Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cadillac Fleetwood Station Wagon

"Station Wagon" comes from the vehicle's original purpose, which was to carry passengers and their luggage from the train station to their home or hotel.

Early station wagons were trucks modified for this purpose. Then coach builders began making wooden bodies for car frames, and by the late 1920s car companies began to build their own wooden bodied station wagons. After WW2 station wagons routinely had steel bodies.

I saw this car parked near downtown Mill Valley. The logo on the door reads "Humboldt Cross Country". It appears to be a Cadillac Fleetwood with the rear of a Chevrolet Caprice wagon grafted on to it, and the whole mess covered up with a vinyl roof. It owes its existence to some coach builder adhering to those earlier conversion methods.

I didn't think much more about this wagon until I saw this similar car for sale:

This car was recently owned by David Swig, son of Martin Swig (SF Autocenter, California Mille Miglia), who used it to tow his race car to the track.

He wrote "This particular car was built for Mrs. Harris of Harris Ranch - her Christmas present in '79 from her husband. We just got the car after it had sat for some 20 years in a garage. Thunderhill was it's maiden outing as a race tow vehicle ."

The Harris car is for sale here in Sausalito, and the claim is that it is one of only 6 made. Given that I sited the other Cadillac just a few miles away in Mill Valley, I think that claim is possible, but unlikely.

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