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Grace
Hagerty Employee

9 of our all-time favorite wagons

Station wagons are in many ways the unsung heroes of the automotive hobby. Vintage longroofs possess a unique, nostalgic appeal: You're far more likely to have grown up with a brick-shaped Volvo or lozenge-like Roadmaster in your family driveway than a Ferrari Daytona. Station wagons do "understated cool" superbly, but their ranks also include some truly exotic stuff, like Audi's absurd RS 6 Avant, headed to U.S. shores for the first time this year. No matter your budget, wagons are eminently practical and inclusive; you can pack in your family, friends, and even the dog if you don't care too much about the carpet.

 

From four figures to six, Hagerty's Brad Phillips and Colin Comer rounded up 9 of their favorite wagons for your enjoyment in a recent livestream. The theme was inspired by the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, Phillips says. And really, any list of longroofs that starts with that "damn fine automobile" is bound to impress.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/9-of-our-all-time-favorite-wagons/

132 REPLIES 132
Rider79
Instructor

As the owner of a 1991 Suburban, and long a Sub fan, I question the 14,000 pound tow rating.  By 1991, this same chassis and body was rated only to tow about 9 to 10,000 pounds, IF I recall correctly - and that is a 3/4-ton with the 454.

 

Weak 1970's A/C on the Suburban?  GM A/C of that era could never be described as "weak", if functioning properly.  As the owner of a 1991 Sub with only the front A/C, I would say that his problem is that there is no rear A/C - plus, maybe his was converted to 134a?  We were able to get by with all 3 rows in use, with judicious vent aiming and higher blower speeds - and factory dark-tinted glass.

ryanwm80
Pit Crew

I expected this to be dominated by GM wagons - but only the modern Buick? Are you kidding me? No Kingswood Estate with the clamshell doors? No Olds Vistacruiser? The Suburban doesn't even count because it's based on a truck - wagons are car based vehicles.

Lightning1
Detailer

Finally one of the most useful cars (The boring station wagon) gets respect. The milage of a sedan with the internal volume of a single axle trailer. Perfect for car part swap meets!

farna
Detailer

This was just a list of "favorites", so very subjective. Really hard to see how the Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer didn't get there when the Chevy Suburban did though. Maybe because it's an SUV and not just a wagon, since it wasn't available in two wheel drive?

 

The Eagle has an interesting story. It starts with the "Cowboy" mini truck prototype of 1971. One reason AMC decided against building the mini truck (usually shown with Hornet front end -- but that was added later by the owner of the only existing prototype -- originally had more truck-like Gremlin front end) was it would be sold as a Jeep model and there was no 4x4 equipment for it. The second reason is that they were selling Hornets and Gremlins about as fast as they could make them and didn't want to add another model that would slow production.  But AMC engineers didn't rest... they developed the 4x4 system that would fit under a Hornet, then used it in the Eagle under a concord (which is an updated Hornet).  As a side note, they also used the Cowboy "uniframe" under the 1986 Jeep Comanche truck.

Rob1
Instructor

Ahh the station wagon my father worked at Ford dealerships his entire career and was fortunate enough to have Demo's the majority of the cars he brought home were station wagons big wood grained road behemoths, as we had a four season family cottage it was the best unit for the job. From FE 390,s to the 460 cid we had them all pulling boats/utility trailers and snowmobiles in the winter father was a master at packing he would spend hours and it was amazing how much stuff we brought every time yep station wagons were a big part of my young life I look back now and wonder how Dad did it we pulled 4 place sled trailers north thru the worst of weather, now I will not venture out with my sleds on a trailer or for that matter to get grub without a 4WD or AWD vehicle. Cheers R

BPatLeMays
Intermediate Driver

I guess the Volvo Polestar didn't make the cut. Nor did the quirky 60's Studebaker with the sliding roof. Or one of my favorites,  the Ferrari FF

jrhume
Pit Crew

It was around the mid'90's when I had to go to the Marmon-Herrington factory in Louisville, Kentucky with a co-worker to pick up a part for the 4- wheel drive unit on our big electric utility digger derrick truck. When I heard the name "Marmon", I had immediately told our supervisor that they were probably responsible for the Marmon Wasp, winner of the first Indy 500. He said I was crazy. Lo and behold, when we entered their facility there was a huge portrait of the Wasp behind the reception desk.

acooper529
Intermediate Driver

Funny how a picture brings back old sayings. At my auto repair shop, we had a name for the Buick Roadmaster (4-door or wagon). We called them the "Suburban with the low body". One look at the powertrain, frame and suspension on the lift and you'll see why.  

 

My personal favorite was a 1983 Buick LeSabre Wagon that I bought when it was almost new. It was painted a medium/ dark burgundy with dark woodgrain sides. It was actually beautiful, and if you ever see a picture of one, you just may agree. Any out there? 

MrBill-1943
Intermediate Driver

Boy did you guys miss the boat on this one. Just look at the full line of 1957 wagons, almost each and everyone of them is a show stopper and would make you turn your head if they drove by. Sorry guys none of these make my list.

rlevine
New Driver

My parent's first station wagon was a 1960 Mercury (not sure which model), I remember crawling around in the back and thinking how huge it was (I was 6). They replaced that one with a 1966 Dodge Coronet station wagon which I eventually learned to drive on. Now I proudly own a 57 Nomad, which definitely should have been on the list! 

 
 
 
 

 

rlevine
New Driver

rlevine_0-1602689025522.png

My 57 Nomad - Ross

chrlsful
Instructor

I woulda left off the Magnum & put upa '70s Holden 4WD. They looked like ours of the same era (gm's " '67 country squire") chebby but were way beefier, durable, brutes that could run the Oz outback for thousands of mi a trip. Also trade a beemer for the audi?

 

Known as the WagonMan around these prts I like the 50s plym suburban, many of the Wolwos (start w/the Duette & hit the safe then sports waggys) and some of the Japanese (esp the pre-mini van MVPs - toy tercelle, honda vanogan, Mutsu/Eagle Summit, Nissan Stanza...or the others of the 90s accord & corolla, camery).

Like any automotive Q it all ways starts w/the Application Q - canyon carver, grocery getter, classic, dependable, like 'hands on tools' every wkend? (Italian/Brit) I do!

KenO
Pit Crew

This is tough! BUT ... I really liked the AMC Eagle Wagon ...
I can see the unique advantages of each of the others, but working on and driving the Eagle proved to me that it was a well rounded automobile.

woxos1
Passenger

How about a 1971 Ford Torino Squire?

PCamp
Passenger

While technically an Opel we love our Buick TourX wagon, hopefully not the last of the big “American” wagons. We get lots of compliments on its sleek looks and enjoy its superior handling due to its low center of gravity relative to all the high wagons in the market. We also have a 85 300TD Mercedes, such a classic German hauler. 

drauz
Passenger

someone’s gotta say it.

Taurus. I like the last iteration, w/ IRS & 4 whl discs. upgrade the susp. a bit & ya gotta fine 7 pass. hauler. don’t tell me about the trannys... I’m lucky (so far... 140k mi).

Also... how ‘bout them micro wagons? Kadette, Simca, Pinto, Vega, VW. at least one shoulda made the list.
Lastly, thanks for all the comments, folks... true American fables.

TomRoden
Passenger

Ditto the comment regarding the Studebaker Wagonaire.

mags56
Pit Crew

Would have been a much more interesting list if you expanded it to 30 and just did “true” station wagons from 1955 to 1975. 

mstricklett
New Driver

We had a 1984 Mercedes wagon. We acquired it with 96,000 miles and drove it to 340,000! The wagon made 3 coast to coast trips during it's life time. We sold it to a young driver, who is still probably driving it today!

PeterM
Pit Crew

What, no Volvo wagon?  How about the 850, a wagon that competed in Touring Car races, or the more recent V60 Polestar Engineered wagon, with 0-60 times in the mid-4 second range.

Paddy
New Driver

I remember seeing a 1963 Jeep Wagoneer in blue when leaving Sunday School and it was love at first sight.

BC781
Passenger

You put in a Ford County Squire, Buick Boat and a new Audi but leave out any mention of a Willy's Wagon- Really???? 

Mallard
Passenger

These lists seem to contain vehicles that Hagerty is promoting to secure insurance contracts. They will pick random vehicles in the hopes of attracting future customers.

KenTennis
New Driver

I've had a 1973 Suburban. Base model. 305 and 3 speed stick. 3 doors. No passenger door on the drivers side. Then in 1982 bought a 1979 Suburban Silverado 4 x 4, for $4200.00. I still have it. A rust bucket that I finally quit driving. Even the roof rack rusted off! It has 418,000 miles and the heads have never been off and it didn't burn oil. Small block 400. (6.6L), the last of the forged steel crankshafts. Has the conversion package so it's no longer a full time 4 wheel drive. Just got tired of the rust and gas consumption so I just parked it. If the 350 in my '82 Vette L82 ever blows up I have a plan for that 400!

GOODHARVEST
Passenger

What? No Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

eljefejefe
Passenger

I probably have the only 1980 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, in metallic emerald green with the vinyl wood siding down both sides and across the back, that has 42,000 original miles and is rocking a beast of a race car hiding under the hood!! Total Sleeper !! It has a bored out Buick big-block 403 that's putting out 450 horses. Posi-traction rear end w/ coil springs over air bags and H.D. shocks + an anti-sway bar puts the rubber to the road. Front disk brakes, dual exhausts, over-sized radiator, hi-torque starter. When it was raced, it turned 0-60 in 5.1 sec. and 13.24 in the quarter mile...not bad for a gorgeous mint condition 4,000 pd station wagon even today!

RustyFenders
Pit Crew

1960 Dodge Polara. Mic drop.

Twollney
Passenger

No room for the jeep wagoneers or grand wagoneers? Its in the name!

GL
Passenger

I think you missed the best looking wagon of them all! The 1968 Buick Sportwagon with that fancy raised glass roof panel. Not sure what the power train options were. I used to walk by one every day on the way to school. Awesome!

Martman
Passenger

Still have a ‘92 Volvo 240. Can’t kill it. 

ClydeSDale
New Driver

I heartily agree the GM "vista" wagons should have been included.  The mother-in-law had one that I rode/drove in, very unique and enjoyable wagon.  I agree also with GrumpyOne questioning who's making up these lists.  Dodge Magnum wagon?? Seriously?

Wagons have fit our life style for years.  Even today we're running a Prius V wagon, love the mileage (40+), the ride and the flexibility.  Sadly Toyota dropped it.

Our first was a '77 Dodge Aspen wagon that I ordered new.   Loved the color, loved the chrome and the bucket seat interior.  

ClydeSDale_0-1603130154834.png

With the 318 V8 and the four speed (fourth OD) it would catch 2nd gear chirp (with radial tires) anytime but knock out 25+ mpg on the road.  Great combination and it handled towing our fishing boat better than my F150 did.  Downside .... at 100k+ the body started "melting away" into puddles of rust.

r12tree
Passenger

scroll down, scroll down... no Volvo?  This list is incomplete.

BourbonBob
New Driver

Got a happy place in my heart for my 92 525iT. I was amazed at the double sunroof; it was a lifesaver after carrying three dogs on a 2K journey (hint : dogs smell). Opened the 'rear' sunroof and all was well. Only gripe was the GM slushbox; have a 99 528iT now with a proper gearbox.