Like record players, thick-rimmed glasses, and paper-bound books, the station wagon’s golden age has come and gone. However, it has found new life among subtly cool hipsters with a flair for nostalgia.
Most of us didn’t grow up with sports cars in our garages — we had Roadmasters and Volvos. Because of this, our brains associate station wagons with a time when the world was less complicated and we had less to worry about.
Whether you’re pinching pennies or your budget is as high as Sputnik, you can find a station wagon in almost any price range (from four figures to six). These cruisers vary in design from understatedly cool daily rides to powerful road hogs. One thing is always consistent though… they’re roomy enough to be practical for everyday life.
95-96 Buick Roadmaster
In 1991, the Roadmaster transitioned from Chevy to Buick after 33 years out of the automakers’ hands. This led to the creation of one of the most famous and popular wagons of all time — the 95 and 96 Roadmaster — or as enthusiasts like to call it: “Shamu.”
The 95-96 Roadmaster was mechanically undefeatable, able to travel hundreds of miles without trouble thanks to its solid LT1 engine. It was great for families as well because it had as much room as a pickup truck, but with a smoother ride.
Best of all, it was powerful, thanks to an iron block, 260 horsepower, sequential point injection, and camshafts that provided increased low-end torque. Shamu is the station wagon people think of when they hear the name.
Plus there’s a sunroof. Who doesn’t want a sunroof?
73-91 Chevy Suburban
Yes, the current model of the Chevrolet Suburban has gone full SUV. But it’s important to remember that station wagons were the SUV before factory-made SUVs were a thing.
The 73-91 Suburban was considered the seventh generation of Suburban — the longest generation in production, and one of the most popular.
Marketed as a “truck-tough superwagon,” the Suburban was the chunkiest and strongest of the wagon on the road.
It could tow up to 14,500 lbs with its big-block, 3.73 gear engine.
Chevy also heavily advertised its rugged chassis with a sizable girder beam front suspension, angling it as the family alternative to more powerful trucks.
It’s also one of the most reasonably priced of the classic wagons, with some running only around $20,000.
Audi RS6 Avant
The Audi RS6 Avant is not your grandpa’s station wagon. This baby has fangs.
The RS stands for “Racing Sport” but the Avant looks like something you’d spot in a Batman film (yes, it’s available in black).
It offers a serious punch from its V10 twin-turbocharged engine with 590 horsepower, a mapped direct ignition system, and eight lambada sensors for cylinder bank lambada control.
Better news for U.S. owners — it comes stateside for the first time in 2021.
The high performance also means a high price tag though — its base cost is $109,000.
1948 Marmon Herrington Super Deluxe Station Wagon
The stylish-looking 1948 Marmon Herrington Super Deluxe Station Wagon is a bizarre, but lovable, little creature. Sure, it’s slow and it doesn’t ride smoothly.
But what it lacks in technology, it makes up in sheer classic flair.
This vintage conversion station wagon was a chimera of the best four-wheel trucks of its time. Plus, it was one of the first to allow factory-supported aftermarket conversion from two-wheel drive to four-wheel — when at the time, all these conversions had previously been bootlegs.
Plus, with all its room and power for the time — the Super Deluxe was the proto-SUV.
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