Skip

Perambulating Penthouse
August 7, 2009 9:21 AM   Subscribe

The Ford Treasury of Station Wagon Living blogged. (Vol 2). Downloadable at the Internet Archive. Scans of drawings here.

[Via (well, shamelessly stolen from) 10Engines.]
posted by dersins (29 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh jeez, this is wonderful. Thanks.
posted by item at 9:24 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


A station wagon does look like a much more convenient vehicle to move into when your mortgage has been foreclosed than an SUV. Of course the minivan, which also served the same niche for a period of time, would probably make an even better improvised dwelling.
posted by idiopath at 9:38 AM on August 7, 2009


Pffft. Who needs a land-yacht wagon when you can tent out your Chevy Vega?

Thanks, dersins - treasury indeed.
posted by hangashore at 9:40 AM on August 7, 2009


This and only this makes my day worthwhile. I can't even stop laughing long enough to figure out what the hell is going on here. Great find.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. So awesome. I love station wagons. Sometimes I see a last-generation Buick Roadmaster and get all weepy. Please, America, buy a station wagon. They're SUVs for smart people.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:43 AM on August 7, 2009


(I also really like the wooden booster seat, so the baby can sit on the front bench and see out the windshield.)
posted by uncleozzy at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who needs a land-yacht wagon when you can tent out your Chevy Vega?

Ha. A similar option was available for the single ugliest car ever produced in America.
posted by dersins at 10:03 AM on August 7, 2009


It saddens me that the Flex isn't available in a wood-sided model. C'mon, Ford!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:40 AM on August 7, 2009


Nice rack.
posted by punkfloyd at 10:50 AM on August 7, 2009


We had a Ford Crown Victoria in the 1980s. That was really a good car, overall. Easy to drive, comfortable to ride in, had a hell of an engine, and could tow about 3,500 pounds. Tons of cargo space. We used it to tow a hard-sided popup trailer, and used it on many extensive road trips. What an awesome combo that was.

We used to feel kind of sorry for the tent campers; that little Apache was remarkably comfortable for such a little thing. I think it was five or six thousand dollars, which was pretty expensive back then, but man, did we get a lot of miles and a lot of nights out of it. We towed that little thing all over the western United States. Could happily drive all day in a very comfortable car, five people plus luggage, towing this tiny little trailer that hardly weighed anything. At night, we folded it up, and voila, instant house. The huge amount of storage in that car was a lot of what made the trailer work so well.... it had very little storage of its own, since it folded down so small.

The only really bad thing I remember about the combo was that the trailer had plastic windows. They never broke, but after we camped through a sandstorm down around Bakersfield somewhere, they were perma-cloudy, which sucked.

We saw that storm coming in like gangbusters, and got pretty panicky, so we had that thing leveled and fully folded up within two minutes.... it might have been ninety seconds. If that wasn't the world record in setting up an Apache hard-sided trailer, it was within spitting distance. We all piled in just as the first wind started to really hit. That poor little trailer shook and rattled for hours, as the wind howled outside, but it held up fine, except for the permanently clouded windows. None of the tents in the campground made it. They all collapsed.

Station wagons were awesome. Station wagon tent camping is fun. Station wagon trailer camping is way better.
posted by Malor at 10:52 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


After digging around a little, I found this Apache gallery, which doesn't look exactly the same as what we had, but it's pretty close.
posted by Malor at 11:00 AM on August 7, 2009


Car camping is a great activity. We've got one of these tents and went tooling around the Pyrenees all of July, two adults and two small kids. It can be a very low-cost activity. Throw a tent in the back, or make a small platform to sleep on with a mattress. Divide the fuel costs between the passengers, and cook your own food most of the time.
posted by Harald74 at 11:04 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Of course the minivan, which also served the same niche for a period of time,"

Still does.

I really wish they start producing sedans or minivans with bed making front seats like Ramblers had again.
posted by Mitheral at 11:12 AM on August 7, 2009


Please, America, buy a station wagon. They're SUVs for smart people.

Please, America, BUILD a station wagon.

Not a 'sport wagon'. Not a 'car-based-SUV'. Not a 'mini-van'.

A real station wagon based on a sedan, with the same footprint, running gear, power-plant, weight (nearly) and MPG (nearly) -- but with twice the storage space, better visibility, and a rear wiper.

You used to be able to do this.
posted by Herodios at 11:38 AM on August 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


A real station wagon based on a sedan, with the same footprint, running gear, power-plant, weight (nearly) and MPG (nearly) -- but with twice the storage space, better visibility, and a rear wiper.

The Dodge Magnum mostly fit those criteria (its lousy visibility excepted), but it was cancelled because it didn't sell. One of the most serious issues for a modern wagon to overcome is that people who are terrified of driving (that is, the kinds of people who buy unnecessary SUVs and CUVs) like to sit very high up.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2009


Who needs seatbelts?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:55 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, America, BUILD a station wagon.

Amen.
When we went looking for a vehicle to tote the new family member around, we went looking for a Station Wagon.
We found all kinds of crossovers. mini-SUVs, minivans, and sedans with useless trunks, but no real station wagons.

We briefly toyed with the idea of finding an old wagon and restoring it, but apparently people frown on placing car seats in the "way back" rear-facing jump seat. Don't know why.

Finally ended up with a VW Jetta Sportwagen, which is more of an extended hatchback than a real wagon, but it's as close as we could get.
posted by madajb at 1:16 PM on August 7, 2009


Got a station wagon. It's a Subaru Outback, built in Hammond, Indana. It's based on a sedan platform, has all-wheel drive, four disc brakes, etc, etc. Good stuff. This post is pretty great, too.
posted by fixedgear at 2:57 PM on August 7, 2009


I'm told that under Cash for Clunkers program the number one traded in vehicle is the Ford Exploder and the number one traded for vehicle is the Ford Focus. If people are choosing the Focus SW, perhaps we're getting somewhere.
posted by Herodios at 3:40 PM on August 7, 2009


Herodios, the Focus station wagon was discontinued at the last (dumb) redesign, along with the 3 and 5-door hatchbacks.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:08 PM on August 7, 2009


"the rear of the wagon is a play area". SOLID.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:06 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A real station wagon based on a sedan, with the same footprint, running gear, power-plant, weight (nearly) and MPG (nearly) -- but with twice the storage space, better visibility, and a rear wiper. "

60s and 70s wagons, the golden age as it were, were generally substantially longer (C-Body wagons were some of the biggest cars Chrysler ever made, second only to corporate limousines) and therefor heavier than the sedans they were based on even before they added all the extra glass. Because of that they had bigger gas tanks, heavier duty running gear, lower gears, and bigger engines (to the limit of the manufacturer's stock. Many were equipped with the biggest engine the manufacturer made to move all that mass plus the weight of nine people. Common engines include 440s (Chrysler) and 460s (Ford). The rearward facing rear seat is a difficult safety problem (best solved by making the car longer) and making it forward facing makes entry difficult.

And no one wants to buy full size wagons, at least as lately as a few years ago. Now maybe that's because Toyota doesn't make a full size wagon. But Toyota doesn't have a car platform to base it on (their biggest car has almost a foot less rear hip room than their minivan). As much as I'd like to see full size wagons really make a come back I think minivans have permanently spiked their tree.
posted by Mitheral at 5:31 PM on August 7, 2009


Mitheral -
I think you are probably correct regarding the minivan, but I'm convinced there is a niche market in there for people like me who can't stand driving a minivan, but still need a ball pit for the kids that'll do 75mph.
posted by madajb at 6:09 PM on August 7, 2009


I think the Ford Flex is the closest current offering to a traditional full-sized American wagon.

I was told the third row seating was comfortable for tall passengers. At 6'1" I refused to believe it. I drove to a Ford dealership just to sit in the back of one and yes, against all odds, it was exactly as advertised. Easy ingress/egress, too. Not like a Jeep Wrangler where I need to be liquified and shot through a straw.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:33 PM on August 7, 2009


It saddens me that the Flex isn't available in a wood-sided model.

Here's a rather jarring one-off.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:40 PM on August 7, 2009


Meanwhile, back at car-camping. . .

I've never had a tent attachment like that, but have crashed in the back of a 1956 Chevy Nomad Wagon, a, 1966 Mercury Commuter Wagon, a 1967 VW Squareback,
a 1973 Chevy Caprice Wagon, several different Volvo 145s and VW Microbuses (aka 'Volkswagen Station Wagons') through the years, and on at least one occasion, an MGBGT (not recommended).

Gotta say, it's a fine thing to be able to just pull into a campsite, rest stop, or random parking lot, shove the cooler and stuff over to one side, roll out a banket or two and bed down for the night.
posted by Herodios at 8:09 PM on August 7, 2009


This is delightful. I wish I could get a tent like that for my station wagon - a supremely dorky 89 Ford Taurus. I brought all the mulch that's in my backyard over in that thing, helped my friends move last week, plus today I drove my entire family around in it. It seats 8 (including two in the wayback seats), and it can fit camping supplies for a long weekend plus an upright bass, and still have room for a passenger. I freaking love my station wagon.
posted by smartyboots at 12:06 AM on August 8, 2009


. . . my station wagon - a supremely dorky 89 Ford Taurus. it can fit camping supplies for a long weekend plus an upright bass, and still have room for a passenger. I freaking love my station wagon.

Hmm. Romance with a Double Bass, eh?

My 99 Taurus wgn is not dorky although it sports more ovals than a Cardassian space station.
posted by Herodios at 7:15 AM on August 8, 2009


"C'mon kids, we're all going to live in our station wagon!"
"Hurray, Daddy! Are we going camping?"
"No, kids, we're going homeless."

The times, they have changed.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:21 AM on August 8, 2009


« Older Demolition City!   |   Faulkner Friday: Audiotastical... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post