Spy Wagon: 1972 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate

If you are as big of fan of big American station wagons as I am, this find should get you excited! The Chevrolet Kingswood Estate was essentially a well optioned Impala wagon with faux woodgrain paneling. This particular example is in incredible condition and is said to have just 45,667 original miles! And if that isn’t incredible enough, the seller claims the original owner was a CIA spy based out of Langley. They have documents showing the car’s ownership and maintenance history, so this story might just check out. You can take a look at this wagon here on eBay in Fairfax Station, Virginia with a current bid of $12k.

Obviously, this wagon never saw any use as a “spy” vehicle, but it sure makes for a fun story to tell the kids. The original owner was a Gerald White, who the seller claims headed the interrogation of a Russian pilot that defected. I haven’t had much luck finding any information on Mr. White, but perhaps one of you knows more about him and his story? It really doesn’t matter whether he worked as a spy or not though, what’s important is the condition this wagon is in and the documentation to back up the mileage.

The seller has a pile of paperwork, much of it looks to be for service work. The 400 cui V8 is said to run perfectly and the AC even blows cold! After buying it, the seller had his mechanic go over the entire car to make sure it runs and drives as it was meant to. It doesn’t sound like it needed much though, just a new battery and a regular tuneup.

This has to be one of the cleanest Kingswood wagons out there and is likely one of the lowest mileage examples left. And that makes deciding what to do with it a bit of a conundrum. It would be a fun vehicle to haul the family in to weekend car shows and on special occasions, but so much of the value is tied to the mileage that it would be difficult to watch the odometer knowing that each mile decreases the value. That’s often the problem with buying an ultra low mileage survivor. Of course, you could just buy it without concern for future value, drive it as much as you like and if the time comes to sell, let it go to a good home knowing that you got you money’s worth in good memories and great stories!

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  1. RichS

    I would put a big trans cooler on it, some fender mount trailer mirrors, hitch up a dual axle Airstream and hit the road – resale value be damned.

    Make some memories with this thing like many of us had back in the day with these when they were new!

    • Rich S Member

      I don’t remember saying this.😳

      • RichS

        Funny, I don’t remember not remembering this… :P

  2. al8apex

    the “value” in any collector car is the pleasure you get out of it

    Some people prefer to drive them. Others want validation from car show trophies (sad, IMHO)

    Regardless, a fantastic flashback

  3. Rock On Member

    I agree with you RichS. Load that sucker up and hit the road. It’s still going to be cheaper than some soccer Mom minivan!

  4. Frank

    72 is my favorite year for the Impalas. I had a 72 Impala Custom Coupe in a dark metallic brown. I have always wanted to get the wagon version (wiping drool). I agree, drive it and enjoy it. That is what it is made for. And it will give the kids and grandkids memories that they will talk about when they are my age. :)

    • Rabbit

      Mom had a 72 Caprice, same color.

    • ChevyTruckGuy

      1972 was definitely a great year for full-size Chevrolet styling! I love this wagon!!!

    • Chebahart

      I had the regular 72 Impala wagon, same color and the wood paneling sides. I slaughtered that thing being my first car. But it always started! Even with a screwdriver!! hahaha
      I graduated to an Audi Fox and passed it on to my younger brother and he kept the tradition on going of beating the crap out of it. When he decided to buy an MG, it went ont to the next brother. And the tradition continued!!
      That car looked like hell but started every time!
      It was given away after that and I don’t know where the adventure went but it gave me some of the best memories. I would love to have this!!

      • Steve

        My first car was a 1971 Caprice 4 door 400, and then later a 1971 Impala custom coupe 350. Love these big chevys. Damn near indestructible, and I certainly tried my best.

  5. leiniedude Member

    Cool car! Spy vs. Spy!

  6. Use them/daily

    Nice ride, agree, buy, drive. That is why they were made. I will never understand park and watch. Pieces of metal, maintain, use, pass on.

  7. Jimmy

    We had a 1973 Kingswood estate wagon but we had a 454 due to using it to pull a 23-1/2 foot travel trailer to Canada on vacation. It was an awesome car even then.

  8. Rabbit

    Wasn’t the Kingswood basically a Caprice wagon, & the Impala a Brookwood?

    • ChevyTruckGuy

      Yep! Kingswood was the top-trim wagon, based on Caprice equipment and trim.
      If you look at the interior shots, the front doors carry the Caprice’s “fleur-de-lis” emblem.

      • Superdessucke

        The Kingswood was top of the line but it is a mixture of Impala and Caprice. It has the Caprice grill but the standard bow tie emblem above it like an Impala. It lacks the wide chrome lower moldings of the Caprice, which would have had a “400” emblem on them just behind the front wheels. It has the Caprice style standard wheel covers.

        Inside, the fleu-de-lis emblem on the door panel is a nod to greater luxury true, but those are Impala style door panels, as are the seats. The Caprice had a completely different style of door panel with a different emblem on them, and a totally different fabric pattern on the seats.

      • Superdessucke

        Sorry, point of correction. I was referring to the Kingswood Estate. The regular Kingswood was a step down and more like an Impala. The Townsman was close to the Bel Air and Brookwood was close to the Biscayne.

        It’s a little confusing and they didn’t exactly correlate to their passenger car twins as I discussed above. The Chevelle/Malibu had a similar weird thing going on with the Concours, Greenbrier, and Nomad.

        Other GM divisions kept their wagon lines distinct in these years too. Not sure why they did that. Maybe GM felt that wagon buyers were completely distinct from coupe and sedan buyers? It was a definite omen.

    • Tennesseestorm

      Kingswood Estate = Caprice. Kingswood = Impala. Townsman = Bel-Air. Brookwood = Biscayne. In that order. :)

  9. Superdessucke

    Why would a single CIA spy drive this??

    • Milt

      Undercover work.

      • Superdessucke

        Well maybe but I personally wouldn’t have been able to resist the DB5.

    • Tennesseestorm

      In ’71 that was true about the “400” emblem, but for ’72, the small-block 400 wagons had no exterior engine badging. Those optioned with the 400 big block (labeled as a “402”), had the “400” badges ahead of the front wheel wells (which is how mine is optioned). The 454 optioned models had “454” badges. Chevy was very confusing with the names and badges in the late 60s-early 70s. Attached is a pic of my ’72 Kingswood Estate with the 402 big block engine.

  10. Mike H Member

    Pity there’s no video of that clamshell tailgate in action. Likely one of the coolest features of these cars and something that fascinated me as a dumb motorhead kid in the 70’s.

  11. Ron Turner

    The Kingswood Estate, with wood paneling, was on a par with the Caprice. The Kingswood, without wood paneling, was on par with the Impala. I believe that the Brookwood was equal to the BelAir and the Townsman was in line with the Biscayne.

    • Paul Duca

      Townsman–Bel Air

  12. BTG88

    This was my Mom’s exact car when me and my brothers were growing up in the 1970’s. Got traded in on a 1980 Chevy Caprice diesel conversion wagon. I remember one time we had a major snow storm in upstate NY (Albany area) and dad needed to get to work. The snow plow had just gone by and left a mountain of snow at the end of the driveway. Well, he wasn’t going to take his ’72 vette, so he runs the Kingswood Estate down our long driveway and blows right through the snowbank like it is not there. As kids, we thought this was the most bad-ass thing ever. This car defines the phrase ‘road tank’.

    • Rabbit

      Just a shame that these cars, like most from the early-mid seventies were essentially biodegradable. By the time 1980 hit, Mom’s Caprice had no door bottoms or quarters left. The worst part of growing up in the rust belt (Buffalo).

      • E63

        Same here (Amherst), @Rabbit. Good thing was that so much of that car was manufactured right around the corner… Hey, how ’bout them Bills??

  13. Joe

    We had a new 1973 Belair wagon. 400k miles later before we retired that girl.

  14. jw454

    I alerted a friend that collects these about this one. He already knew of it and said he’s talked to the owner a number of times. He tells me the owner says the buy price is 24K.
    My friend has seven of these currently and his center piece is a ’75 Impala with 19k miles.

  15. John Norris

    Back in the early 70’s I was a student at the “Mulholland School of Racing” and I remember taking chariot rides in the back of someones mums Chevy wagon. We’d wind the rear window down and stand inside and hang on to the luggage rack! I’ll tell ya, you can sure feel it when it starts to oversteer!! Probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done sober!!

  16. Rustytech

    This wagon brings back fond memories. It was tha last new car my old man bought before I got married and left home. I always thought that clamshell tailgate was cool. I was right there with richs with the camper idea as that ‘s exactly what dad used his for. That thing went everywhere from Maine to Florida and everywhere else east of the Mississippi. I was also right there at a price of $12 to $15k, but $24k? Sorry but there are a lot of cars I would rather have for that kind of money, memories not withstanding.

  17. Supernova72

    Grew up with a 1971 Kingwood Estate similarly equipped. 402 BB made a trip to Disneyland. On the way back to Seattle I saw 90 mph and it was not breathing hard. I was 12. Dad did not know I was awake. Ha

  18. Ed

    I love the big wagons my dad had a 1967 396 Belair wagon ruby red black interior My first ride at 16 posi- track rear end that sucker would smoke the wheels off I out ran a 1968 ford Torino with no problem I wish I had it today

  19. Tommy D

    Couldn’t the owner spring for a battery at least?

  20. Mr. TKD

    When’s the last time you saw a steering wheel wrapped like that?

    All it needs are some curb feelers.

    • Tennesseestorm

      Mine is the same way… :)

  21. Mike

    My dad had a 72 just like this, but we had the power clamshell. One shown was the cheaper manual type. He traded up every 2 years, 74 Kingswood estate, 76 he went to Pontiac LeMans wagon with 400 screamer and red bucket seats, 78 back to Chevy, skipped to 1981 a horrible dog Chevy with a malaise engine, 267 or 302 and beige 2 tone, and his last wagon was a sweet 84 Cutlass Cruiser. That was a great car, plenty of power and style. I’d love to be driving one of those now. I had some great teen age years in my dad’s family wagons. If he only knew what went on in the “way back”!!!

  22. hank

    Only downside is that the weatherstripping for the tailgate window is not available. With this low mileage car it might not be an issue, but if I had the 12K and was going to buy it that would be a major point of contention.

  23. Dan

    I would love this car as a bookend to my other Impala.

  24. D

    I like it!

  25. Daniel
  26. David Ulrey

    Love it. Need it. Want it. Mom had one just like this, just like this, when I was growing up. It was one year old old. Loved that car and totally loved the styling too. Really makes me think of my mom. Miss her. A much younger me and a much younger and alive mom.

  27. Jay E.

    I have several rolls of NOS fake wood siding that I need to find a new home for. It is not modern vinyl.

  28. LAB3

    We had a 1974 version of this growing up, will never forget the sound of it while climbing through the Rockies with six people in the car pulling a camper at 35mph!

  29. whippeteer

    I preferred the ’71 that we had when I was a kid with the two way tailgate. More comfortable to sit on when it was opened down. I also remember a friend’s family with the clamshell tailgate with it getting stuck periodically.

  30. Bill Owens BillO Staff

    Wow, tire pressure front 22, rear 32; is that to keep it from swaying all over the road? I never drove a station wagon but once that I remember. A company I worked for in the late 70’s had a 1976 Ford Torino wagon in its carpool. That thing was about to make me dizzy driving it with its back end floating from side to side. Is that something that most wagons did? I would ask for a VW Rabbit every time after that. At least the minivans that my wife and I owned didn’t do that.

  31. Tennesseestorm

    The Kingswood Estate was the equivalent to Caprice, not Impala. The Impala was simply called “Kingswood”. The Kingswood Estate added exterior wood-grain trim, Caprice grill and wood-grain accenting on the driver side of the instrument panel.

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