27 November 2015

Graph of the Week: The 10 Most Popular Classic Station Wagons

Classic station wagons have a certain appeal to today’s enthusiasts that may not have been readily apparent when they were new. They’re often rarer than their standard sedan or coupe counterparts, and depending on who you ask, they often have a more elegant look to them as well. Most of all, though, wagons offer a ton of practicality for a recreational vehicle, so for anybody who’s got the urge to take along a classic for a holiday road trip, you’ll have to leave the Corvette at home and take the Nomad instead.

As the classic car market has grown, wagons certainly haven’t been left behind, and great interest has been shown this year, with a 46 percent increase in the number of quotes so far in 2015. This corresponds with both an increase in values and a greater number of examples coming to market, as over the past five years Hagerty Price Guide values have increased by 16 percent overall for station wagons and the number offered at North American collector auctions has increased by 18 percent.

That most of the 10 most popular station wagons shown here are American should come as no surprise given the popularity of wagons among American families for so many years. The Volvo 1800ES, meanwhile, is a bit of a surprise considering that only 8,077 examples of Volvo’s elegant two-door wagon were ever built, so it seems that the old “Snow White’s hearse” benefitted from Volvo’s legendary build quality and enjoys an unusually high survival rate. Overall, though, it’s the large American wagons from the 1950s-70s that remain popular as interest in classic wagons grows.

37 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Mark Sayre Michigan December 1, 2015 at 22:24
    This chart is quite interesting since I own 2 1956 Chevy Belair 4-dr 9-passenger wagons. Neither are roadworthy but both are good restoration candidates. My understanding is that this model was also classified as a Townsman. Can anyone confirm that? If true, it would be interesting to understand of the 130 vehicles insured per the chart how many are Townsman's (9-passenger). This is a niche vehicle that I have always had an interest in and being able to understand developing trends would be a nice.
  • 2
    Gerald Meagher Macomb, MI December 2, 2015 at 15:27
    I'm surprised at the lack of Ford & Mercury station wagons in the graph. It seemed like everyone had one or the other in our town back in the day. We rarely saw any other brands. Guess maybe they all got used up.
  • 3
    George Holt New York City December 2, 2015 at 15:39
    First: Without the model years, I don't think the data gives an accurate comparison Second: I belong to two station wagon clubs, been to a lot of wagon shows, and have rarely seen a Chevy 210, so I wonder about it being the most popular Third: What about the 1990's GM B body wagons? Or 1970's Ford wagons? Those you see a lot of.
  • 4
    Loren Moore Michigan December 2, 2015 at 15:49
    A '46 Ford woodie, painted maroon. Saw a movie in color when that car was new, it took place in horse country in Kentucky and I always thought that was the best looking station wagon I had ever seen. Still do!
  • 5
    John Hamilton Texas December 2, 2015 at 15:52
    We had a 1976 Plymouth Volare wagon with the 360 cu in engine. One of the most luxurious vehicles we ever owned and the engine (actually an optional truck engine) would really haul donkey.
  • 6
    Al Hutchinson Portland, OR December 2, 2015 at 16:00
    I'd be curious to know if the age of insured wagon owners skews younger (or older) than a typical Hagerty customer. From my personal experience as a 45 year old classic wagon owner, people closer to my age cohort "get it" and folks closer to boomer age, not as much.
  • 7
    Dave NY December 2, 2015 at 16:15
    Hu? I have classic station wagon. I tried to insure it with you for a few yrs now and I keep getting this as an answer. (Thats not what we consider a classic) I'm guessing because it is a wagon? Or is it an age thing? its 31 yrs old. Every ware I go with it I get compliments on it, and some times people try to buy it from me.
  • 8
    charles Schappach dutchess cnty ny December 2, 2015 at 17:16
    what about the Chevy2 nova wagon?? has everyone forgotten that sweet I'll wagon???
  • 9
    edward violante glendale,az. December 2, 2015 at 17:53
    A very rare wago would be the 1964-65 chevelle 300,two door.There was also a two door nova wagon in 1962,though I believe it was a base model.
  • 10
    Ghouldini Grimm Vienna, OH December 2, 2015 at 19:50
    What, not hearses?? Though in Ohio, the DMV says they are not station wagons
  • 11
    Cal Curow Littlerock, WA December 2, 2015 at 20:43
    I owned and sold three of those wagons. I always kept them looking good even though they worked every day . I still look fondly at the classic wagon. There may be another in my future. Maybe the Mercedes......
  • 12
    George Pentesco Note Ontario December 2, 2015 at 21:49
    I can believe the interest in the wagons. I had a 1956 Nomad and it was a great car and restoration project. Wish I still had it.
  • 13
    Stephen Webster Pecos N.M. December 2, 2015 at 22:14
    I'm an Olds guy, and boy would I love to have a Vista Cruiser. I have a 72 Cutlass S drop top I've almost got ready for paint. Not that some of the other wagons aren't quite desirable. Thanks much for the great mag. S.
  • 14
    chuck nixon Fort Worth, TX December 2, 2015 at 22:14
    I bought a 1967 Buick Sportwagon in April 2015 so I contributed to the 46% increase in Hagerty numbers. My wagon is the 'A' body IE: Skylark, Chevelle, GTO body size. It is black interior and exterior, has the vision windows in the roof like the Olds Vista Cruiser, loaded with options including A/C and a sharp car. I get compliments and comments everytime I drive it. Love the car and have a 1967 Buick GS 400 that sits next to it.
  • 15
    jack hunker wisc December 3, 2015 at 13:41
    love my wagons have a 55 chevy 4 door a 64 chevelle 2 door a 4dr 64 a 4 door 65 chevelle a 71 chevelle a 67 impala a 70 flat roof cutlass and gsx clone 70 skylark
  • 16
    P Johnson Rochester Hills Mich. December 3, 2015 at 14:10
    Always loved these, some of the coolest were the Buick & Oldsmobiles from the mid 50's, some had no B-pillar witch gave them a sporty coupe feel. I had a 62 Nova, and a 73 AMC sport-a-bout with a Gucci interior
  • 17
    Andy Magyar LI NY December 3, 2015 at 17:39
    Pinto make great restorods. I have had two and one had a 302 conversion. Small and light.
  • 18
    Ralph Fowler Ellicott City Md December 3, 2015 at 06:48
    My first car was a 1968 LTD Country Squire station wagon, 8 passenger with a 390, 2 bbl carb. The year was 1977/78. It was given to me by a friend of the family if I got it through inspection. I think it was about $75 to get it through and I was on the road. Man I thought I was something with that car. I sold it for $300 and bought a '62 F-100 that had formerly been an ice cream truck. It would be cool to have them back again.
  • 19
    al richmond va December 3, 2015 at 06:55
    Wow I wish you had added the pictures of the 10 above, not all of us are old enough to remember/seen them or would know one if we saw one
  • 20
    David Gilbeau Michigan December 3, 2015 at 06:57
    I`ve been interested in Station Wagons for quite and while and have passed on two `57 4 doors because they were not exactly what I wanted even though the price was right!
  • 21
    Bob K Montana December 3, 2015 at 19:06
    We have a 1966 Buick Sportwagon with the optional 340 ci engine.The in-laws bought it new and we have had possession of it for 24 yrs It is red with red interior and a fine 20 footer. Lots of thumbs up when driven as well !
  • 22
    Scott H Illinois December 3, 2015 at 07:46
    Wagons? Maybe about time. Undeniably utility sold me on one
  • 23
    Scott H Illinois December 3, 2015 at 08:23
    I believe Townsmans were 6 passenger. I own a 57 Tman Beauvilles were 9 --very rare
  • 24
    John Lee Nebraska December 3, 2015 at 11:16
    According to Great American Woodies and Wagons (by Don Narus), in 1956 the Townsman name was applied to the 210-series 4-door, 6-passenger wagon. The Bel Air wagon was named Beauville and came in either 6- or 9-passenger.
  • 25
    Richard D HB California December 3, 2015 at 12:12
    As noted, 9 passenger wagons in 1956 were called "Beauvilles" by Chevrolet, and 6 passengers were "Townsmans". The '56 Bel Air wagons were ALL 9 passenger Beauvilles, production of 13,279. '56 210 Beauville production was 17,988. Pretty rare by Chevy standards. In '57, Beauville (9 passenger) wagons were only available as 210s, so '56 was a one year only deal for Bel Air 9 passenger availability. I think these are sleepers as a collector vehicle, 2nd only to a Nomad in terms of Tri-5 wagon cool factor!
  • 26
    Al8apex 85260 December 3, 2015 at 00:57
    a 56 Bel Air 4-door station wagon is NOT a "townsman" the graph refers to the "other" 2-door station wagons (not Nomads)
  • 27
    Ken NC December 4, 2015 at 13:10
    I'm surprised at the lack of Pontiac's models, especially now since the brand is gone. Safari's combined the practicality of a utility vehicle with some of the best styling features (stacked headlights, beautiful interiors and dashboards, engine choices) Not that I'm biased, owning a '63 Catalina Safari, factory 4 speed car.
  • 28
    Rob Marrow TN December 4, 2015 at 15:32
    Glad to see the Volvo 1800ES in the list. I am in the middle of restoring one. I think these cars are the nicest design ever by Volvo. Not as big as most of the others on the list. but a very cool alternative to an everyday hatchback.
  • 29
    rockinrod 3 hills ab December 5, 2015 at 00:04
    Best wagon ever Tommy Ivos WAGONMASTER.
  • 30
    Neil Davis Levittown December 6, 2015 at 10:44
    How about 71-76 Buick Estate wagons? Not even mentioned on the list, not really a surprise though. I bought an original owner six passenger 1976 with 68k from Carlisle in 2000, unfortunately not having a garage for it hastened its demise.This one was even undercoated from the dealer! These wagons were made from recycled overseas metal that did not hold up very well out in the elements, especially in a rust belt state like NY. At a relatively low production total of 5,990 it was a shame to see it degrade, so I decided to sell before it deteriorated any further.There were a couple of nice ones on ebay recently, hopefully those are stored inside wherever they ended up. If not, its just a matter of time like mine.
  • 31
    john d. windsor ca December 9, 2015 at 17:02
    The article says "the ten most popular wagons", then you use a graph that shows how many of each you insure. You show #1 as the chevy 210 Handyman, and #2 as the Nomad. This is because they made about 10 times more of the 210. There is no doubt the Nomad is #1.
  • 32
    Rambler Dave Detroit Metro December 10, 2015 at 12:19
    Nomads were the only Bel Air 2 door wagons, all other 2 door wagons (One-Fifty or Two-Ten series) were Handymans. All 4 door, 6 passenger wagons were Townsmans (One-Fifty and Two-Ten). All 1955 Bel Air 4 door wagons were Beauvilles , but no 9 passenger wagons were made that year. All 4 door, 9 Passenger wagons were Beauvilles. There were no Beauvilles in the One-Fifty series (all 3 years). In 1956 there were no Bel Air Townsmans, in 1957 no Bel Air Beauvilles. This information is readily available in "Collectible Automobiles" fine reference book "Chevrolet 1955-1957", and I realize it's very confusing for most Chevy tri five owners, most of whom think all tri fives are Bel Airs! Collectors looking for cool looking, affordable station wagons, should check out Rambler and AMC wagons, which were nearly half of AMC production. They're roomy for their size, reliable, and get a lot of comments from people at shows who knew someone in their past, who had one!
  • 33
    Jim Fader Alberta, Canada December 14, 2015 at 14:38
    I have a 1958 Edsel Bermuda wagon, very rare, and am in the process of restoration. I have a Studebaker Wagonaire with the sliding roof as well as a 1969 Sportwagon. I hope to restore all three but we'll see. Love wagons.
  • 34
    bill howard new orleans louisiana May 29, 2016 at 08:03
    there is a 60/61 buick stationwagen in my neighbor hood I would like to buy it can anyone tell me what cost is a good price its all orignail one owner still runs well but needs love
  • 35
    Johnny D Santa Rosa ca July 12, 2017 at 19:59
    I would argue the Nomad is the most sought after.
  • 36
    Mark Chase Maine July 12, 2017 at 21:19
    Surprising list. I have multiple conversations with all ages when I drive my 1967 Country Squire. Everybody in the 60's had one or their parents or grandparents.
  • 37
    Paul Diaco Lancaster, PA July 12, 2017 at 09:23
    Gee... no mention of my snazzy classic '74 Vega wagon? I was one on the few who actually got over 100K on the clock. Yes, it rusted, and I always carried a case of oil in the back, but there were tons of Vega and Pinto wagons on the road in the '70's. My current daily driver is a '95 Escort wagon. This baby only has 40K, and again, there's loads of 'em still humming along. My dream car? Probably a nice Caddy wagon!

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