The 1st order of business when I got the old girl home was to remove the interior which over the years had been home to a colony of wharf rats and who knows what else might have been living in it.
Removing the Interior
While I was cleaning out the interior I noted all of the sand, sea shells and some very old seaweed that was deposited through out the interior, with especially heavy deposits on the passenger side. I also noted that the front bumper had been bent by what looks like a tow hook. There was also evidence of someone using a tow hook on the frame’s rear crossmember support. The engine, transmission and rear end all had more sea water in them than oil. Only the radiator was dry! I also found a receipt from a beach park south of San Francisco in the glove box.
I am guessing here, but it looks to me like the wagon had been in the family since it was new and was used as the family driver until 1968-69 when it was turned over to a teenager who probably was a surfer. Again, I am guessing, but I would bet that one evening young surfer dude loaded is board in the back of the wagon through the lift gate – the hinge pins on the tail gate were broken long before, and headed down to the beach. I am again guessing that he got it stuck in the sand with the passenger side facing the ocean as the tide was coming in. I am betting that he had someone try to pull the wagon out from the front using a tow chain on the front bumper and that during the thrashing trying to get it free, he boiled the water out of the radiator and blew the engine.
From the water line inside the car it looks like the water was over the window sills on the passenger side and about a quarter of the way up the door on the driver’s side. It was at night because all of the light bulbs on the passenger side were blown out and the housings had been full of water.
The Dodge was finally towed out from the back and I am guessing that it was hauled home and put in the back yard where it was found in 2007. It would have been nice if they had rinsed all the sea water out with fresh water – I would have had a lot less patch panels to fabricate!
All conjecture on my part, but it makes for an interesting story that pretty much fits the evidence.