Sunday, February 7, 2016

17 Feet of Freedom: 1970 Pontiac LeMans Wagon

This next feature comes as a tip with full commentary from Andy L:  For many of us belonging to a certain age group (old), there are a set of fond memories surrounding a giant station wagon.  Mine revolve around a certain car belonging to my aunt and uncle who lived down the street and had eight kids.  I am a car guy and I cannot remember the make, year or model of their boat.  I do remember it was green, the way it smelled, and the texture of the carpet in the far back where we used to ride. I also remember getting inside on summer days and feeling the blazing hot vinyl and, hotter still, those useless metal square stalks with buttons that sprouted from between the rear seats.  Find this 1970 Pontiac LeMans Wagon offered for $6,500 in Vermillion, SD via craigslist.

The "green machine" was magical because it always took us somewhere fun like the pool, the lake, the A & W or a family function that distracted from any sort of adult supervision.  For a parent wanting to share a similar experience with his or her kids, this 1970 Lemans fits the bill. Instead of doing the socially expected thing, which is to get a Suburban, you could dump your $1.60 gas into this barge.  
Yes, you will have to stoop a little lower to get your kids inside and you will have to learn how to drive a proper RWD car in the winter like your ancestors.  There is no remote start and your only safety features are lap belts and 5000 lbs of Newton's first law of motion.  If you can handle these compromises, then you may be able to create a relatable experience with your kids that they will never forget.       
DT Editor Vince: Big thanks to Andy for the tip and words, if the big one ever hits SoCal and I have to move to South Dakota, this would be my first purchase.


  1. Nice write up Andy.

    We had a '68 Bonneville wagon. Gold with the fake wood panelling. I remember riding in the back unbelted.

  2. We had a stripper '65 Buick wagon in black. I learned to drive in it. Of course it was five years old. My Dad defined the word "pecunious." This would be a step up that my Dad would never have abided! Although I had a friend whose dad had the '70 sedan in this exact color. Kinda boring.

  3. Ah, from the era when GM didn't know how to do an ugly car.

    Yeah, vinyl bench seats, turning the round thing is more a matter of who you want plastered against the door or dangling out of the seat belt over your lap.

  4. Great write up. My parents had a 74 Dodge Monaco wagon, green inside and out, with the 400 ci motor. Still remember the hot vinyl on the legs on those summer days. Dad kept it until about 1994. Awesome A/C that still worked when he traded it in for a Crown Vic. He used to swear about the spark plugs being invisible under the exhaust manifolds.

  5. What a great car for $6,500.

    I have owned one Poncho in my life. A 1968 Friebird 400. One of my favorite things besides the smokey burnouts was the way the valves were adjusted. You just torque the nut to the right lbs. So easy.

  6. It would a nice car to turn into a very tasteful GTO-Touring. No crazy-ass billet and 975HP, just a sweetly tweaked 389, a modern 5 or 6spd Tremec, optimal handling/ride balance and great 4 WDB.

    My station wagon and really cool roof rack obsession is a 55 yearlong affair. I am 60 and it shows no signs of abating anytime soon.


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