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classic station wagons



  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ....I'm fairly certain a three on the tree was available 'til at least the late '70s (I seem to remember someone with a Fairmont that had one, and I've definitely seen them on Granadas).
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,043
    I used to know a lady with a '79 GMC pickup that had a 3-on-the-tree. I have a feeling that they lasted longer in trucks than in cars, though. If you were to buy a full-size truck today with a manual tranny, I guess it would have a floor shifter?

    As for big station wagons, the Pontiac Safari was probably about as big as it got. They were on the same 127" wheelbase as the Olds and Buick Estate wagons. The Impala/Caprice were on a slightly shorter 125" wheelbase, but at those lengths its doubtful anyone would notice without a tape measure. By that time, the big Mopar wagons were all on a 124" wheelbase, and the big Ford/Mercury wagons were on a 121" wheelbase, almost tiny by comparison!
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,933
    Speedshift in post #8 mentioned something about the questionable handling of the biggest of the station wagons. I have a story about my 69 Pontiac Catalina that seems to bear that out, alhtough it also involves some questionable driving...

    I was driving from Santa Cruz to LA on Spring break with a friend down 101. 101 is a state hwy, not an interstate, and the curves are a bit sharper, and some places you would still run into stoplights, etc. The speedlimit was 55, and I think that was a good speed for a wagon like the Catalina, and I didn't let it get past 60. My friend was not a close friend, but a nice but very nerdy guy who needed a ride down to So. Cal. I was doing all of of the driving, and he felt guilty and after 4 hours practically demanded to have the wheel. With its 400 engine that wagon could accelerate at a fast clip, in spite of its size, and as we got onto the freeway he gave it some gas and was soon cruising the highway at 60, 65, and then 70, talking non-stop the whole time. At 65 I started saying things like, "slow down a bit...that's fast enough...slow down...slow down!" suddenly at 75-80 mph we hit a rather sharp turn. He finally realized he was going a bit fast and switch from the gas to slamming on the chromed brake pedal. Instantly all the brakes locked, the tires were squealing, and suddenly we were doing 360s! Thank goodness there was no traffice behind us, because we did about three circles and then slammed off the hwy into a nice soft grassy and muddy median (another amazing stroke of luck). It was kind of fun, in a scary way, but I was a little bit mad. I didn't yell, but needless to say did not let him drive again. In fact, the car wouldn't start. Our skid through the mud, which stopped us effectively and safely, had broken something and we had to be towed. We spent that night in a motel 6 (he paid), while the car was repaired at a local gas station (which he also paid for). That was a nice thing about that car--a small gas station in a small town had the parts and knowledge to repair that thing, which is not something that you can say about all makes.

    Anyway, after that the dangerous possibilities of that station wagon were more apparent to me, although I think driven with some caution and awareness of the laws of physics a wagon like that is fine. I finally sold the wagon, after having less than a year, because of its oil and gas consumption, and because there was a great bus system that students could ride free in Santa Cruz. I still miss it though...
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I spun my Falcon wagon but it was because I'd raised the pressure in the front tires but not the rears. My own fault but considering I never spun any of my Corvairs (I take that back, I did spin the '65 once) that says something about wagons. I wonder how a Corvair wagon handles?
  • Well..

    I saw an 82-93ish Chevy Pickup with a columnshift not toolong ago.. so who knows!

  • I had use of a '78 Chevy Pickup, back when it was new, that had a 292 six mated to a "3 on the tree". It seemed to have enought torque to move a building, but it was all out at 70 mph.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Just like my '92 Jeep with the 4.0 I-6. It tops out at 70 mph.
  • jrosas-

    Really? There must be something wrong with yours. My friend drives an '87 with the same engine. He's a bit of an insane driver, and I've experienced 85-90 MPH on the highway in that Jeep. Talk about a white-knucked ride...but it does go that fast.

    -Andrew L
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Well, I don't need to worry about the Jeep anymore, because I just sold it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    I can't imagine the fuel mileage on a 4.0 Jeep going 90 mph. It must be close to zero.

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  • My mother had a 1976 Mercury Colony Park wagon (ersatz wood on the side, of course) with a 460, four barrel carb (might as well have been a toilet for how efficiently is flushed fuel into the motor) and dual exhaust. Was this part of a towing package? I swear you could actually see the needles of the fuel gauge and the speedometer go in opposite directions during city/winter driving.

    What a great highway cruiser, however. There was only one drawback - at about 75mph the roof rack would begin to whistle and moan.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Now I see what you're talking about. No wonder the gas gauge on my Jeep kept dropping like a stone every time I went over 80 mph!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Near Wrigley Field, there's a '75 or '76 Buick Estate Wagon for sale (no fake wood, darnit), in blue. If anyone's interested, I'll get a number. That thing is huge, not practical for the city (not anywhere if gas goes above $1.50 again!!).
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    I drove a '92 Chevy Caprice wagon over spring break. It was the worst-handling car I have ever driven in my life. Slow steering, lousy braking, bad handling, just a typical large American boat. The only thing it did well was burn rubber with its fuel-thirsty 350 V-8.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518

    Interesting commentary. I find my 1986 Parisienne to be quite easy to drive. Of course, its handling is not sporty by any means, but except for the brakes' tendency to lock-up at inappropriate times (due to the horribly engineered Powermaster brake system that was only used for one year), it holds the road well and keeps its composure. I drove my parents' 1995 Windstar for a few hours on the highway once, and it seemed much harder to control.

    -Andrew L
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