Station wagon ambulances

I actually considered doing some kind of ambulance look in the early 2000s. At that time all I knew was that it had been an ambulance, but no clue as to what it looked like. The idea I was considering would have been some kind of "Hot Rod" ambulance. I started the restoration in 2004, and it went to the body shop in 2006. Got it back in 2008. Steves picture was not posted until 2010. (I stumbled across it last week). I did try to find some info from the Helena town hall in the early 2000s, but the lady I talked to was not much help. If I recall correctly she was going to have someone call me. That never happened.
I'm sorry you didn't find us sooner. Steve gave me a print of that picture in the mid-80s, and of course, he's had the pic since back in the day. We've been here, ready to answer questions unasked. Uh well. You have the car of your dreams, we can't fault you for that.

Kurt Arends

PCS Elected Director 2021-2024
Kind of hard to fault a guy for taking a station wagon ambulance back to stock, or doing what was done in this instance. This Olds wagon is worth far more now than it would be had it been "restored" to what it looked like when it saw ambulance service.

Most wagon ambulances were nothing more than an, off-the-lot, wagon with a stretcher bar and an oxygen bottle holder. I, personally, know of a very straight '63 Buick LeSabre wagon in a yard in Kansas that still has it's stretcher bar and tank holder in it. It was owned by the local funeral home. I walk by it frequently and always try to buy the stretcher bar and tank holder out of it as I have no interest in '63 Buicks.

Joe, you did a beautiful job on your Vista Cruiser!!
what shop in Wichita did the work? would you still recommend them? Same on the interior?

I did most of the mechanical work myself. Body and paint was done by a friend of a friend who had a small body shop. Body work was pretty good although I would have liked to seen it blocked a little better. Also I think he could have applied more clear over the bittersweet stripes. This guy now works for a dealership body shop last I heard. The carpet, headliner and seats were done by Downeys Upholstery. They are the very best, without a doubt. I had another guy I know refurbish and dye (to original color) all the soft interior parts. (Dash pad and all plastic pieces in the interior)
True - if you're in this just for the money.

I do cars as a hobby. Actually I would have cost more to redo the car to what it looked like in Steves picture. Everything I did, plus finding good reproduction vinyl woodgrain, finding a few of the stainless pieces that surround the fake wood grain, and having all of them sanded and polished to show condition. Then,on top of that, I would have to find a light bar, cot, and what ever else would be needed for the interior. Then you have to restore all of these components. Even if you deduct the cost of the hood and air cleaner, it would still cost more. I currently have around $40 K in the car, so I won't be changing much in the near future

John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2019-2022
good deal. we know what goes into a compleat on a car. but as this is a ambulance, Hearse, flower car, or limousine you efforts but into and the results are not as appreciated as they would be in the station wagon crowd. as our interests are elsewhere. as I said there are so few of these conversions left the thought of finding one purks up our ears. we all believe it's your car do as you want with it. some of us are just not as good as hiding our disappointment on the direction your restoration went. glad there are pictures of it in service.
Joe, welcome to the site. I'm an ambulance guy from way back and I enjoyed the pictures of YOUR car from when it was in service as an ambulance. I also enjoyed seeing the progress that you made in restoring your car through the pictures that you've posted. It is a fine looking wagon indeed.
We should probably include sedan delivery ambulances in this thread as they are a close relative of the station wagon. Stretched wagons and deliveries, however, as well as those with raised roofs, qualify as standard limousine-style ambulances and should be posted to the appropriate threads. That said...

Thanks Steve, for this post. It should also be noted, that many were used by Federal Mandate for use at Coal Companies, Factories and Lumber Companies all across the USA. I have personally purchased 3 to date, all with incredibly low mileage and in mint condition.... as they were seldom used. Thanks for your effort.

Bill Marcy

PCS Member
Welcome Joe! I love you ACC Amblewagon, I had a white 64 that now belongs to another PCS member from Michigan, his name is Jim Vowell. Anyway, I regret selling that car.

Ron Devies

PCS Ohio Chapter President, PCS Vice President
Replica of the first ambulance my Dad started the Ambulance Company with in 1965.
The stretcher, name plates and bubble light are the originals from Amble Wagon. Also has a functional wind-up siren.

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Hey Joe, I wondered where you disappeared to we met at the Mansfield Reformatory Meet a couple years ago. We would love to get you to join the Ohio Chapter
1961 Pontiac Ambulance. Wolfe-Lewis Funeral Home, Milton, FL
Picture taken May 1964 with William Price. Mr. Price is still employed there today.4A031F3D-78BA-4111-81B3-5F6818EF8F47.jpeg