Surf’s Up! 1960 Buick LeSabre Wagon

I don’t know about you but when I think of a surf wagon, images of a Ford woodie or a Chevy Nomad dance across my visual. A 1960 Buick LeSabre? Not so much so. Some may consider the ’59/’60 Buick’s styling to be outlandish – it’s pretty recognizable, but it’s in keeping with the times, and GM’s then-current design leanings. Finding a ’60 Buick LeSabre is not that big a deal, but a station wagon? Not an everyday occurrence. A station wagon with a surfer theme? Go on, now, you gotta be kidding! Nope, and here’s the proof, located in Concord, North Carolina and available, here on Hemmings for $14,995.

Buick referred to their ’60 station wagons as “Estate Wagons” and why not they’re the size of an estate. Available as six or nine-passenger, they were offered in two trim levels, both Invicta and LeSabre. I’m sure I’ve seen one in the past, but probably back when they were everyday drivers, and not in recent times. In 1960, Buick placed in the top ten for production with 253K copies, garnering a ninth-place finish.

The seller states that he believes that this Buick was a for-real surf-dude back in the day as it proclaims upon its flanks, “Faded ‘Torrance Beach Surf Shop’ logos on the sides point to SoCal as a likely home base“.  Could be I suppose, I know Torrance pretty well and it’s not a beach town but it’s just east of Redondo Beach so it’s in the vicinity. The problem is that the dreaded “P” word that is so loved by our readership and this wagon is referred to as a LeSabre Patina Station Wagon but the Patina looks like a mish-mash of posed and created wear. It’s the typical thing with surface rust apparent through a sunburned finish and washed-out period-correct style graphics. The body does not appear to have rot-through, though the surface rust is rather serious, while the trim and chrome show surprisingly well. The Lance wheel covers, red-painted steel wheels, and white-stripe tires complete the look.

The first thing that I noticed under the hood is the dual circuit master cylinder which is unlikely as original and probably a later upgrade. It’s sitting juxtaposed to a 250 gross HP, 364 CI “nailhead” V8 slip-sliding through a Dynaflow automatic transmission. Other than the aforementioned master cylinder, things look pretty original right down to the single snorkel air cleaner and old-style generator. Referencing the engine, there is a claim of, “It is said to have never been rebuilt and runs fine“.

Inside we find matching front and back vinyl seat covers facing off against a stylish, and typical for the era, instrument panel. The front seat looks fine, the back one appears to have seen some action on account of its ripped seam. The door panels are moldy and decomposing and the door-jamb surface rust is very obvious. Bare floors and an untouched cargo area round out the inside. I don’t know what the thing sitting on the floor up front is though it looks like a window air conditioner. If that’s the case, it’s going to need an outrageously long extension cord to be of service…

Real, faked, or a little of both, I can’t tell with certainty, but whatever the case, this LeSabre is way cool. The surf wagon motif on something as curvacious as a ’60 Buick makes this one unique ride, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    I believe the device on the transmission tunnel is a swamp cooler. In simple terms, it cools air by passing it through water. The cord wrapped around the unit appears to be a 12-volt cord to power the unit’s fan.

    Like 10
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Great! Thanks for the clarification. I was being somewhat facetious but really didn’t know what it was. I’ve seen the “funnel” types that hang off of the outside of the opened passenger side window, ostensibly loaded with ice, but the swamp cooler is a new one for me.

      JO

      Like 4
    • Hoss

      Thank you CCFisher.

      I was wondering what that was. Never seen one.

      Like 7
    • Mr. Brown

      Swamp coolers work great in dry climates. They cool the air by evaporating water. In humid climates they just add to the humidity!

      Like 1
  2. flmikey

    Patina is patina, but rust is rust…and this find has a ton of it…I would think it would be worth more without the surf stuff stuck on it…but I live on the east coast, so what do I know…nice find, though…

    Like 6
  3. Will Fox

    Nothing turns me off more than fake patina. On this, you can’t really tell what’s real and what isn’t. Rare? Yes. If it were an Invicta wagon even more so. The view under the hood looks like a nightmare! Wires everywhere connected to God-knows what. No thank you. Someone will buy it and add even more fake patina, but will ignore the mess under the hood and ask twice the money. They always do……..SMH

    Like 16
  4. Dave

    Nothing turns me off more than fake outrage over fake patina. I’ve never seen fake patina that could fool me. This stuff looks absolutely genuine, how could you fake door jamb patina? It doesn’t offend me in the least. If you want paint, buy it and paint it.

    Like 7
  5. Mutt

    Dunno… possibly make it a Ghostbuster/Rat Rod clone ?

    Like 3
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rare, interesting car but not for the asking money. Just to keep it driveable is going to be a ton of cash. Dodge Lancer hub caps bring back memories of having them on my lowered ’54 Chevy.

    Like 3
    • Stu

      I have always loved the Dodge Royal Lancer 4 bars on an older car. Next favorite is the Olds 3 bars. Real ones of both, not the knock offs with a grid pattern on them.

  7. A.G.

    Fake patina? Fake surf-wagons with fake patina are the worst. The only thing worse is when they’re staged with surfboards mounted incorrectly. This fellow Bernoulli came up with the aerodynamic principle of lift being related to air flow. Roof-mounted surf boards should always be mounted skeg forward.

    Like 5
    • Gray Wolf

      That is some what of a myth. They have been mounted both ways for years! We researched this many years ago! You could say the fin broke up the wind or provided some downforce, the nose could pickup air lift. If you cinch them down tight, they both hang in there!🏄‍♀️

      Like 1
      • K.C. Member

        The wagon does look a little low in the front. I think it will need some help with lift at highway speed with those surf boards.

  8. Bill

    “Torrance Beach in Torrance, California. Torrance Beach is a long wide sandy beach (and the only beach) in the city of Torrance, California. This is the southernmost of the big beaches on Santa Monica Bay which extends from the Malibu area to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.” From californiabeaches.com

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thanks for the update, I have family in Torrance and have been to Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, and Dockweiler beaches but missed Torrance Beach entirely and didn’t know it existed.

      JO

      Like 1
      • Scott L.

        Funny, JO, I never knew Dockweiler existed until I stumbled upon it on a bicycle ride from Redondo to Marina Del Ray.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        That’s exactly how I found it, on a bike ride from Redondo!

        JO

        Like 1
      • Steve Clinton

        My grandmother and an aunt and uncle lived in Torrance for years and I never heard of ‘Torrance Beach’. Perhaps it was a nude beach that was kept secret? Nah.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Just talked to my west coast correspondent (my daughter) who lives in the old part of Torrance, she said it’s called “RAT” beach (Right After Torrance). She also said the locals love it. I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m there. (Looks like clothes stay on)

        JO

        Like 1
      • Paul Russell

        Fictitious surf shop. Never existed. But somebody has some real talent with sign painting with patina.

        Like 1
  9. Harvey Member

    Went to a small school in Sheboygan,Wi.One teacher taught 1,2,3 grades in one room.On the last day of school she took us to lunch.Had at least 20 kids in her 60 Buick sedan.Had not thought of that in a long time:-)

    Like 5
  10. Abi

    It looks like it’s been in the surf more then once.

    Like 1
  11. markp

    It is still cool but a little too much fake patina, it looks like a life size car in a diorama.

    Like 2
  12. Glenn Hilpert

    Ah, the presence of the Calif. salt air coastal rust belt.

    Like 4
  13. Steve In Charlotte

    I love wagons and this body style is very cool, however, the time and money this one needs is too much for me. Since I live about 20 minutes from where the car is for sale (Auto Barn in Concord, NC) I’m going to go check it out.

    Like 5
  14. George Petersen

    I would swap my ’55 Chev wagon for this car in a hot second!

    Like 1
  15. princeofprussia

    For that price, I’d expect a decent (not show-quality) paint job, better bumpers, and an interior that didn’t include warped and shredded door panels. I’m sick of seeing cars with “patina.” That’s just a lazy excuse for not improving the car’s appearance, IMHO.

    Like 9
  16. Larry

    1) Find a rusty old Buick wagon
    2) Strap a couple of surfboards on the roof
    3) Pretend it is special
    4) Ask stupid money for it

    I will pass on this recipe for an all-day-sucker

    Like 7
    • Frank

      Amazing what some people ask when they are fishing! Its even more amazing to find a sucker that wants it.

      Like 1
  17. Martinsane

    No matter to the validity of or intentions of the seller, but this Buick is stunning. Yes I get the wear and ruination from rust etc but dang the car is just breathtaking.

    Like 2
  18. Wildfire

    To me it looks more like the Ghost Busters rig before it was modified for their equipment !
    than any surffer rig
    When I think of Surf Wagons I thing the Woody and the Nomad and the Vans of the 50s & 60s
    NOT a Buick LeSabre Wagon
    I would pay tens of dollars for this car

    Like 1
  19. Gtoforever

    Naaah, I ‘am not buying the whole surfer seen!
    Nice try though
    Cool old car

    Like 2
  20. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I love the “mirror ” dashboard on the ’60 & ’61 Buicks. Just different and I like different. The deep dish steering wheel has always been a little different also. Buick and Oldsmobile had the best dashes and steering wheels of the 60s and early 70s.

    Like 4
  21. Marshall

    I am impressed that I dual chamber master cylinder was installed on it. Nothing like having your brakes go out on you on the freeway (which happened to me once) can teach you the value of dual chamber master cylinders. True, it’s not original. But safety trumps originality.

    Like 1

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