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Small Block Power: 1965 Impala Wagon

1965 Impala Wagon

We have to admit that we almost forgot it was Wagon Wednesday, but thankfully reader Jim S just sent in this 1965 Impala Wagon. Wagon Wednesday is one of the few things that get us through the mid-week hump, so we are glad for the reminder! This wagon is on the rusty side, but the seller claims that it runs great. Find it here on eBay, with a BIN of $4k and the option to make an offer. Thanks Jim for the tip! As always they are appreciated!

Impala Wagon AC

The seller didn’t offer much information about this wagon, but they seem to feel it would be a great project. For those of us living in drier climates this looks rather rusty, but as we look it over we don’t see much in the way of cancer. We guess one man’s rust pile is another man’s dream project. The listing claims this is powered by Chevy’s 350 small block V8, which should give this wagon some decent get up and go.

Front of Chevy Impala

This Impala is obviously going to need a lot of work to get it safe to drive again, but if it is relatively solid it would certainly be a fun project. If the body proves to be cancer free, we would be tempted to leave it rough and rusty on the outside and focus on getting it safe and comfortable inside. Would you save this one or should it go back in the barn?


  1. paul

    Oh for sure save the long roofs, always liked the 5 & this one’s got the Stingray rims.

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  2. Beach Roo

    We had one growing up that had the factory A/C in it… I think it would be a cool project… Love the Vette rims…Agree with Paul that we need to preserve the Long Roofs! I would love to have it to restore if it is cancer free… Our two Labs and grand daughers could all ride in comfort and style…

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  3. Mike D

    the top part of the car is mostly surface rust. sand and prime it. Leave the wheels as is ( unless the tires are shot, then, of course replace) . tweek the 350 a bit. Chevy didn’t put a 350 ci in the Impala wagons that year so it must be an aftermarket , or one out of another car . would be really classy w/ a repaint. but, I may do a rust repair or metal replacement ( from the looks of it, the doors) primer it ( most likely flat black, same w/ the upper metal) most likely will have to replace the suspension parts, and would w/ HD parts .. and keep it looking like a ” work in progress” till I got tired of the look

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    We have a ’65 4 Door Hardtop Estate Sale/Garage Find at our place right now. My fave year Impala is the ’65 as I had one a decade and a half ago but a 2 door.

    I wouldn’t mind a Wagon except we just sold a ’59 Wagon 348 Fire Department Chiefs car with factory AC last year. We do have a 1960 Wagon left too but it is quite rusty in the floors :(

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  5. Jim-Bob

    It seems to need floors, judging by the seller’s poorly-worded description, but that is preferable to quarter panels. I like it though. There’s always been something about a wagon that has had more appeal to me than a coupe. Maybe it’s because a wagon is sort of a reverse mullet: a party up front but business in the back.

    I think the most expensive thing I would have to do to this one would be having it media blasted and then prepping the bare metal to keep it from rusting. I do all my own body and paint work (for better or for worse…), and this one doesn’t look like it needs too much. The floors suck to do, but it’s not like they need to be finished to perfection either. So long as the welds are good and the seams properly sealed no one will know the difference once a carpet is thrown down. I’d paint the body the factory white for that year, and finally learn to sew upholstery so I could cover the seats in a nice, durable blue vinyl. Under the hood I would be tempted to install a 5.3 liter LSX from a GM truck backed with a six speed (to go along with the 327 fender badges), but would probably leave the 350 as I can’t make a good economic case for a swap. However, it would get some sort of manual trans swap with overdrive as I really despise driving a car with an automatic. Because of that, the under dash A/C would go and be replaced by a modern A/C kit from Vintage Air or some other company that offers one. I’d also remove the third row seat if it had one and build a tool box down there that can fold into the floor. I always carry a lot of tools with me and that tradition would carry on if I built this. However, I would try to sound proof it a bit because the 50lbs of tools I currently carry in the Geo Metro sometimes drives me nuts with all the racket they make.

    When it comes to the wheels, why mess with perfection? The 1970’s Chevy rally wheels just look right on this car and the only reason I would change them would be to go to wider ones with a deeper offset. I would, however, also make certain the car had 4 wheel discs as a 4 wheel 10 in drum setup would be absolutely terrifying in a car this heavy. Likewise I would also fit it with a suspension kit to give it better handling.

    About the only negatives I can see to this from my perspective are fuel costs, vehicle build cost and turning circle. Then again, if I wasn’t so close to the poverty line none of those things would matter much as this would make a killer daily driver. Plus, as a bonus, on long trips I could throw a mattress in the back and sleep in it. I’d just have to make certain I tinted the windows first.

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    • Mike D


      your response looks well thought out, and I too have $$$ limitations . I would keep the stock look. and keep everybody guessing as to what is under the hood. for me ” fixing it up” is more dreaming than reality . as for color, making it a different color wouldn’t take away from the value, as in the performance cars, tho the stock color would look really nice if repainted . and, you’re right the owner didn’t describe it too well. have a great one!

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  6. Thad

    This is just down I-95 in Richmond and it makes it tempting, especially since I have been looking for something like this as a daily driver.

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  7. Bud Kennedy

    (as Thirston Howell III from Giligan’s Island would say….) “Ah,,,yessss! I will take the Navy blue….. or.. black ’65 Chevy, two-door hawdtop with the ton roof, please. Oh, no thank you,,,I don’t want the wagon…”
    Takes me back to my air force days in Big Spring, Texas 1971. Nineteen years old with my very first car; …thanks for the memories.


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  8. Dan

    As the years pass, less and less unrestored autos made in the sixties will be available for the average person to buy and fix up. Every auto should be looked at closely. Two or four door sedans, wagons, any and all. There are old cars for everyone to enjoy now, so lets try to save as many as we can.

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    • paul

      these are OK if you have a tanker truck filled with gas to follow you around

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    • David

      that’s a pretty sad sight. You should have let us know about it on here!

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      I have informed the dealership of this site in hopes that they would get the hint but they are still old schoolish. The would rather “Old Car Trader” printed publishing as EBAY costs to much for cars that fail to sell.

      I sold a Packard for $750 for them on EBAY years ago and they let me keep the sales money at the time for my trouble. Long story :(

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  9. bobcatslim

    I hate to be the one to say it, but….I don’t see that very many of the millions of old 50s – 70s cars that have been rotting for years will ever get a chance to roll on their own again. Unless one has unconditional love for a certain body style, or nostalgic memories of growing up with a certain model, the sheer amount of time and money to ‘save’ cars is not going to happen. When I was in my 20s, I would attempt to rescue these cheap orphans, so much so that I wound up owning 5 running and driving cars at the same time! A ’64 Buick Special coupe with a v6 and 3 on the tree, a ’68 Buick Sportwagon with the 340hp 400, and a ’73 Caprice with a 454. All interesting and ‘fun’ to drive, but due to the musty, tattered interiors (like the above wagon), dented and rusted bodies, and general worn out ness, they were passed on to others who made a valiant attempt, and then ultimately ended up in scrapyards. It is nice to wax nostalgic about many old cars, but the majority of them will just continue to sit, be cannibalized for parts, or be scrapped.

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      We still find tons of these cars on the North East around New Jersey and almost all that we find have been going over sea now. Dubai, Sweden, Germany all want big American 4 Door Cars like Buicks and Chryslers.

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  10. Dean Etter

    I really dont think this is a Impala wagon. But either a Biscayne or Bel Air instead. If it is a Impala(it would have a wood train inserts on the dash board & alot more chrome along the body. There isnt a roof rack,but that was a option. It did look rough,But It would make a perfect patina looking Rat Rod just as it is right now. Even some steelies painted blue would make a huge difference & those Vette rallys/white letter tires can easlier be sold at a swap meet cleaned up. Add a cool-looking seat covers on front & rear & you would be cruzin by the end of the week! I have a 1965 Bel Air Station Wagon with SBC/250hp. auto,ps,pdb-on front-drums on rear,power rear window & dual exhaust’s. Along with a roof rack too. I have white wall tires on it with 60’s period Fenton slot mags. It’s in Black primer with red interior/2-tone. No 3rd seat. I have period vintage racing stickers on driver side rear window & surf ones on right side rear window. Plus some gas station stickers on the cozy window’s too. I have a sucide knob on the wheel & the original AM radio & FM converter too. I have 60’s period racing slicks on top of the roof rack all year long. It’s missing the after-market/dealer add on air conditioning under the dash & the Original BIg Block 396/340hp. motor. It also has the built in plug in the rear bumper for towing a boat/camper/race car back in the day. I had it @Beatersville(pre-1967) car show in Louisville,Ky in 2013. It’s so cool to drive & listen to Jan & Dean & the American Graffitti music cruzing in it. Even in the winter time in Cincinnati,OH too.

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  11. Ed

    Its a Bel Air. I have a 65′ Impala wagon. Fun to drive, no rust and clean floors ( from Pennsylvania ) and one owner. Eventually it will see new paint and a disc conversion. Recycled buckets, floor shift, console, vacuum gauge and column from SS salvaged from going to crusher waiting to be installed.

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  12. Jeremiah

    I actually purchased this very car yesterday! It’s still in the condition pictured, it’s the original 283, still rocking the power glide trans. Floors and trunk area are completely gone. Probably going to part it out sad to say. 😞 Not beyond repair but real close.

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