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posted: 3/10/2014 6:00 AM

1967 Caprice wagon is just what the doctor ordered

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  • 1967 Chevy Caprice

      1967 Chevy Caprice
    Photos Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • Arnold and Barb Boris of Kildeer enjoy cruising in their vintage family wagon.

      Arnold and Barb Boris of Kildeer enjoy cruising in their vintage family wagon.

  • It's very rare to find a family wagon with four-on-the-floor, Boris said.

      It's very rare to find a family wagon with four-on-the-floor, Boris said.

  • One of the options for the fully loaded 1967 Caprice station wagon is this chrome luggage rack.

      One of the options for the fully loaded 1967 Caprice station wagon is this chrome luggage rack.

  • Many kids who grew up in the 1960s and '70s have fun memories of time spent riding in the rear-facing, third-row seat.

      Many kids who grew up in the 1960s and '70s have fun memories of time spent riding in the rear-facing, third-row seat.

  • The wagon is 17½-feet long.

      The wagon is 17½-feet long.

 
 

Doctors have a certain knack for prescribing antidotes that soothe and relieve -- both for patients, as well as themselves. In the fall of 1967, a certain Arkansas pediatrician was suffering from an acute case of automotive blues.

A shiny new Airstream trailer was parked in his driveway. He was in need of a big, comfy and powerful tow vehicle to haul the family on cross-country vacations. So the physician sought solace at his local Chevy dealer, McCurry Chevrolet in Heber Springs, Ark. He went in and checked boxes to order a four-wheeled tonic that was sure to lift his spirits.

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What was delivered was a 1967 Caprice. It was just what the doctor ordered. The total price rang up at $4,672 for the fully optioned cruiser. During assembly, the factory installed such things as a roof luggage rack, Comfortron A/C, rear wind deflector, bumper guards and even a trailer hitch and harness to tow the mobile home.

In addition to inanimate cargo, the doctor wanted maximum room for hauling family and friends. He opted for the reverse facing third-row seat. Underneath, the plan was for a powertrain that was more than ready for action.

"He was very particular and made sure the vehicle came equipped with a factory 427 (cubic inch) V-8, the biggest engine available. He also specified the four-speed manual transmission," said Arnold Boris of Kildeer, the Caprice's current caretaker. "It was perfect for his needs."

Boris has the original purchase order and paperwork. He came across the wagon in Waukesha, Wis., in 2003. By then, the car had left the pediatrician's hands and been passed to two other owners.

"As relatively scarce as the SS 427 coupes and convertibles are, you never see a 4-speed wagon," Boris said.

Boris wasn't the only enthusiast excited about the rare breed; the previous owner was also a big fan of the big car. "He was quite adamant it wasn't for sale."

Boris remained persistent, and "pestered him a couple more times," finally achieving success in 2005. He purchased the wagon knowing it would need a full restoration to get it road-worthy. "I was relieved to learn the car was complete. An added bonus was the previous owner had accumulated all sorts of ultra-rare parts that he threw in with the deal."

Some of those hard-to-find pieces are the chrome moldings that run the length of the nearly 17-foot-long vehicle. Once the Caprice was in Boris' garage, he wasted no time in embarking on a full overhaul. The vehicle was stripped and gutted and treated to a full body-on restoration.

The exterior was then repainted in the factory Butternut Yellow paint and new faux wood decals were applied. The number's matching 385 horsepower Turbojet V-8 engine was rebuilt, along with the four-speed transmission. All told, a full year went into the build.

As soon as the Chevy was complete, Boris' first course of action was attempting to locate the physician, the car's original owner. After searching for a time, he discovered the pediatrician's obituary. "I was a few years too late and very disappointed I couldn't meet him."

One of the many conversations Boris longed to have with the good doctor was to hear firsthand some of his tales from the road. "With all those options, he wanted everything Chevy had to offer. He spent Cadillac money; (Cadillac) didn't offer a wagon, so this was his alternative.

"He clearly was an enthusiast who loved the motoring experience."

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