Station Wagons on Endangered List as S.U.V.s Crush All in Their Path

Station Wagons on Endangered List as S.U.V.s Crush All in Their Path


Beyond Volvo and Audi in the States, Mercedes-Benz imports a pair of E-class beauties, the E400 and E63S, with prices that range from $66,000 to more than $108,000 for the AMG edition. They’re hard to find on most dealer lots.

Buick — where did that come from? — sells the handsome, all-wheel-drive Regal TourX, which echoes the design cues of previous Volvo and BMW wagons. It’s fairly spunky, with 250 horsepower, and has 73 cubic feet of cargo space. The base price is less than $31,000.

For wagon fans who may wish to stretch the definition, there are the Mini Clubman and the Subaru Outback. The adorable Clubman is exceptional on the road, but it’s a rather shrunken take on the traditional wagon form; in other words, it’s a Mini. At the other end of the spectrum, the Outback is practical for hauling, but it’s bulky and inelegant; in other words, it’s a Subaru.

And for those seeking a viable wagon relic, there’s alway a woodie.

More than a half-century has passed since the Beach Boys celebrated these funky wagon/cars in “Surfin’ Safari.” (“Early in the morning we’ll be startin’ out, some honeys will be coming along. We’re loading up our Woodie, with our boards inside.”) There are now more than 2,600 members of the National Woodie Club, according to the elder woodie statesman John Lee (he’s 79), who edits the Woodie Times newsletter.

“Actually, the first cars around 1900 were practically all wood, with wood frame and floors, and early bodies were often made of wood,” Mr. Lee said. By the ’40s and ’50s, some carmakers had added handsome side panels, some made of contrasting dark and lighter wood shades, and hand-built hardwood passenger compartments.



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