Some cars are born wagons, some achieve wagonhood, and some have bad-ass wagonhood thrust upon them. The Jalop in the street knows that wagons beat sedans nearly every time, but which wagon improved the most over its donor car?
We've asked the always loquacious and often-times polarizing Jack Baruth, the author of SpeedSportLife's "Avoidable Contact," reigning champion in the high-stakes game of auto forum trolling and three-time runner-up for the "Color Blind Drivers of America Annual Achievement Award" to step in this week on Question of the Day. — Ed.
My first experience of wagon supremacy occurred back in 1981, when Dad brought home a Buick Century Custom wagon. The A-body sedan of the era was pretty sour milk, stylistically and otherwise, but the wagon was a different story. It had grace, it had space, and in 305-powered fashion, it even had some reasonable pace —- for the era, mind you. Best of all, every A-body wagon of that generation looked exactly the same from the rear. From the cheapest Malibu Estate to the most lavishly equipped Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser, they all had the same rear door and afterthought in-bumper taillights. It taught me a message of equality among all people, great and small, that I would cheerfully ignore for the rest of my pompous life.
A later experience owning a Caprice Classic "bubble wagon" would convince me that GM cars are really best experienced in wagon form, but when it comes to making a silk wagon-purse from a sedan sow's ear, I don't think anybody can beat Peugeot. The 505 Estate featured major engineering differences from its betrunked cousin, most notably African-spec live-axle suspension and a longer wheelbase. The resulting car ended up being produced in Africa up to the present day. There's even an aftermarket four-wheel-drive version. But if you think there's a better wagon out there, feel free to disagree...
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Photo Credit: 505turbo.com