When wagons were the original soccer mom and family cars, style and comfort were at a premium. There was no need for child door locks in this three-door configuration.
We were wondering around the expo center in Columbus, Ohio, during Goodguys “big one” PPG Nationals in July. The weather was a little iffy with some summer rain showers on the first two days. It was just before one of those showers when we spotted a rather unique vintage ride. In 1957 there were 7,163 two-door Dodge Suburbans sold. The Suburban wagon was simply a hopped up Coronet wagon with a Red Ram V8 or an L-head straight-six engine.
Before designers understood the airflow and vacuum created behind vehicles, the rear door had a roll down window that allowed the exhaust to get pulled back into the vehicle. This wagon has a redesigned exhaust system to help with carbon monoxide problem.
The wagon we spotted had a 325 Poly-head V8 engine. Unbelievably, these sold for $3,215.00 off the showroom floor in 1957. This one had been restored by Phil Goller, the one-time GM foundry worker that tinkered with street rods in his spare time. Upon retiring in 1992, he started Goller’s Hot Rods where he has earned several top 25 and Pro’s Pick awards from cars that have come from his shop.
Goller’s 1957 Dodge Suburban Wagon
Goller’s resurrected Suburban wagon is part of the “Swept Wing” styling of that era. When space-age designs were all the rage, Chrysler Corporation’s design team took advantage of that style and created cars that were lower, wider, and had tail fins that swept back from mid-car to the tail lights. Most of these came with a push button automatic transmission to complete the space age feel.
Chrysler’s “Swept Wing” design of 1957 and 1958 was popular with younger married couples with families originally. Now they are popular with car enthusiasts that want something a little more different than what everyone else has.
This one was a three-door model (two side doors and one rear door), with a three-speed automatic TorqueFlite gearbox. The gas powered 325 cubic-inch engine was presented with an advertised 245 horsepower and 320 lbs-ft of torque. Not bad for a long roof in 1957!
This one is hopped up a little more than the original engine with the twin Edelbrock carbs on the Offenhauser intake.
It was a heavy beast at 4,100 pounds curb weight, and with a top speed of 106 mph and a 1/4 mile drag time of 17.7 seconds, it wasn’t going to set any records – but it wasn’t designed for that. With a simple 2-barrel Stromberg carb and a tame 8.5 compression ratio, the big wagon managed to get 12.6 mpg. As a family car, it was as economical as they came in the late 50s.
325 Poly engine
Push button shift, three speed automatic transmission