adidas superstar womens It’s time to ignite a woodgrain wagon renaissance
Fake wood paneling is as timeless as it is fade free, but if we had to narrow down Peak Woodgrain to just one year, that year would have to be 1991.
The range of Desert Storm era family haulers that came plastered with artificial timber was astounding by modern standards: You had the Chrysler Town Country minivan, the Ford Country Squire and, of course, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Plus, there were probably a few extra grainy Nissan Sentras, AMC Eagles and various K cars lurking in the neighborhood. And the Vista Roof crowned queen of the lot was the Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon.
There have been other cool wagons since the Roadmaster Estate came and went, but it was in many ways the apotheosis of old school longroof design: V 8 powered, rear wheel drive, built like a tank on an honest to goodness frame, it was the right combination of bigness, cushiness and quiet power.
On its flanks? Fake wood, and no small amount of it.
Yes, the sustainable woodgrain harvesting and processing industry in Michigan Upper Peninsula boomed in 1991; thousands of blue collar workers received fat bonus checks that year.
Then the bottom fell out of the market. The Grand Wagoneer got the axe in 1991, and the smaller XJ based non Grand take on the theme couldn quite fill its shoes. The Country Squire was gone, too, and Chrysler minivans shed their wood entirely.
The Roadmaster held out the longest; it made it to 1996 with its acres of luxuriant ‘grain proudly defiantly! intact before finally succumbing to the SUV craze. The venerable GM B platform died with it of, some maintain, a broken heart.
We have to go back. We can go back. And Buick can lead us.
Some say woodgrain is tacky, and not entirely without reason. But some people also said wagons were dead; wagon y offerings from Volvo to Volkswagen, to say nothing of the 2018 Buick Regal TourX, have exposed them for the fools they are.
We won’t consider the wagon revival to be a success until we get another extra cushy Roadmaster, though, and it’s something crossover fatigued car buyers should embrace wholeheartedly.
There a sort of easygoing confidence that comes from a V 8, a rear wheel drive body on frame platform and dozens of board feet of old growth woodgrain vinyl to complement those classic longroof lines.
But one out of three ain half bad. Besides, somebody has to give Jeep the courage to do what it needs to do when it comes to styling the long awaited Grand Wagoneer.
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