Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wagons are Cool Again

I meant to post this story earlier but kept forgetting. But when I went out to the garage to put something away last night, I was reminded of it.

My 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari

Taking a cue from generations of clothing designers, automakers are finding success in repackaging old ideas and presenting the reborn products as the latest in must-have vehicles.

While Old Navy was busy convincing millions of shoppers that they needed capri pants, BMW struck gold with a 21st century Mini and Dodge renewed Americans’ relationship with something a bit older: the station wagon.


From the 1950’s on, the station wagon figured prominently in the family road trips that were becoming an essential part of the American experience. A growing middle class, with access to an expanding highway network, ventured off on long-distance vacations that, for many boomers and their parents, would live on in a lifetime of stories.


The baby boomers who rejected wagons as their parents’ transportation units are witnessing a revival in the class – purchased by their own children, who have no direct memory of the wagon being the least cool of all body styles.

Our family had a series of wagons from a 1954 Pontiac up to a 1971 Ford Country Squire, all packed with stories of trips to the lake in the summer and skiing in the winter. Picture it: four kids between the ages of three and ten packed in back of a 1958 Ford Country Sedan bumping along US-27 from Toledo to Petoskey, Michigan, for five hours with no iPods or Gameboys. The Donner party had a better chance.

What’s your favorite holiday travel story about you, your family, and the trips in the station wagon… or any vehicle that brought the family together, willingly or otherwise?