I first saw the car when I attended an American Station Wagon Owners Association event at the Telegraph Cruise earlier this year in Dearborn, Michigan. As I wandered through the maze of vintage wagons, I kept looking back at the Caprice, saying to myself that the car looked brand new. I had to take a closer look.
Walking around the wagon, the condition amazed me. It had perfect paint, unblemished wood-grain panels, and a spotless interior. It was as clean as a whistle in every way, right down to the cool wire-wheel covers.
I noticed a car cover inside and wondered how many station wagons have car covers? After I had been admiring this luxury house on wheels for a few minutes, a white-haired gentleman approached, asking if I had any questions.
Yes, I did. My interest piqued, I just had to know the history of the vehicle and why it looked so good after all these years. Cornell Anton was kind enough to fill me in on the details.
The station wagon has been his since it was new. And now, some 23 years later, it's clocked only 70,382 miles, an average of about 3,000 miles per year.
Interestingly, about 69,000 of those miles were put on in California. Since being moved to Michigan 15 years ago, the Caprice has added only about 1,300 miles to the odometer. And Cornell added those miles taking the wagon on short rides to keep things lubricated.
The vehicle is all original and has never been in an accident. When it's not being waxed, the wagon is stored, covered, in a heated garage. Everything still works like clockwork, including the clock.
Cornell acquired the car while living in California. During one of his walks, he happened to see this beauty parked in the back lot of Worthington Chevrolet in Cupertino, California. It was love at first sight and exactly what he wanted.
The window sticker (which he still has, by the way) revealed it had nearly every option available in 1988, including a heavy-duty cooling system, a necessity since he occasionally towed a small boat up the Sierra mountains to his weekend cottage.
After some haggling over the nearly $18,000 MSRP, a deal was struck, and the Chevy had a new owner.
Over the next six years or so, Cornell happily drove the wagon in California's sunny and dry climate. But in 1995, the love bug struck: Cornell got in touch with Charlotte, his childhood sweetheart whom he hadn't seen for 47 years. She still lived in Michigan, where Cornell had grown up.
Love is a powerful thing, as they say, so in 1996, Cornell found himself on his way to Michigan, along with his station wagon. (On a related note, I was told he received his first kiss from Charlotte in the wagon.) Since then, the pair has continued to pamper this luxury land yacht.
All good things must come to an end, to invoke another useful saying. The Caprice Estate wagon is up for sale. The price is $8,000.
Did I hear that right? Eight grand for an old wagon? That's crazy. The typical price guide shows it's worth no more than a few thousand. Well folks, I've been up close and personal with the car. I promise you that you won't find another one like it. I'd buy it myself if I didn't already own six vehicles.
These faux wood-grained living rooms on wheels are fast becoming a piece of American automotive history. And for only eight grand, this Automotive Traveler exclusive offering is a bargain in my book.
To speak with Cornell Anton about his special station wagon, drop him an e-mail care of Automotive Traveler.
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