This almost-a-convertible-not-quite-an-El-Camino wagon was created by Studebaker on the Lark station wagon body. The retractable roof was built into the rear to allow tall cargo to be transported upright. From the ad above, I assume this meant your fishing poles, or your daughter, but I’m sure there were other ways to get them into a converntional wagon.
Any owner of a 240 with a sunroof can guess what problems arose from the Wagonaire’s retractable roof; it leaked like a sieve. Although Studebaker fixed this problem in later years, the model was doomed to a production run of 3 years and open air rear styling for wagons never caught on.
Lawrence Ulrich, the self described “pro-wagon” auto critic for the NY Times, spends almost a third of his Audi Q5 review today analyzing the state of the American station wagon:
There’s no longer any debate or any doubt: Americans hate station wagons. Deep down, they still love and want their S.U.V.’s, even if most of these are now marketed as crossovers, a politically soothing yet increasingly pointless distinction.
Car companies foreign and domestic have learned that the best way to stumble in this market is to design and market a station wagon, no matter how practical, sporty or affordable. (Make an exception for Subaru and its wagon fanatics.) The best way to succeed is to offer a decadent, overweight would-be S.U.V. that looks bulky and capable but is mostly used for mall reconnaissance; even a weekend trip with two parents and two children can overwhelm the cargo-carrying ability of the typical downsized, do-little luxury crossover.
He pulls out the sales figures for European wagons to prove it:
Audi sold nearly 21,000 of its big Q7 crossover in 2007, compared with barely 2,800 of its sprightly A4 Avant wagon and just 758 of the larger A6 wagon.
…the BMW X3 crossover outsold the hotter-performing, higher-mileage 3 Series wagon by better than 10 to 1.
…Even Volvo’s wagon sales were halved when it introduced its XC90 crossover.
In stating that “The Dodge Magnum and Mazda 6 wagon are two recent examples of conventional wagons that critics loved and consumers rejected,” he highlights an American phenomenon I find difficult to understand.
Capriceshop.com has an image collection of modified Chevy Caprice and Buick Roadmaster wagons that looks pretty bad ass. These huge sleds have acres of trunk space, are rear-wheel-drive and are one of the last American wagons, becoming extinct in 1996 when SUVs took over the market for gigantic, gas-guzzling family cruisers.
Just got back from Englishtown, NJ and Raceway Park‘s “Summer Motorsports Spectacular”. Lots of loud and wicked-fast jet cars, monster trucks and the 1000 hp Cool Bus wheel stander pictured above.
I put together a compilation video with Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction, Bull Dozer, Cool Bus and the Jet Semi. Tom Meents, the driver of Max Destruction, is nuts. He went faster, jumped farther, and spun crazier than anyone else out there.
The highlight of the night, though, was Jill Canuso’s jet car Queen of Diamonds. She ran the fastest 1/4 mile I’ve ever seen in person: 5.4 seconds at 301 mph. I told my daughters, “Hey, that was a lady driving that car!” and they did a double take.
Jalopnik reports that Honda will be selling an Accord wagon in the US, similar to the European Accord Tourer pictured above. But it’s not a wagon, It’s a “CUV”. Whatever you call it, it looks pretty sweet.
Moms and Dads, this is what your kids are doing with your old family truckster, now that they’re all grown up and traded their soccer cleats for car keys. And you wonder why the tires need to be replaced every 10,000 miles.
I had never heard of the stereotype of Scotsmen being frugal and cheap until I saw this post on Sociological Images. It was well known enough in the 1950s, however, that Studebaker made a line of vehicles under the “Scotsman” name. This included the station wagon pictured above.
According to info on Wikipedia, the Scotsman was Studebaker’s attempt to position itself as the maker of inexpensive, bare-bones cars, in contrast to the Big Three automakers miles of chrome, fins and gimmicks. Base price for a 2 door was the patriotic $1776, but it could be had for less than that if the buyer opted for painted bumpers and wheels instead of chrome.
The interior had no carpeting, just rubber mats on top of steel. Gray vinyl seats and painted cardboard trim (!) were the only interior options and rear passengers were unable to open their windows. Accessories were limited, and dealers were instructed to steer buyers looking for frills to upgrade to the Champion line.
Studebaker managed to deliver a reported 30 MPG from the inline six, making it one of the most economical cars of its size. With 0-60 times of around 20 seconds, it was also one of the slowest.