1965 Chevrolet Wagon

In 1965, one in every nine new cars sold in America was a full-size Chevrolet – it was as ordinary and as average as a car could be. With Arcata sky reaching down onto this ’65 wagon, it seemed absolutely extraordinary.  

in the Humboldt fog, little details shone out, still sort of glowing in the condensation

I wanted to call this car an Impala, but it's better to just call it a 'Chevrolet' - back in 1965 you'd still go in to buy a full-size car like this with just the brand in mind and choose what kind of trim you'd like. Advertisements would refer to this car as 'the Chevy' rather than just one model from the Chevrolet brand.

it's a real Arcata block - students live in the little bungalows and the fog is always heavy. It's May in this picture. I don't really know what it is about the Arcata demographic, but there are a lot of car-nut type cars in the area and wandering around with a camera is a blast. You never know when there'll be a Penzgauer on one corner and a Maverick on the other

one thing that plays into the kind of averageness this car played to in the mid-60s that I can't get enough of is how it has style, but not too much and not too little. There's still curves along the whole car, little bits of chromed distractions. It's what makes it hard for me to know what level of trim this car is. What was catering to the bargain buyer in the 1960s still had to have a kind of flair that you don't see on the utterly average cars of a few years ago. Last-generation Accords and Camrys are so straightlaced compared to this wagon

moreover, who knows what's been done to this car since 1965 - cars, and especially old American cars, are always being changed by their owners, who swap in pieces of trim and engines out of junked cars

and what is true of this car, average as it is, is true for all cars - as cars get older, they get new, brand new sheens to them. This car would've looked much different to the people of 1985, when a college student might've picked one up on the cheap. It was only twenty years old then.

Another ten or fifteen years and it would be working its way towards the status of a collectible, something to be treasured. This car is obviously cared for, what with the clean, fresh paint and all, but there are still imperfections worn in from regular use that engage me so much. The flecks of rust make it warmer, more alive than a car tucked away in a garage

TURBO-JET - the ad-men lingo of the 60s still carries a kind of enchantment. I don't watch Mad Men, but I love the idea of an engine being called 'turbo jet' like it had some kind of cutting edge, blow the commies into the stone age potency

so I guess it actually is an Impala - huh. That settles that I guess

in the end, I just think it's gorgeous and for all of the the words you could leave on it, this 1965 Impala Wagon satisfies on a completely visual level, and the kickup by the rear wheels is dream inducing

 

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