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Station 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 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, AutoWeek reported 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 want one!
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 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, etc.), here 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 of Old 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 of Old 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 knew that!
October 4, 1998 - The 10/1/98 issue of Old 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, 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 AutoWeek (7/27/98) 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 50)
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 was turned!
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 start.
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 natural targets).
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.
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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, of course....
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 of Automobile 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.
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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 US).
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, 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", 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". Not a bad description. Thanks, Hollis.
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
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