A couple of weekends ago, I was able to get back to Kansas City. Whenever I do that, I like to try and hit a car place or two. One of my favorites has always been Wagner’s Classic Auto in Bonner Springs, Kan. Yes, this is a dealership, and their primary function is to sell cars. But the inventory seems to change every time I go there, and the quality of cars on display often surpasses most car shows I go to. I always enjoy going there. Let’s look at some of the cars and maybe you’ll see why.
This ’61 Impala sport coupe is a pretty good place to start. I ask you, who doesn’t like that bubble top design? And I answer, there is no such person—everyone likes it. This car is largely original, with a little paint work here and there blended in with the original. It only has 55,000 miles, which is pretty amazing for a 50+ year-old car. This car looked great with its wide whitewalls, steel wheels, and little hubcaps. But if you’re not that adventurous, the full wheel covers that most people are familiar with are in the trunk. A/C and 283—that’s the one for me!
Here’s another one with little hubcaps and whitewalls. This is a ’56 Pontiac Chieftan two-door sedan. If you want to paint your car this color, it’s Vista Blue on the front, and Chesapeake Blue on the back. They claim that this one only has 31,000 actual miles, and it does appear to be pretty original. It appears that they added a set of seat covers, probably a very long time ago, so the original seats may be perfect. This Pontiac has a nice vibe, because you don’t see nearly as many of them as Chevys or Fords.
Upon first glance, this ’49 Chevy coupe really doesn’t look like much. It’s that casket-gray paint that throws you off. But upon closer inspection, you realize that there is more to this car than meets the eye. It’s actually a very well-done street rod, with a modern 350 and lowered stance. I loved the pleated red leather interior—it was just spectacular. This looks like an old car, but it has been gone over with modern components from the suspension to the gauges. I’d love to have it, but I think I’d have to change the color, even though that paintjob was flawless.
This ’66 Nova is a rare bird. The prevailing feature is the 327-c.i., 350-hp L79 V8. That packed a lot of grunt in a little ol’ thing like this, and you could try and keep all that power under control while working a four-speed manual transmission. This car has been restored, but it was done at a very high level. Of course, with an asking price of $42,500, it ought to be at a high level. I don’t always get excited about Novas in general, but this particular example pushed all the right buttons.
One of Ford’s banner years was 1940, and you can see why when you look at this Deluxe convertible. These cars just ooze ‘40s Art Deco and style. They weren’t exactly expensive, but everything looks and feels high quality. The worst looking part of one of these is the way the top looks, but that was even taken care of by displaying it in the down position. This one had lots of neat accessories, like bumper guards, spotlights, and a heater. Just fire up that flathead V8, grab the Bakelite shift knob, drop that three-speed into first, and cruise away.
I took 90 pictures from Wagner’s while I was there. According to their website, a few of these cars have already sold, but they always have something new to look at. Check them out in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.