This humble Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan may not look interesting, but it is a fun footnote in an auto dealer’s legendary racing history.
Just around the corner from BestRide HQ, we spotted this humble Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan for sale behind a chain link fence.
It’s about as unassuming and underwhelming as a minivan can be, if you didn’t recognize the little graphic on the front fender.
It says “Dragon Wagon II,” and it’s a reminder of the legacy of performance that used to occupy the building right next door.
Today, the building next door to the lot is an empty restaurant.
But back in the 1970s and 1980s, Berejik Olds Performance Sales & Service was were you went for speed parts for your Oldsmobile. The yard where the Olds Silhouette is for sale is just out of frame on the left.
Berejik Oldsmobile was one of eastern Massachusetts largest Oldsmobile dealerships, during an era when GM was counting on Olds to sell a million cars a year. The dealership was founded by George Berejik’s father, Tony Berejik, in Needham, Massachusetts in 1955. His son, George, was a street racer in the early 1960s, and found even more success running a racing team that his father purchased.
“He bought the team to keep me off the streets,” said George, who was drag racing the Oldsmobile 442s from his father’s dealership — with the dealer plate affixed to the bumper. In exchange for the dealer plate, George was put in charge of the race team. “I never drove the car,” he said, “but I got so much pleasure out of running that team.”
After a chance meeting at the Indy Nationals in 1967, Berejik met up with Dick Smothers — of the Smothers Brothers — who was racing on his own that weekend.
“A few weeks after the Indy Nationals, I got a phone call,” George told me in an interview when I was the editor at Hemmings Muscle Machines. “It was a representative of the Smothers Brothers, and he wanted us to come out to California to talk about racing. I was thinking ‘Is this guy for real?’ And then they offered us two first-class plane tickets to California. In those days, they used to wheel the steps up to the plane instead of having a tunnel to walk through. Well, there at the end of the steps is a long, black limousine and a driver holding up a card with our name on it.”
The Smothers Brothers proposed that they sponsor teams to race under their name for the 1969 season. Along with Berejik Olds, the Smothers Brothers fielded teams run by Oldsmobile dealers around the country, including King Olds, Chesrown Olds, Dewey-Griffin Olds, and Century Olds. The Smothers Brothers team also included “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Dwight Salisbury in Top Fuel.
Berejik Olds stopped selling Oldsmobiles in 2000, after GM announced it would fold the brand in 2004. George sold cars and maintained a collection in a building behind that chain link fence until recently, when he was diagnosed with cancer. In April of 2015, George passed away.
The “II” in the Dragon Wagon II refers to the first Dragon Wagon, a 1971 Oldsmovile Vista Cruiser Wagon that George had customized with all the great 442 W-30 performance equipment available on the coupes and convertibles that year.