Once dismissed as the more practical, more cumbersome cousin of the sedan, wagons have finally cultivated a following that appreciates their interesting lines and superior utility. True, some wagons aren’t an improvement over their sedan descendants, but sometimes the wagon versions replace an awkward C-pillar with more chrome, more glass, and a lot more cargo room. Some two-door wagons even have better proportions than the coupes they’re based on. Plus, tailgates add a bench when needed. When you’re a kid it’s tough to bear a rear-facing seat. The practical benefits go on and on!
While Monterey Car Week won’t be the same this year, there are still notable wagons that will be available during online auctions this August. Here are our favorites that are up for grabs at these Monterey Online sales. We’ll give the highlights and also suggest where we’d put their people-mover practicality to use.
1949 Oldsmobile 88
The Olds 88 was more or less the Cadillac CTS-V wagon of its day. While many American brands were offering inline-six, flathead V-8, or flathead straight-eight engines, Oldsmobile had an overhead-valve V-8 that was both compact and powerful. The 303-cubic-inch engine kicked out 135 horsepower while Ford’s flathead was producing a meager 100.
Oldsmobile took a rather restrained approach to the application of wood to this wagon. Wood trim frames the side windows and dips into the beltline as it wraps around the rear and covers all of the tailgate. It provides a contrasting break from the classy metallic green paint. The engine bay looks amazing, with the Rocket V-8’s characteristic center-bolt valve covers guiding and separating the spark plug wires. We can’t explain what Oldsmobile was thinking when it designed that air cleaner, though—we’ve seen cars that couldn’t fit that massive beast in their trunk.
Our preferred road trip destination for this one: a classic Route 66 cruise.
1960 Dodge Polara
Perhaps you’re in the market for more room, more power, and some fabulous fins. The 1960 Dodge Polara wagon featured jet-age design and was packed with gorgeous details. In addition to the bold fins jutting from the quarter panels, the front fender trim has shark-like fins of its own. The interior is a mid-century marvel, with a dash clock made up of two rotating cylinders and a clear acrylic steering wheel peppered with metal flake. Under the hood, a 383 Mopar big-block makes an effortless 325 horsepower. This nine-passenger version, one of just 1768 made in 1960, is a rare sight. There may be just five remaining.
Our preferred road trip destination in the Polara: Palm Springs, where it would blend in seamlessly to the mid-century architecture.
Call us crazy, but there are several members of the Hagerty staff that prefer the shooting brake version of Volvo’s P1800, the 1800ES, to its coupe predecessor. The longer greenhouse eliminates the coupe’s resemblance to the Karmann Ghia and naturally offers up much more room for luggage and gear inside. This three-owner ES was refreshed in 2015 and shows just 72,000 miles on the odometer. The 2.0-liter, fuel-injected engine received a rebuilt short block, so it should be churning out all of its original 130 horsepower.
Our preferred road trip destination with this sultry Swede: the ski lodge. Fair, it’s not AWD, but that didn’t stop other sports car from making a snowy trek. There’s plenty of room for gear inside, so no ski rack necessary.
2019 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato
What’s not to love here? There were only 99 shooting brake versions of the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato built, and this one is being sold as essentially as new, with fewer than 20 miles on the odometer. It’s powered by a 580-horsepower V-12 and as we’ve mentioned before, we’re huge fans of the design, particularly the ornate taillights. Inside, the cabin is filled with black leather highlighted by red and gold accents in a variety of textures. The luggage area, accessed by a rather small rear hatch, has room for the bespoke three-piece luggage set that’s included.
Our preferred road trip destination with this beauty: the nearest twisty road. This grand touring machine would eat up the miles on any long-distance voyage, which is all the more reason to skip the highway monotony and take the scenic route.
1966 Aston Martin DB6
One of just six DB6 shooting brakes with coachwork by Harold Radford, this Aston Martin was built in left-hand drive for its original owner in the U.S. market, who was an avid golfer and duck hunter. Thus, cargo space was vital. It was fully optioned from the factory and also received some aftermarket upgrades, including a sun roof, air conditioning, and a Bosch Koln radio. Its 4.0-liter, 325-horsepower, triple-carbureted inline-six was less than 50,000 miles and, like the rest of the car, remains in original, unrestored condition.
Our preferred road trip destination: an unending tour of golf courses, naturally.