Classic Station Wagons: The Top 5 Classic Station Wagon Models

February 17, 2012

Learn about the unique features of classic station wagon models from Ford, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile.

Model A Woody Classic Station Wagon

If you're trying to search through the perfect classic station wagons, you should become familiar with some of the models that have emerged as the most popular among collectors and owners over the years. Vintage station wagons are not valuable simply because they're old. Classic wagons become valuable over many years because they are known to be reliable, offer exceptional performance or are considered to be in high demand. To help you in becoming more familiar with which models of classic station wagons are the most sought after, here is a list of some of the most popular ones.

Ford Country Squire Wagon
The Ford country Squire wagon is one of the best-selling station wagons of all time. It was produced by Ford between 1951 in 1991, and always based on larger sedans that were manufactured by the company. Although the vehicle was produced until 1991, most buyers or collectors are not interested in models made after 1966. It is the Country Squire wagons that were produced between 1951 and 1966 that offer the biggest returns on an investment. If you can find a Country Squire wagon that needs restoration, you may be able to pick it up for less than $10,000. However, if you find one in excellent condition, you will pay $100,000 or more.

Ford Ranch Wagon
The Ford Ranch two-door wagon was the company's first all-steel station wagon. The two-door version of the Ranch wagon was produced between 1952 and 1961, and is considered by many to be some of the coolest looking station wagons ever made. The two-door Ranch wagon continues to be a collector favorite and often fetches more than $100,000 for vehicles that are in good to excellent condition.

Chevrolet Nomad 2 Door Wagon
Although there are many Chevrolet Nomad wagons still available. Most of those are four-door versions of the vehicle. It is the Chevy Nomad two door wagon that is in very high demand. Made from 1955 to 1957, the vehicle was based off the very popular Chevrolet Bel Air design. Spare parts are easy to find for the Nomad, but the vehicle itself can be very expensive. Be prepared to pay upwards of $100,000 for a two-door Nomad in excellent condition.

Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
Although not nearly as old as many popular classic station wagons (it was made between 1964 and 1977), the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser has always been a favorite among station wagon collectors that also share a passion for muscle cars. The sleek curves and lines of the Vista Cruiser have made it a popular car for enthusiasts that like to customize or modify their cars. A high-performance custom Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser can run you as much as $75,000 to $100,000. However, you can get a stock version of the vehicle in fair to good condition for less than $30,000.

Ford Model A Woody
The Ford Model A Woody Wagon is not a real station wagon in the truest sense of the word. However, its boxy shape and the utilitarian use of the vehicle resulted in it often being referred to as a wagon. Although many Model A Woodies are more than 70 years old, they are still relatively easy to find. In fact, you can find one that needs a lot of work for less than $10,000. However, if you want a Model A Woody in 100% mint and original condition, you can expect to pay upwards of half a million dollars.

Realistic Prices for Classic Station Wagons

If you're looking at a classic station wagon as a possible investment or simply as a dream project, you may already be aware that there is no such thing as a really cheap classic station wagon. The best station wagons from years gone by can often cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. With that in mind, here is some information that you might find useful on real life prices for popular types of classic station wagons.

The Last Woody Station Wagons
Before World War II, almost all station wagons used wood in their construction. In fact, it was not until 1949 that Plymouth introduced the first all-steel body station wagon. By the mid 1950s, no one was offering a real wood body station wagon, although Ford and Mercury began to offer fake wood panels on some models.

The original Woody began to disappear quickly after the car makers stopped manufacturing them. There was not very much demand for them at all until the late 1970s and early 1980s when collectors began to take notice of how special the old Woodys were. This created a surge in demand for many popular Woody wagons like the original Ford and Pontiac ones that were manufactured in the late 1930s and 1940s. You can expect to pay upwards of $150,000 for a '30s or '40s American-made Woody wagon.

Muscle Car Station Wagons
The 1950s and 1960s saw the birth of the American muscle car. Although most muscle cars are thought of as smaller sedan or pony car type vehicles, there were also several very popular station wagons that offered big engines and were styled to provide a muscle car appearance.

The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is one of the most sought-after 1950s muscle cars ever made. The Chevrolet Bel Air also inspired two high-powered station wagons that are very valuable today: the Chevrolet 210 and the Chevy two-door Nomad wagons. Both vehicles are highly sought after collector's items and will run you around $50,000 for one that still needs a little work. If you want to buy one that is in pristine condition, you'll pay well over $100,000.

Another 1960s era muscle car station wagon that is very popular (although not as valuable) is the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. With its sleek curves and lines, and a 440 cubic engine in some models, it quickly became known as a sleeper, or a muscle car in disguise. Although the Vista Cruiser doesn't fetch the premiums that the Chevrolet 210 or Nomad wagons do, the vehicle will still cost you up to $40,000 for one in good condition.

The First Station Wagons

Star, a division of Durant motors, is credited with building the first factory made station wagon in 1923. The vehicle is extremely rare, and if you are able to find one in good condition, you are liable to pay up to $100,000 or more for it.

Ford started offering a custom wagon body for Model T vehicles in 1919; However, the work was outsourced to the Stoughton Wagon Company. A few years later, Ford began manufacturing their own Model T wagons. Although the Model T wagon is one of the earliest station wagons ever made, it is not as valuable as many other newer models. The reason is that there are still quite a few of them available. In fact, you can purchase a Model T wagon in reasonably good condition for less than $30,000.

Related Questions and Answers

Is the 1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible Much Rarer than the Hard Top?

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible is harder to find when compared to the Bel Air hard top. Even though the Bel Air Convertible was the dream car of every "baby boomer", the Bel Air hard top was produced in four models compared to the single model for the convertible. The Bel Air Hard top was produced in a 2-door Sport Coupe, a 4-door Sport Sedan, a 4-door Sedan, and a 2-door Sedan. Because the Bel Air convertible was produced in smaller numbers, it is the rarer of the two types. However, if you were to compare each of the five styles of Bel Air against each other, they would all come out about equal.

What Kind of Places can You Expect to find 1957 Chevy Bel Air Parts?

1957 Chevy Bel Air parts can be found mostly via the Internet. Most local "bone yards" do not have vehicles of that vintage lying around. The reason for this is that there not very many in existence, and those that are in existence, are not getting into the type of accidents that would place them there. Indeed, in some of the more rural parts of the United States, there may be some parts available, but this would be a rarity. While there are specialty websites dedicated to classic station wagons, there are no specialty classic station wagon shops.

What Year is Regarded to be the Best Model of the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser?

The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser hit its high point with the 1968 model custom three seat wagon. The only other model year that came close to that year's popularity was the 1970 model custom three seat wagon. Even though the Vista Cruiser's earlier models were larger, and incorporated more powerful engines, the glamor of owning an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser gained as the years progressed. However, with the coming of the 1970s, and the gas shortages, large passenger vehicles like the Vista Cruiser were falling out of favor, and smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles were becoming popular.

Is The '56 Chevy 210 the Fastest of its Models?

While the '56 Chevy 210 had an impressive engine and drivetrain, the 1957 Chevy 210 was the fastest model. It was not until 1955 that Chevy started offering the V-8 engine for the model 210. In 1956, GM had decided to limit the availability of the 6-cylinder engine, and produced a larger variety of V-8s. The 265 cubic inch V-8 with overhead valves (OHV) sported a dual-quad barrel carburator and was rated at 225HP. However, in 1957, the 283 cubic inch Super Turbo-Fire V-8 engine with OHV and a Rochester Ram-Jet fuel injection system was available, and was capable of producing 283HP.

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