Station wagons have never really been sought after as performance machines, but if you take a look back through classic muscle car offerings, you’ll find plenty of attempts by American brands to make the family wagon cool. Whether the resulting vehicles are overdone, random or quite interesting in your opinion, we have to admit we’ve got a special place in our performance-driven hearts for these unique contraptions, and if we had to narrow it down to our favorite, well, that would be one tough call. So from one gearhead to another, here is my top five list of muscle car station wagons. Will you agree with the picks?
While the Chevrolet Nomad may not initially strike you as a muscle car- it started out as one of the glorious Tri-Fives after all- its brawn, bowtie and evolving body lines over the years have earned it a place on this list.
Produced off and on from 1955 through 1972, the Nomad offered automotive enthusiasts family-room comfort with the power to make a scene at every stop light. Engine displacement for the three generations of Nomads ranged from 235ci for the inline 6s and 265ci for the V8s, in the beginning, all the way up to 402ci in their peak performance days.
No matter if you like the early Bel Air versions, the mid-life Impala platform wagons or the late generation Chevelle Nomads, this iconic muscle machine is unique and as versatile as they get.
Sticking with the Chevy theme, we can’t help but note the iconic Chevelle wagons of the 60s and 70s. Offered in a variety of models, from the Chevelle 300 two- and four-door wagons to the Malibus, Concours, and Greenbriers (as well as the above noted Nomad), the Chevelle wagon is one of the most common and popular muscle car wagons still to this day.
With wagons produced from the Chevelle’s beginnings in 1964 all the way through its demise in 1977, the iconic family-mobile came with options like two, three and four-speed transmissions, inline-sixes and V8s hitting displacements of 250ci and 454ci respectably. If that’s not representative of a true muscle car wagon, we don’t know what is.
Preparing the footsteps for its bigger sister, the Chevy II appeared in 1962, offering a variety of platforms including a four-door station wagon. One of the smallest cars that Chevy produced at the time, the Chevy II may seem an odd choice to convert to a wagon but this gave enthusiasts smaller and less pricey options within the Chevy family.
In the beginning, the Chevy II wagon showed nothing muscular except its iconic body lines. This was due to only a 153ci four-cylinder and a 194ci inline-six being offered in the mini Chevy model. But this drastically changed as Chevy began offering bigger and bigger factory engines for the vehicle lineup starting in 1964. Prior to that, Chevy offered dealer-installed engines, including the bigger Corvette V8.
In 1965, the Chevy II saw its ranks as an official muscle car develop and even the wagon underwent a transformation in body style and power in 1966. With a new Turbo-Fire 327ci engine under the hood, Chevy II Wagons got a taste of 350hp in their late years, but some of the custom Chevy II wagons we’ve seen have boasted engines well into the 400, 500 and 600hp range.
Now before you start scratching your head, you should know that there is rumor of three GTO wagons actually existing at one point. All three are said to have been built within the 1972 model year by Pontiac employees who were able to get around regular production orders (such as equipping a wagon with an endura nose). This is according to Pontiac Historical Services, based off information we obtained on the V8 Buick forum, although some sources deny that any wagons were ever produced.
Regardless of the validity of the three 1972 GTO wagons, there’s no denying the appeal of such a car. With options like the very rare 455 HO engine, which produced 300hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, we can only image what one of these bad boys was capable of, while some GTO enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to create what they see a GTO wagon being like.
Dodge Coronet 440/500 Wagon
Known as the base for the potent Super Bee, the Dodge Coronet initially hit the market in 1949 and lasted through 1959. Six years later, the name was brought back and it was in this fourth-generation, B-body platform that the Coronet Wagon 440 was offered.
Available with a variety of Dodge engines, from the 225ci slant-6 to the 383ci, the Coronet 440 Wagon could also be fit with a 426ci HEMI engine, although there is no record of a wagon ever being fitted with one of these iconic engines from the factory.
Throughout its existence, the Coronet Wagon underwent transformations along with the rest of the Coronet line, including the addition of a 500 Wagon in 1968. Both the Coronet 440 and 500 wagons lasted through the 1970 model year, when declining interest sent them to their grave.
There are plenty of muscular station wagons out there to choose from and we’re sure we overlooked some of your favorites. So why don’t you tell us what makes your top-5 list of muscle car wagons and why?