Editorial: Why Wagons?

This post is written in first person, as it’s a different narrative than the regular chronicle of events at SkunkRennWerks.

To me, the wagon forms a perfect combination of elements that make up a great car. You have the size, performance, and styling of a performance sedan; combined with the cargo and people capacity of an SUV or truck. The current trend shows wagons are big, wagons are in, wagons are cool again. Take this smattering of shots from the OUSCI photo gallery, which spans generations and continents for its wagon collection:

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I’m not a wagon newcomer, I was born into it. I cut my teeth real early on the wagon trend. My dad, Cryptic Father, started me on wagon path early, with his fox-based wagons. He swapped Mustang drivelines, suspension, and interior comforts into Fairmont and LTD wagons. This was before the internet and way before I could drive, so I grew up around these projects and had many a road trip in the back of a wagon.

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When I turned driving age, I had stewardship over the beige 1984 LTD wagon in the picture above, and I loved the 5.0 V8 power and ample room for friends and parts. I did (and still do) have affairs with non-wagon platforms, but I keep coming back to the staple that the wagon format.

When I met Shelby, she was shocked when I was quite taken with her family’s former shop project, an e39 wagon with a supercharger and loads of AC Schnitzer goodies. Seems Cryptic Father wasn’t the only one with hot rod wagon dreams running through his head.

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So it was a natural choice when we bought our first joint car, the e46 wagon I now race. And when the #stealthbomber needed to leave, what could replace it, but another wagon? Of course, this is different than any wagon I’ve owned, with AWD, 6-speed manual, and a boxer engine to boot. But it has already been a thrill and finally having off-pavement capabilities has been quite addicting.

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So with the question being “Why wagon?”, I’ll always reply back “Why not?”

 

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More Audrey Hepburn, Less Jayne Mansfield.

We recently came across a great article at Petrolicious, profiling Dorian Valenzuela and his shop, DV Mechanics. The goal of the shop is to resto-mod period Alfa Romeos, allowing the cars to “go to Joshua Tree and blast around for the weekend”, among other things. If this starts to ring of Singer Vehicle Design, DV is an alumni of that company. But the goal isn’t high-dollar, its high-function, which is right up our alley. A few quotes that really stuck out as far as inspiration goes:

I really got a kick out of was buying the raw materials, going to the machine shop after hours and making my own bushings or taking a little bit of weight out of a piece of hardware. That was kinda my thing, doing “plus one” type rebuilds on various components of the car.

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I just liked that they carried on the same basic aesthetic but improved everything underneath.

For me it is an organic process with a lot of trial and error, kinda like watching your girlfriend pick out an outfit, I can’t wait [laughs].

I also want to build car that someone will not be afraid to use the shit out of.

The interior’s going to be a little bit more minimal, but equally beautiful I think. The exterior is going to appear as if it was a factory build. It’s not going to scream out at you for attention.

I take on routine jobs to fund my skunkworks projects.

You have to find somebody who really understands what you’re doing and realizes that it’s basically an art project for the first year and then it can become a money thing.

We recommend reading and viewing the whole article, as there are a lot of great tidbits and shots of various projects at DV Mechanics. Also, don’t miss the video!