19 January 2012

Wagons need love, too

In the realm of collectible cars, the hierarchy tends to feature roadsters and convertibles at the top, then coupes, then sedans, and finally, wagons.

The idea, of course, is that open cars are the coolest (figuratively, but literally, too), and that as you add roofs and doors and passenger and cargo space, well, how could that be cool?

But the world is full of cool wagons. Here are a few of my personal favorites …

1964–67 Olds Vista Cruiser

The Vista Cruiser was Oldsmobile's biggest car at the time, and while slightly underpowered with the base 330-ci V-8, a four-barrel variant offered 290 horsepower—enough to move you and the family at a pace. A great feature of the cars (and one shared by the Buick Sports Wagon) was a rounded skylight over the second-row seat that led to a slightly raised roof going back to the rear of the car. A redesign in 1968 also brought new powertrains, and a 455 V-8 was available, as was a 4-speed manual. Prices range from about $6,500 for a driver to $20,000 for tip-top example.

1991-96 Caprice Classic

The fourth-generation Caprice was and is a polarizing design. But as a modern, practical people hauler, the wagon is hard to beat. Especially because the ’94–’96 cars came with a 260-hp LT1 V-8, which most often resided underneath the hoods of Corvettes and police cars. You can find pre-1994 cars for about $3,000, while a used but well-kept LT1 one might set you back about $6,500.

1962–69 Volvo 122

About as far as it gets from the American behemoths above is the Volvo 122. They're attractive, usable little wagons that do exactly what they're supposed to do—no more, no less. The 1.8-liter B18 engine will go for a million miles if you let it, and the rest of the car is designed and built to do the same. These things are everywhere on the West coast and perfect for families that don't have to be anywhere in a hurry. You'll find running examples for anywhere from $3,500 to $20,000.

There are plenty of great wagons out there to suit your needs, and the three above aren't necessarily ranked above or below the rest. They just happen to be a few interesting choices. What's your wagon of choice?

Stefan Lombard is the Managing Editor of Hagerty magazine.

2 Reader Comments

  • 1
    David Pink Indiana, United States May 21, 2014 at 17:35
    I might have to go with the Buick or Olds versions of the Caprice from a pure visual appeal. My nod goes to the Buick.
  • 2
    Torleif Hagen Norge November 13, 2014 at 05:30
    I have to agree with David Pink on this one, Although the caprise and pontiacs are also great lookin`cars

Join the Discussion