The 401 Cubic Inch 1960 Buick Invicta Wagon / Specs, Photos

The automobile featured in this article is a 1960 Buick Invicta Four Door Wagon.

1960 buick invicta wagons

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon

The Buick Invicta model (also referred to as the Buick 4600 Series) was introduced in 1959 replacing the Buick Century.

When the Buick Invicta Wagon came out in 1959 the vehicle received some positive press. Motor Trend magazine named the 59 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon as "The best looking wagon".

The Invicta model had a five year run. The Buick Invicta was positioned in the middle of the 1960 Buick line up. The Invicta was placed between the LeSabre and Electra. The Invicta was a full size automobile with several body styles including two wagons. These were both two and four door station wagons.

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon Design

There were significant design changes with many cars for the 1960 model year. The latter 1950's saw the modernization of most every model along with the aggressive introduction of rear fins. The fins and designs in a lot of cases reflected the nations fascination with the jet age and this was seen in both designs and model names.

The year 1960, and Buick was included in this, was transitional from the big rear fin era of the late 1950s to the smoother lines of the 1960s. The ‘angry’ angled headlights on the Invicta were changed from diagonal to horizontal. The “Delta Wing” fins were kept but they were less extreme, as were the fins on most General Motors cars for the 1960 model year. Inside, the Invicta was equipped with the same features as the basic LeSabre.

1960 buick wagon specs

Delta Wing rear fins

Buick's Station Wagon production was not of the high volume that other GM brands, both Chevrolet and Pontiac produced. In addition, the 1960 Buick wagon bodies were built by the Ionia Manufacturing Company of Owosso Michigan.

This was an independent company that made bodies and trim for the auto industry. The Ionia Manufacturing Company built Buick Wagon bodies from 1946 through 1964.

1950 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon Specifications

The engine in this model is a Buick Nailhead 401 Cubic Inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor delivering 325 HP. This engine fit well with Buick's reputation of producing performance oriented automobiles.

The engine was referred to as the Nailhead because of it's long, thin-stemmed valves with small diameter heads that resemble vertical rows of nails. This engine is also referred to as the Wildcat 445 which can be confusing. . The 445 represented it's 445 lbs torque.

Transmission is an Turbine Drive automatic two speed. Buick's Turbine Drive transmission had a variable pitch fluid control mechanism that actually replaced gears. A Buick transmission engineer was quoted as saying..."you don't shift gears, you shift a constantly flowing stream of oil ". As a side note, General Motors developed the Triple-Turbine, but dropped it in 1960 as too expensive to produce.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum

The front suspension included independent coil-spring and wishbone stabilizer bar. The rear had an independent trailing link, stabilizer bar, coil springs as well as ,tubular shock absorbers.

Wheelbase is 123.0 inches with an outside overall length of 217.9 inches, width of 80.0 inches and a height of 57.2 inches. Curb weight is estimated at 4,825 lbs.

1960 buick estate wagonU.S. production numbers for the 1960 Buick Invicta model were 45,400 vehicles. Out of that number there were 3,479 Six Passenger Wagons built and 1,600 Nine Passenger Wagons produced.

To give you a perspective of Invicta's production numbers compared to the LaSabre and Electra, the numbers look like this...total LaSabre 1960 production was 152,200 units and the Electra 56,300 units. Overall, Buick had disappointing sales for the 1960 model year. Sales were less than 1959 numbers but some of this was attributed to a steel strike that caused a significant loss of production time.

New car price for the 1960 Buick Station Wagons averaged $3,950.

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The 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon

The 1955 Buick Special

The 1955 Chevy Nomad Wagon

1960 Buick Invicta Wagon Collector Values

The family station wagons of the 1950's and 1960's are cars some of us experienced sometime during our childhood. The Buick Invicta Wagons are rare finds today simply because not a lot of them were produced as mentioned above. Locating parts for a restoration project are available but may not be easy to find.

60 buick invicta photos

60 Invicta dash

As of this writing the average value of a 60 Buick Invicta Four Door Wagon is about $13,000. For those that have been fully restored to pristine condition or are originals in excellent condition the prices average in the $28,000 to $30,000 range. There are of course examples above and below those figures.

Not surprisingly, the highest valued 1960 Buick Invicta model is the convertible. Current top values on it are in the $55,000 area.

Reference material for this article included GM Archives, Collector Cars of America, Hemmings Motor News, BuickV-8.com

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

 

Classic 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air / Specs, Photos, Model History

The Car of the Year for 1955

The 1955 Chevrolet was a milestone car and represented a major move forward for the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The automobile featured in this article is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. This model which was new from the ground up was named car of the year for 1955. Marketed as the "Hot One" to appeal to America's youth, the 1955 Chevy was an instant success.

1955 chevy bel air specs

1955 Chevy Bel Air

It was in 1955 that the Chevy Bel Air was equipped with a V8 engine, and won the reputation of “The Hot One” among car enthusiasts. The style of the 1955 Chevy Bel Air  is what makes it one of the most sought after classic cars  today. The design of the 1955 Chevy was considered by many to be far superior to any Ford or Plymouth produced at the time.

For 1955, buyers had the option for a new and smaller 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 Turbo Fire if they wanted something more than the 236 Cubic Inch Six, Chevrolet built a 150, 210 and Bel Air model.

The history of Bel Air started in 1953 when he became the new name for the high-end line of Chevrolet cars. It is in these first models appeared the unique characteristics of the car body.

The 1955 Chevy Bel Air

Collector cars from the 1950's are thought to be the most coveted by many classic car enthusiasts. Many cars from that decade remain popular with collectors fifty years later. Among the top of that list is certainly the 1955 Chevy Bel Air, one of the most iconic cars of the era. Some would say that the 1955 Chevrolet is THE car of the 50's.

chevrolet bel air specificationsWhen the 1955 Chevy was introduced, certain auto people were fixing up cars from a generation ago, such as the Model T, as a hot rod or track car. To compete with these improved retro cars, the major car companies had to come up with equally impressive automobiles. Thus, the 1955 Chevy was born.

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is today an iconic vehicle many times referred to simply as the '55 Chevy. This 55 Chevy remains a sought after Chevrolet model for car collectors.

The 1955 Bel Air was not the first model year of the Bel Air. Interestingly enough, Often, it in many cases the first model year of a new vehicle ends up being remembered the most. In the case of the Chevrolet Bel Air things were different. The Bel Air was first produced by Chevrolet in 1950 however the 50 Bel Air was not the hit that the 55 ended up to be and therefore doesn't have nearly the the collector demand the latter model has.

Chevrolet's 50's Tail Fins

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air represents the first model year of a redesigned second generation. It introduced many features that would become popular in cars from the 1950's. One of the things that the 1955 Chevy Bel Air did was add tail fins to the Chevy line. These fins were not nearly as large as fins would eventually get. The model years afterward would see car fins become much larger. The stylish tail fins of the 1957 Chevrolet make it a real competitor for the top spot with the 55 model.

The Bel Air design was so strong and popular that the line itself would sell in the United States until 1975. Much of the Bel Air's appeal throughout the years had it's roots going straight back to those second generation Chevy's.

1955 Chevy Bel Air Specifications

Available engines on the 1955 Chevy were a 235 cubic inch Inline Six and two V-8's, one with a double barrel carburetor and one with a four barrel. The Bel Air model came only with a V-8. Horsepower in that order was 123, 162, 180.

1955 chevy bel air dashboard

55 Chevy Bel Air dashboard

Transmissions available were a three speed manual and a Pwerglide automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a 115.9 inch wheelbase, an overall outside length of 195.6 inches and a weight of about 3,300 lbs.

New car price range for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air (excluding wagons) was $1,950 to $2,300.

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The 1955 Chevrolet Collector Car Popularity and Values

Nostalgia is one big reason that the second generation Chevrolet Bel Air's are some of the most popular with collectors. Many of these owners are people who grew up during the 1950's.  Some will also tell you that they believe that automobiles in general were made better during that era. Many old cars, including the 1955 Chevy, were bigger and had bigger engines. This is a big plus for collectors.

55 chevy bel air

The 55 Chevy's small rear fin

As far as design goes, most automobiles produced during the 1950's have very distinctive. styling. Today, many automobile models look visually the same as their competitors. In many cases today styling takes a back seat to fuel economy. The decade of the 50's, before safety regulations and emission controls were mandated, was an era of very creative design innovation by some top stylists, such as Harley Earl and Virgil Exner to name just a few, and as a result most people can identify a 1950's brand automobile by simply looking at the car from a distance.

As of this writing, top valuations for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air ranges from about $25,000 to $95,000. This is for a professionally restored model. The much higher valued Bel Air would typically be the two door convertible.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1965 Ford Falcon Station Wagon / All Model Details, Photos

The automobile featured in this article is a 1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Station Wagon.

1965 ford falcon wagon

1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Wagon

Ford Motor Company produced the Ford Falcon from 1960 to 1970. It should be noted that Ford Motor in Australia did produce the Falcon past 1970.

Ford also produced a two door wagon. Ford made many different types of Falcons. These included sedans, convertibles, Falcon Sprints, the Ranchero, an Econoline Passenger Van and of course the two types of wagons. The top trim level for the 65 Falcon was the Futura series.

The 1965 Falcon's were of the second generation models. A major redesign took place for the 1964 model year which gave the vehicle a more squared and modern appearance. The Ford Mustang came out in late 1964 and was essentially built on a Falcon frame. Ironically, it was the popular Mustang that pretty much caused the Falcon to disappear in 1970.

ford falcon wagon specsThe Ford Falcon Model

When the concept of the Ford Falcon model hit the drawing boards, the goal was to create a good selling economy compact. In fact, compact economy automobiles were important class beginning that year. Styling originally took a back seat. In 1960 the engine was simply a 144 cubic inch six with 90 HP. A V-8 would be introduced to the Falcon in 1963. The Falcon first came out with two- and four-door sedan body styles to be followed shortly after with two- and four-door station wagons along with Rancheros.

Interestingly enough, in 1963 Ford turned to building a few Falcons specially for European Rally's with the intention of changing the car's image from stodgy to something more sporty. The result was the Ford did pretty well in Europe during 1963-64 with the Falcon capturing several wins and second place finishes.

The 1965 Falcon Wagon

On the design standpoint, the 1965 Ford Falcon Wagon carried the new more squared design introduced in 1964.

The Ford Falcon Wagon was a good looking automobile and was considered economical to own. The new car base price for the 65 Ford Falcon Wagon was about $2,300. The Falcon Wagon was advertised as giving a smooth and comfortable  ride  Ford compared the smoothness to a ride in a big sedan.

1965 Ford Falcon Four Door Wagon Specifications

Several engines were available in 1965 for the Falcon wagons. These included two L-head sixes, at 200 cubic inches, and 223 cubic inches with 116 and 138 HP respectively, and a 260 cubic inch V-8 rated at  260 HP.

Transmission choices included a three speed manual or an optional Cruise-O-Matic automatic.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 109.5 inches, an overall length of 190.0 inches, height of 54.9 inches, width of 71.6 inches. Curb weight varies slightly by two or four door model but the average is about 2,765 lbs.

Total Ford production for the 1965 model year was 2,171,000 vehicles. Out of that number there were 186,000 Falcon model built. Out of that number there were a total of 14,900 Falcon station wagons produced. The majority were four door wagons where only 4,900 two door wagons were made.

65 ford falcon station wagonFord Falcon Station Wagons Collector Valuations

We believe that the Ford Falcon, particularly during the first half of the 1960's, is an collector car. This is the era prior to and at the time of the Mustang introduction.

Looking at 1965 Falcons as an example, the entire line is relatively inexpensive for someone wanting to start a collection. The highest valued model would likely be the two door convertible with the top prices ranging from about $14,000 to $20,000.

The 65 Falcon Wagon top values are in a range from about $7,000 to $11,000. Both the two and four door wagons fit in this same range.

falcon wagon dashboard

Falcon Wagon dash

The Ford Falcon Sprint is a car that had a lot in common with the Mustang and at first was in netter supply at dealers than the Mustang. The Falcon Sprint is a sporty vehicle with power and compares favorably, by some, with the Mustang. Remember, they were building Mustangs on Falcon chassis.

There are many Ford Falcon enthusiasts and an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the Falcon may want to connect with the Falcon Club of America (www.falconclub.com).

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)