There was a time when station wagons were a big part of the family.

Wagons provided an excellent choice as people movers for both adults and kids during a bygone era, although their versatility was likely unnoticed by the younger members of a family during their kid years.

In fact, most car guys likely wished their fathers had sprung for a flashy two-door hardtop instead of a station wagon model, mainly because kid logic is very underdeveloped, and they did not see the merit of a long roof when they were young.

Jim Sutherland

Nevertheless, a station wagon eventually became a very fond memory of childhood for many car guys when they reached adulthood and realized wagons had largely disappeared from the roads, replaced by minivans and sport utility vehicles.

The station wagon began to represent a childhood past filled with memories of family vacations and transportation to kid activities that were an essential part of a car guy’s kid days. The problem was station wagons disappeared at an alarming rate once they were used up by a family, consequently the vintage long roof herd is a small one in today’s world.

Dale Adams is a dedicated car guy who developed a strong fondness for station wagons during his adult years. His father owned a 1956 Plymouth station wagon that was a “pickup truck and family hauler”, in Dale’s words.

His childhood memories include the wagon experience, so Dale decided to purchase station wagons to honor their role in his world. Dale’s most notable station wagon is his 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II, a car that retains its unique style, but now has a few mechanical upgrades.

Dale’s mechanical improvements includes a major change under the hood because he put a 406 Mopar stroker in place of the factory engine. The beefy small block is based upon Chrysler’s 360 cubic inch engine and has been morphed into a beast with an EFI system.

Dale also added front discs to rein in the 406’s extra horses when the situation warrants it, plus he put front and rear sway bars on the wagon to help it handle the curves.

Dale retained the ’67 Plymouth’s stock 727 transmission, along with its factory 2:76 rear end that is friendly at highway speeds because it will drop the RPMs. Both the factory tranny and rear end have been able to handle the 406 stroker under the Plymouth’s hood.

The Plymouth wagon had a long history with its original owner, a man who willed the car to his niece prior to his death. The man was an avid fisherman and even towed a boat behind the wagon, so Dale left the tow hitch on the Plymouth when he became its owner after the niece was unable to find a place to store the wagon.

The niece contacted Dale about a year after he bought the car and asked whether she could buy the Plymouth back from him, but Dale had already invested in the car’s upgrades and she decided not to pursue the sale, given the extra cost factor.

Dale was not interested in selling the car-then or now- because he thoroughly enjoys every opportunity to drive his stylish 1967 Plymouth wagon and has put 4000 miles on it during his ownership.

Who can blame him? Every trip is a trip down memory lane for Dale and reminds him of his days as a car kid in his dad’s wagon.

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.