Hooniverse Asks- What's the Best Station Wagon Feature, Ever?

Before SUVs made them as rare as Siberian Tigers, station wagons seemed to get the most automaker attention when it came to innovation. Whether it was sliding roofs allowing for giraffe transport, tailgates that would make Doug Henning proud with their seeming magic multiple opening options, or rear seats that fold into the floor, wagons were bastions of ingenuity.

Of course, none of that could save them. Their identification with suburban squareness condemned most of them to the annals of history, leaving only a few hip – and mostly foreign – sport wagons to carry the flame. And those that remain to this day don’t seem to enjoy the same level of big brain on brad attention as their predecessors. Sure Audi offers all wheel drive in the A4 wagon, but you can get that in the sedan as well. Volvo – once synonymous with wagons has seemingly given up on not just making them special, but making them at all. Dumb-asses.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have Paris, and by Paris I mean a history rich in Magi-gates, remote-actuated rear vent windows, and Vista windows, all wagon-unique features of a by-gone era. You might remember some of those features with the fondness usually reserved for an old baseball mitt, while others of you may be so young that such things are only represented by grainy black and white photos in dog-eared old magazines you found when looking for your dad’s Hustlers. Either way, which feature do you think was the best?


Image source: [kitfoster.com]

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    The Wagonaire was great in theory, but in practice the cars were often leaky. Studebaker had to rush out a solid-roof wagon.
    I'd say the Ford two-way tailgate for 1966 was a pretty great idea. Very handy and it worked well.

    1. Ol' Shel' Avatar
      Ol' Shel'

      A roll-back roof has been my one big 'want' in a wagon. Nowadays, it wouldn't be difficult to seal the top.
      I want room to move something big about a half-dozen times a year, but don't want that excess capability and it's mileage penalty, otherwise. This would be perfect.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        GMC revived the Wagonaire idea with the Envoy XUV sport utility in 2004, but it didn't sell well and was dropped in less than two years.
        <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/GMC_Envoy_XUV_.jpg/800px-GMC_Envoy_XUV_.jpg&quot; width=400>

  2. $kaycog Avatar

    It doesn't get any better than this 1958 Ford SW All-In-One Camping Special With Boat.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4109/4994664933_fe2c5ce31a_z.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      In effect, your response to this question is, "All of them. At the same time."

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Exactly. You can't have one without the other in this case.

    2. jjd241 Avatar

      I think I just jizzed a little.

  3. OA5599 Avatar

    [youtube wg0fShIQIpQ&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg0fShIQIpQ&NR=1 youtube]

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      You beat me to it. Our '71 Pontiac Safari (just for the fun of it, pronounce it like a Rasta, Sa Far I) had the clamshell tailgate, which was just plain slick. Until it got worn out, and my Mom had to work the key while I pulled the damn thing up at the supermarket parking lot. I used to terrorize my little brothers, telling them I'd hold their heads between the gate and the window if they didn't behave.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Vista Cruiser roof windows.
    Also, curious Brad wants to know … what is "big brain on brad attention?"

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      I'm pretty sure he's referring to the hamburger scene from Pulp Fiction. (Though I think Brett was the soon-to-be-dead person with aforementioned brain.

    2. Maymar Avatar

      Yup, it's Samuel L. Jackson's NSFW respect.
      [youtube Hrm-rPSCIBw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrm-rPSCIBw youtube]

  5. west_coaster Avatar

    As a kid, I always thought the Ford game table (that went between the facing rearmost seats) in the Country Squires was a pretty cool idea. I seem to remember there was a checker board on one side and backgammon on the other.
    Then again, it may have just looked cool in the brochure but wasn't all that practical. "D-a-a-a-a-a-d! Quit going so fast around the corners…the checkers are sliding off!!!"

  6. west_coaster Avatar

    Oh, one more. The GM "clamshell" of '71-76. (The metal part slid down into the floor, and the glass slid up into the headliner.)
    Seemed like the most futuristic thing in the world.
    Edit: Sorry, the above video was being posted as I wrote this.

  7. P161911 Avatar

    Toss up between the 6-speed in the CTS-V Wagon. Or the fact that way back when you could order a Ford wagon with a 4-speed and a Super Cobra Jet engine complete with the shaker scoop.
    Or a 421 Super Duty in a 1963 Pontiac Tempest Wagon.
    <img src="http://www.finecars.cc/typo3temp/GB/f1253ca6a3.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      The fact that a CTS-V wagon comes equipped with a blower is pretty cool, regardless of transmission choice.

  8. muthalovin Avatar

    Cargo space.

    1. mad_science Avatar

      Ha! That's my former car with a blue interior.

    1. Lotte Avatar


      1. Maymar Avatar

        Last-gen E-class (that was from Earth Day, 2009).

  9. CptSevere Avatar

    Do want.

  10. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    Actually, I think it was my 58 Chevy Sedan Delivery. No windows, curtains, don't bother knockin'. 🙂

  11. PFG Avatar

    Car-like handling that is actually like that of a car.

  12. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Rear seat that folds for a flat load floor.
    Four feet plus between the wheel wells.
    Six foot plus max floor length.
    Slide out picnic table, and load tie downs – Thanks, SAAB!

  13. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    The ability to jump a 30' gravel dune in complete comfort, along with 8-9 of your closest friends and a keg of beer.
    (edit: allegedly)

    1. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

      That sounds like a recipe for foamy beer.

  14. BlackIce_GTS Avatar
  15. tonyola Avatar

    Sorry, but it was new for '66. The '65 didn't have the two-way.