Station Wagon Models

Front of station wagon models
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Rear of station wagon models Old station wagon model Woodie station wagon models

Station Wagon Models have grown in popularity somewhat over the years, and older station wagons continue to attract new fans due to their personality. They sport one of the oldest body styles for automobiles, but surprisingly this style tends to be very versatile and in its own way is innovative. There is no defined luggage compartment in this vehicle type. Rather, all of the seats behind the front driver and passenger seat fold down. This allows for flexibility of how much cargo space you want. The entrance to the virtual luggage area is a door through the back as opposed to a trunk. And station wagons are an American cultural icon. The term itself is considered an Americanism.

Waxing technical, typical station wagon models feature a two box design. This means that they have essentially two boxes that make up the structure of the car. The front hood, where the engine is, makes one box. The rest of the car makes the other. Many cars are a three box design, one for the front where the engine is, one for the rear where the trunk is, and one for the middle where passengers sit. They are also typically a 4 pillar design, a, b, c, and d. Pillars are real or virtual vertical structure points for the body. Another defining factor is that they have full height roofs all the way to the rear of the vehicle.

Station Wagon Model History

Station Wagon models as a concept have a history. They were originally designed to be transport vehicles to and from the train station. Hence the name, and the function of variable passenger and cargo room. Other names include estate car or simply estate, depending upon the culture, and even estate sedan. But estate sedan is somewhat of an outdated name. Other outdated terms for them include depot hacks, carryalls, and suburbans. By whatever name, these vehicles have existed as early as 1922, and have evolved quite a bit since. At first, the body work to create them was outsourced to car body builders but over time manufacturers began to create their own. Another interesting historical note is that they used to be built from a wood body and were referred to as woodies. Later, steel body production became more economical and of course made for a more durable vehicle. This was adopted in the post world war II era.

Station Wagons saw their peak production in the time from 1950 to 1970. There were a wide variety of body types to choose from. After that, popularity fell due to the inefficiency of gas consumption coupled with the increasing gas prices. Additionally, the minivan hit the scene, which sort of eclipsed the wagon and led to its decline. SUVs came out and further struck a blow to the industry, and now these vehicles are only manufactured from time to time, as a less expensive alternative to minivans and SUVs.

Station Wagon Model Sales

Obviously, given the history of station wagon model sales, you are not likely to find one brand new. Most likely if you are after one, you are looking to buy a used station wagon model. This kind of works out, because if you find one in decent condition you should expect a pretty good price. Even new they are an inexpensive alternative, so a good used station wagon deal should be pretty affordable! If you get lucky you'll get a good deal on a classic car with style.

If you want a new car and want to pay top dollar, however, you are likely better off to look at something like a minivan or SUV. Thats not to knock these American icons, that is simply to say the market offers a much wider array of vehicles to suit your needs that are new and offer more than a new wagon would.

Foreign Station Wagon Models

Though an American classic, other countries have adopted this design and manufactured some of their own. European models were manufactured through the 80s. In the UK, where they call them estate cars or estates, and were popular for hunters and shooters to carry their equipment. They built them in Australia and New Zealand as well, typically with a longer wheelbase and the rear area being a little unique, since the bottom of the rear does not run level with the rest of the vehicle, behind the rear wheel arch.

Station Wagon Models Rear

The tail gate has seen many variations on the station wagon models design.

  • split gate: upward swinging window with downward swinging tailgate
  • side hinge tail gate: opens from the side, making it easier for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle from the back.
  • retractable window: the window was either hand cranked or electrically operated.
  • retractable roof: this is an interesting design because the roof itself is retractable. The tail gate swings down.
  • dual, tri operating gates: have a retractable window and a tailgate which can either swing to the side or swing downward. Dual operators require the window to be retracted while the tri operating gates do not.