1960 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger Wagon named “Helen”

- in Cars

The Chevrolet Kingswood was a full-size 4-door station wagon, with seating for nine, produced in 1959 and 1960.

A few years after moving from Southern California to the Joplin, MO area, Ryan “Ryno” Lieberman was following his morning routine of surfing a few key websites for cars and car parts when he saw a “super clean, no rust” ‘60 Chevy Kingswood 9 passenger wagon that was local to him. After trying to reach the seller a couple of times with no luck, finally he made contact and found out that the seller was not responding “because there’s a guy from California interested in it.

Since that deal wasn’t done yet, the seller agreed to let Ryno come see the “super clean, rust free” car. When he gets there he immediately spots some rust holes, but hey they all have more rust than a seller says, so he looks deeper. The floors were rusted through in every footwell and a few other spots were less than rust free. Being a recent transplant from CA, Ryno knows what kind of cars that guys out there are expecting when they are told super clean and rust free, and this car is NOT that. Ryno explained that the guy does not want to deal with a mad CA buyer when he gets his new project shipped half way across the country and it is more swiss cheese than rust free.

1960 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger Wagon named Helen top rear left
That evening Ryno showed photos of the car to his wife and she fell in love. No amount of explaining that the scope of work that the car would take would dissuade her, she even had the name “Helen” picked out for the car. So Ryno contacts the seller and makes a deal and picks up the car.

The car came home on a Tuesday after sitting in a field for 12 years, the first thing that he did was try to get it running. First he rigged up a fuel tank, then rolled the engine over a few times by hand, checked spark and decided that the old 283 wanted to run. A few sputters and a little fire later, the engine is purring along with a little lifter clatter and some smoke. A couple of minutes later the engine is running smooth so he naturally wondered how the Powerglide transmission was doing. He set the parking brake and put it in reverse. Success! Drive, success!

1960 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger Wagon named Helen front end
With the car’s motivation out of the way, Ryno rebuilt the braking system and Thursday, two days later, Ryno took his wife to lunch with holy floors and “rat poop flying everywhere.”

The transmission was shifting hard, while under the car Ryno pulled the drive shaft to find out that there was no rubber left in the center support bearing. A simple rebuild had the car shifting smoothly.

1960 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger Wagon named Helen three quarter rear left
“I’m kinda a clean freak, so once I knew the motor would run I decided I had to clean it up some. One of my sons was helping me until he found a mouse skeleton!”

1960 Chevy Kingswood 9 Passenger Wagon named Helen interior

Ryno had some various air bag parts laying around the shop from previous builds, so he decided to do some temporary suspension work. He took apart the front suspension and replaced all of the bushings, ball joints, etc.

He plated the bottom A-arms to accept the bag mounts and made up some top cups. He then modified the stock rear arms to accept some bags as well.

The story proceeds on the next page.

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