Maybe it’s because absence makes the heart grow fonder, but the once unloved station wagon has found an unlikely place in the hearts of millions of gearheads. They used to be everywhere, and if you were born between, say, 1940 and 1990, chances are you have fond memories from the back seat of mom and dad’s trusty people mover.
Station wagons came to dominate the American landscape once they transitioned in the early 1950s from expensive wood-bodies to mass-produced steel. They continued their dominance well into the 1980s, when the minivan burst onto the scene, largely taking their place. The market for wagons all but dried up in the ’90s, but it’s since seen a resurgence thanks to some incredible performance-oriented models.
In their heyday, there were affordable wagons, luxurious wagons, and — our personal favorite — fast wagons. From the late ’50s to the early ’70s (coincidentally the golden era of station wagons), Americans fell in love with performance and horsepower, and Detroit was more than happy to indulge them, no matter what kind of car they bought. Wagons were built to haul people and cargo, sure, but there were more than a few that could just plain haul. So we put on our rose colored glasses, dove deep into the past, and came up with 10 American wagons that have more than a little muscle car DNA in them.