Fayetteville, North Carolina
1969 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate
“The Dragon Wagon”
1969 Chevrolet Caprice Custom Coupe
“Big Blue Bomber”
Head to Head
About “The Dragon Wagon”
(This was actually my folks family car when I was growing up. The picture above and the ones in it's album are of cars I found online that are very similar to the actual car. My dad traded it in on a new, downsized Impala wagon with the 9C1 Police package drivetrain and suspension in 1977. The car DID NOT have the custom wheels as seen in the picture. It rolled on the factory steelies with the factory wheel covers and whitewall tires.)
Ah, memories. Memories of riding backwards, looking at the world going by in the wrong direction in this car's rearward-facing 3rd seat. Memories of idiots driving behind us at night with their high beams on. memories of getting violently car sick back there on long trips... On the other hand, there were some GREAT memories to go along with those, thanks to my dad being a closet hot rodder and the fact that this car came equipped with a 4-barrel 427 big block with dual exhausts. To this day my dad can't back down from an honest stoplight drag if he feels like 1) the other guy needs to be put in his place and, 2) if he feels he can take him. I don't remember him ever backing down from a showdown with this big ol' grocery getter!
I have so many fond memories of that car. It was that car which really told me that my dad was a hot rodder at heart. He was an accountant who went to work every day in a suit and tie with a starched white shirt and the requisite black-framed glasses and a pocket protector. (Today, he's retired and has lost the suit - except for church on Sunday - but he still has the glasses and pocket protector!) He traded a maroon 327/Powerglide '66 Bel Air wagon on the Kingswood Estate in about August of '69, and the two cars were like night and day. I remember one time on a straight stretch of 2-lane back road, we were driving along at about 10 over the speed limit, just the two of us, when a guy in a jacked-up green El Camino with mag wheels, side pipes and an L-88 scoop decides he wants to pass. Well, that wasn't a good idea as far as my dad was concerned! He put his right foot down to the mat and that wagon JUMPED! 50 up to 100 in less time than it takes to read about it! The Elky never did get past us. Imagine how embarassed Joe Hot Rod in the El Camino must have been to get dusted by an accountant in a wood-sided wagon with whitewalls and standard wheel covers!
The car got it's name from my parent's habit of naming their cars in alphabetical order. First, there was "Archie", a 1960 Corvair 500 coupe, which was followed by "Boris", a black '62 Biscayne 2-door sedan. Then came "Caspar", a burgundy '66 Bel Air 3-seat wagon. The "Dragon Wagon" got it's name not from it's performance but rather it's dark green paint. Later on, in 1977, the car was replaced by a new Police-Spec Impala wagon painted Firethorn Red. Naturally, that car became "Eric the Red"!
About “Big Blue Bomber”
I have wanted a muscle car to work on and make my own since I got out of high school. I have had two '69 Chevelle projects that never got off of the ground. That was over 25 years ago. I recently decided I was going to get my feet wet with the old car dream again. I applied for a loan at the credit union to see how much I could get. With those funds I started checking out Craigslist for 1969 Impala's or Caprice's. The Chevelle dream is going to have to remain that for a while, since they are too expensive no matter what the shape they are in. I found the Impala and Caprice line are readily available and reasonably priced. I found this one outside of Chattenooga Tn. I spent a couple of weeks getting photos of the car from the owner and talking about different aspects of it's current state of repair. The biggest thing it had going for it was the fact that it already had a rebuilt 350 engine and the engine compartment was pretty clean. The car is AC equiped but the compressor, brackets and most of the hoses are missing. I knew the car was repainted and had "some" body work on it, but from the photos I had received, it looked like the body work was reasonably well done and I didn't ask alot of questions about it. BIG MISTAKE!!!
I flew out to look at the car after becoming convinced that this was going to be a good deal. After arriving at where the car was, I soon discovered that the body work was much more extensive than original discussed. The paint job looks good from 30 feet away, but it is very poor up close. The car has 14" wheels on the front and 15" on the back. The back tires were almost fully dry rotted. I kind of felt stuck and committed to buy this thing, so I went ahead and shelled out the money and drove it back to Chattanooga to have the local Sears Auto shop check out the brakes. I had a 350 mile road trip ahead of me and I need to know if this beast was going to make it there or not. I ended up having all four brakes (drums, shoes, cylinders, hardware) replaced and I had to buy two new tires for the back wheels. 6 hours and 1200.00 later, I was on the road heading back to North Carolina. The car ran like a champ the whole way. Not a groan, squeak or rattle. I averaged about 75-80 mph and got 16 mpg. Not too bad for a 4000 lb car with a 4 bbl V8!
Specs for “The Dragon Wagon”
Physical Size: Bloody HUGE!
Engine Size: 427 c.i.d.
Horsepower: Plenty for even a car this big!
0-60: 5+ seconds, but under 6 (I timed it a couple of times on my wristwatch when my dad was really getting after it... )
1/4 Mile: Damn quick for a big @&& wagon!
Specs for “Big Blue Bomber”
1972 Chev. 165 hp 350 ci with 1968 Quadrajet 4 bbl carb, 1969 350 4 bbl intake manifold and 1969 Rams Horn exhaust manifolds. Power steering, manual drum brakes, A/C (missing compressor and hoses).
Factory Options for “The Dragon Wagon”
427 c.i.d. Engine
Turbo Hydramatic 400 Automatic Transmission
Rearward-Facing Third Seat
Factory Options for “Big Blue Bomber”
Trim code "822" Medium Blue cloth/vinyl covered front split bench seat. A/C, Trunk light. 350 CI/300 HP 4 bbl engine with TH350 transmission.
Mods for “The Dragon Wagon”
None that I'm aware of. The actual car DID NOT have the custom wheels the car in the pictures has.
Mods for “Big Blue Bomber”
15" steel GM wheels with base model hubcaps. BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires.
Having rearend rebuilt to fix leaking axle seals. Having new rear coil springs, panhard bar and control arm bushings installed. Having a new 12 bolt rear end seal/bearing kit installed and new front and rear U-joints installed. Also bought new rear axle brake lines to replace bent original lines.
Previous owner painted grille satin black. I purchased a new grille set and painted it silver with black recesses to match original style of grille. Still have to paint bottom grille section to match the rest.
Replaced all lightbulbs on the car.
Photo Albums 1 – 1 of 1
Photo Albums 1 – 1 of 1
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