by Frank Peiler
Station wagons are really getting hot in the old car hobby, probably because most of the collectible hardtops and convertibles have already been taken. Sure, there are still plenty of two- and four-door sedans from the 50s and 60s, but these cars are just too dull for most folks in the hobby. Station wagons, on the other hand, can still be found here and there, but most have lived hard lives and usually need complete and costly restorations.
If you have the good fortune to come across one of the following gems, buy it, fix it up, and enjoy its unique styling and features. I’ve selected only four-door wagons because these were the most versatile and family friendly.
1956 Rambler Cross Country
This was the very first 4-door hardtop station wagon, and it became a trendsetter. No other company followed the Rambler’s unique design cues—such as its “basket-handle” roof and inboard-mounted headlights–but the hardtop-wagon idea was a perfect styling statement of the Fifties, and several manufacturers would offer their own version in the years that followed.
1957 Buick Caballero
To me, this was the coolest wagon of 1957. My favorite was done in blue and white with a red or peach “sweepspear” insert, whitewall tires and chrome wire wheels.
1959 Mercury Colony Park
Fins, tons of chrome, faux woodgrain trim, and the industry’s biggest windshield–plus the 430-cubic-inch Super Marauder V8.
1960 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country
This is my pick for the greatest looking wagon of all time. It had everything: good-looking fins, hardtop styling, a big engine, and a beautiful interior–especially the instrument cluster.
1963 Studebaker Wagonaire
The sliding roof panel made this wagon one of my favorites. The Wagonaire has got to be the most versatile wagon ever.