2 Door Wagons Part 2 - Welcome Home Nomad

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

The 1950's gave birth to great prosperity, sprawling suburbs, the Eisenhower Highway system (including the Lincoln Highway and Route 66), babies, road trips, and babies. Lots of babies. People who would have otherwise lived close to relatives were now living farther apart, and automobile manufacturers took the lead to promote "The Sunday Drive" and long distance road travel. As a result, motels, rest stops, roadside attractions, diners, drive-ups, and drive-ins sprang up all across America, sometimes combining services to make themselves stand out.
SEE THE USA IN YOUR...

For those of you who are too young to remember these Travelogues, they were produced by vehicle manufacturers to be shown in movie theaters as shorts before the main attraction. In later years, they became "fill-in broadcasting" material, inserted into early morning airtime between the "off air" signal and the first morning "prime time" program.

This one promotes tourism by car in several locations, including Oak Creek Canyon  in Arizona, San Luis Obisbo and San Diego in California, and Western  Michigan. We have a few others in the blog. Just search for Roads to Romance.


OK, BUT WHAT'S THIS GOT TO DO WITH 2 DOOR WAGONS?

 All of these influences combined to become the driving force behind the growth of station wagons. But with woodies gone, both the commercial and consumer markets were left out in the cold. Commercial users had no need for fancy 4 door wagons and, just as before, a significant part of the consumer market viewed 4 door wagons as style-less utility vehicles. 

A sign of the times was large Families and there was no solution other than squeezing everyone (and luggage) into a sedan or buying a butt-ugly station wagon. Both markets compromised. Needs gave way to style, style gave way to needs and in an attempt to satisfy demand, manufacturers produced 2 and 4 door wagons of various trim levels. (Unfortunately, they were still ugly)
1949 Chevrolet 2 Door Station Wagon with wood appliques
ALL OF THAT CHANGED IN 1955

In a collective effort, automobile manufacturers unveiled entirely new designs. The days of bulbous appendages gave way to sleeker styling, powerful V8 engines, and stylish 2 door wagons including a version for commercial users. 

The winner by a landslide was the Chevrolet Nomad. Consumers could now buy a wagon as fashionable as the latest designs from CoCo Chanel.
1955 Chevrolet Nomad 2 door Wagon
1955 Chevrolet Handyman Commercial 2 door Wagon
The 1956 Ford Parklane 2 door Wagon
The 1957 Mercury Commuter may have been the only hardtop 2 door wagon produced
The 1958 Plymouth Suburban 2 door Wagon
The 1959 Rambler American 2 door Wagon
THROUGH THE '60's

The popularity for 2 door station wagons continued into the early 1960's. But with each passing year the full-size 2 door wagon gave way to the 4 door model, with none we could find after 1961. The utility and styling of the 4 door wagons won out over the 2 door. The introduction of the "compact" gave some additional life to the 2 door wagon, but, (here we go again) the 2 door wagons reflected a utilitarian, bottom of the line economy model.
1960 Mercury Comet 2 Door Wagon
1961 Full Size Ford 2 Door Wagon
1962 Corvair 2 Door Wagon
1963 Falcon 2 Door Wagon
THE END OF THE LINE? NOT SO FAST

Based on all available research, the "compact" 2 door station wagon ended with the 1964 and 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle. Interesting point as Chevrolet had abandoned all but the 2 door Corvair wagon in 1960 before resurrecting the Nomad styled Chevelle 300.
 BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!

The rise of the sub-compact was the last gasp for the production of 2 door wagons. They included the Vega and Pinto, both as a wagon and panel wagon along with the Pacer which outlasted all other 2 door wagons, ending in 1980.
Of course, now is the best time to start building your own automotive history. Join Garagistry and create a Registered Classic.
Read Part 1 - 2 Door Station Wagon
Read Part 1 - 2 Door Station Wagons
Read Part 1 - 2 Door Station Wagons
Read Part 1 - 2 Door Station Wagons

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