In those days my car future was crystal clear to me. I would spend my days roaming the highways, passes and b-roads of Europe in something with two seats, a blaring loud engine behind my back and the pedal to the proverbial metal. I would, off course, ignore all the practical considerations I’d read about in my car mags and laugh in the face of such mundane thoughts.
Oh, how the reality of automotive life has slapped me in the face with its oily rag. The fun car I have tucked away somewhere spends most of its time, well…, tucked away. I now spend my days and miles behind the wheel of a “lifestyle estate” car with my kids in the back like most everyone else. Still, somehow, my perception has miraculously changed and I still manage to feel smug about my current situation. How does that work then?
Off course, as you may correctly be arguing, much off that is directly attributable to a highly self-centred personality. Anything I am doing must be cool right? Right…? Some credit must be given though to the car manufacturers targeting the relevant demographic: burdened by offspring and other practical considerations but still in that phase of their life where they will part with a nice slice of hard-earned for something that will make them feel good about themselves.
So where lies the genesis of the nice estate car? Nowadays we seem to take for granted that Audi Avants, Alfa Sportwagons and BMW Tourings have a touch of cool about them. But where did that all start?
Please don’t talk to me about woodies or other wood grain adorned Americana. You may seem cool on the way to the beach with that surfboard on the roof right now, that was
certainly not the case when these were originally designed for the dollar spending house fathers in suburbia. The VW type 4 Variant may also seem like a most excellent base for that cool project car you have been pondering. However if you want to know how it was perceived when launched I suggest you look up the German for “ugly duckling” (don’t bother, its “hässliches Entlein”).
It’s going to be very hard to pinpoint the exact starting point for cool estate cars (but please use the comment field below to add your suggestions). A full 20 minutes of desk-top
It’s quite interesting that Saab didn’t concider the 95 to be a success since they didn’t replace it and didn’t have a estate until the 9-5 came in this version 1998 or something.
They always thought the “combi-coupe” was much more convenient and cool (original 99, 900 and 9000).