A STATION WAGON, also called an ESTATE CAR, ESTATE WAGON, or simply WAGON or ESTATE, is an automotive body-style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door (the liftgate or tailgate ), instead of a trunk lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B, and C-pillar , as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a station wagon as "an automobile with one or more rows of folding or removable seats behind the driver and no luggage compartment but an area behind the seats into which suitcases, parcels, etc., can be loaded through a tailgate."
When a model range includes multiple body styles, such as sedan, hatchback and station wagon, the models typically share their platform , drivetrain and bodywork forward of the A-pillar. In 1969, Popular Mechanics said, "Station wagon-style ... follows that of the production sedan of which it is the counterpart. Most are on the same wheelbase, offer the same transmission and engine options, and the same comfort and convenience options."
Station wagons have evolved from their early use as specialized vehicles to carry people and luggage to and from a train station, and have been marketed worldwide.
* 1 Name
* 1.1 Distinction from hatchbacks
* 2 History
* 2.1 Woodies * 2.2 All-steel wagons * 2.3 Full-size wagons * 2.4 Two-door wagons
* 3 Popularity in North America * 4 Around the world * 5 Tailgate evolution * 6 Safety equipment * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 External links
Having shared antecedents with the British shooting-brake (originally a wooden-bodied vehicle used to carry shooting parties with their equipment and game), station wagons have been marketed as BREAKS, using the French term (which is sometimes given fully as BREAK DE CHASSE, literally "hunting break)." Early U.S. models often had exposed wooden bodies and were therefore called woodies .
Manufacturers may designate station wagons across various model lines
with a proprietary nameplate. Examples include "Estate" (Mercedes-Benz
, Chevrolets with the fake-wood option), "Avant" (
DISTINCTION FROM HATCHBACKS
Typical pillar configurations of a sedan (three box) , station wagon (two box) and hatchback (two box) from the same model range .
Both station wagons and hatchbacks typically share a two-box design configuration, with one shared, flexible, interior volume for passengers and cargo — and a rear door for cargo access. Further distinctions are highly variable:
PILLARS: Both configurations typically feature A, B "> 1935 Jensen-Ford woodie Pontiac woodie 1949 Packard Station Sedan
Main article: Woodie (car body style)
The first station wagons were a product of the age of train travel. They were originally called "depot hacks" because they worked around train depots as hacks (short for hackney carriage , an old name for taxis ). They also came to be known as "carryalls" and "suburbans".
Before the 1930s, manufacturers assembled the framing of passenger compartments of passenger vehicles in hardwood. In automobiles, the framing was sheathed in steel and coated with colored lacquer for protection. Eventually, all-steel bodies were adopted because of their strength, cost, and durability.
Early station wagons evolved from trucks and were viewed as
commercial vehicles (along with vans and pickup trucks ), not consumer
automobiles—with the framing of the early station wagons left
unsheathed because of the commercial nature of the vehicles. This
would be reflected on those vehicles registrations--
In 1922 Essex introduced the first affordable enclosed automobile (sedan ), which shifted the auto industry away from open vehicles to meet consumer demand for enclosed automobiles.
Initially, manufacture of the wagon's passenger compartments was outsourced to custom body builders because the production of the all-wood bodies was very time consuming. Major producers of wood-bodied station wagons included Mitchell Bentley, Hercules, USB&F, Cantrell, and other custom builders. The roofs of "woodie" wagons were usually made of stretched canvas that was treated with a waterproofing dressing.
In 1919, the Stoughton Wagon Company of Stoughton, Wisconsin, had
begun putting custom wagon bodies on Model T chassis. By 1929 Ford
was by far the biggest seller of station wagons. Since Ford owned its
own hardwood forest and mills, at the
Ford Iron Mountain Plant in the
Michigan Upper Peninsula, it began supplying the wood components for
the Model A wagon (although initially some final assembly still took
place away from the factory, by Briggs, in Detroit, with wood from the
Mengel Company in
Eventually, the car companies began producing their own station wagons. In 1923 Star (a division of Durant Motors ) became the first car company to offer a station wagon assembled on its production line (using a wooden wagon body shipped in from an outside supplier.)
By the mid-1930s, wood-bodied station wagons had some prestige. They
were priced higher than regular cars and were popular in affluent
communities. When it was introduced in 1941 the
The popularity of woodies was renewed, in the surfing culture, during the 1950s and 1960s.
After World War II, automobile production resumed, with prewar tooling. New advances in production techniques made all-steel station wagon bodies more practical, eliminating the cost, noise, and maintenance associated with wood bodies.
The first factory-built all-steel station wagon in North America was
the 1946 Jeep Station Wagon, based on the Jeep produced by
Willys-Overland during World War II. Willys offered a trim level,
evoking earlier wood bodywork, rendered instead in paint and trim
work. In 1935,
In 1949, Plymouth introduced the first all-steel station wagon in the
U.S., the two-door Suburban, based on an automobile platform . In 1950
Plymouth discontinued the woodie station wagon, converting to all
During the mid-1950s real wood accents replaced all wood sides, and by the late 1950s, the accents had been reduced to being simulated wood as durable, automotive-grade vinyl graphic appliqués were introduced in the mid-1950. For example, only the very first Ford Country Squire had real wood accents, most were built with simulated woodgrain paneling. By 1955, only Ford and Mercury offered a woodie model, accomplishing the simulation of wood with other materials, e.g., steel, plastics and DI-NOC (a vinyl product).
The Ford Country Sedan was actually a station wagon, they called it a sedan to highlight it was for personal ownership rather than taxi or other commercial use,as historically station wagons were for taxi style or hire car, hotel convenience vehicle, etc. services.
Ford was undoubtedly the most known for the use of woodgrain
appliques on its vehicles. In addition to the well-known Country
Squire , the "Squire" trim level was an available option in a few
different model ranges . These include the Falcon Squire , Fairlane
Squire , and in the 1970s the Pinto Squire . Surviving examples of
these smaller "Squire" wagons are much rarer than the more popular
full-size Country Squire, which was ordered and produced in much
higher quantities. The Squire was always the highest trim level of any
Ford Wagon and included the signature woodgrain applique, and usually
additional exterior chrome, nicer interior trim, special emblems, etc.
Other manufacturers marketed wagons and minivans with simulated wood
from the mid-1950s through the early 1990s. The most notable of these
1967 Ford Country Squire
Traditionally, full-sized American station wagons were configured for six or nine passengers. The basic arrangement for seating six was three passengers in the front and three passengers in the rear, all on bench-type seats; to accommodate nine, a third bench seat was installed in the rear cargo area, over the rear axle. Through 1956, all wagons had the third row facing forward, but Chrysler's 1957 models had a roof too low to permit a forward-facing seat installed over the axle, so it was turned around and placed behind the axle. GM wagons would adopt the rear-facing third row with 1959 models until 1971, and again in 1977.
In full-size Ford and Mercury wagons built after 1964, the configuration was two seats facing each other, placed behind the rear axle. According to Ford, each seat would accommodate two people, raising the total seating capacity to ten passengers; however, these seats were quite narrow in later models and could accommodate only one passenger, limiting the total capacity to eight passengers.
Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser and 1964–1969
Recent models of station wagons are usually built on smaller
platforms and accommodate five or six passengers (depending on whether
bucket or bench seats are fitted in front) in two rows of seating. The
Full-size station wagons have been replaced by medium or full-size
SUVs (both light truck and crossover types) with three-row seating
such as the
In 1951, the compact 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase
The 1970s were a high point for two-door wagons in the U.S. as GM , Ford, and AMC fielded examples in their subcompact car lines.
In the United Kingdom, estate car versions of small and middle sized
models were more common. The estate ("Traveller") versions of the
Morris 1000 ("Minor") and
A former East German car fleet made uniformly of Trabants and Wartburgs had a distinct luxurious version of 2-doors estate coupe Trabant 601 Estate with an extra C-column far back to extend the rear compartment of the car. This version had a full scale liftgate allowing to access the entire rear room of nearly 1000 l with rear seats folded.
POPULARITY IN NORTH AMERICA
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Since the 1970s, sales of station wagons in the United States and
Canada dropped for several reasons. The
1973 oil crisis
The emergence and popularity of sport utility vehicles which closely
approximate the traditional wagon bodystyle was a further blow. After
struggling sales, the
Since then, smaller wagons have been sold in the U.S. as less expensive alternatives to SUVs and minivans. Domestic wagons also remained in the Ford, Mercury, and Saturn lines until 2004 when the bodies began a phase-out, replaced by car-based crossover SUVs and minivans designed to look like station wagons.
The last subcompact station wagon produced in the United States and
Canada was the 1992
European luxury carmakers such as Audi,
However, the Cadillac CTS gave rise to its wagon counterpart, the 2010 CTS Sportwagon. Unlike European luxury wagons sold in North America, the CTS Sportwagon has almost as many trim levels as its sedan counterpart. The CTS wagon was discontinued in 2014.
Although station wagons have declined in North America, they offer
several advantages over car-based crossovers. Wagons offer cargo space
without compromising driving dynamics or radically increasing weight.
The high fuel prices in Europe and Japan have led to nearly half of
all production vehicles being wagons. There have been attempts at
starting new wagon models in the US. Cadillac's 2009 CTS Sport Wagon,
Acura's 2011 TSX Sport Wagon, are two examples of wagons available in
the North American marketplace that have been discontinued in recent
AROUND THE WORLD
European manufacturers often built two-door station wagons in the post-war period for the compact class, a practice that continued at Ford (amongst others) with its Escort Mark III well into the 1980s. By that time, manufacturers developed four-door models. In Europe, these vehicles remain popular and in volume production, although minivans (known in Europe as MPVs—multi-purpose vehicles) and the like have expanded into this market segment. As in North America, early station wagons were aftermarket conversions and had their new bodywork built with a wooden frame, sometimes with wooden panels, sometimes steel. Station wagons were the originators of fold down seats to accommodate passengers or cargo.
Station wagons are generally called estate cars or simply estates in the United Kingdom. The term shooting-brake , a term for an original hunting vehicle, came to be known synonymously with station wagon and were also custom built as modified luxury coupés with an estate car-like back. They generally retain two side doors. Until the early 1960s many of them were built with structural wooden rear frames, making them some of the most expensive and luxurious "woodies" ever built.
Most small cars produced in the UK from the 1950s until the 1980s had
Estate versions, some of which were also used as small delivery vans
minus the rear windows. By the mid-1950s most British car
manufacturers offered at least one estate model. Manufacturers often
chose a specific model name to apply to all their estate cars as a
marketing exercise – for example Austin used the Countryman name and
Morris estates were called Travellers. The famous wood-framed Morris
Minor Traveller was produced from 1952 to 1971 and larger Morris
Oxford Travellers were produced during the same time, initially also
with wood-framed bodies but in five-door all-steel form from 1957.
Some British estate cars were closely derived from existing commercial
van models – such as the Austin A30/35 Countryman and the Hillman
Husky while the Morris Travellers, the
Austin Cambridge Countryman and
Standard Ten Companion were bespoke. One of the smallest estate
cars ever made was the two-door Countryman/Traveller version of the
Despite the popularity of station wagons in America, the two
U.S.-owned manufacturers present in the UK (Ford and Vauxhall ) were
both relative latecomers to the estate car market, but the Ford Consul
Vauxhall Cresta were available as estates via factory-approved
conversions from specialist coachbuilders such as Friary and Farnham .
Ford BF Falcon
Rover and Austin produced 4×4 canvas-topped utility vehicles in the
1950s that were available in estate car body styles that were sold as
"Station Wagons". They incorporated better seating and trim than
standard editions with options such as heaters. Early advertising for
Germany is the largest market for station wagons in the world. Some
600 to 700,000 vehicles are sold each year, amounting to some 20% of
all car sales. The German language generally describes station wagons
as Kombinationskraftwagen ("combination motor vehicle") or Kombi for
short. During the 1980s
In France almost all station wagon models are called the BREAK (with
a different spelling from the English shooting brake). French breaks
Japanese manufacturers did not build station wagons in large volume
until recently. Models marketed as passenger station wagons in export
markets were often sold as utilitarian "van" models in the home
market. Some were not updated for consecutive generations in a model's
life in Japan: for example, while a sedan might have a model life of
four years, the wagon served for eight years, such as the 1979 Toyota
Corolla (built until 1987) and the 1987
Mazda Capella (built until
Nissan Avenir is an example of a model that began its life
as a utility vehicle and became a passenger car in the 1990s. Toyota
no longer builds a wagon version of the Camry , but has wagon versions
of Corolla or Auris , as well as Avensis . Station wagons remain
popular in Japan with the likes of
In Australia and New Zealand the most popular station wagons were the
large Ford Falcon and
South Korean manufacturers do not have strong tradition in producing estate cars.
Many modern station wagons have an upward-swinging, full-width, full-height rear door supported on gas springs —often where the rear window can swing up independently. Historically, wagons have employed numerous designs:
* SPLIT GATE: The earliest common style was an upward-swinging window combined with a downward swinging tailgate. Both were manually operated. This configuration generally prevailed from the earliest origins of the wagon bodystyle in the 1920s through the 1940s. It remained in use through 1960 on several models offered by Ford, including the 1957-58 Del Rio two-door wagon. This style was later adopted on aftermarket camper shells for pickup trucks , seeing that pickup trucks already had a bottom half tailgate as an OEM feature. * RETRACTABLE WINDOW: In the early 1950s, tailgates with hand-cranked roll-down rear windows began to appear. This was another innovation first seen on Rambler wagons. Later in the decade, electric power was applied to the tailgate window—it could be operated from the driver's seat, as well as by the keyhole in the rear door. By the early 1960s, this arrangement was common on both full-size and compact wagons. * SIDE HINGE: A side hinged tailgate that opened like a door was offered on three-seat wagons by American Motors to make it easier for the back row passengers to enter and exit their rear-facing seats. This was later supplanted by the dual-hinged tailgate.
* RETRACTABLE ROOF: The
* CLAMSHELL: Full-size
Some station wagons are fitted with additional front-facing or rear-facing seats, along with safety belts, to enable passengers to be carried safely in the cargo area.
Cargo barriers may be used to prevent unsecured cargo from causing injuries in the event of sudden deceleration, collision, or a rollover .
* ^ A B C Hillier, Victor; Coombes, Peter (2004). Hillier\'s
Fundamentals of Motor Vehicle Technology: Volume 1 (5th ed.). Nelson
Thornes. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7487-8082-2 . Retrieved 15 January 2013.
The estate body, also known as station wagons in some countries, has
the roofline extended to the rear of the body to enlarge its internal
capacity. Folding the rear seats down gives a large floor area for the
carriage of luggage or goods. Stronger suspension springs are fitted
at the rear to support the extra load. Hatchback: The hatchback is
generally based on a saloon body but with the boot or trunk area
blended into the centre section of the body. The hatchback is
therefore halfway between a saloon and estate car. This type of body
is very popular due to its versatility and style. Although some
hatchbacks are in fact saloon bodies with the boot or trunk
effectively removed (usually the smaller cars), many hatchbacks retain
the full length of the saloon but the roofline extends down to the
rear of the vehicle. As with the saloon bodies, a hatchback can have
two or four passenger doors, however there is a tendency to refer to
hatchbacks as three or five doors because the rear compartment lid (or
tailgate) is also referred to as a door on the hatchback bodies. As
with the estate, the rear seats fold down to give a flat floor for the
transportation of luggage or other objects. When the tailgate is
closed, the luggage compartment is usually covered with a parcel
* ^ "Definition: Station Wagon". American Heritage Dictionary.
Retrieved 13 January 2013.
* ^ A B Hartford, Bill (February 1969). "Sizing up the 1969 Station
Wagons". Popular Mechanics: 106. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
* ^ Street Rodder, 7/94, p.90 caption.
* ^ A B C Jazar, G. Nakhaie (2008). Vehicle Dynamics: Theory and
Application. Springer-Verlag. pp. 30, 1.8.3 Passenger