Worldwide Wagons | My Black Brick - Part 2

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

Ferrari FF Shooting Break

Does this red reflection on the floor make me look Photoshopped?

Ferrari debuted their FF model this week in Geneva. Top Speed has tons of pics, as well as video of this 4-seat, 4WD, 651 bhp beast. Finally, I can buy a car that seats my family and stows our luggage for trips to South Hampton without embarrassing my wife and kids. Now I guess I just need to get a job.


“Automotive Darwinism” Killed the Wagon?

Volvo announced in January that they will discontinue the V50 in the US. In writing about the death of the last Volvo station wagon, CNN Money’s Alex Taylor III posted an odd article reminiscing about his youth in the suburbs of the 1950s while positing that the death of wagons in the US was pretty much inevitable.

His description of the wagons of the 1960s seems to place all of the problems with American cars on the shoulders of station wagons:

American buyers first turned away from station wagons during the 1973 oil crisis. Their extreme length, emphasized by long rear overhangs to accommodate a third seat, made them natural targets.

Sorry, but almost all American cars were lengthy and heavy boats back then, not just wagons. There is nothing intrinsic to the wagon platform that says it needs to be the length of an aircraft carrier. That’s just what Detroit was making at the time.

He then speaks of the rise of the SUV as if it was a rational change for American buyers, while completely overlooking the fact that they have the same problems of poor fuel economy and extreme length that the cars of the 60’s did. He claims that they are “far more utilitarian” than wagons and offered “a lot more cargo space.”

There are many, often irrational, reasons Americans moved to SUVs, but the idea that wagons have less utility is ridiculous. I’ve got more space in the back of my brick than my buddy has in his Nissan Pathfinder. Yes, SUVs have 4-wheel drive, but that only contributes to their poor gas mileage and most drivers don’t need it anyway. AWD anyone?

As for Volvo, he sees their reputation for reliability as a problem, rather than a benefit:

Volvo probably did itself a disservice by running testimonials from owners who drove their Volvos for years and years. When you put a million miles or more on a car, it limits the opportunity for repeat business.

Yes, automakers shouldn’t tout longevity as an asset. They should just make cars that fall apart in 6 years so they can sell a new one. That’s what Detroit did, right? We can see how well that did for them.


WSJ Hearts Station Wagons

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Welsh drives the Caddy CTS-V wagon and looks back fondly on the days when iron ships cruised the streets:

Let’s be honest: The big, V8-powered Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers, Ford Country Squires and Dodge Polara wagons of the 1960s and 1970s were rolling works of art compared with the look-alike “crossovers” that have replaced them on the elementary school drop-off line and on long family road trips.


Now That’s a Serious Boot

“Some Rides” just defy common sense. Although I’d wager this stretched Outback (AWD?) would be doing pretty well this winter.

On second thought, are those white walls?

Via You Drive What?


Riding in a Wagon is Utter Humiliation

My hatred for the latest Toyota Highlander commercials knows no bounds. Yes, children, you should feel humiliated if your parents can’t afford to buy the latest, super-ginormous monster truck laden with electronic garbage to tote your entitled asses to and from your rich suburban school.

While Jalopnik protests the disparaging remarks made against the Corvette-engined Buick Roadmaster, Sociological Images nails the underlying shame the ad is intended to invoke: “If you’re too poor to buy a brand new mid-range SUV, you suck.”

Another ad in the series, entitled “Kid Cave“, is particularly disgusting because it tells kids they should just plug in their headphones and cut off all communication with their parents, as if it’s a good thing. The scene of the wedding-singer parents is funny, but in my car it’s rare that I get to listen to my own music with the kids.

Rather than enjoying listening to music TOGETHER, I guess I should be isolating my kids by covering their ears with headphones and listening to whatever I want. Seems the Toyota ideal is to have all the members of the family walk around plugged into their own electronic devices, silent on the outside and ignoring each other.

BONUS: More analysis on Hipster Runoff


Killer Donk




Kentucky Fried Magnum

Technically this wagon was found in Alabama, but it sure looks fried extra crispy.

Via Seen on the Street


GTO Wagon?


My parents had a 1969 Pontiac LeMans that slowly vanished from cancerous rust after only 15 years. I remember arguing with my parents that I could have fixed its 326 V8 before they had it towed to the junkyard, but seeing as you could watch the road speed by through the rusted floor boards, it probably wouldn’t have been worth it. So while my buddies in high school tore up the streets in their Mercury Cougars and Dodge Chargers, I puttered along in an ’81 Corolla.

Somehow this enterprising Ebayer has turned a ’68 Tempest wagon into a GTO clone without it falling apart in a pile of dust. From end looks soooo much better with those rotating headlight covers. Bidding ended at over $11k without reaching reserve. Buy it now at $14k!


Kludge Wagon


I saw a Subaru Baja with a cap on the back yesterday and thought THAT was crazy. But this thing is sheer genius.

Via: There, I Fixed It


Wired Wants Your Wagon


Wired magazine’s Autotopia blog claims there’s a “wagon renaissance” and lists the 12 wagons they love. The Volvo 240 Turbo makes the cut, along with a slew of other European hatches.