Station wagons once ruled the road, especially during the 1980s. The truth is, it seemed like almost everyone had a reason to buy a station wagon. Below are some of the most iconic examples that enjoyed the height of their popularity during the 1980s. It might be hard to believe, but here is a list of no less than 20 station wagons that were popular during the 1980s. Of course, some of them were more popular than others, but every car on this list has cemented its place in automotive history for one reason or another. In some cases, it was because the cars were a mile long and heavier than most pickup trucks manufactured today. In other cases, it’s because they were so versatile and well-loved that they remained steadfast in their popularity for years. See if one (or more) of the cars on this list resonates with you.
20. 1988 Pontiac 200
Some cars are definitely more memorable than others. For the time that it existed in the early 1980s, the Pontiac 200 was fairly popular. However, it suffered from a number of reliability issues that finally spelled its doom by the late 1980s. Unfortunately, many of those same issues found their way into other Pontiac cars, something that would eventually cement the automaker’s complete demise several years later.
19. 1989 Audi 5000
Audi has always been known for making high-quality automobiles that were more than capable of competing with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other cars of that quality. This particular vehicle was no departure from that, although the car looked much more pedestrian than just about anything else made by this particular automotive manufacturer in its history. This model was popular from the very beginning of the 1980s all the way up to 1988. It didn't have a ton of horsepower, but it was reliable, so much so that there are still a few models that are running up and down the street even today.
18. 1985 Volkswagen Quantum
Volkswagen has always been known for producing automobiles that were not only cost-conscious, but also fuel conscious. This one was no exception. The problem is that the car was cheaply made, full of plastic that had the tendency to crack in the summer heat and with an engine that produced only 100 horsepower. Even when the car was in its prime, it could barely merge with traffic without getting run over in the process. As you can imagine, this often led a lot of individuals to push the car beyond its limits in an attempt to keep up with everybody else on the road. Between that and the fact that Volkswagen didn't exactly spend a lot of money designing or making this particular car, there aren't very many of them left today.
17. 1987 Toyota Cressida
Toyota has always been known for producing relatively high quality automobiles, even during the 1980s when they weren't the power house that they are today. The Cressida was the precursor to the Camry and it offered a high quality and relatively large station wagon that was capable of decent performance and longevity that was unlike anything offered by any other automaker at the time. Even then, it wasn't uncommon to see one of these cars that could go for 100,000 or even 200,000 miles, provided it was well cared for.
16. 1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra
It's interesting to note that Nissan still produces the Sentra today, albeit a very different version of this particular example. This compact station wagon came along at a time when Datsun was still manufacturing vehicles and it was as basic as they come. If you are looking for something that cost next to nothing and had excellent fuel economy, it was a good option but it didn't offer much else.
15. 1981 Mercury Marquis Colony Park
This behemoth of a car was easily one of the largest station wagons ever made. It was also the last full-size automobile of its type manufactured by Mercury or anyone else, for that matter. Its production started in 1979 and lasted all the way through the 1980s. In fact, the last one rolled off the assembly line in 1991.
14. 1984 Renault Sportswagon
This car was imported from Europe, where it had been quite successful. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as successful in the United States. Overall, people were quite underwhelmed by its small size (by US standards) and the fact that it didn’t have much horsepower when compared to the other station wagons being offered in the US at that particular point in time.
13. 1986 Peugeot 505
It’s been a very long time since anything made by Peugeot has graced the US automobile market. At the time this particular car was produced, they were actually fairly popular. There weren’t a ton of them on the road, but there were more than you might think. Over the years, they became known in almost the same way that Volvo has become known. They were thought to be the car of choice for yuppies and others who were trying to live in the suburbs and have it all, without losing their shirt in the process.
12. 1983 Buick Skyhawk
During the 1980s, Buick had a field day with the Skyhawk and the Skylark. The latter was the automaker’s compact four-door sedan, one that was very basic in what it offered, yet was reliable as could be and gas mileage that was practically unmatched by anything else on the road. The Skyhawk was the Skylark’s cousin, equal in many ways with one major exception- it wasn't a sedan, but a station wagon. The car was compact and basic, but it was also reliable and economical. As a direct result, people loved it. It made the near-perfect family car for those who didn’t want to spend a ton of money on getting from point A to point B.
11. 1988 Renault Medallion
It’s amazing how closely this car resembles the iconic Volvo station wagon. It’s similar in almost every way, at least as far as its appearance is concerned. That said, it is a bit smaller than the Volvo. It was also a car that failed in spectacular fashion, one that almost no one was interested in buying. It’s almost impossible to find one available today that’s still driveable, largely because there weren’t that many of them to begin with. It was simply a car that didn’t resonate too well with the general public, so they ended up sitting on dealer’s lots for what seemed like forever.
10. 1987 AMC Eagle
If you were looking for a stout yet compact station wagon that looked more like it was ready to go on an off-road adventure, then this was the car for you. These cars were so unique because they were beefier and higher off the ground than practically any other car manufactured at the time. In fact, they looked almost like a cross between a station wagon and a pickup truck. They were unique and they performed relatively well. As such, people couldn’t wait to get their hands on one. Even several years later, you could still find a number of these distinctive cars on the road. Today, they are a bit harder to find, but if you're lucky, you can still spot one occasionally.
9. 1989 Peugeot 504
This was definitely not one of the best selling vehicles ever sold by Peugeot, but nevertheless, it was one that seemed to define the 1980s. It was compact, economical and somewhat underpowered. In short, it was a car that appealed to certain people after the energy crisis of the 1970s when they realized that they could have a decent amount of cargo space without driving something that couldn't pass a gas station without forcing you to stop. That said, you're not really all that likely to find one of these types of cars around today, as there just aren't very many of them left, especially if you're looking for one in drivable condition.
8. 1988 Ford LTD Country Squire
Remember the Mercury Marquis station wagon that was talked about earlier? This car looked almost exactly like it, only it was Ford's version as opposed to Mercury's. This car was just as big as the Mercury and in many ways, it was very similar, minus the enhanced trim package that came with the Marquis. Nevertheless, it was also a car that lasted for the entire duration of the 1980s and beyond, although not quite as long as the Mercury Marquis. In fact, it was just a model year or two shy of making it that far. Nevertheless, that's still an impressive run for an automobile that many considered to be somewhat outdated by the time the first cars were coming off the assembly line.
7. 1984 Chevrolet Caprice Classic
Almost everyone is familiar with the Chevrolet Caprice. After all, it's one of the most classic automobiles to come along in ages and it was one that was immensely popular, both as a sedan and as a station wagon. These were cars that were considered some of the best in the industry and there was no doubt that they could carry plenty of cargo with room to spare. As such, a number of them were sold. There are far fewer of them around today, but it's still possible to find one from time to time, especially among Chevrolet enthusiasts.
6. 1985 Chrysler Town & Country
This was one of the first truly compact station wagons manufactured, especially by an automaker based in the United States. Over the years, the Town & Country name has been used on everything from station wagons to minivans, but it was here that the particular moniker became so popular. This car became even more popular in the late 1980s when all of the other automotive manufacturers were scaling down the size of their vehicles. It's one that remained popular well into the 1990s as well.
5. 1989 Mercury Sable
This was a station wagon that didn't come along until later during the decade, but it was also one that definitely made a name for itself. As a matter of fact, it eventually became more popular than the Marquis, a station wagon that had held the top spot for Mercury since the 1970s. This car was more compact and more aerodynamic, meaning it also got better fuel economy. That said, it still offered enough horsepower to be competitive and more than enough cargo space to get the job done.
4. 1989 Ford Taurus
You can bet that whenever Mercury came out with a new vehicle, Ford would do exactly the same thing. After all, Mercury was nothing more than the more upscale version of a Ford, often with a higher price tag to match. The Ford Taurus looked very much like a Mercury Sable, and it was no slouch in its own right as far as trim packages were concerned. For many years, Ford offered both a station wagon and a sedan with the Taurus, eventually deciding to discontinue the station wagon in the 1990s and focusing on only the sedan. That said, there was a time during the late 1980s when the Ford Taurus station wagon reigned supreme.
3. 1988 Buick Roadmaster
This was a really big station wagon, to say the least. It was also more aerodynamic than the overwhelming majority of the others and it had an engine so powerful, it probably could have kept up with some of the sportier cars of its time. There aren’t a lot of these cars left, but you might be lucky enough to find one here and there.
2. 1987 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Station Wagon
Who wouldn’t love the idea of a Cadillac that is also a station wagon? This car was big and it had a big engine to boot. You could fit eight people in the car (nine if you really squeezed everybody in) and there was more than enough room to haul your belongings in the back.
1. 1986 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
Oldsmobile seemed to specialize in making big cars and this one practically led the charge. It was often the choice for large families because it could haul everyone around comfortably, even on long road trips. Of course, there was more than enough room to haul suitcases and belongings in the back.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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