and would hardly know its there

    Like 3
  11. Brian

    We had the “last year” of the full size Buick wagon, 1964. I blew the tranny out of it doing a neutral drop when I was 16. My father traded the ’64 for a ”70 Estate wagon, maroon with the sand interior, 9 passenger, no wood, beautiful car. I currently have a nearly identical ’64, would love to have a ’70, but as many have said, too much needed on this one, and too much unknown. I also feel it’s a bit pricey for its needs.

    Like 5
  12. chrlsful

    the wagons always usta win the demo derby & they did so by goin backwards. Wonder what a frnt wheel drive wagon coulda done !?!
    8^ 0

  13. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Buick. Assuming the rust is only on the surface, I would think it could be cleaned up and restored, at least enough that it can be driven safely.

    Like 1

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