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1960 Chevy Kingswood Wagon - No Ordinary Soccer Mom

Perry and Carie Sparkman's cool cruisin' '60 long-roofer.

Photography by David Fetherston

Let's get it out in the open-wagons are cool. They don't come much more chilled than Sebastopol, California's Perry and Carie Sparkman's '60 Kingswood Estate cruiser. What makes this wagon desirable isn't just the striking Dodge Viper Red paint job or the immaculate attention to detail-it's the vision behind its creation.

It all began when the Sparkmans were expecting their first baby boy, and they realized the need for a family oriented vehicle. Not wanting to be a carbon-copy of every other parent who plunked down coin for an oversized SUV, Perry suggested building a wagon. While Carie initially cringed at the thought of cruising in a wood-paneled Brady Bunch mobile, Perry was quick to allay any fears by showing her what he had planned.

They searched the Internet, but found just what they wanted locally-a 20-foot-long Kingswood. The old-school wagon was completely intact, the body was straight, and it still ran under its own power. Although it was more than a little weathered, the miles of chrome and aluminum trim easily made it worth the $2,500 the Sparkman's traded for the pink slip.

Perry had just six months to complete the project. That meant the entire drivetrain, paint, interior, and suspension had to be working harmoniously. After all, the wagon would need to reliably transport both mom and newborn son. Unfortunately, like so many projects like this, the hours of wrenching didn't allow the project to be completed in time. Instead, it wasn't until 17 months later that the Kingswood was reborn. Despite the delay, the wagon turned out exceptional.

We like that the Sparkman's elected to take a different approach for their transportation. We'd venture to say that Carie will be the coolest mom on the block.

Car Craft Q&A
Car Craft: Any particular reason you chose to build a Kingswood?
Perry Sebastopol: We looked at many different styles of wagons, but when we saw the incredible bodylines, the extended fins, and overall styling, we knew this was the one for us.

CC: Does the wagon really get driven as it was originally intended to be?
PS: We drive the car often, however since we just recently finished it, we're planning on entering several car shows throughout the summer. After that it'll become her daily driver.

CC: What car have you been using to carry the newborn around in while completing the project?
PS: We temporarily purchased a four-door, and let's just say Carie is looking forward to seeing it go.

CC: Do you have any changes in mind for the wagon?
PS: There's a chance we might install an air conditioning system. We have it in all of our other cars, but hardly use it. But, it may be different with the baby, so if it becomes a necessity then that'll be our next priority.

The Details

Car: '60 Chevy Kingswood Wagon
Owner: Perry and Carie Sparkman, Sebastopol, California

Engine: Factory-replacement 283ci small-block

Heads: Stock 1.72/1.60-inch intake/exhaust valves

Induction: Edelbrock Performer, 600-cfm Edelbrock carb

Camshaft: Stock, 302/302 degrees advertised duration, 0.334/0.334-inch lift

Transmission: GM TH350 conversion, B&M shift kit, factory torque converter

Rearend: Factory 10-bolt, 3.31:1 gears

Front suspension: Mike McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles, KYB gas shocks

Rear suspension: Classic Performance Products drop coils, KYB Shocks, Adjustable Panhard bar

Brakes: Mike McGaughy's 10-inch discs, front; factory 10.5-inch drums, rear

Wheels and tires: 16x8 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with P225/50R16 Goodyear Eagle RSAs, front; 16x9.5 American racing Torq-Thrust IIs with P265/50R16 Goodyear Eagle RSAs, rear

Body mods: Added third brake light

Paint: '02 Dodge Viper Red, by Jeff Moehlenbrock, Sebastopol, California

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