Retrospective>>decades Of Hot Wagons

I think I speak for most of us when I say that I LOVE station wagons. Wagons make awesome platforms for customization, and they will often end up being cooler than their sedan or coupe counterparts. Over the years there have also been some very desirable station wagons, straight off the showroom floor.

As we close out Sedans and Haulers month, I thought I'd take a look back at the history of the hot production station wagon.

The wagon had existed prior to the 1950's, but the sleek '55 Chevy Nomad two-door was one of the first wagons that people looked at as more than a utility vehicle. Today, early Nomads are worth astronomical amounts of money.

Another one of the great American wagons from the 1950's was the Buick Caballero, with hardtop styling and top of the line V8 options. Rolling down a brand new interstate highway with your family in the back – the American dream.

It's quite amazing to think in that '60s you could order almost all American models in several different body styles – including a station wagon. If you desired, a wagon could be optioned to match many of the muscle cars of the day.

Some people have even gone as far as building "what if" muscle car wagons. Here's a '68 GTO wagon built of a standard Pontiac Le Mans. The popularity of the big American wagon would continue through the '70s, but by the time the '80s rolled around, rising gas prices and the rise of the minivan and later the SUV had made the station wagon a rarity in American showrooms.

The wagon might have been faded out a in the US, but it continued to be a popular choice in the rest of the world. Volvo has always been famous for its stations wagons, with models like the turbocharged 850R being an enthusiast favorite.

Japanese makers have long produced exciting wagons as well, with cars like Impreza STI Sport Wagon being some of the most well known. What's not to like about packing all of the high performance goodies from the sedan into a spacious wagon?

A little lesser known is the Toyota Corolla BZ Touring Wagon, powered by the high winding 20-valve 4AGE that AE86 guys love.

Honda meanwhile offered twin cam VTEC power in the Accord Wagon SIR. With 200 naturally aspirated ponies, it was a pretty engaging ride.

You've seen a few Nissan Stageas on the site this month, and I couldn't leave it out here. This was the closest you could get to having a Skyline GTR wagon, with the rare Autech version virtually being a GTR wagon.

One of my favorite wagons (or cars in general) to this day – the W211 Mercedes E Class AMG. Should I ever become fabulously rich, my wife would have to deal with driving one of these every day.

Another one of the Japanese greats – the STI version of the Subaru Legacy Wagon. It's not hard to see why the Legacy Wagon is such a popular platform in Japan.

The station wagon, done Italian style. The 159 Sportwagon has all of the uniqueness you'd expect from an Alfa Romeo.

BMW has been making great wagons for years, with the 3-series longroof being the most popular.

One of the most insane wagons ever – the V10-powered E61 M5 Touring. You have to love any car maker that builds automobiles like this.

How about Japan's craziest wagon? The Evolution 9 Wagon has to be near the top of that list.

During the last decade, Chrysler decided to bring back the full size American wagon with the Dodge Magnum. The hottest version of the Magnum was the Hemi-powered SRT8. Sadly, the Magnum has already been discontinued…

There's no way I could leave Audi out here. Just a take a look at the RS6 Avant – the fact that it has 580hp is just a bonus.

We can't leave out our Australian friends either. Holden has been building serious muscle wagons for a while – here's the HSV Tourer. Perfect for hooning with a gang of your mates.

Since I started with a great American wagon, I suppose I'll finish with one. The brand new 556hp supercharged Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. If someone had told me 10 or 12 years ago, that there'd be a Cadddy Wagon with over 550hp, I would have laughed.

So, there's a quick look back at the history of the enthusiast wagon. Did I leave anything out? Let me know.

-Mike Garrett



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dont for get the 300C Touring :D

awesome car.


I'd have the one in the first pic,

have some tuner de-limit it,

fit a state of the art exhaust,

find an application to convert it to manual,

And cluck--kick it all day long!!!


fantastic timing! i was surfing around just minutes ago for wagons. Only one up here i dont love is the magnum, and only for the styling.


more wagons please!

Nothing like a hot wagon!


no cressida wagons? i love my mx72.


no fair can you leave out the Mitsu Legnum VR4????

puts most stageas to shame and looks better doing it!


I love wagons, there's just something about them!

RS6 Wagon FTMFW!!!....absolute dream car! You can have your Lambo's and other supercars, but nothing beats being able to pack in 3 mates and still give the Lambo a good run, complete with a boot full of shopping!


Where is the Audi RS2??? One of the best car ever done??? :-)


What about the Mitsubishi legnum? V6 TT with looks to match.


i'll take the hsv, amg, m5, and stagea wagons. total win. the saab wagons are cool too... especially that orange drift one thats featured somewhere around here....


I like the RS6 Avant and the E63 AMG Estate.


Love the cadillac waggon


Think ill stick with my KE70 wags eh..


the only other one that comes to mind is the Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake


The Porsche Panamera Turbo!


The only bad thing about the RS6? Manumatic slushbox :(


evo 9 wagon ftw


@Anthony :

the 300C Touring is basically a W210 with chrylser facia and worse finish inside.


Falcon XR6 wagon, circa 1995 is an omission. Faster than its V8 powered sedan bretheren!

One of my favourite past cars. I do miss it!


Legnum VR4 misses a gig?


you guys forget the Toyota Caldina GT4...


Taka's 1JZ Cressida wagon comes to mind. I drive a '98 Cashmere yellow Legacy GT-B.....very fun family hauler!


You forgot the Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4...


Okay, lots forgotten, including -of course- the VR4 legnum, and e34 touring beemers (got one, & is almost my favorite shape of BMW ;)

But, guys, puttin' in here all the hot & cool wagons of the world would be pretty hard! 'cause there's a lot more... and we didn't talked about 240 turbo volvos, for example...


i think you've forgotten definetly Audi RS2.


More Please?

I Love Wagons, If and when I graduate CTS-V Estate is on the top of my list.

Whats more GQ than a grown man with a badass wagon that will eat most sportcars out there...

more of all types and sorts please....?


Wow no mention of MazdaSpeed3.


Missed out Toyota Caldina GT-4 Nur Spec


The Alfa is such a stuning beauty. If it wasn't FWD, I'd have bought one already.


I love Paul Vlasblom's drift wagon!


no datsun 510, 610 or 810 wagons...


Missed this Wagons:

- Caldina GT4 N spec (N is from Naruse, Hiromu)

- Caldina GT-T with 3SGTE 260HP and Manual transmission. AWD, Torsen rear Dif


I take it you haven't seen the Bentley Shooting Brake. My personal favourite has to be the Audi RS6 though. Any car which combines a Lamborghini V10 and an estate is a clear winner in my eyes.


love the first Merc. & the even '68 GTO by Pontiac, kinda love/hate those Volvo's cos the boys in blue run them as traffic cars in the UK. even i know to respect the Mitsubishi Legnum.. quite surprised not to see one here??!! nice post, some good reminders in here!


@ Jack

Vasblom's drift wagon is an eyesore. Dude actually drove with the "DRIFTKING.NL" sticker in front of Keiichi Tsuchiya...I'm sure the D1 guys laughed quite hard about it.


You missed one. The 1995 Audi S6 Avant. 230hp, Quattro, 5spd, recaros. Only 300 imported to USA. I own one. It's chipped to 285hp, but there are some running around with over 500hp.


im a huge wagon nut and i have just come as close to the male multiple orgasam as possable!

long live wagon love


i know that this is primarily street-going vehicles, and Volvo does have a presence in the article, but you simply cannot forget the Volvo 850 BTCC Estate, remember??


hmmm... we are missing the legendary Datsun 510 wagon! i would have loved a little history on it!


B3 Passat wagon :)


And missed these.

Mitsubishi Legnum VR4

Mitsubishi Libero GT


Don't forget the VW Passat R36 wagon. You don't get them in the US but they are damn cool cars.


Damn it mattman,I was going to post that!!!!!! That IS the greatest wagon EVER!!! Nothing better then a RACE-Car WAGON!!!!!!There should be a race series only for wagons!


Love this List. Love that people have even more Wagons they appreciate. Why Don't Others Get How Awesome it is to have a Car That Can Carry it's Load and Look Good?


Alpina B8 Touring: V8 in an E36 Wagon -> Heaven!


Someone referenced this post to answer question "Am I in a dream world?"...


2 words

Holden Sandman

defined a whole era of Australian beach culture

i'm glad i'm not the only one who loves wagons :D


wow, no woodies? Amazing.


Love the M5 Touring, exotic motor and practicality of a Estate. Just perfect.

The future M5 will have bigger power from turbos but will never touch the E60 for exotic V10 motor feel and sound.