The station wagon is an icon of American cultural history and road-trip badassery
Wagons were once so immensely popular, it's hard to fathom today given their present paucity. As cars began to take on the Jet Age aesthetic in the 1950s, station wagons were along for the ride. Often offered with the same trim packages as the increasingly outlandish sedans of the day, wagons became viable everyday vehicles for families with a sense of style. In terms of desirability, it was game on.
In the 1960s, Chevy added the Chevelle, and Nova (among others) to the Bel Air. Muscle wagons, it turns out, were useful for more than just scattering your groceries around in the back when the light turned green. Wagons were so immensely popular, Ford even flirted with a wagonized variant of the Mustang.
For a nation obsessed with the automobile, station wagons became almost as much a part of the Great American Road Trip as icons like Route 66. It's that wagon-on-the-open-road spirit that formed the basis for Clark Griswold’s eternal optimism. And of course, that spirit, juxtaposed with the sorry state of vinyl-clad wagons in the 1970s and 1980s, is what made the National Lampoon version such a funny concept.