Yes, I know, there was no Bel Air wagon until 1962, but Chevrolet did offer a similar equipment level on the 1961 Parkwood. If you’re not very familiar with this nameplate, it was only produced from 1959 to 1961 and slotted between the base Brookwood grocery getter and the range-topping Nomad.
Back to the 1961 Parkwood you see here, the oldtimer was saved from a junkyard that kept it prisoner for decades. It’s unclear how much time it spent off the road, but the condition of the body tells us it’s been parked here for at least 30 years.
But it’s in surprisingly good condition for a vehicle that spent so much time fully exposed to the elements.
The interior, albeit loaded with parts, junk, and rat poop, still looks decent and the blue upholstery took all these years of sitting almost in one piece. I can’t help but think how gorgeous this Parkwood was when it left the factory back in 1961.
But you know what’s really cool about this wagon? As our host discovered upon opening the hood, the previous owner hot-rodded the engine.
Yeah, it’s in a sorry state and it’s missing some parts, but that V8 packs a four-barrel intake and adjustable valves. He also found further evidence on the front fenders, which used to have Mr. Horsepower decals.
Don’t know what that is? Well, it’s a caricature of hot-rodding legend Clay Smith and the cartoon mascot of his shop, Clay Smith Cams.
Granted, this Parkwood won’t run fast anytime soon, but our host seems determined to get it road-worthy again. And given the nice patina the wagon displays after getting its first wash in decades, it should make a really nice rat rod.
Until that happens, check it out in the video below. I also added a second video of a proper 1961 Parkwood survivor just to see how nice these cars were when new.
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