What If: Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto Four-Door Wagons

The Vega has been discussed here on CC ad infinitum (if you missed it, further reading on CC can be found here and here), so I won’t rehash what all of you know: Coulda, shoulda, woulda. But an interesting question that occurred to me is why didn’t GM offer four-door versions? For that matter, why didn’t Ford do the same with their subcompact Pinto? Many of their Japanese competitors–Datsun 510, Subaru Leone, Toyota Corolla–had them. Even Chrysler’s captive-import Dodge Colt had a four-door wagon. So why didn’t GM and Ford bother?

The European Opel Ascona (CC here), sold here as the 1900, offered a four-door version, albeit as a sedan and not a wagon. With all the money GM spent on their pet project–and let’s be honest, if they wanted to save money, they could have based their small car on the very sound Opels–how much more would tooling a Vega with more than two portals have cost?

By 1976 the Vega was a pretty decent little hauler, and the wagon was perhaps the best looking Vega of all. If a four-door version had been built, we probably can assume it would have been recycled for the 1978 Monza line, just like the two-door wagon was.

Ford did the same thing with its Pinto: Any model you wanted, as long as it had two doors–notwithstanding the wagon’s tailgate. But over in Blighty, you could get a Cortina four-door wagon. What gives, Ford? Maybe we wanted a small quattroporte Pinto. The Quattropinto?

And by the way, for all you Pinto people (wagon CC here): My first attempt to create a four-door Pinto wagon resulted in a concoction so ugly that I ditched it. Perhaps it was the angle of the original photo I used. At any rate, a more suitable picture from oldcarbrochures.com sufficed. May I present the 1980 Pinto Squire four-door wagon?

This four-door Pinto’s styling is not quite as harmonious as the four-door Vega’s–rear wheelwell intrusion, anyone?–but hey, if you wanted real room, you could always check out a Fairmont Squire or LTD across the showroom. Perhaps that’s just what people did in 1980.