Our post yesterday on the glories of the five-door got us thinking. What, we wondered, would be in our ultimate wagon fleet? What are the most Jalopnik family haulers? And are suicide doors really necessary?
This is by no means the definitive list, but it is a healthy gathering of obscure, lovable five-doors. Think we missed something? Add it in the comments. No pushing! No biting! Sally, quit pulling Timmy's hair! Do you want to ride in the wayback ever again? Don't make me turn this car around!
1994 Volvo 850 BTCC
The Tom Walkinshaw-built Volvo 850 that competed in the 1994 British Touring Car Championship was known for possessing two things: One, a curb-hopping, wheel-dropping excess of soul; and two, the fastest wayback in Europe. It lasted just one year before being replaced by an 850 sedan. Boo.
1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 Binz
The Mercedes-Benz "Ponton" wagon, also known as the Binz, is quite possibly the weirdest, slowest, rarest Mercedes five-door ever built. The car is based on the 1953-1962 W120/121 sedan; construction was handled by the German coachwork firm Binz. A limited number were built, and very few survive.
Personal note: My parents owned one of these for a few years when I was little. I remember nothing about it save the fact that the rear hatch weighed eleventy billion pounds. Dad says it was painfully slow but filled with extremely well-finished wood. I still haven't forgiven them for selling it.
Photo Credit: Mbzponton.org
1969 Citroen DS Wagon/Break/Safari/Familiale/etc.
The Citroen DS is a masterpiece of automotive engineering, a rolling testament to the fact that greatness can be created with little more than determination, a pack of Gauloises, and a vat of hydraulic fluid. The DS wagon was sold under many names, but fittingly, the American version was simply dubbed "Citroen Wagon."
Random Technical Tidbit: The hydraulic suspension spheres (essentially the self-leveling spring and damper unit) in the rear of a DS wagon are more durable, and can support significantly more weight, than those in the sedan. I forget the exact numbers, but a Citroen-loving engineer friend of mine once did the math and pointed out that you could essentially stuff an entire college football team in the cargo area and suffer no loss in ride height. Andre Lefebvre, we salute you.
196? Alfa Romeo Giulia Giardinera/Colli/etc.
We're going to go out on a limb here and reveal some personal bias: The Alfa Romeo Giulia four-door is perhaps the single greatest sport sedan to come out of Europe in the early 1960s. It's fast, it has a live axle that does things no live axle should be able to do, and it's shaped like a small refrigerator. A handful of different Italian coachbuilders produced wagon variants, but the most well-known (and common) version was built by Carrozzeria Colli. Somewhere between 15 and 500 examples are believed to exist. Italian police used Giulia wagons. The Alfa factory used one as a parts runner. They were turned into ambulances. Our life is incomplete without one.
Photo Credit: Count Rushmore/BulgogiBrothers
2008 Holden Commodore SS-V Sportwagon
Like the Pontiac G8? Like the V-8-powered G8 GT and G8 GXP? This is the G8's most excellent brother: the 2006-2008 Holden Commodore SS-V Sportwagon. Six liters, 360 hp, and 390 lb-ft of torque. We live in the wrong hemisphere.
1960 Saab 95
Suicide doors borrowed from the Saab 93. V-4 or two-stroke power. Seven — yes, seven — seats and a folding rear bench. The Saab 95 effectively combines everything we love about Saabs in one tidy package. It is quirk writ large in steel, and there is nothing ordinary or conventional about it.
Also, if you watch nothing else today, watch this. It will change your life. Or maybe not. But it might. Maybe. (Perfect vehicle? Of course!)
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood
Once upon a time, General Motors made some weird shit. The Lakewood — the wagon version of the import-fighting, Nader-riling Chevrolet Corvair — may not be the pinnacle of that weirdness, but it's sure as hell up there. Attention, America! We can read your minds! You have been crying out for an air-cooled, flat-six-powered, rear-engine wagon, have you not? Salvation is at hand!
(One day, I will own a Lakewood, and a turbocharged Corvair coupe, and a Corvair sedan, and a Corvair Greenbrier stepside van, and I will own them all at the same time. Why will I do this? By way of answer, I refer you to Louis Armstrong's famous remark about the nature of jazz: If you have to ask, you do not need to know.)
1957 Packard Clipper Wagon
When the Detroit Packard plant closed in 1957, Packard production moved to South Bend, Indiana, home of Studebaker. The '57 Clipper wagon was essentially a restyled Studebaker President wagon with the '57 Golden Hawk's blown V-8 under the hood. The whole mess is so brutally heinous that we can't help but love it. Rolling style couches of tire-roasting indifference, you come no more correct than this.