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What Happened To Station Wagons?

On several occasions we have made references to the current crop of "utility" vehicles being the modern or current versions of station wagons from way back in the day.

Think of this, current sales of utility vehicles are through the roof, while sales of station wagons were always subdued, to now being almost non existent.

What is the deal with station wagons?

At one time there was a wagon version of almost every car line and model of cars offered by every manufacturer. There was literally a compact car wagon to a full size wagon. The more popular versions were the full size with a frame, a bigger than smaller engine, and a towing option to enhance the versatility of the usefulness of the wagon.

1975 Buick Estate Wagon

You can quickly imagine a mid size, and full size utility vehicle instead of wagons in the photo. Keep in mind that wagons have an improved rear biased weight distribution than a sedan...these full size wagons with a positraction rear axle were solid performers in snow.

Some years later...

1993 Subaru Lagacy Wagon AWD

As we all know there have been all wheel drive versions of wagons offered by several manufacturers through the years. 

The criteria was to offer a wagon that was at the same or only marginally higher ride height than a car. The wagon was/is the utility version of the car.

Perhaps because Ford did not have a Suburban, think of this now...50 years ago they offered the Bronco as a smaller sized alternative.

1966 Ford Bronco

Here is a utility vehicle with an appreciably higher ride height than a car, or station wagon, that is completely utilitarian especially with a solid front axle, and locking hubs.

The increased ride height has a strong feminine appeal...keep the thought.

At one point, with technology enabling simplified all wheel drive application, the final steps in morphing the station wagon and a utility vehicle were possible.

The rest as we say is history...

The station wagon had a niche, the utility vehicle had a niche, morph the 2 together with a higher ride height, and suddenly its a market with a huge potential.



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