Warning – another automotive nerd is about to go on a diatribe about the coolness of station wagons. Yes, this tired cliché is about to get one more installment. So then, please finish rolling your eyes and let’s get on with it.
Long before the Minivan, SUV or Crossover, it was Station Wagons that ruled the earth. These long box cars were the masters of utility. They could do it all, capable of carrying three rows of passengers, 4’ X 8’ sheets of plywood, or a month’s worth of groceries.
But every once in awhile someone gets the crazy notion that maybe a Station Wagon would make a fantastic racecar. Yes, the sensible shoes of the automotive world, in the heat of battle, burning rubber and swapping paint. It’s an idea so crazy, that it works.
Even in racing, Station Wagons can do it all. They have been participants in nearly every form of automotive competition from drifting to destruction derbies. For decades American rear-wheel drive wagons found their way onto drag strips, living life one quarter mile at a time. But that isn’t the only place they have flexed outright velocity – there are also fantastic land speed wagons.
Getting dirty seems to also be a specialty. If there is a motorsport that involves gravel, mud or snow, a wagon is surely ready and willing to go. Rally has seen its fair share of wagons, especially those coming from Subaru. But even longer, more grueling off-road races like famous Paris to Dakar rally has had wagons entered, like the Peugeot 505 shown below.
The largest and most prominent showcase of competition wagons is easily the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). In 1994 Volvo decided to enter the famed series and created an absolute legend; the 850 Estate racecar. This is probably the most famous motorsports wagon in history. Who cares if it achieved no real success during its one season of competition, bettered in every way by the Swedish sedans that came after it? The Estate was a winner in my heart.
Exactly 20 years later Honda brought along a wagon of sorts for competition in the BTCC. Ok, the Civic Tourer wasn’t a traditional station wagon, but it was close enough. Unlike the 850 Estate, the Civic Tourer achieved a bit of success during its one-year run, winning three rounds of the BTCC that year.
Two years later the longest-running wagon in BTCC history enter competition; the Subaru Levorg GT. For four years, the Levorg competed diligently, achieving high levels of success that culminated in the driver’s championship in 2017. Sadly, this rear-wheel drive wagon was withdrawn from competition this year, gone but never to be forgotten.
So that brings us to the future. What is going to be the next, great racing station wagon?