The Station Wagon

The Origins and Evolution of the Station Wagon.

In the early 1900’s when trains dominated long distance travel in the U.S., the railway depot was a busy place. There became a growing need to transport people and cargo arriving on trains to hotels and businesses. “Depot hacks” were created to carry passengers and their baggage to and from the railway depots. Early versions resembled horse-drawn wagons, with multiple seats or benches for the passengers to sit on, and a canvas covering to help protect them from the elements.

As the horse was replaced by the internal combustion engine, self-powered depot hacks began to dominate transportation to and from train stations. The “station wagon” as it came to be called evolved from “depot hacks” just as “train depots” evolved to “train stations”.

Station wagon manufacturing was a big business, involving companies like Chevrolet, Ford and Pierce Arrow, among others. They provided the vehicle chassis and 3rd party companies were hired to custom configure the rear body of the vehicle, which was made of steel and wood. Growth in popularity of station wagons is commonly attributed to the availability of reliable chassis and innovative configuration ideas coming from the manufacturers and body builders (wood-framed stake bodies, jitneys, express bodies, delivery vans and depot hacks).

Station wagons began to split away from commercial delivery vehicles in the 1920’s. Over the years wagons became more comfortable with a steel roof, padded seats and eventually enclosed with windows. Commercial versions focused on cargo room, hauling and other delivery features. However, the use of wood in the construction of the passenger and cargo areas continued to be a common thread between the two vehicle types.

The 1950’s and 1960’s was the hay-day for mid-size and full-size station wagons. These cars were large and powerful and brought impressive styling to the station wagon market.

1953 Townsman 1953 Townsman

The Townsman name was first used in 1953 on the 210 series four-door station wagon. It was built on the GM A platform. For 1954, the name was changed to the luxury Bel Air series station wagon, which featured woodgrain paneling. Townsman wagons were eight-passenger models. A 235.5-cid inline six-cylinder engine was standard power.

1958 Brookwood 1958 Brookwood

Introduced in 1958 as Chevrolet's mid-priced station wagon, Brookwoods were trimmed in line with Chevrolet's mid-priced Chevrolet Biscayne models. The Brookwood offered for the 1958 model year was a 4-door station wagon, available in either six- or nine-passenger models.

1959 Kingswood 1959 Kingswood

The 1959 Kingswood was offered as a mid-range full size 4-door 9 passenger model, with a rear-facing 3rd row jump-seat standard. Customers could order any engine and transmission, including the 348 CID V8 and the fuel-injected 283 CID V8 engines.

1961 Lakewood 1961 Lakewood

The Chevrolet Lakewood was the station wagon version of the Corvair, the entry level station wagon series. Power came from the Corvair's rear engine with 146 CID engine which developed 80 bhp @ 4,400 rpm. Like the Corvair it had a 108 in. wheelbase and was equipped with a 3 speed manually shifted gearbox.

Over the next 40 years Chevrolet would bring many interesting wagons to market, including the Impala, Caprice, Vega, Monza, Celebrity, Cavalier and HHR. Then, the market for SUVs and minivans came roaring in. Models like the Astro Van and Venture Mini-Van. And SUVs like the Blazer, Trailblazer, Tahoe and Suburban. Consumers had unprecedented choices in people/cargo carrying vehicles.

Chevrolet’s extensive and impressive history of designing, manufacturing and selling station wagons, SUVs and crossovers continues today with the 2018 Chevy Traverse.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

The 2018 Traverse is all new for 2018. Features include the following;

Comfortable - Seating for up to 8 people.

Spacious - This roomy midsize SUV offers best-in-class maximum cargo space of 98.2 cu. ft. and a hidden underfloor rear storage compartment to boot.

Performance - The standard 3.6L V6 engine allows for impressive power and available towing capability no matter your destination. Plus, the 9-speed automatic transmission offers the smooth shifting you want and the fuel economy you need.

Traction Mode Select - If Traverse is properly equipped, this convenient feature allows you to adjust your vehicle’s performance on challenging road surfaces with the simple turn of a dial. When properly equipped choose from FWD, 4X4/Snow, Off-Road, Tow/Haul.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Safety

Safety - Traverse takes safety seriously, especially when it comes to crash prevention. This smart SUV uses available cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar to look out for potential hazards to help you avoid collisions before they happen.

Technology - Traverse helps keep you and your family connected and entertained every time you drive. An available built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi® connection for up to seven devices means the Internet comes along for the ride, almost anywhere you go.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Smart Slide - The enhanced Smart Slide® second-row seat on the passenger side can be moved and angled forward, allowing passengers easy access to the third-row seats — even if there’s an empty car seat in place. Talk about convenient.

Hidden Storage - With the touch of a button, the available 8-inch diagonal Chevrolet MyLink display slides upward to reveal a hidden storage compartment and a USB port. And to help keep your things secure, the compartment can be locked by entering a four-digit PIN.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse -  With the touch of a button

Hands - Free Gesture Liftgate - Hands full? No problem. You can open the available hands-free gesture liftgate (exclusively on Premier and High Country) with a gentle kicking motion of your foot. To make things even easier, Traverse projects the Chevrolet logo on the ground to use as a guide. The liftgate also features a programmable memory height to accommodate areas with low ceilings.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse -  Performance The Traverse is the modern day equivalent of yesterday’s depot wagons. This capable crossover/SUV is not just for hauling people and cargo. It is for the go-getters, the adventure seekers, the family that’s always in motion and anyone else who finds meaning in the everyday drive. Because no matter where you’re headed, this midsize SUV has the technology, safety and capability to take you there.