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MK Flashback:: Vintage Station Wagons


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Image via: Lennoxnehar

Before there was the mini-van, there was the station wagon. And all was right in the world.

For many people, summer brings back memories of family vacations, which for most people in America usually involved some time spent in a car and that car was usually a station wagon.

I remember trips to Cape Cod in the family station wagon.  Towing a fishing boat no less. All of the boys crammed into the middle seat and me all the way in the back seat with the cat and the cooler and my Raggedy Anne. I mean, really. If you looked at your family photo albums, I bet you probably have a photo somewhere in there that looks like this:


Images via: Station Wagon Forums and Lah Rah.

But before the station wagon became the family car that millions of teenagers learned to drive in and make out in the back of, it was more of a transportation vehicle for people traveling on trains in the thirties.  The modified back ends that made them “depot hacks” were necessary to carry large amounts of luggage – everyone traveled by train then, remember, and you needed a car that could comfortably carry people and large amounts of luggage from the train station to home–as opposed to a truck.


Image via: Traveling mamas.


Image via: Flickr user gem66

One of the most popular early station wagons pre-WW II was the Woodie. They were made with real wood–hence the name and harkened back to when people used wooden coaches to transport large groups of people. And they are gorgeous aren’t they?


Image: Akeem’s blog.


Image: Curbside Classic.


Image: Nihat’s blog.

But the real golden age of the station wagon was during the 1950s, when baby boomers’ parents needed something to travel on all those new highways in style! I love the ads the most! Every family had one! And the wood was replaced with steel although of course faux wood paneling was still popular for many years.


Image: 55 Classic Chevy


Image: Adclassix


Image: Forum.love-fords.org


Image via: Paulmanon

 

The sixties, we started to see more European versions, like this sweet Volvo.


Image via: Fontaine Maury.


Image via Flickr.

But the “wood paneling” stayed .. And the station wagons started to get smaller (think Pinto) but still were loved.


Image via: carsdirect.com

But the 80s were tough on the iconic gas guzzling station wagon and the mini-van pretty much signaled the death knell for these gorgeous cars, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still love them.  Vintage station wagons are still available and you can’t help but smile when you see one on the road and perhaps think back to your own childhood.


Image via: Striderv

But before I go, I must admit, I’m not just a fan of vintage station wagons, I’m a co-owner too!

We bought this sweet car the first year of our marriage with dreams of fixing it up and filling it with our kiddos for our own road trips.  And it is pink. How can you not love that? Right now it is getting more of a work out as the Peach’s playhouse, but we have dreams of future cross country trips in that beauty.

Here’s to future road trips!

 

 

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Posted in Vintage Childhood.


2 Responses

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  1. Amber Liddle says

    We had an enormous blue thing that we took to Florida. I remember having all the seats down in the back and playing the whole way there, I was four! No car seats for this family 🙂

    I love your pink car, I had a mint green Honda when I lived in Portland, it was amazing, even though I had to fix stuff on it every single day!! And even if your car stays a playhouse, what a great playhouse, right?

  2. Lori says

    This makes me think of Robert Bechtle’s painting Alameda Gran Torino, from the SFMOMA’s collection: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/3509

    As an Alamedan, I thought you would appreciate it!



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