Station wagon ambulances

This is another photo from the Poe school bombing (courtesy of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center) posted by Bruce (9/14)
1958 Chevrolet.
 

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John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2019-2022
I own the Helena Vista Cruiser ambulance in opening post of this thread

Hi All: I stumbled across this site while looking for some info on Helena Oklahoma to see if I might track down a picture of my wagon when it was an ambulance. I knew it had been used as such from one of the Oklahoma inspection slips I had with the car. 5-10-84 inspection on owner line says "Helena Amb". Other obvious signs were holes in top of front bumper for lights, holes in dash for the mic fork, and scuffs on drip rails where light bar was mounted. As well as "gurney scars". I got this car in 1994 with the intent of making a 442 wagon. I finally finished that project in 2014. Will try to figure out how to post some pics of the car when I got it, and what it looks like now.
 
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Cant post pictures

Not sure why, but I'm not allowed to post attachments. I would like to correct the OP in his first post. The Helena Vista Cruiser is actually a 1971, not a 72. Also the mileage was lower than the OP stated. According to the Oklahoma inspection stickers the "town of Helena" had the car inspected on 8-24-85 and the odometer reading was 20,432. The car must have been sold prior to the next annual inspection, as an individuals name is on the owners line. "Floyd Smith" This inspection is dated 9-3-1986 Mileage is stated at 20,925. Steve, I hope you still follow this thread as I would like to see if you have any more info on my wagon.
 
to post pictures here you must be a site supporter. it's the only way we fund the site. to me the best buy for 25 bucks you can do.

I don't have a problem with donating $25. The fact that I found this picture is well worth it. However, I get the feeling from the OP, that there may not be a lot of interest in seeing the former ambulance as it was in '94 and is now. The history of this car is important, but the fact that I saved it from the crusher is even more relevant.
 
I don't have a problem with donating $25. The fact that I found this picture is well worth it. However, I get the feeling from the OP, that there may not be a lot of interest in seeing the former ambulance as it was in '94 and is now. The history of this car is important, but the fact that I saved it from the crusher is even more relevant.
I think there probably is a LOT of interest in seeing it preserved. We are quite pleased you saved it from the crusher. As the owner myself of a full wagon ambulance and another wagon-with-a-flat-cot, I'd love to see it.
 

John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2019-2022
you will find that all of us are interested in seeing it. we get only a few of these at all the meets I have been to
 
Helena Oklahoma Vista Cruiser Ambulance in 1994

Here are some pictures I took of my car in early summer 1994 a few months after I bought it. At this point all I had done was put some Olds SSII wheels I got at a swap met on it and cleaned it up a little. Also including a photo of car from the opening post (Thank You Steve Loftin), as well as a scan of the inspection stickers, and pictures of the bumper with holes drilled on the top (for those big round red lights) and a picture of the load floor panel I couldn't use due to holes drilled for gurney/cot brackets. The inspections are a pdf file, I don't know how the change to a picture. (The bumper, panel and inspection slips were all taken today)
 

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Helena Oklahoma Vista Cruiser Ambulance in 1995 to 2004

I drove to Colorado on 1995 or 1996 to get a posi rear end from a 71 or 72 Vista a friend was parting out. While doing the swap I noticed my brakes were bigger diameter, so we swapped those back on to my car. I found a 71-2 Olds OAI W-25 hood while in Lansing Michigan at the Oldsmobile 100th anniversary that needed some repair. A friend hauled it back to Kansas for me. I had the repairs done and put it in primer. Spent a little time at the local drag strip. Best time was a 14.99 at 89 mph. These pictures were taken in 1999. The shoe polish writing on the windows indicates I had been racing recently. You might notice the rust is a little worse in these pictures than those from 1994
 

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Helena Oklahoma Vista Cruiser Ambulance in 2005 to 2008

Started getting car ready for restoration. Rebuilt suspension and drive train. took car down to an empty shell. Got car back from body shop in April of 2008, and started re-assembly. If you look closely at the picture showing rust in front skylight you can see the holes in the dash pad where the two-way radio mic fork was screwed on
 

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Helena Oklahoma Vista Cruiser Ambulance 2008 to present

Started re-assembly in 2008. In summer of 2009, I got frustrated and through the car cover on it until Christmas 2013. Completed the car in August of 2014. Had to redo the A/C in winter of 2014, as well as a couple of other repairs associated with it sitting for 4 and a half years. Pictures from August 2014 and Starbird-Devlin Rod & Custom show last weekend
 

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Oh, so you're not restoring it as the ambulance it originally was? I misunderstood. Not knocking you, I could have done that with my wagon ambulances but restored them as they were originally. The thing about restoring it as an ambulance, it'd be the "only one on the block".

These have such history (the guy in the pic of my restored Studebaker Ambulet was the first ambulance driver in the town ambulance service 55 years earlier, with his grandson in the back and me driving in the town 4th of July parade in Minnesota).

Anyway, you still have a nice station wagon.

.
 

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John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2019-2022
one of the reasons they are so few examples of wagon conversions is that they all went back to wagons when there duty was finished. you have a nice wagon there. did you take any pictures of the inside before you started? be interesting to see how they did that added floor. most were a cot bar added to the existing floor and the small split seat folded up.
 

Bill Marcy

PCS Member
I still miss my 1964 ACC Vista Cruiser Amblewagon. I have been a fan of Vista Cruiser and Buick Sportwagons since they were introduced in 1964. It is amazing that they were such great looking cars and were canceled after 1969 by Buick and 1972 was the last year for the "real" Olds Vista Cruiser. There is something about the style cars had back in the day.
 
Oh, so you're not restoring it as the ambulance it originally was? I misunderstood. Not knocking you, I could have done that with my wagon ambulances but restored them as they were originally. The thing about restoring it as an ambulance, it'd be the "only one on the block".

These have such history (the guy in the pic of my restored Studebaker Ambulet was the first ambulance driver in the town ambulance service 55 years earlier, with his grandson in the back and me driving in the town 4th of July parade in Minnesota).

Anyway, you still have a nice station wagon.

.

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.
 
one of the reasons they are so few examples of wagon conversions is that they all went back to wagons when there duty was finished. you have a nice wagon there. did you take any pictures of the inside before you started? be interesting to see how they did that added floor. most were a cot bar added to the existing floor and the small split seat folded up.

I'm sure I took a few pictures of the interior in 94. Locating them will be another issue. (next to impossible) I'm sure you are describing how my car was set up though, as the cot would have come in and out on the left side (behind the drivers seat) and an attendant could sit on the small jump seat on the right side behind the front passenger seat. This car was titled in an individuals name in 1986 (I assume this because the 1986 Oklahoma inspection slip has an individual listed as the owner). There is only eight years of history unaccounted for on this car: Sept 1986 to Jan 1994. Pretty good for a 45 year old station wagon.
 
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