Home > 70s Culture > 1970s Station Wagon

1970s Station Wagon

Long before the SUVs and mini-vans there was the 1970s station wagon

It was a great choice for many people and was a popular car in the 70s.

These extra-long cars were ideal for carrying the family and then some.

The station wagons of the very early 1970s were similar to those that were popular in the 60s. These classic full-size wagons - like the Chrysler Town and Country, the Plymouth Gran Fury, and the Chevy Caprice - usually fit 8 fairly comfortably, with two seats facing forward and a rear seat turned towards the back.

The large station wagons of the early 1970s certainly didn’t have the technology of today’s SUVs and mini-vans.

These cars pretty much came with the AM radio or – if they were lucky – there might have been a cassette or 8-Track player.

There may or may not have been air conditioning. Chances were that the only air conditioning available was provided by rolling down the windows – by hand!

However, there were two events in the 1970s that had a huge impact on the size of the decade’s cars and on station wagons in particular. In 1972, a host of emissions specifications were introduced.

That pretty much put an end to muscle cars and greatly influenced the decisions of station wagon manufacturers as well.

Secondly, the gas crunch of 1974 and the high price of fuel had Americans looking for smaller cars with better gas mileage. Traditional 1970s station wagons certainly didn’t fit into this category.

Hence, the 1970s station wagon began to change. Most full-size station wagons disappeared by 1978 and, long before that, started to be replaced by much smaller models.

Mid-size wagons, including cars such as the Chevy Malibu Estate, Pontiac LeMans Safari, Ford Gran Torino Squire, and Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, took the place of the larger wagons, and auto makers even began to manufacture very small wagons, like the Chevrolet Vega Kammback, Mercury Bobcat, and the Pontiac Astre Safari. These were two-door models that were part of the subcompact category.

Some families refused to delve into the genre of the subcompact, however, and held on to their big ol’ 1970s station wagons for many moons.

For some, those grand old cars were irreplaceable and the memories they created will be forever engraved in their minds.