As the title says, these are the rarest wagons I could find among my photos, starting with this Alfa Romeo Giulia wagon. According to this history of Alfa Romeo wagons by Don Andreina, there were 200-500 wagons like this built including versions with side windows instead of the blocked-off treatment seen here.
Come with me for a fairly random tour of some not very often seen wagons!
Is it possible that this 1963 Glas Isar K700 Royal, which runs a 30hp 688cc air-cooled flat-twin. Glas was later taken over by BMW, and the Isar is slightly similar in format to the BMW i3, which also has a flat twin engine as the extended-range option.
With over 33,000 of these 1955-61 Ford Escort wagons (or estates if we are speaking British) built I’m possibly stretching things by including this, but rest assured they will be very thin on the ground 60 years later! Not to mention that Ford built 345,000 of the Anglia 100E that this is based on. Echoing US model ranges, there was also a fancier Squire version! The Escort name would return in 1968 of course.
This Mercedes W116 (or should it now be S116?) S-class wagon definitely qualifies as rare, with only 80 built by Crayford. I think the chrome rain gutter from the sedan does a disservice to the integration of the wagon extension, the window lines match fairly well but the chrome trim does not.
Staying in Germany, but a much more conventional car is this Borgward Isabella. You can also see the rear of an Isabella coupe, which is very stylish in a front-engined Karmann Ghia sort of way.
This 1956-62 Ford Zephyr Mark II wagon is a little more common, but is not the English version but rather the Australian one. Instead of a side-hinged door of the UK version it has a conventional tailgate.
To accompany the rather poor photo from a recent genuine CC sighting) here is another view of the same car 8 years ago!
A contemporary of the Zephyr was the Humber Super Snipe, which represented only the second wagon that Humber had built, and not a common one for what was a reasonably expensive car that you would typically see a bank manager driving.
Hang on I hear you say, what is so rare about a Ford wagon? Well have a closer look through the windshield and you will see the steering wheel on the right-hand side. This car was assembled in Australia, and the full-size Fords were no longer big sellers out here which makes the wagons quite rare. As a Ranch Wagon it would have a 332 cid V8 and three-speed manual.
Likewise this 197-something Impala wagon has its wheel on the ‘correct’ side… I think this indicates it has been in Australia likely since the 1970s, as there were some businesses that converted new or near-new cars after the factory ceased CKD assembly and imports. A more recent import would not need to be converted, and the cost of converting a car to RHD was considerable. It is also wearing a set of local Globe Bathurst alloy wheels.
I dare say this one is fairly rare in North America as well as Australia – a 1964/65 Studebaker Daytona Wagonaire, again RHD. I am not sure whether the roof would have been fixed at this stage, as apparently the sliding version was dropped at different points of the production run, and I don’t know about Australian-assembled cars. The black-and-white registration plate looks to be original for the era, which usually indicates continuous registration history.
I think a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad belongs here.
As does a pillarless wagon! This is a 1957 Oldsmobile 88 Fiesta.
Another one I am going to assume is pretty rare is the Simca Aronde P60, which I caught just as it was driving away. Again a miniature American-styled car, and very pretty even if I can’t show you the front.
The final version of the Standard Vanguard was the 1958-61 Vignale, styled by the Italian coachbuilders with input from Michelotti, who would be no stranger to future Triumphs (also owned by the Standard Motor Co.). These cars shared the 2.1-litre 4-cylinder with Triumph sports cars among others.
Something unusual is this stretched XY model Ford Falcon station wagon, that appears to have been built for airport duty or similar, with its three rows of forward-facing seats. You can see how much has been added to the wheelbase.
I’m not sure how rare it is (or was originally), but this 1970-73 Mazda 1300 wagon is one I think not many of you will have seen. There was also a 5-door version too, that was apparently more widely exported than the 3-door.
The big-brother 1500 (or 1800 in some markets) is a very nice design though – and one you definitely don’t see very often in wagon form.
I will finish with this 1953 FJ Holden wagon – possibly one of the rarest wagons to be featured this week, one of only six built by Cordell motor body builders in Hampton, Melbourne, Victoria.
There was also a Holden prototype wagon, but probably because this was still the period where Holden were struggling to build enough vehicles to meet demand the body style would not be offered by the factory until the next generation. They did sell a panel van (aka sedan delivery) which had only 2 doors.
I hope you have enjoyed this trip through some wagon rarities!