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The 20 Fastest, Longest, Weirdest Station Wagons You Need To Know About

Wagon, Estate car, Crossover, call them what you want but these are ones we want in our garage

Station wagons have always held a fascination with car enthusiasts, whether it’s a Woodie, a Nomad, or a Mustang. While America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Africa all call it the Station Wagon or Wagon, all other English speaking countries have always called them estate cars which as spread to be a more common term for a wagon.

Weirdest Station Wagon, Probably Ever: Sbarro TAG Function Car

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The TAG Sbarro Function Car was based on a lengthened Cadillac Eldorado and weighed over 3 tons. It was powered by a 350 HP 8.2 L V8 mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Commised by the owner of Technique d’ Avant-Garde (as in TAG-Heuer watches) as a rolling office with four large armchairs, two telephones, a TV and a refrigerator. It also had fold-down office desks and wood paneling.

The Wagon Most of Us Would Want to Own: Intermeccanica Mustang Wagon

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Italian tuner Intermeccanica constructed and sold a wagon version of the Mustang after images of Ford’s prototype of their own wagon appeared. Since then there have been countless variations on the concept, like this very tasty panel wagon.

The First Chevy Nomad: Yes It’s Real and Made by GM

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The 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Nomad concept station wagon, designed by Harley Earl and his GM design staff, was unveiled at the 1954 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel ballroom in Manhattan. To achieve the required wheelbase, the Nomad was built on a modified 1953 Chevrolet sedan chassis and was powered by the standard  Corvette powertrain of the era: 150 HP 6-cylinder engine with a 2-speed Powerglide transmission. This Nomad wagon had room for 6 passengers in two rows in an interior finished in blue and white leather with a fold-down rear seat. For the 1955 model year, Chevrolet would introduce the full-size “Bel-Air” Nomad for sale to the public.

A Station Wagon for James Bond: Aston Martin DB6 Shooting Brake

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Don’t get nervous, a Shooting Brake is just a fancy term for a station wagon, like Cabriolet is for Convertible. Originally intended to carry hunters with their dogs and guns, the term has lost all relevance with cars like the Ferrari FF. And of course all good Bond fans know 007 drove a DB5. But if he needed to trade it in …

 Longest Ever Station Wagon: 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado AQC Jetway 707

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Based on a front wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado platform, the American Quality Coach  Jetway 707 was 28′ long with a wheelbase of 185″, had 8-doors, seated twelve to fifteen, and required twin rear axles – the first stretch limousine known to use them. The Jetway 707 featured a raised roof, with sky-lights and a completely enclosed cargo area with a hinged rear door.

First Production Station Wagon:1908 Ford Model T

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It’s generally agreed the first production station wagon 9at least produced in any sort of quantity) was the 1908 Ford Model T Depot Hack. Again, another term for Station as Depot refers to the train depot and Hack is a slang for a taxi, which would deliver train travelers to their hotels or homes.

The Last of The Real Woodies: 1953 Buick Estate Wagons

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From the 1908 Model T Depot Hack until after World War II the bodies of station wagons often were constructed – at least partially – of wood. The very last US built station wagon to have wood as part of its construction was the 1953 Buick Estate Wagons. The woodie look continued into the ’60s and ’70s, primarily as vinyl decals.

Best Station Wagon to Enter Into a Professional Rally: WRX

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The credentials of the Subaru WRX as a rally car as faultless. The Japanese company has captured  47 WRC events, three drivers’ championships and three constructors titles before withdrawing from the sport in 2008, siting the economic downturn. Regardless, as a wagon to take into the rough stuff, it doesn’t get much better than the WRX.

Vintage Station For Sale Half Off: 1960s Pontiac Station Wagon

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Abandoned in 1973, this 1964 Pontiac Safari nine-passenger station was buried in the sand just south of Morro Bay, CA, where it waited silently beneath the sand. Winter storms in 2012 uncovered the car and locals reported that the car disappeared a few weeks later. Personally, I’d like to know what those seats are made of.

Coolest Tailgate Ever: GM Full-Size Wagon Glide-Away Tailgate

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Full-sized 1971-1976 Chevrolet, Pontiac Safari, Oldsmobile, and Buick Estate station wagons all featured a remarkable design marketed as the Glide-Away tailgate, also called a “disappearing” tailgate because when open, the tailgate disappeared into the floor of the wagon, providing unrestricted access to the cargo area.

 Most overlooked Cool Station Wagon:  1958 Mercury Commuter

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What made the 1958 Mercury Commuter so cool wasn’t just that it was a two-door station wagon (like the 1955-1957 Chevy Nomads) but that it was a hardtop, with no B-pillar and frameless glass on the doors. With the windows down the interior was open to the outside world from the front vent windows to the curved rear cargo area glass.

First all-steel car-based station wagon:  1949 Plymouth Suburban

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As you’ve already seen, wood was in heavy use in the construction of station wagons. While it provided a straightforward construction technique for manufacturers – particularly in building low volume models – after a period of time it created a headache for owners, as exposed wood requires additional maintenance. Plymouth led the trend toward all-steel wagons with their 1949 Suburban (yes, that’s right).

Last two-door station wagon: 1993 Volkswagen Fox

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You’d think that as much as Americans love two-door station wagons that they’d always be available from at least one manufacturer, sadly that’s no longer the case.  No manufacturer has sold a true two-door station wagon in the United States for over twenty years. Yes, we can call the Ferrari FF a shooting brake, but it’s no station wagon.

How Converting a Car Into a Station Wagon Improved its Appearance: AMC Pacer Station Wagon

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Somehow the more squared-off wagon design improved the appearance of the love-it-or-hate-it AMC Pacer. Unfortunately, AMC apparently didn’t know what they had as most were covered on the sides by fake wood trim, moving the Pacer wagon back up the ugly meter.

Weirdest Fiberglass Station Wagon Made in Turkey: Anadol SV-1600

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The SV–1600, first introduced in late 1973 by Turkish car maker Anadol, was the world’s first fiberglass-bodied 5-door station wagon. It remained in production until 1982, all models powered by a 68 HP 1.6L Ford pushrod four cylinder engine. 0-60 times were reported in the mid-14s.

How Converting a Car Into a Station Wagon Ruined its Appearance: Dodge Challenger Vista Cruiser

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Back in 1973, some enterprising metalworker mated a very rare 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T SE  to the roof from an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser to create this “Sport Wagon” as the badge reads on the side. Who knows, the Challenger may become valuable enough in the future to cut off the roof and restore it to factory appearance.

The Smallest Station Wagon: 1961 – 1969 Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman

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These two-door wagons featured double “barn”-style rear doors. Both were built on a Mini chassis that had been extended by four inches to still tiny 84 inches. Upscale models had decorative, non-structural wood inserts in the rear body making them appear somewhat like a Woodie of the 1950s. Approximately 200,000 of these little wagons were built of their eight year production run.

Gnarliest Station Wagon Ever Conceived: 1963 Wagon-Master

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Conceived by actor and drag racer “TV” Tommy Ivo in 1961, it was sold and converted into the Wagon-Master. Run as an exhibition racer, not fitting within NHRA rules, but instead intended to put on a great show for the crowds, which the Wagon-Master did. With four Buick V-8s (total of 1816 cubic inches), two powering the front axle, two powering the rear, the Wagon-Master was capable of running the entire quarter mile in a cloud of tire smoke. The crowds loved it.

Quite Possibly  the Ugliest Station Wagon Ever: Intermeccanica Murena

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Intermeccania, which started as a Canadian-owned Italian manufacturer of racing components to a maker of replica Porsches in Canada somewhere in between built 11 of the hideous wagon for Murena Motors of New York between 1969 and 1970. Powered by a 360 HP Ford 429 V-8 and a three-speed automatic transmission, the model isn’t even mentioned on the Intermeccania website.

The Station Wagon That Was Too Little, Too Late: 1973 Chevy SS Wagon

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The initials SS (for Super Sport) hold a special place in the hearts of Chevy fans, but only once were they ever seen on the side of a station wagon. In 1973 Chevrolet offered an SS station wagon with the option of a 454 CID V8 engine, though by this point point early emissions controls held power down to 245 HP. The SS option required either a 350 or 454 with either a four-speed manual or a Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. 1973 was also the final year for the SS option.

 

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.