Hardtop Wagon: 1957 Buick Caballero

If I had to pick just two car styles I’m drawn to, it would be the 4-door hardtop and the station wagon. Thankfully, Buick was one of the manufacturers in Detroit who successfully combined those styles, as seen here in this 1957 Buick Caballero. This one was sent to us by Barn Finds reader Ikey H. who found it here on craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona with an asking price of $10,950.

Formally known as the Buick Century Estate Wagon (Model 69), the Caballero was a new model for 1957. Even though it was one of the most expensive models Buick offered in 1957, Buick managed to push 10,186 of them across the assembly line. With a base price of $3,831, the Caballero cost nearly 50% more than the entry-level Special Sedan. I don’t know if consumer demand was changing or sales were less robust than anticipated, but this pillarless wagon only lasted through the 1958 model year.

This Caballero was sold new in New Mexico and appears to have spent its life in the desert southwest. It still wears its original Carlsbad Black and Dover White paint. For those who dig the patina look, this Buick shows plenty of desert sun baking. The chrome is pitted, there are exterior trim pieces missing, and some relatively minor dents and dings. The seller tells us: “The frame appears to be solid, some surface rust underneath, but the majority of the rust is in the tailgate, lower part of rear doors and around the roof.”

The interior will have to be largely left to the imagination because there aren’t many photos to give us a peek inside. What we can see is that it’s weather-worn – hard surfaces are faded and soft surfaces look crispy. What I’d expect, at least, for a 63-year old desert car.

There’s not much more to see under the hood, but the seller does tell us the car was last heard run about 20-years ago and is believed to be equipped with the original 364-cubic inch Fireball V8 engine and Dynaflow automatic transmission. This Caballero was factory-equipped with power steering, power brakes, and air-conditioning.

It’s quite obvious this is a fairly big project, but one well worth saving. Fully restore examples typically fetch strong money, or, perhaps, as the seller suggests, this would be a good candidate for a treatment similar to this Rambler wagon I recently wrote about. What direction would you take this Caballero?

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Comments

  1. Redwagon

    Low mintage variety ….. and its gone. Hope someone turns this around.

    Like 6
  2. Ken Carney

    I remember seeing one on the TV show
    Rescue 8 when I was very young. But
    that’s the only one I’ve ever seen. This one will take very deep pockets to restore
    it to original condition so I vote to restomod it. While using as many of the
    factory parts as possible, I’d slide in a 455 cube Buick engine and T-400 tranny
    along with more modern brakes and rear
    axle. Then, I’d cap it off with a set of
    optional Buick wire rims. At least there’d be a better chance that the car would see the road again. If this car were in better
    shape, I wouldn’t even think of such a thing. It is what it is and that’s my 2 cents.

    Like 17
    • Bob

      Rescue 8 used a ’58 Cabellero. That was a short lived series. I was 12 when I watched that.

      Like 1
  3. Chris Webster

    I’ve seen precisely one of these. Orange and white, matching interior and matching retro caravan.

    Like 1
  4. local_sheriff

    This is such a WOW vehicle when done. The 4dht Caballero and corporate cousin Fiesta got separate articles in Richard Langworth’s bookwork ‘Great American Automobiles of the 50s’ as coming collectibles, of very few wagons even mentioned and decades before the wagon craze hit the car crowd.

    I would simply love to see it when it’s done. IMHO both the Olds and Buick looked so much, much better for ’57 than the next year. Best wishes to the next owner of this possibly beautiful longroof! 👍

    Like 6
  5. Sam61

    Kaye’s car when trying to leave the Lake Tahoe Estate (Kaiser) in Godfather.

    Like 1
    • Stevieg

      Except hers had door posts. I always thought it was odd that the Don’s wife drove a relatively low car lol.

  6. DualJetfire

    Hardtop were popular because they really are cooler with the windows down than a sedan. They were also slightly more prestigious. Hardtops were killed by govt refs in the early 70s.

    Like 1
  7. Tom Wasney

    Looks like the hood is lined with wood, what’s up with that…??

  8. robbert

    Beautiful piece of AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE ART should be restored to original.

    Like 2
  9. FRED D

    Wow Factory AIR .Very rare in a 57 buick.

    Like 1
  10. Will Fox

    6/1: I see it’s now gone, and sincerely hope a Buick man who knows what this is snapped it up. Sure; it’ll take $100K+ to restore, but worth every dime in my book. None of this ‘restomod’ crap; do that to a `68 Chevy but not one of these. Keep the black/white motif when restring & you’ll have one heck of a head-turner and award winner at the BCA Nationals.

    Like 3
  11. chrlsful

    like the misalighned door handles’n dash (even if I can’t figure out all the stuff on it). Don’t remember these but I wuz only 5 & we hada country squire then.

  12. Marilyn S Pike

    is this car still avaliable to buy?

    • Tom Wasney

      The listing refers you to the Craigslist ad which is no longer posted… Obviously the car has sold…

  13. Stevieg

    Or the ad could be expired. The vehicle could still be available. I bet it’s probably gone. Very cool car.

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