Cohort Outtake: 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air Station Wagon – How Thrifty Americans and Canadians Hauled Their Families

The world has changed a lot in the 50 some years since this Bel Air wagon sagged down on its springs and undersized tires and hauled the family on vacation trips, to Little League games, and the weekly supermarket trip, which filled a good portion of the back with sacks of groceries. We’re not going to attempt to document all those changes here, but one of the biggest ones was the one-earner family with a passel of kids. And when it came time for long-suffering dad to figure out how to make his modest paycheck stretch far enough to buy a new family hauler, this is what was all-too often the answer.

When he pulled up in the driveway in the new Chevy Bel Air wagon, one modest step up from the poverty/skinflint-mobile Biscayne, a modest sigh of relief was to be heard from his kids. No, no Impala wagon with full wheel covers and at least a 327. But thanks god it wasn’t a Biscayne with the 230 six and a three-on-the-tree. A Bel Air; the modest middle, with a 283 and the inevitable Powerglide. A modest sigh of relief, maybe mixed in with a bit of excitement if the tired old car had been a Biscayne.

This great old original wagon was found and posted by nifticus at the Cohort, and hails from British Columbia. And given how much the Canadians back then tended to be thriftier (by necessity) than comparable-job Americans, perhaps there was some genuine enthusiasm from the kids after all.

Given the “Canada 1976” bumper sticker it probably served the original owners for…who knows how long. It all depends on on just how thrifty good old dad was.