brought to you by....
wagons......in the news
- December 31, 1998 - Hot Rod magazine (January, 1999) features an article on a
hot rodded (of course!) 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne station wagon
owned by Bob Bickwermert. Bob wanted to do a 'different
Chevy', so he picked a straight-six powered '63 and dropped in
a crate 502 engine w/a TH400 trans and 17" polished Boyds
wheels. It looks good!
- December 30, 1998 - A 'Headliner'
item in AutoWeek
(12/28/98) mentions an interesting possibility....in
2003, the Mercury Sable sedan will be dropped, but the wagon
will continue on as a 'Audi-like crossover SUV built on the Taurus
platform'. This action would be part of setting up the
Mercury division with a more unique image (the word Ford has
attached to Mercury is 'expressive'). Love this brand marketing.
- In the same issue of AutoWeek,
the 'Escape Roads' car is a 1963 Saab 95 station wagon.
Until the recent introduction of the new Saab 9-5 wagon, this
was the last wagon Saab built (it was introduced in 1959, was
dropped in the US in 1973, and continued on until 1978 in Europe).
The '63 95 had a 841-cc 3-cylinder, two-stroke engine with 38
horsepower, and a 4-speed manual transmission (0-60 took around
35 seconds). It came with a third seat, little tailfins,
but no tach.
- December 23, 1998 - Last month the
New York Times, this month
the Wall Street Journal.....station
wagons sure are getting into the mainstream press lately.
An article in the December 18th issue (page W14) entitled 'The
Old Bomb Makes a Bundle', describes how the not-quite-classics
are suddenly popular. Not-quite-classics include pickup
trucks, customized hot rods, and station wagons. Ken Buttolph
(editor of the Old Cars Price Guide, among other things)
is quoted as saying that the next "big trend is station
wagons." The article closes out with a quote from
Ken McDaniels, president of the American
Station Wagon Owners Association.
- December 9, 1998 - A news item in AutoWeek (12/7/98)
reports a rumor that Rover is considering a station wagon
version of the 75 model, which would help create an expanded
model range for a potential return to the US market. Also,
two weeks earlier (11/23/98) about progress on the BMW 3-series
Touring, reportedly undergoing the final 12 months of testing.
Unfortunately there is no US launch date set, although European
intro is set for late 1999.
- The January, 1999 issue of Car
& Driver has a 'Short Take' on the Audi A6 Avant
(station wagon) 2.8 Quattro, "a wagon stylish enough to
make you rethink that move to a sport-ute". They were
most impressed with the careful design, and the fact that there
was no loss of performance or grip vs. the sedan. And,
I agree, it is better built and more stylish than an SUV.
SUVs are out...long live the station wagon!
- As long as we're on the subject, how about
the January, 1999 issue of Road & Track? They
compare four 'Four Season Sports Wagons' (each with all-wheel
drive) - the Audi A4 2.8 Avant Quattro, the Subaru Legacy 2.5
GT Wagon, Volkswagen Passat GLS V6 Wagon, and the Volvo V70 R
AWD. While they vary greatly in price and personality,
it was generally agreed that they were a better alternative to
an SUV for most people. And they discovered a significant
number of their staff (as well as the author of the article)
were all considering buying a wagon in this category.
- And here's the third January, 1999 magazine
issue featuring a station wagon - Mopar
Muscle magazine reports one of the trends for the year
2000 is "station wagons are cool". We agree.
And they feature a cool
wagon - a 1962 Dodge Dart. Owned by Jerry and Linda
Tarvin, it was transformed from a sleepy slant-six car to one
with Hemi power (485 horsepower) under the hood. Ummm...we
- Going back a few months, the November issue
of Volkswagon Audi Car reports on a rare wagon - the
1984 Passat Variant Tetra, which happened to be VW's first four-wheel-drive
car. Although it was badged a VW, it was an Audi 80 quattro
under the skin, including the 1994cc 5-cylinder Audi engine w/115
hp. Just before production, the name was changed to the
more well-known Syncro, which VW continues to use to this day
to describe their all-wheel drive vehicles.
- And finally, station wagons (and stationwagon.com)
are featured in a November 19th article in the New
York Times....wagons must be 'in'! If you have trouble
getting to the article at their site (you have to have an id,
is a scanned-in copy.
- November 17, 1998 - The November issue
of Road & Track (page 41 in the Ampersand section)
has a spy photo and short caption about the upcoming large Saturn
wagon. It is known internally as the Innovate, and will
be available as a sedan and wagon. It will be the first
Saturn not built at the Saturn factory in Tennessee (it will
be built in Wilmington, Delaware). Right now it is due
sometime during the spring of 1999......
- And here's one of my favorite wagon articles
this year...the November issue of Hot Rod magazine has
an article in the Rods & Customs section called 'Way out
Wagons'. It features six custom wagons, penned by the very
talented Thom Taylor. How about a '51 Crown Victoria phantom,
or a '59-'61 Studebaker Lark? My favorite was the '67/'56
Camaromad, a merging of a '67 Camaro with a '56 Nomad.
Finally, a '63/'64 Dodge Dart, a woodie '57 Chevy, and a '73-'77
Pontiac LeMans. Great drawings, great ideas.
- November 4, 1998 - Looks like BMW
is agreeing with one of our favorite theories - if you're going
to get a 4-door, skip the sedan and just get a wagon! In
the Heard on the Strasse column of the November, 1998
issue of the Roundel,
Bob Roemer reports a rumor that there will not be a E46
M3 sedan, but that the M3 Touring station wagon will take its
place in the lineup. Sounds good to us, and Bob is usually
right about this stuff.......
- October 31, 1998 - A report in AutoWeek (11/2/98)
on the recent Birmingham Motor Show mentioned a couple of
potential new wagons. First was a Mazda 323 Country (kind
of a miniature Volvo XC or a Subaru Forester clone). The
next would be a real first - Jaguar is considering building a
wagon version of their new S-type, possibly by 2001 or 2002.
This would be an obvious competitor to the new BMW 5-series wagon,
as well as the Audi A6 Avant and the Mercedes E320.
- October 30, 1998 - The 10/29/98 issue
Cars magazine describes a new 1999 Saturn - a right-hand-drive
version designed for US postal carriers. It is built along
with all other Saturns in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and utilizes
the basic RHD configuration developed for Japanese Saturns.
Drivetrain for the Saturn SWP is the 1.9 liter SOHC 4-cylinder
hooked up to a 4-speed automatic trans.
- October 15, 1998 - The 10/15/98 issue
Cars magazine has a full-page write-up on the 1998 American
Station Wagon Owners Association second annual convention.
Station wagons ho! Read more
about it on the ASWOA web site.
- October 12, 1998 - Well, now I've
seen everything - an article about station wagons (all with some
form of wood on the side) in the UK magazine Classic &
Sports Car. The article features a 1936 Ford V8 Shooting
Brake, a 1956 English Ford Squire, a 1958 Edsel Bermuda, a 1967
Austin Mini Countryman, a 1952 Humber Pullman Utility, and a
1954 Allard Safari. They are all very interesting models,
but the Countryman wins the cute award, the Squire the funky
award, and the Allard the tailgate award with its left-swinging
rear window. Attention Classic & Sports Car
- more wagon articles!
- October 12, 1998 - The November 1998
issue of Car &
Driver features a piece on the new Volkswagon Passat
GLS wagon. It starts out with an interesting trivia fact
- with the addition of the Passat, VW-Audi AG now offers as many
models of station wagons as the USA Big Three combined!
That's right, together Chrysler, GM, and Ford offer three different
wagon models (Chrysler = none, GM = the Saturn SW1/SW2, and Ford
the Escort and Taurus). And now the Passat combines with
the Audi A4 and the Audi A6 to make three for VW-Audi.
Who ever would have thought that?
- Oh yes, the car.....they liked it.
The last sentence sums it up: "Thanks to Volkswagon,
the station wagon is cool again." Hey, we already
- October 4, 1998 - The 10/1/98 issue
Cars magazine has a short article (pages 23-24) on an
experimental 1978 Pontiac Firebird 'shooting brake' station wagon.
Constructed for GM by Pininfarina, they were dropped from production
plans because of their projected $24-25,000 price tags (in 1978
dollars). There were evidently two running versions constructed
- one Firebird, and one Trans Am. It's doesn't look like
they had a tailgate, but had two 'gullwing' doors that gave access
to the rear cargo area. The Firebird was crushed by GM,
but the Trans Am survived to be upgraded to 1979 specs and taken
on the show circuit again.
- October 2, 1998 - An article by Georgie
Binks appeared today in the Toronto-based Globe
and Mail entitled The
Demise and Rise of the Station Wagon. Hmm, a trend
- another article saying the station wagon is coming back?
In general the conclusion is that wagons serve a purpose that
SUV's don't - space and utility without the bulk, poor handling,
and awkward entry/egress. (Yes, stationwagon.com was mentioned
in the article.....)
- September 14, 1998 - Well, there has
been somewhat of a summer drought in station wagon news, but
fear not.....they're back! AutoWeek
(9/14/98, page 2) reports on the imminent arrival
of the BMW 540i sport wagon - the "sportiest, most powerful
wagon the company has ever offered in the United States".
Actually, it probably is the most powerful wagon ever offered
in the USA by a non-domestic automaker (anyone think of one with
more?) There will also be a 528i sport wagon, with the
2.8 liter six-cylinder. Like the forthcoming Saab wagon,
the cargo area will feature a roll-out cargo floor. But
will there be a manual transmission available in the sport wagon?
It's not clear, but it doesn't look like it.
- July 29, 1998 - The 'Car Board' in
reviewed all station wagons this week - the Mercedes-Benz
E320, the Audi A6 Avant, and the Daewoo Nubira (which is actually
not yet on sale on the USA). The Mercedes was 'for those
who demand the best' (and can afford the $52,090 base price).
The Audi was 'stylish, competent, quattro-equipped' and felt
just like the A6 sedan. The Daewoo had 'good room, decent
power, and feels more solid than a Saturn wagon', and at only
$14,000, is considerably less expensive than the two German wagons.
- July 17, 1998 - Following up on their
first station wagon issue one year ago, Old
Cars magazine does an issue dedicated to wagons called
Wagons Ho!. They announced they would
now have an annual issue dedicated to wagons. This issue
features a painting on the cover called "Woodie Memories",
and contains articles on:
- - Checker station wagons (page 6)
- A history of Ford wagons (page 12)
- A review of Ron Kowalke's station wagon book (page 13)
- '54 Dodge Sierra wagon (page 14)
- "Growing up with Wagons" (page18)
- An article on woodie wagons in Australia (page 19)
- Restoring or replacing a wood station wagon body (page 33)
- Corvair station wagons (page 34)
- An antique car show in Michigan that had many wagons (page
- June 29, 1998 - Hot Rod magazine is on a station wagon roll....the June '98
issue has an '84 Corvette station wagon, and the August '98 issue
has a '70 Plymouth Belvedere/Road Runner wagon.
- The '84 Corvette station wagon was part of
their 'Beyond the Toy Box' article, which detailed a tour of
the Chevrolet warehouse packed with engineering excercises, or
cars that were never meant for public consumption. They
fitted a Caprice Classic station wagon with Corvette engine/trans/wheels
for drivetrain durability testing for the new C4 (1984) Corvette.
There were 10 of these wagons; 9 were destroyed, and this one
survived to become a chase wagon for the Corvette group.
It even has a 'Corvette' badge on the tailgate!
- The 1970 Plymouth Belvedere 'No Lag Wagon'
featured in the August issue is owned by Richard Romanelli of
Loxahatchee, Florida USA, and was an original 318 car that was
converted to Road Runner specs - Air Grabber hood, beep-beep
horn, bucket seats, and a 383 Six Pack for motivation.
Richard uses it as a tow car for his '70 Road Runner show car.
- June 18, 1998 - Cars
& Parts magazine has featured
a station wagon in the last two issues - a '48 Packard Station
Sedan woodie in the June '98 issue, and a '58 Edsel Bermuda in
the July '98 issue. Both are real beauties....although
the front end of the Edsel with it's 'horse collar' grille (that's
the kindest term) is by far the most controversial. Strangely
enough, from the cowl back the Edsel shared sheet metal with
the '57 Ford wagons. While the Packard had real wood
trim, the Edsel had fiberglass trim surrounding a wood applique.
The most unique feature of the Edsel, however, was the Teletouch
automatic transmission (based on a three-speed Ford-O-Matic).
The buttons that controlled the trans were in the center of the
steering wheel, and the buttons stayed in place when the wheel
- The '48 Packard article, entitled Wood
is Good!, displays the 'pregnant' or 'bathtub' Packard in
all its glory. Combining the power of the well-known Packard
straight eight engine (producing 130hp) along with beautiful
wood trim and an art deco dashboard design, produced a wagon
that will remain a classic for a long time to come.
- June 17, 1998 - The August issue of
Mopar Collector's Guide
features an article on a '62 Dodge Dart station wagon, powered
by a '69 426 Hemi engine. The styling of the '62 Dart was
'interesting' on the front, with a four-headlight setup that
had two of the headlights mounted offset in the grille.
The owner, Jerry Tarvin of Rio Linda, CA, has more plans for
the wagon - like converting it from a 4-door to a 2-door, to
- June 15, 1998 - Auction house Kruse International
reports that Frank
Sinatra's 1973 Pontiac Grand Safari wagon was sold at their
Auburn Spring MotorFair auction for $9,600. Supposedly
a Sinatra favorite for hauling friends and gold clubs around,
it was sold "to a collector who plans to restore the car
for display in the Nicolini Museum in Lima, Peru."
- June 8, 1998 - The May, 1998 issue
of Road & Track magazine (among others) reports
that Volvo will import the Dutch-built V40 wagon into the United
States in the summer of 1999. The four-cylinder V40 (and
it's sedan counterpart S40) will compete in the highly-competitive
low-end of the luxury market where Volvo does not currently compete
(the Audi A4 Avant and upcoming BMW 3-series Touring seem like
- The same issue of Road & Track
also has a First Drive report on the 1999 Audi A6 Avant, due
in the USA in July, 1998. The liked it as an alternative
to the typical SUV. Prices are expected to start in the
upper-30's, and quattro and the Tiptronic auto are standard.
- May 12, 1998 - The May, 1998 issue
of Chevy High Performance magazine features articles
on station wagons (starting with a Wagons Ho!
line on the cover). A 1964 2-door Chevelle wagon is featured
on page 60; with a GM 502 Gen V crate motor it runs a 12.87 quarter
mile even though it weighs 4,000 lbs. The next article
features six Chevy wagons - two '55's (a 2-door and a sedan delivery),
and four '64 Chevelles. Drag wagons live!
- May 5, 1998 - Car magazine (April '98) has a one-page review (pg. 38)
of the Honda Civic Aerodeck wagon (which was also mentioned in
the March '98 issue of Road & Track and on this page under
March 19). They actually like it...a solid quality feel
and a 169 bhp VTEC 1.8 litre engine that revs to 8,000 rpm (enough
oomph for an 8.1 0-60 time and a top speed of 139mph).
My usual complaint still applies - it's not coming to the USA.
Honda Civic Aerodeck - Honda publicity photo
- April 20, 1998 - Now here's a great
concept - an English magazine about American cars. It's
called Classic American, and the December, 1997 issue
(which I didn't see until February '98 in the USA) has an 'Oddballs'
column that features a 1964 Ford Aurora show car. The Aurora,
which happens to be a funky looking station wagon with a lot
of glass, had some unique features. It only had three
doors - two on one side and one on the other (and a back hatch).
Continuing the 'three' theme, it was divided internally
into three compartments - the front had two buckets, and the
middle/back each had a kind of wrap-around sofa feature, with
a glass partition between the second and third seats. The
front styling looked vaguely like a '64-'67 Corvette; the pointy
rear looked.....well, it was different!
- March 30, 1998 - The April/May issue
of Muscle Car Review
has an article entitled 'Torrid Torino', about a very rare (1
of 4) 1970 Ford 429 Drag Pack Torino GT convertible. Very
nice, but what piqued my interest was the fact that the owner's
research uncovered one, documented, 1970 Ford Torino 426 Cobra
Jet Ram-Air station wagon! Now if only I could find that
wagon in a barn......
- Todd Sheperd's 1962 Plymouth Fury station
wagon (see the February 18, 1998
news item on this page) has gotten more attention....this time
in the April, 1998 issue of Mopar
Muscle magazine, under the title '7-Second Grocery Getter'.
I still want a ride.
- March 19, 1998 - A report on the 68th
Geneva International Motor Show in AutoWeek
(3/16/98) reports on a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate.
What that long name gets you is a E-series wagon breathed on
by AMG: 5.5 liter V8 w/354 hp, 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, 18-inch
wheels, big tires, huge brakes, and an aero package. Europe only,
- The March 1998 issue of Road & Track
reports on a European version of the Civic, the Aero deck station
wagon. It is 'designed to suit European tastes and driving conditions',
and will be built at a Honda factory in England. The rear end
looks last-generation E-class-ish, while the side view (with
its curved C pillar), looks like a Saturn. But it's a nice package,
and I'm not sure what those 'European tastes' are that won't
sell in the USA. With its cancellation of the Accord wagon and
the refusal to bring the Civic wagon back to the US, Honda obviously
doesn't think station wagons sell in the US.
- The April 1998 issue of Collectible Automobile
has a photo feature on a 1956 Plymouth Sport Suburban Wagon.
As always, the Sport Suburban was the top of the Plymouth station
wagon line, with two-tone paint and the top-line Belvedere trim.
One unique feature of the cover car - the rear tips of the roof
rack are illuminated! 1956 was the first year for prominent fins
on the Chrysler corporation lineup, and the '56 Sport Suburban
was no exception - the rear fins look like small versions of
the '57 Chevy.
- March 3, 1998 - The April '98 issue
magazine has an article entitled "Wicked
Wagons". Let me quote from the lead-in for the article:
'Forget Mom's old Country Squire. The Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT,
the Audi A4 Avant, and the Volvo V70 R AWD make wagons cool.'
What do these wagons have in common? Well, four-wheel drive,
high-performance, and sport-sedan handling, to be exact. Their
conclusions - the Audi was the most cool, the Subaru is the most
accommodating for cargo, the Volvo pricey but fully equipped
for treating passengers and cargo well. This sport-wagon trend
is certainly encouraging, reflecting a metamorphosis in the wagon
market towards more specialized vehicles (and distinguishing
them from minivans and SUV's).
- The same issue also says the Audi Allroad
is headed for the USA 18 months from now..........for more information,
see the January 6, 1998 item below.
Audi allroad quattro - Audi publicity photo
- February 28, 1998 - The March '98
issue of Automobile
magazine reports that BMW will send the next generation 3-series
station wagon (called the Touring in BMW-speak) to the USA for
the first time. Optional all-wheel drive is said to be available.
We'll believe it when we see it........
- In more BMW news, the March 1998 issue of
the Roundel (the
publication of the BMW CCCA) has a full feature on the BMW 523i
Touring, as sold in Europe. Two versions will be coming to the
USA in the fall of 1998 - the 528i and the 540i. No 'M' version,
however, although the article has a picture of a 523i converted
to M5 specs.
- February 19, 1998 - This week's 'Car
Board' in AutoWeek
actually features station wagons - a Volvo V70R AWD, a Saturn
SW2, a Mercury Sable LS, and a Mercedes E320. Their comments:
the Volvo interior and AWD are nice, but steering feel is poor
and the turbo boosts in the wrong places; the Saturn wagon gets
pricey with features added but would make a great platform for
an 'Outback' type treatment; the Sable could fit a projection
TV in the rear and loading a wagon is easier than loading an
SUV; and finally the Mercedes - lots of dollars but lots more
fun to drive than a truck (and only 3500 will be made this year).
- February 18, 1998 - "DARTH VADER
HEMI WAGON". How's that strike you for a headline? The February,
1998 issue of Mopar
Action magazine features that headline on the front
cover, with an article about a street-legal 1962 Plymouth Fury
wagon.that happens to do a quarter mile in 7.91 at 179 mph. Of
course it is black, and of course it is propelled by the famous
Hemi engine. The car is owned by Todd Shepherd of Illinois, USA,
and certainly looks the part of a quarter mile draggin' wagon.....
- January 22, 1998 - The February '98
issue of Road & Track magazine has a 'Short Take'
on the new Mercedes-Benz E320 wagon. It's a generally positive
review, with the general theme being that it is an alternative
to a big, thirsty, blundering SUV. AWD is available, with a 35/65
front/rear torque split. Only one engine, the 221hp 3.2liter
V6, is available (giving 0-60 in 7.6 seconds). They are getting
rarer these days, but thankfully a folding rear third seat is
standard. Supposedly targeted at the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volvo
V70, and Audi A6, the almost $48,000 base price comes in above
all of them (and that doesn't even include the $2790 for AWD).
All in all, a very slick package if you can afford it (it takes
the honor of being the most expensive station wagon sold in the
- January 19, 1998 - Looking for a relatively
cheap and unusual restoration project? The January, 1998 issue
of Classic Auto Restorer suggests not only a station
wagon, but a late '50's Ford wagon. The article makes some good
points about wagon restorations - parts are mostly similar between
a wagon and its sedan counterpart, except in the areas of the
tailgate, trim, and rear end (tailgate). The author also says
that 'cheapness is a prime advantage of station wagons'. Most
people don't put a high value on wagons, so nice, clean examples
can be found at bargain prices. The article also includes a sidebar
about the American Station Wagon Owner's Association, including
comments by Ken McDaniel (the president), and a discussion of
the ASWOA newsletter. I think the sub-title sums it up - "Often
Overlooked by Collectors, a Wagon Can Be Inexpensive Fun".
- January 18, 1998 - June 8, 1998 - The
M features a 1957 Oldsmobile Fiesta station wagon. It describes
how Oldsmobile station wagon sales had plummeted after the 1951
season (to only 2,750 cars out of 407,889 total for Oldsmobile),
so they were abruptly cut from the lineup. Wagons did not return
until the 1957 model year with three models, all named Fiesta.
The return of the wagon was a success - sales of wagons zoomed
to 19,800 out of 384,390 total Oldsmobile sales. The new wagons
weren't cheap, either - they were the most expensive model in
their appropriate line. The car featured is a 1957 Deluxe 88
Fiesta hardtop, owned by Gary P. Bibb of San Bernardino, CA.
- January 17, 1998 - Well, stationwagon.com
is actually in the news this time. In an article by Jeff Milgram/Hollis
Engley for the Gannett News Service (carried by many Gannett
newspapers on January 3, 1998) entitled "Minivans muscle
in on family roadster - Suburbia's symbolic station wagons losing
ground", stationwagon.com was mentioned. After e-mail correspondence
with Hollis Engley, this site was mentioned: "For additional
esoteric station wagon lore and reminiscence: go to the Station
Wagon website at www.stationwagon.com". Not a bad description.
- January 18, 1998 - European
Car's latest project car is a
1982 Volvo Turbo wagon. The February '98 issue details the author's
search for the car, and a discussion of what's coming in the
future for performance and appearance upgrading. Keep watching
for more installments. It's almost motivating me to buy one.....hmmm,
there's an Auto Trader sitting right here.....
- January 12, 1998 - The January '98
issue of Road & Track reports that Nissan's
first electric vehicle in the USA will be a station wagon called
the Altra EV (it was called the R'nessa at the Tokyo Auto Show).
Scheduled to make its debut at the Greater Los Angeles Auto show
this month, it looks like a squished minivan, or a tall wagon.
The car is powered by a 62-kilowatt motor that reportedly goes
from 0-50 in 12 seconds (snore), with a top speed of 75mph (snore
again) and a range of about 120 miles (better than average).
The batteries are the high capacity lithium-ion batteries vs.
the usual ni-cad - the downside is the high cost. California
utility companies will have a first shot at the car, with general
consumer availability sometime in 1999.
- January 7, 1998 - The 1/5/98 issue
of AutoWeek briefly
reports on two more station wagons from European (German) manufacturers
that won't be coming to 'these wagon-spurning United States'
- the Opel Corsa station wagon
(which has no announced availability date), and the next generation
of the BMW
3-series wagon (which will reportedly make it's debut at the
Geneva auto show later this year). It is a kind of Catch-22 -
station wagons continue to be far more popular in Europe than
in the United States so some of the more interesting wagons never
come to the US, but if they don't come to the US, they'll never
become popular in the US. Once again, kudos to those European
manufacturers who have the brains to put some of their best stuff
in the USA - Volvo, Audi, and to some extent, Mercedes Benz (see
the December 8th and December 3rd items further down this page
for more information).
- January 6, 1998 - The February '98
issue of Special
Interest Autos magazine has a 'drive report' article
on a 1936 Ford Station Wagon. As is usually true with this excellent
publication, the initial paragraphs (in this case, almost all
of the first three pages) cover the history leading up to the
feature car. This happens to include a great deal of information
about the birth of the first station wagons (which were built
off Ford Model T's). The car itself is not exactly pretty, but
is saved by the beautiful wood on the sides. The article also
includes some interesting statistics about Ford station wagon
production, as well as a drive of the wagon itself.
- The North American International Auto Show
(January 10-19) will feature the debut of an Audi concept wagon,
the Allroad.quattro (the name is kind of an inside joke, since
in German 'allrad' means 'four wheel drive'). You can see a picture
of it here
on Carpoint, or on the Audi
press release site. The Allroad features the same kind of
chunky, aggressive styling of the Subaru Outback or the Volvo
V70 XC. As kind of slyly referenced in AutoWeek,
it does somewhat resemble the American Motors Eagle AWD wagon
from the 80's. Featuring the standard Audi drivetrain (2.8 liter
V6 with quattro all-wheel-drive), it adds the aggressive styling,
dual-tread tires, and adjustable ground clearance (7.7, 6.7,
or 5.7 inches at the push of a button).
- The January issue of Smart
Money magazine has an article entitled 'Circling the
Wagons' by Rebecca Blumenstein. Encouragingly, it is subtitled
'The auto industry's unlikely cutting edge'. I like that! The
author talks about a resurgence in interest in station wagons
from those who don't like the minivan image, and are tired of
SUV's. She test drives six wagons: the Volvo V70R, the Mercedes
E320, the Audi A4 Avant, the Subaru Outback Limited, the Ford
Escort wagon, and the Saturn wagon. She liked the Outback, V70R,
and E320 best, although the Audi was cited as 'a lot of fun'.
Not bad for a bunch of wagons, to be written up in a Wall Street
Journal financial magazine, huh?
Copyright © 1997-1998 Steve
Manning. All Rights Reserved
Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks
or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark