Wagon Envy: 1954 Dodge Coronet Suburban

031416 Barn Finds - 1954 Dodge Suburban 2d

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Here’s a very cool project, a 1954 Dodge Coronet Suburban. It’s located in a storage unit in Fresno, California and is listed here on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $4,700 and the option to make an offer. This 2-door wagon looks like it’s pretty solid and could be restored. Although, I don’t know if I would restore it or just fix the mechanicals and drive it as-is.

031416 Barn Finds - 1954 Dodge Suburban 1d

Wagons are hot right now in the collector market, and even if they weren’t I would still want one like this. This wagon has been parked for at least six months, according to the seller, so it’ll need to be gone through with a fine-toothed comb before you put it into daily-duty. The Suburban was a member of the Coronet family and there wasn’t a four-door option for this model, which makes it even cooler. There may be a two-door wagon made today but I can’t think of any off hand; someone will fill in the blank there?

There aren’t any overall interior photos, just snippets and details, but it looks solid in there, too. Of course, there are kits to repair steering wheels, seats, and almost anything else these days so you should have it looking like new in no time. Of course there are no power accessories here and with a 3,400 pound curb weight and drum brakes you’ll have to plan ahead. Not that you’ll be going that fast; this one is a 6-cylinder with about 110hp.

031416 Barn Finds - 1954 Dodge Suburban 4d

The seller says that this straight-six knocked a bit on the drive over to the storage unit and they think it’ll need rings and bearings, but you’ll want to go through things anyway. I’m guessing that most folks would want to sneak some sort of V8 in there. There was a box that you could check back in 1954 for a 241 V8 that was actually a Hemi, technically, with 150hp. This one has a three-on-the-tree manual transmission.

031416 Barn Finds - 1954 Dodge Suburban 3d

This will be a nice project for someone, I wish it were me. If I had a storage building that big it would already be full, but I would love to have one of these someday, collectible-investment or not. If these cars are good enough for Jay Leno they’re good enough for me. I just think they’re plain cool and that’s all I need. Are you a wagon fan, too?

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  1. Fred

    I remember a family with about 5 kids in my neighborhood driving a similar wagon (with “patina”) in the mid 60’s, and how every one felt so sorry for them- the car couldn’t have been worth $50.. How things have changed.

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  2. Lee Hartman

    Wish my income had increased 100 times like the value of this car! I sure would like to have it, but can’t justify the price.

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  3. DENIS

    I would upgrade the powertrain and chassis to make it cruise-worthy and keep the patina…cool old ride. We grew up with old wagons so I would be right at home….

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  4. HoA Howard AMember

    What a find. Can you imagine paying $100 dollars for the contents of a storage unit, and finding this? ( which is I’m sure what happened) This was one basic Dodge wagon, but looks like a few options. I’d modernize the drive-train and leave the body just as is. Makes you wonder how many of these are still around. That storage unit building down the street from you, for example. Very cool find.

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    • MountainMan

      Hey Howard, I must be missing something….Where do you come to the conclusion this was bought at a storage unit auction? I am usually pretty observant but I can’t figure out how you know this car came out of a storage unit or how you’re sure somebody paid $100 for the unit with the car in it. Fill me in…. Thanks!
      In the eBay listing the seller stated that it drive from his shop to the storage unit and that he didn’t remove it from the unit when he took the pics but did he buy it from a storage sale?

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  5. rick

    Always liked this vintage of 2 door Mopar wagon, and takes me down memory lane also, makes me think of the Nason twins, Peggy and Penny, hot blonde sisters who attended the same Catholic school I went to in the early 60s and they rode to school in the Plymouth counterpart, theirs was a ’51 or’ 52, later when I was in high school my buddy/neighbor Greg got to bang one of them (not sure which). This looks like it could be a good a good buy if it’s as nice as it looks and would make an u iqie and excellent street rod no matter how it was finished, almost none of these around, I remember when they were only worth 50

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  6. RoughDiamond

    This is a cool old wagon and would love to have it. Not sure about the storage unit. Never seen one with electrical power running it that can light up a neon sign or one that has parking space lines painted on the floor. Guess I’m missing something.

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  7. Rich

    Slam it, find a visor for it and drive it.

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  8. Keith Matheny

    Dad always said, “Chryslers were engineered to last 200k”! Back then, , , !
    Great Uncle had one of these, bought at his retirement, 4-door sedan, same color, w/white roof, oh that dash brings back memories, my first valve job when I was about 14. Didn’t drive it much, maybe 1k a year to church and Saturday shopping. Learned to row that 3-on-the-tree! Valves were sticking from low use on that almost bullet proof flatty. GreyMarine used them in boats! Was to be mine @16 till his nephew(another uncle of mine) got it rear-ended. Dad hung onto it for a few years hoping to find another frame, but it went to the crusher. Shame too because it still had the plastic on the door cards and those bubbled seat covers!
    Too far from me, thankfully, and way too much $ for a rusted and barely moving on it’s own tank.
    But I’d take it at $2k, delivered, to Ohio, lol!

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    • Brad

      Keith – I have a ’53 Town and Country wagon and I’m only asking a thousand bucks. Rusty and needs the interior completely redone.
      I’m in northern Illinois ~ come n’ get it!!
      : )

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  9. Spankymcfairlane

    I have the sister ship to this car, it’s a 1951 and it is the same color. The car has been in the family since it was bought new at Tom Price Chrysler in Spokane Wa. In 1951. Nellie as it has been called my whole life has 106k on it. The car was parked in 1985 so it is going to take some love and attention to get it going again but I am going to do it this summer. The original engine is still in it and ran very well when it was parked. The worst thing about the car is the headliner which the mice have destroyed, but the rest of the car is very solid.

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      @Spanky, keep us informed–share some pictures :-)

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  10. Ed P

    A wagon body just amplifies the stodginess of Chrysler’s styling in this era. That said, this appears to be a fairly solid car that can be restored. Chrysler, in this era had a reputation for durability. This car is a solid example of that . It is a shame that Chrysler blew their good reputation on the 57’s.

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    • Mike McCloud

      How did Chrysler blow their good reputation? Maybe it was the 300 that set records,
      ? The Plymouth Golden Commando Fury?, The big Dodge ? What?

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      • Ed P

        The 57’s were rushed to production. The 57’s were due to be ’58 models, but slowing sales of the ’56 cars prompted management to introduce the new cars a year early. The result was disaster. The cars started rusting on dealers lots. Other problems ensued and warrente costs soared as their reputation went down.

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      • Mike McCloud

        Ed P, Well, that’d explain the single head lights in some ’58 models! That one always had me stumped. I couldn’t relate the ‘stodginess of this era’ comment. Heck, they ALL were stodgy in the early ’50’s, all of ’em looked like the current term of ‘shoeboxes’. The era started out well-intended; losing the ‘added-on’ looks of fenders not congruous with the car body design, & other details. I think between the postwar years & ’56, they all had a tankish look of a design struggle going on, but the ‘Space Age’ ’57 Plymouth, Chryslers, & Dodges did have actual designs that were successful enough that the public was intrigued, even if they weren’t buying huge quantities. I remember my Dad talking a lot with other workers about the recession & the worries they had. I also rem’ber the effects the recession had on auto sales across the board, so it wasn’t all Chrysler’s ‘fault’, all any of ’em could do was try, but even the car mfg’s workers were affected & worried. Thanks for your info, BTW, knowledge is good! Take care, M

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  11. RON

    Too cool. I love these. Would love a 49-up. keep us informed on the 51. only thing any more interesting would be a Desoto of the same period

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  12. Paul B

    Great solid car, bulletproof mechanicals. Don’t swap out the smooth tough six, just rebuild it and enjoy. I wish I could buy this one.

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  13. Mike McCloud

    All Chrysler product wagons from those years are way cool. In California, none of us, even back then, could afford a woody wagon, but anyone could do one of these. ( IF- you could find one not being used! ).They weren’t bad on gas,( maybe a partial benefit from low power ?!), but you could load a buncha kids & boards in them & cruise all day to a favorite spot. They were instantly recognizable from the back; the rear hatches had hinges that looked like those on walk-in coolers—or Kelvinator refrigerators; BIG & chrome! Tanx for the memories!

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Barn Finds