My Favorite late 50s Family Wagons
I’ve rambled on about the unique 2 door wagons of the 50s many times, as a family man and ’57 Safari owner, I do love the Park Lane, Del Rio, Rambler and awesome Nomad all so much. Now as I look at the more traditional (and practical), four-door non-woody wagons throughout this same Atomic era, which ones were the most beautiful, design wise? Luckily, its an embarrassment of riches, with so many fine models to choose from in the late 50s. Here’s the one’s I would still love to own someday:
1. The 1957 Oldsmobile Fiesta Holiday wagon. A strikingly handsome 4 door hardtop wagon with all the right styling cues- I just love this car’s design for so many reasons. The model returned for 1958 but the magic wasn’t the same.
Side note: The guy I bought my Safari from had a near perfect ’57 Fiesta he purchased directly from original owner Bud Meyer, son of speed parts legend Eddie Meyer. How cool is that? I couldn’t afford it at the time and he later sold it on Ebay.
2. 1957 Buick Caballero wagon. Another wagon masterpiece from GM in 1957, for the same reasons as the Fiesta: Hardtop styling, an elegant beltline and some pleasing proportions (also not as good in ’58). The ribbed roof on deluxe models is just one extra neat detail worth mentioning.
3. 1959 Pontiac Bonneville Safari/ 1959 Chevrolet Impala Wagon. I’ve always loved the ’59 Pontiac and Chevy styling, and their wagons that year translated so nicely from the standard sedan models. These aren’t true hardtop models, but the stainless window framing really looks the part. The 1959 Buick Le Sabre Estate wagon would fall in this camp as well.
4. 1957-8 Plymouth Sport Suburban wagon. This was a hard call the make, when you consider Mopar producing so many amazing, beautiful station wagon models throughout the mid and late 50s. DeSoto Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth all had years of wagon design brilliance, but I think the Sport Suburban door wagon possessed the right amount of tailfin, trim, and flair. A very close second would be the ’56 DeSoto Firedome wagon.
5. 1958-9 Mercury Country Cruiser Voyager wagon. You think I’m crazy for not picking a same-year Ford here, right? Something about the Merc wagon is funky and cool at the same time. This car has 4 door hardtop presence, crazy taillights and they are pretty rare to find at your local car show. Whats not to like?