Home Cars 30 Station Wagons That Were Far From Boring

30 Station Wagons That Were Far From Boring

Vukasin Herbez April 11, 2019

By default, station wagons are dull family transportation devices most manufacturers have designed to be practical and useful. And the majority of them are just that with their boxy-shaped five-door wagons, big trunk, and not much more. The enormous popularity of SUVs threatens to wipe out the station wagon class. Most people look for sleek cars, so they mostly avoid them.

However, some station wagons break the mold and represent pure sexiness combined with practicality. Produced in three and five-door form, those station wagons are the perfect blend of performance, style, elegance, and usability. Some are performance wagons, and some are just downright gorgeous. The latest station wagons present the answer to an age-old automotive question. And that is, what to do when you want to drive a sports car, but your lifestyle demands a minivan? If this is your problem, check out the 30 sexiest and coolest station wagons ever made.

30. Lynx Eventer

The Jaguar XJS was the quintessential British GT cruiser produced from the mid-’70s all the way to the mid-’90s. During its long run, Jaguar delivered thousands of examples all over the world and this car was especially popular in the USA. People seemed to love its low profile and sleek contours and big power coming from the 5.3 V12 engine. On the other hand, owners reported build quality wasn’t that great.

Also, drivers complained that the interior was cramped and had limited trunk space. However, for those kinds of customers, a British engineering firm called Lynx had the perfect solution. It was in the form of a special model named the Lynx Eventer. The Eventer was a fully-built shooting brake based on the XJS that any Jaguar dealer could be service and maintain.

Most people agree that Lynx did a great job, so the Eventer looked cool and elegant, even with the extended roof and rear glass. If you want one, you’d better be prepared to look long and hard for the perfect example since Lynx only built 67 of them.

29. Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Sportwagon

Even though the gorgeous Alfa 156 wasn’t available in America, most people know about this fantastic retro-designed model. Interestingly, Alfa presented a GTA version featuring the high-revving 3.2-liter V6 that produced 260 HP.

They even offered it as a station wagon called the Sportwagon. Introduced in 2001 and produced until 2005, Alfa made just 1,678 of those highly collectible wagons. All 156 GTA Sportwagons had a unique exterior and fully leather-trimmed interior. They also topped it off with special wheels and a race-tuned suspension with bigger brakes.

28. Chevrolet Nomad “Fuelie”

Chevrolet presented the new muscle car wagon class in 1957 when they offered a high-performance drivetrain as an option on their cool-looking Nomad Wagon. By combining a practical body style with a hot fuel-injected 283 V8 small block engine, Chevrolet created a new market niche. The Nomad was a popular model they designed for small business owners and families.

But with the addition of the 283 HP engine, it was fast and could outperform some sports cars of the day. The Nomad was a three-door wagon, but its roofline was a bit different than other wagons from the 1957 Chevrolet lineup. So it was more stylish and more a shooting brake type of car, especially with the performance upgrade.

The secret was the “Fuelie” engine which they took directly from the 1957 Corvette. However, despite its great performance, this option wasn’t common. Sadly, those customers looking for practicality avoided the high-performance engine due to cost.

27. BMW Z3 Coupe

To create the first Z3 model, BMW used their E36 Compact 3 Series platform and the rear suspension from the old E30 model. And then they covered it with a sexy new open-top body. The result was a stylish convertible with two seats. It came with a lineup of potent four and six-cylinder engines. Also, it was lightweight and had great driving dynamics.

BMW released the Z3 in 1996 in the middle of the roadster renaissance to an eager audience. It was one of the bestsellers in its class. Also, it was a benchmark model in the performance and handling department. The Z3 Roadster was a big success for BMW but the company wanted to go further and introduce a closed version. Despite the fact they called it a coupe, the Z3 Coupe was in fact, a station wagon.

It had an almost vertical rear third door, a big rear glass and a big trunk that added a surprising amount of practicality into this small car. But due to its higher price and somewhat controversial styling, the Z3 Coupe wasn’t as popular as the Roadster. Still, it did manage to spread the magic of the shooting brake body style to the mainstream car market. Also, the interesting M version with the 3.2-liter straight-six engine can deliver 320 HP.

26. Jaguar XF S Sportbrake

Nobody expected a fast station wagon from Jaguar. After all, this company is famous for its sports cars and performance sedans. They even have a successful SUV model in their lineup.

However, Jaguar managed to produce an elegant long roof that is a blast to drive thanks to its 380 HP coming from the supercharged V8 engine. But, the best thing about these cars is that they are available in America, so you should buy one right now.

25.Volvo P1800 ES

The Volvo P1800 was an extraordinary success for the Swedish brand back in the early 1960s. Nobody expected the small factory to produce such an elegant, sophisticated coupe with sensual lines yet with undisputed quality and durability. All through the ‘60s, the P1800 was the most interesting car Volvo sold. And best of all, it was a well-received model in America.

But when the ‘70s arrived, Volvo needed something to revive the appeal of the P1800. The car still performed well, but the design was getting a bit outdated. So the company decided to introduce a new body style to keep their customers interested. They made the decision to present a shooting brake in the form of the Volvo 1800 ES.

Volvo presented the 1800 ES in 1972. It featured a 125 HP engine with electronic fuel injection and a station wagon rear end. Due to the dimensions of the car, the 1800 ES proved to be practical since the luggage space was immense. Since the third door opened wide, access was not a problem. Their customers accepted this car. But after just two years on the market, Volvo discontinued production after building just 8,077 examples, most of which they sold in America.

24. Ferrari FF

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the name, “Ferrari?” Most people think of mid-engine sports cars and the red classic GT cruisers with those front-mounted V12 engines. But what about an all-wheel drive, four-seat, three-door station wagon producing 660 HP?

Although it’s not your typical Ferrari, when Ferrari presented the FF in 2011, everyone was stunned. It was more like a hot hatch than a pure thoroughbred Gran Turismo in station wagon form. The FF proved to be quite popular, so Ferrari built 2,000 in the five-year production run at $300,000 apiece.

This was the first Ferrari road car featuring the shooting brake/wagon form and an all-wheel drivetrain. It may have been a slap in the face for Ferrari purists. But, it was also a highly-capable road car as well as a true, practical station wagon sports car.

23. Chevrolet Corvette Aerowagon

During the ‘80s, Callaway became well-known for their series of super-fast and obscenely powerful Corvettes. Today, almost 30 years later, Callaway is back with the Aerowagon conversion model. Chevrolet based it on the new C7 Corvette. And it was available in all trim levels, including the Grand Sport and Z06.

The Aerowagon is a conversion kit you can buy directly from Callaway or from any authorized dealer. The kit includes a special rear hatch assembly that transforms the C7 Corvette into a fully functional shooting brake without affecting its design or aerodynamics.

There were several shooting brake/wagon conversions they based on various Corvette models before this model. However, Callaway design is the most advanced, well-designed and tested. Best of all, they improved on the design, making it more practical and cooler.

22. Lotus Elite

Introduced in 1974, the Elite was the most controversial Lotus model up to date. But it was also the most practical for obvious reasons. Colin Chapman, the owner and head of Lotus wanted to replace the old Elan Plus 2 model with a more modern, four-seater model. He wanted it to feature enough room for passengers and more luggage space.

To do that, Chapman designed a wedge-shaped shooting brake that proved to be quite capable as well as a usable sports car. Since it was a Lotus, it had a four-wheel independent suspension, high-revving 155 HP engine, and light construction that provided perfect road holding. Despite its styling, the Elite was surprisingly roomy inside and easy to live with.

Of course, British cars from the ‘70s all suffered from various types of mechanical failures and the Elite was no exception. They ended production in the early ‘80s after building more than 2,500 Elites.

21. Audi RS6 Avant

When you see the RS badge on an Audi, you know a special car is in front of you. For decades now, since the legendary RS2 from the early 1990s, Audi has been producing crazy fast wagons in the A4 and A6 range. They equip them with the most powerful engines the company has along with the renewed Quattro all-wheel drive for enhanced traction and performance.

Unfortunately, the RS wagon range is not available in the U.S. But it still deserves a place on this list for its sheer beauty, elegance, power, and craziness of the package. The latest RS6 model is an elegant station wagon powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that delivers 605 HP.

The Quattro intelligent all-wheel-drive system is responsible for putting the power to the ground and the final result is astonishing. The 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 seconds in a station wagon that can carry five people and their entire luggage is truly magnificent.

20. Ford Mustang Station Wagon

When they released the Mustang in 1964, it became a worldwide hit. In fact, Ford sold a million Mustangs in just a-year-and-a-half after the introduction. As with all popular cars, customizers started presenting their vision of Ford`s popular pony car. But one of the most notable custom creations was the Mustang station wagon.

Although Ford presented several concepts, they never built a production model. However, numerous independent companies made their version of the Mustang with the long roof. And one of the most famous was built by Intermeccanica, a company that did a good job of creating a Mustang Station Wagon and selling it to eager customers.

19. Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

The Panamera got quite a lot of media attention when they presented it as the first Porsche sedan. Soon, it proved that it was worth the name and Porsche fans grew to accept it for what it was. For the second generation, Porsche offered the Sport Turismo model. It is an elegant station wagon with just a slightly different rear end, just enough to be called a wagon.

But this is not the end. Porsche also offers the Panamera Sport Turismo as a Turbo S along with a hybrid drivetrain. It is the perfect combination of practicality, advanced technology, old-school power, and luxury.

The combined output of a gasoline and electric engine delivers 680 HP, which it sends to all four wheels for the best traction. Despite weighing over two tons, this Panamera is capable of a mind-blowing 3.2 second 0 to 60 mph time, which is faster than many current sports cars.

18. Reliant Scimitar GTE

Everybody knows about the Reliant brand for its diminutive three-wheel model they called the Robin. It had an infamous part in Top Gear show. However, Reliant was a brand that had more than a few interesting models beside a tiny, unstable three-wheel car. And one of the forgotten but cool cars is the Scimitar GTE.

Reliant introduced it in 1968, and the Scimitar GTE was a shooting brake version of the two-door coupe of the same name. They built it on a custom chassis and powered it with Ford’s 3.0-liter V6 engine with 150 HP. And that gave the elegant Scimitar a respectable performance, especially by the standards of the day.

They marketed the Scimitar GTE as a luxury car that combined the comfort of a wagon with the performance and looks of a sports GT coupe. They ceased production in 1986 after building over 4,500 of them.

17. Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake

Now, here is an interesting car. It is the Mercedes CLS, a four-door coupe in station wagon form they call a shooting brake, which means three-door coupe/wagon. If you’re confused, you should be. However, it is one of the most stylish wagons currently for sale. Also, it is one of the most elegant ways to transport luggage and people in comfort.

However, since the concept is strange and the car is expensive and impractical due to the small trunk area, the CLS Shooting Brake is a rare sight on the roads. But, you can still get it in the mighty 63 AMG specs to have proper muscle car power under the hood.

16. Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake

Aston Martin was one company that always had some kind of shooting brake on offer. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, you could order a shooting brake conversion of the legendary DB4, DB5 or DB6 sports cars straight from an Aston dealer. The company would produce the chassis, contact the coachbuilding firm of your choice and deliver a fully finished car straight to your door.

British aristocrats loved this body shape since it allowed them to carry guns and equipment for hunting trips. Yet it still retains the efficiency and performance of sports coupe. At the moment, Aston doesn’t have any shooting brakes on offer which is a shame. The last one was the Virage Shooting Brake they introduced in 1992, which was built by Aston, not by the outside company.

It was a fast and attractive car with a 5.3-liter V12 engine producing 330 HP. With a whopping price of $334,000 in 1992, there weren’t many built. By the end of its production run, Aston managed to sell 75 of them, mostly in Europe.

15. Ferrari 456 GT Venice

Ferrari doesn’t make station wagons, right? Well, if you are a member of the Brunei Royal Family and have almost unlimited funds, they do. The 456 GT was Ferrari’s prime Gran Turismo model they produced from 1992 to 2003 only in two-door coupe form. But, Prince Jeffry of Brunei wanted an elegant four-door station wagon version.

So, along with the design house Pininfarina, Ferrari provided seven examples for him. The drivetrain and the performance are the same as in standard models. But the heart of the 456 GT Venice wagon is a 5.5-liter V12 engine producing 442 HP. And it can propel this elegant car from 0 to 60 in five seconds and top 180 mph.

14. Fiat 130 Maremma

Fiat was always known for its small car offerings, but the company did offer some interesting luxury coupes during the ‘60s and ‘70s. And one of those models was the gorgeous 130 Coupe. They introduced it in 1971 and built it on the 130 Sedan chassis. However, the 130 Coupe featured a totally different body and interior as well as the 2.7 or 3.2-liter V6 engine.

The car was designed by Pininfarina and it won many prizes for its styling. The interior was roomy and comfortable with a big trunk. But for people who wanted even more, Pininfarina offered an exclusive model they called the Maremma. It was a gorgeous three-door station wagon with a formal roofline and an enormous trunk.

13. BMW 2002 Touring

Everybody is familiar with the BMW 02 or “Neue Klasse” models that revolutionized the small performance sedan market, making BMW as one of the world’s leading brands. The 02 is still a popular model and has been the basis for later 3-Series cars. But even so, lots of people forget that BMW produced a cool station wagon version of this model they named the Touring.

Introduced in the late ‘60s, the Touring was a practical proposition for people looking for more space and usability. Yet it still retained that recognizable BMW driving feel. The 02 Touring was available with several engines, including the fast 2.0-liter four-cylinder with fuel injection called the 2002 Tii.

12. Porsche 924 Kombi

Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Porsche concentrated only on sports cars. In fact, they considered the word “wagon” blasphemy in the company’s lingo. However, the independent tuning house, ARTZ decided they wanted to do something different. So, they produced the Porsche 924 Kombi.

It was basically a 924 Turbo with a chopped roof they turned into a fully-functional station wagon. Although the idea sounds strange, the car was undeniably cool and practical. But better still, due to the turbo engine, it was also fast. Although Porsche didn’t endorse this product, ARTZ sold dozens of these interesting conversions on their own.

11. Jensen GT

Did you know that shooting brakes were popular in Britain? If you didn’t, the number of British cars on this list should convince you of that. And here is one more, the Jensen GT. It was a brave attempt to present a shooting brake to American car buyers back in the mid-70s. The GT was the closed version of a Jensen Healey Roadster, which was a popular open-top model in the ‘70s.

To widen its appeal Jensen decided to create a coupe, so the GT was born. Under the hood was a 2.0-liter Lotus-derived engine producing around 100 HP to deliver a modest performance. Jensen introduced the GT in 1975 and discontinued it in 1976. They sold a few of them, mostly on the U.S. market.

10. Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon

Even though the Roadmaster Estate Wagon was the least popular body style in the Buick line up, it was the most impactful. And that was because it introduced the station wagon as a category in the American car industry. Of course, there were numerous wagons before, but they were all sedan delivery cars they designed and produced for commercial purposes.

However, when they revealed the Roadmaster Estate in the late ’40s, it changed the game. Suddenly, there was a fresh and interesting long roof based on a luxury model with a powerful engine, wood grain details, upscale equipment, and prestige. This model showed that people carriers and station wagons can be cool and interesting, although just a few customers decided to purchase this special model.

Compared to the production of the standard Roadmaster, which was around 80,000 per year, they only built several hundred Roadmaster Estate Wagons. Although that was not enough to make Buick any money, it was enough to start a trend.

9. Audi RS2

The RS2 was the first in a long line of Audi performance station wagons that brought consumers those supercars with long roofs like the RS6. However, the RS2 is where it all started. Audi engineers took the famous, inline five-cylinder turbo engine with 2.2-liters and 315 HP and put it in the most uninspiring body style they could find, the station wagon.

They also added Quattro all-wheel-drive magic and a manual transmission. Finally, they sent it all to Porsche for a precision final assembly. The result was the RS2, with a 4.8 second time to go from 0 to 60 mph. It had divine road holding in its early 90s form. Unfortunately, the production was limited. So if you see one of those cars at the stoplight, you know you will get left in the dust.

8. Chevrolet Kingswood

To be honest, classic Chevrolet station wagon lineup was always complicated to figure out. You had different trim levels with different names, different body styles with different engines, and you couldn’t figure it out without the help of a brochure or a dealer. That is why there are several forgotten station wagons because people just couldn’t remember them all.

One of those models is the Kingswood. Sitting on the top of the wagon range, the Kingswood was produced in 1959 and 1960 and again from 1969 to 1972. Those models were always the most expensive and the biggest Chevrolet wagon offerings with powerful engines and a long list of creature comforts.

The most interesting is the late ’60s models which featured unbelievable specs. You could order the Kingswood with lush wood grain trim, chrome luggage carriers, heavy-duty components and with full big-block power. The 427 and 454 V8 powered wagons were almost as fast as muscle cars but could seat up to nine people.

7.Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

For years, Cadillac was without the proper performance series they needed to compete with BMW and Mercedes. But finally, the V-Series was born. It was all that Cadillac lovers dreamed of with its powerful engines. It came with world-class handling and suspension setups, and exclusive production. Even the competitors took notice when Cadillac rolled up with the new V-Series models.

Arguably the most successful was the second-generation CTS-V model they produced between 2008 and 2014. Under the hood was a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 556 HP making the CTS-V the most powerful performance sedan on the market. However, the wagon body style was something Cadillac buyers didn’t expect.

The car was still a blast to drive and extremely fast, it was just that most customers turned to sedans or coupes. Some buyers even weren’t aware that the wagon existed. That is why the CTS-V Wagon is a rare, forgotten model and a definitive future collectible.

6. BMW M5 E61 Touring

This was not the first M5 station wagon and fans hope that it will not be the last. But it was the fastest, most glorious performance station wagon, despite the fact they made only 1,025 with production ending in 2010. BMW presented their E60 M5 with one of the best naturally aspirated engines they ever made. It was the high revving 5.0-liter V10 producing 507 HP from a BMW Formula One unit.

But to fight Audi’s fast wagons, BMW decided to make a Touring version of the M5 with a manual transmission. The manual BMW M5 station wagon delivers 507 HP with a six-speed manual, 4.5-second 0 to 60 mph time and a 205 mph top speed. No wonder even second-hand Tourings go for over $100,000.

5. AMC Eagle Wagon

Conceived in the late ’70s, the Eagle was AMC’s answer to the rising popularity of AWD vehicles and SUVs, and AMC decided to combine their compact sedan and wagon lineup with tough and proven Jeep AWD system. The result was a surprisingly capable vehicle with the comfort and luxury of a sedan and compact dimensions. It came in a relatively low weight, with extremely good off-road characteristics.

The Eagle was one of the first, if not the first, crossover/all-wheel-drive station wagon model in the world. Only today do most people see how important and influential this car was. As expected, the Eagle was a relatively popular car, especially in areas with harsh climate and long winters. Unfortunately, AMC was losing money elsewhere. So, they went out of business in 1987, which meant death for the Eagle as well.

4. Dodge Magnum R/T

Dodge never built a Charger station wagon or factory Charger convertible. This model was always a two or four-door car throughout its history. However, if you have an irresistible urge for a station wagon Charger, there is a way to enjoy the power of the Hemi engine with the practicality of a long roof body. Simply look for the Dodge Magnum R/T.

Equipped with a 6.1-liter V8 Hemi engine pumping out 425 HP and a glorious soundtrack through its twin tailpipes, the SRT-8 was a fast, capable long roof. The design is typical Dodge and since the rest of the mechanics are identical, think of this car like a station wagon Charger.

3. Ford Deluxe Station Wagon

When you think of a classic American station wagon, you probably imagine a classic Ford Woody with surfboards on top and signature wood panels on the side. And the 1937 Ford Deluxe Station Wagon equipped with the famous Flathead V8 engine is exactly that. Ford started the Woody revolution with cool-looking wooden bodies, but soon all other Detroit-based brands followed.

Most people consider those models the first proper station wagons they aimed at regular buyers and produced on standard chassis with standard drivetrains. Those models were a bit more expensive than sedans or convertibles. However, they offered much more space and usability, which made them popular with surfers and hot rodders in the ’60s.

2. Volvo 850 R Wagon

Is there anything more boring in the automotive world than a boxy old Volvo station wagon? Probably not. It’s the typical suburban mom car from the ’90s with loads of space for the kids and their stuff. And it’s slow but dependable and dead boring to drive. You can say all that for a regular Volvo 850 Wagon, but the R version they introduced in 1996 is something completely different.

After the success of the T5 version of the 850 series that featured a turbocharged engine, Volvo decided to go a step further and introduce an all-out sleeper machine in the form of the 850 R. Under the hood, the 2.3-liter five-cylinder engine featured a bigger turbo, different intake system, and electronics, all of which resulted in a respectable 250 HP output.

Despite retaining the front-wheel drive, the Volvo 850 R Wagon still had a good acceleration time of 6.5 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of almost 160 mph. For the mid-90s this was sports car territory. You can bet there were a lot of confused Porsche owners when those boring Volvo wagons passed them on the highway.

1. Chrysler Town and Country Wagon

By the late ’50s, almost all American manufacturers started producing station wagons across the range. With the rising popularity of this body style, car companies offered innovative details, equipment, and features to attract customers. Soon, those full-size models gained more luxury to add to the appeal.

And one of the most interesting models from the period is the 1959 Chrysler Town and Country Wagon. They built it on the full-size platform and powered it with the optional 413 Golden Lion V8 engine. Also, the Town and Country Wagon had an interesting seating configuration with third-row seats facing the tailgate.

Chrysler called the rear-facing seats, the “Observation Deck” and it had power sliding rear glass as an option. Features like this suggested that wagons were not only for family transport but for road trips to discover America through its newly built highways.

These are 30 of the sexiest and coolest station wagons ever built. Which one caught your eye? These cars prove that station wagons can be fast and attractive, too. And most car fans are hoping they’ll make a comeback soon.

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