February 6, 2023

Letter from the Photo Director: October

I like wagons. I like them a lot. Haven’t always liked them, but various wagon project vehicles have been occupied my mind for the last few years. Is it because I own a wagon? Yes, but not entirely. One of those wagon projects is a 2002-2003 WRX wagon, and I’ve been thinking about it since I was 19 or 20. Enough about what’s going on in my head, let me tell you why you should like them too.

#1 They’re utilitarian. I can fit a ton of stuff in the back of my ’98 Subaru Legacy Outback and that’s with the rear seats up. Fold them down and I can fit my six feet tall self back there and sleep if need be. My wagon was a crucial instrument in moving my family to our new house. We crammed TV’s, lamps, chairs, priceless heirlooms and random odds and ends in there. Was it sketchy? At times, but it wasn’t as sketchy as my brother’s Altima or father’s Grand Prix when they were packed to the gills.

#2 They’re low key. How many times have you seen a wagon pulled over and surrounded by cops or involved in a high speed chase? Exactly, almost never.

#3 They can be fast. We’ve all seen the Corvette powered Volvo. Paul Newman had a Volvo 850 wagon powered by a supercharged Ford crate motor. Any Subaru wagon with an EJ motor can get a different EJ motor, such as a WRX or WRX STI motor. You don’t even have to be a crack pot garage mechanic, like Trent says “Anything is possible with money.” Love the V10 howl of the M5, but wish you had a place to sleep? There’s a wagon version in Europe. Can’t take the E63 AMG to get the stuff you need from Home Depot? BAM! The European market E63 AMG Wagon is available for the right price. Cadillac is even giving us a CTS V wagon, and until recently the WRX STI was still a wagon only option.

# 4 They have the ultimate trump card. We’ve all been there: you show up to a meet/the store/club/hang out spot all proud of your sedan. You may have just put a new exhaust on, different wheels, or just cleaned it and you are beaming. Then someone pulls up and parks next to you in the same car…except better. His exhaust is rarer, lighter, sounds better and makes more power. His wheels are the ones you would’ve bought if only you had the money, and his detailing makes you wash job look like you drove it through the mud. You are slayed, you’ve got nothing to one up Mr. One Upper. What to do? Buy the wagon and do the exact same mods you did to your first car. Then when Mr. One Upper pulls up and starts rifling off reasons why his whatever renders your vehicle utterly useless you break out this gem I stole from a Ron White but: “Yeah, well I got a place to f*ck your sister.” And then walk away. Back seats are nice, but having the ability to do work on something the size of a bed (instead of on something the size of a small couch) is better.

Take these words and reasons with you next time you’re looking to purchase a vehicle. Don’t over look the wagon, fear the wagon and respect it.

-Michael Chandler

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