Mercedes-Benz 300TE - Majorette #250

Mercedes-Benz 300TD - Hot Wheels (Corgi)

Mercedes-Benz E290T - Siku #1088

Citroen DS Safari - Husky #2B

Citroen DS Ambulance - Husky #6A

Citroen CX - Matchbox #12

Opel Astra Caravan - Siku #1036

Opel Omega Caravan 2.0 - Siku #1054

BMW 5 Series by Hongwell

I say Jeeves, roll out the shooting brake
story by Doug Breithaupt

Across the pond, the 'station wagon' does not exist. The estate car is alive and well however and a few old world marques like Aston Martin still call their extended sedans a shooting brake. This wonderfully Victorian name hearkens back to the wagons used to convey the guests off to pot a few pheasant. Germans cal their wagons a caravan.

While the U.S. auto market has forsaken the wagon for the SUV, Europeans find the estate car to be far more practical and useful. Can you imagine owning an SUV in Europe at 10 mpg with fuel at $4 per gallon, not to mention trying to park the thing. European car makers are still selling estate cars and toy car makers like Siku and Majorette are happy to offer fine new examples.

While three Mercedes-Benz models are shown, the Hot Wheels 300TD is actually a Corgi casting that was re-labeled when Mattel absorbed many Corgi models into the Hot Wheels line. The Majorette version of the 300TE offers an opening back window. Siku currently offers the new Mercedes E290T in their line.

Husky (Corgi) did the Citroen DS Safari, however this rough example is missing a boat that belongs on top. Husky actually did the same car earlier in a smaller scale but I do not have an example except in the ambulance version. Husky also did the Ford Zyphyr wagon, #24-A (not shown). Matchbox did the Vauxhall Victor Estate #38-B and in the 1970's, the Citroen CX wagon.

Siku offers two wagons from Opel, the Astra ans Omega caravans. The BMW 5-Series estate car represents a long tradition of wagons from Bavaria, this one by Hongwell. Impy Lone Star provided a fine Ford Zodiac Estate car in the Roadmasters and Flyers lines.

The Fiat Tipo wagon from Majorette, #286, represents the smaller compact models that are a cross between a hatch-back and wagon. The most curious wagon model has to be the Reliant-Ogle Scimitar #12-E by Corgi. This 2-door sport-wagon is in the model of the Volvo 1800ES, a car not represented in small-scale to my knowledge.

Volvo wagons are represented by a fine Majorette 245 DL #220, a newer 850 from Hongwell and the newest V40 2.0 from Siku, #1084. Not shown is Corgi's Volvo Estate Car #52-A. Buby of Argentina did the Renault 12 Break #11T and Guisval of Spain did the more recent Renault R21 Nevada.

While I am sure that more Euro-wagons have been done in 1:64, it is the ones that are missing that concern me. The Volvo 1800ES has been mentioned but what about the Aston Martin or Jaguar shooting brakes? While production was very low, these would be great additions to have. How about a little Morris estate wagon or The VW wagons?

I have not included any Asian wagons in this review. A few have been done by Tomica, Yatming and Zylmex. These are primarily Nissan or Toyota models and are smaller than American or European wagons. Newer Japanese wagons like the Suburu Outback or Forester should be done but toy car makers seem to avoid all Suburu models.

Will wagons continue in the face of competition from vans and SUV monsters? Count on it, as automakers will always find it cost effective to make a sedan into a wagon and provide more variety with the same basic platform. In fact, with fuel cost in the U.S. on the rise, truck and SUV sales may begin to drop and the smartest automakers should have some wagons ready. Of course with all the mergers, they can just send more European wagons, back across the pond.

Vauxhall Victor Estate - Matchbox #38-B

Ford Zodiac Estate - Impy Lone Star

Fiat Tipo - Majorette #286

Reliant-Ogle Scimitar by Corgi #12-E

Volvo 245 DL - Majorette #220

Volvo 850 - Hongwell

Volvo V40 2.0 - Siku #1084

Renault 12 Break - Buby #11T

Renault R21 Nevada - Guisval