I’m looking for alternatives to the Volvo Amazon Wagon

I’m not a hot rod guy. I appreciate the time and money that others invest in these cars, but I have zero desire to own one. The chrome just doesn’t do it for me. Instead, I’ve always had a thing for the Volvo Amazon wagon. Like most cars that others want, these can be pricey. Here’s a build thread on turbobricks.com of a gorgeous example. The Volvo Amazon is currently a bit out of my budget. So I want to find alternative longroof options.

I was pleasantly surprised to happen on this 1953 Dodge Meadowbrook Suburban Wagon while perusing the Interwebs. The Suburban Wagon is the 2-door variant of the Meadowbrook sedan and it sits on the 114-inch wheelbase, which is shorter than the sedan.

1953 Dodge Meadowbrook Suburban Wagon

The 1953 model is powered by the “Get-Away” inline six-cylinder engine. It produces just over 100 horsepower. The 4.0-liter Hemi didn’t arrive until the final year of production in 1954 and bumped horsepower to 120 thanks to the extra two cylinders.

I’m always a sucker for clamshell rear doors. So functional. A bench and an awning at the same time!

1953 Dodge Meadowbrook Wagon clamshell rear doors

I enjoy reading car ads, especially when it is of the “I KNOW WHAT I HAVE” variety. Those ads always make me laugh, but I will always question a five digit odometer and your claim to it being the truthful mileage. If you have service records and can prove it; cool. If not, please do not waste everyone’s time by talking about your survivor mileage.

While I can’t get over the volume of chrome that cars from the “Sock Hop” era possess, I will always enjoy their gauges. Nothing says cool quite like these vintage displays. Add hood ornaments to this conversation, and you have automotive art.

1953 Dodge Hood Ornament

With only 15,400 Meadowbrook models made, and even less of the Suburban wagons, this is not the best alternative to an Amazon wagon. Volvo made 73,000 wagons between 1962-69. So my search will continue. I know I’m not the only around here who would love to get their hands on a classic station wagon. So share with me your proper alternatives to a Volvo Amazon, so that I may begin diving ever deeper into Craig’s wonderful lists.

35 Comments

    1. Why are all of the cool old Volvos in Oregon???

      Or maybe the more relevant question is, “Why don’t I live there?”.

      1. I’m personally responsible for sending a 122 and a 144 to Oregon and for retrieving a 66 GL from Oregon, which means my net contribution so far has been to increase the local population. The 144 has since worked its way to California but that was my niece’s doing.

    2. My 1971 Volvo 145 was hands down the best car I have ever owned. Made me look at 240s in a new light, too. They are better to drive and more modern in most aspects, but they are also a watered down version when it comes to choice of materials, build quality and general overengineering aspects. The 140 series pre-1972 is amazing and I think the marked has finally woken up to it, too. Earlier, these were squeezed as part donors for Amazons (engines etc.) and 240s (everything from the firewall and back, basically).

      1. I assume though, if you were dedicated enough you could take all the best parts out of a 240 and put them on a 140 to make some kind of FrankenVolvo (if you don’t mind putting too much money in what’s probably a $5000 car at best)?

        1. It has been done, I have witnessed this on local car shows a fair bit. But it’s not always the improvement that the theory might suggest…I also have no interest at all in destroyed versions like the Amazon photoshop above.

    1. They’re cool, but not Amazon cool. (I have a partially restored ’60 model in storage, black top over grey.)

  1. If something a bit smaller than an Amazon will work, there’s always the SAAB 95. Please disregard this ad’s description of the Taunus V4 as “literally a Ford 289 cut in half” as it is very much not that, neither literally nor figuratively. This makes me wonder about the gaskets included with the sale…

    https://images.craigslist.org/00m0m_7D5WLl9D0dW_600x450.jpg

    https://missoula.craigslist.org/cto/d/missoula-1967-and-1971-saab-95-wagons/6802108473.html

  2. Not sure if it’s too “hotrod” or commonplace to qualify, but I have a thing for Ford Falcon wagons. The 64-66’s are my favorite, but a 61-63 is a little less evocative of the muscle car era.

    They made a 2-door version too (unbeknownst to me until just now)

    Old and sold – dont get your hopes up:

    https://bringatrailer.com/2011/05/04/bat-exclusive-1964-ford-falcon-2-door-wagon/

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14f08157996d1b59e0ef0efbb458b98249dbb426e0543715f6b43c49b02d5e83.jpg

  3. I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for a 122 wagon for about 15 years, but all of the best prospects seem to come out of the Pacific northwest, and shipping charges to the midwest would put too big a dent in my meager budget. The Amazon remains high on my list of “must-haves-before-I-die”, though.

    Years ago, a friend of mine was restoring a ’51 or ’52 Plymouth Suburban. He unfortunately sold it off (and not to me!) before finishing restoration. I liked the body style, and ended up instead finding a ’60 Rambler American Super 2-door wagon for myself. It sits partially restored in storage, waiting for the day when all of my kids are out of college and I can finish it up.

    In my mind, there is no adequate alternative to the Amazon wagon.

      1. The Duett is definitely cool, but it feels (and looks) more like an ancient SUV than a wagon. If I saw a local one for sale I’d grab it, but I would still seek out an Amazon.

  4. It’s a long shot, but why do you like the Amazon? I guess it is because it’s an unbreakable, daily-able classic, with lots of space, neat design, excellent cargo space? The GAZ 24 wagon, aka “Volga” looks like a Soviet Volvo 140, but it is actually even a bit…well, more than that. Technically, it’s a 1960’s truck that is dressed up as a chairman’s limousine…then wagonized. These are pretty amazing. And the rouble remains worthless, so decent examples can be found for very little money. Nicer cars with EU papers and about double the prices – still cheap – can be found in Lithuania, Latvia, Germany. These were made until well into the 2000s and parts supply is fair. Bonus: Seven seats.

    https://s1.avtoclassika.com/uploads/files/news/40/files/gaz-24-5.jpg

    Here, look at that rabbit hole: http://www.autonavigator.ru/cars/all/GAZ/

  5. Hillman Minx wagon is a bit smaller, Humber Super Snipe a bit bigger. A Ford Zephyr/Zodiac would be harder to find. Fiat 1500 or 124? Ford Taunus or Cortina. Early Mazda (1500/1800) or Datsun. Triumph 2000 or Vauxhall Cresta PA.

    Probably the best option would be a Peugeot 404.

  6. If you could find one, it’s hard to think of a more beautiful small wagon than an early Vega.

    However, I have it on good authority that the last known example, being kept at the Peterson Museum in a nitrogen-filled vault, rusted away to nothing back around 1987.

    * While the statement above may be a slight exaggeration, I’d bet good money that even MDHarrell, Patron Saint Of The Obscure®️, hasn’t seen a running Vega wagon in 15 years (that wasn’t a shell turned into a drag car) or any running Vega in 5 years.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a4c066d658312c48ff1df102b04ed5584cd74769716ac26056ec6fe4a93cb4d.jpg

    1. I have, although just barely within the given timeframe in both cases, but the recent “any running Vega” sightings have been possible only because the Cosworth owners have continued to do whatever it takes to keep their examples on the road. There were at least two of those running around here in town as of a few years ago.

    2. As a kid growing up in the 1970s, I was smitten with the Vega kammback and the Pinto CruisinWagon. When the family Impala was rear-ended in 1974, the bodyshop gave us an orange Pinto Wagon as a loaner…wasn’t a CruisinWagon, but I still loved it. Once I was old enough, my first car was a Pinto wagon, but if could buy either today, it would be the kammback. As the picture above indicates, they are very special!

  7. Can I interest you in a nice Peugeot? All of these are available as wagons or flatbed Utes.
    Le 203… somewhere between an Amazon and a Duett

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/91827bc4ffb8894e38bff39dcc722912d84bbc44fc1e67cc9c32e7ef5f5e0ed3.jpg

    Le 403… don’t see too many of these

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2f9c86aabb5174264bfbe99950cee15bc088b4443e8709666d189b2e9e113ef.jpg

    Le 404… A bit of a VW Squareback look to it

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b93e9a9fefd8407f9793f702bc15906952e3a3207bad149307bbc8364839a162.jpg

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