Station wagons have been my fascination for years. The very first car I can remember was the Austin A70 Countyman that was in the family for the first three or four years of my life. Its was painted a light chocolate beige tone with two-toned wood. According to family history, my dad hated it — and rightfully so because it suffered from the same electrical gremlins as did so many early British sports cars with Lucas electrics.
But the true nature of station wagons came to me in the sixties, when the surfing craze took hold of my life. If you didn’t have a station wagon then, you couldn’t cart the mandatory six boards and buddies to the beach and still have somewhere to sleep. These wagons carted families to church, to the country club, and to every sporting match. They were used to tow camping trailers or the family speedboat, and as you might recall, they were celebrated in National Lampoon’s Vacation movies. I’ve owned motorcycles, sports cars, coupes, sedans and wagons, and to this day, a station wagon wins as the most flexible design to ever hit the street.
Looking through the 400 pages of Classic Woodys, you will see that they went from most rudimentary to the most stylish of designs. Built worldwide, emulated and reconfigured many times over, the woody station wagon is still in the minds of designers. Eduard Gray of Gray Design in Sweden is hinting that the look should be brought back, complete with boat deck teak paneling, with his futuristic rendition of the Strand Craft Limousine Beach Cruiser, a wagon that does just what they did back in the primeval days of the depot hack- totes folks to places they want to be!