Wagon Friday – 1971 Plymouth Satellite

Since it’s a holiday weekend (well, at least for some folks), it seems worth featuring a couple of station wagons like the ones people might have used to get out of town. 1971 brought the third generation Satellite, this time bringing it in line with the fuselage styling on the larger Fury line. And – let’s talk about the name itself for a second – Satellite is a great name, as it evokes the period in which it was built, with the space race and cold war in full swing, even if the connotation (a lesser planet that circles a larger one) is not incredibly flattering. Of course, the Satellites also recall many a car chase in movies and TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s. You can find this 1971 Plymouth Satellite wagon for sale in North Seattle, WA with a starting bid of $275 and 3 days left to go.

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The medium blue metallic is a pretty good color on this car, although nowadays it’s more commonly associated with rally Subarus. Unfortunately, there is some kind of damage down both sides, almost like it was run into a snowbank or something else that only dented and didn’t take much paint. This is a base-level car, as you can see in the poverty-spec hubcaps and absence of any wood trim. While base models were once considered boring (and probably still are once you take off the nostalgic glasses), much like the recent Citation feature, they’re cool for having survived the usual fate of being used up and thrown away.

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Here you can see more of the side damage. It’s surprising to see how little chrome trim these base level cars wore. You still get a sweet swinging tailgate with hidden hinges and a fume-sucking roll-down rear window. Inside the trunk looks well used, so it’s quite likely this survivor did not lead a totally charmed life. The fuselage styling works well here too – while it can seem bulbous from certain angles, the unadorned simplicity is appealing.

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Well, it’s clearly a base model. You better like blue, because there’s a lot of it – blue dash, blue seats, blue steering wheel, blue seat belts – the only thing that is not blue is the carpet, and that’s likely 43 years of dirt rather than a deliberately contrasting color. It may be worth pulling the carpet, power-washing and re-dying it.

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Here’s the most significant area for improvement. While the car is said to run and drive, the 225ci engine is lowest on the totem pole, and puts out a measly 145hp (although a more impressive 210 lb.-ft. of torque). The obvious improvement would be to swap in a 340 or bigger engine, but since we’re all about the unusual solution – why not try modifying the slant 6? Modifications (including the factory HyperPak) are documented on AllPar, and companies like Clifford Performance offer solutions that will provide around 200hp, if not more. These include dual and triple carburetors, more aggressive camshafts, and more. However, if the car is down on power, the first step would be to make sure all the stock parts are in good shape – many of these were likely to be maintained on a shoestring, so bringing it up to spec is a good first step. But triple carbs! Where else could you get a station wagon with a triple carb straight six?

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2 Responses to “Wagon Friday – 1971 Plymouth Satellite”

  1. ashley gorecki Says:

    How many miles are on the car? Does it run?

  2. john mackey Says:

    i love wagons.

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