Friday, June 26, 2009

1957 Buick Hardtop Estate Wagons

In the 1950s, hardtop styling was all the rage. It started with hardtop coupes, and then spread to sedans. In the late 1950s, even some station wagons gained hardtop styling and lost their B-pillars. Among these were the 1957 & 1958 Buick Special Riviera Estate Wagon and Century Caballero. Buick's were not the only or even the first hardtop wagons. There were also Oldsmobile versions of the GM hardtop wagons, and hardtop wagons were made by Rambler, Mercury, Chrysler and Dodge as well.

This is the Special Riviera Estate Wagon, the lessor of the two Buick hardtop wagons. The Special line was Buick's "entry-level" line, as signified by its having only three portholes instead of four, though since Buick's position in GM's structure placed it below only Cadillac, even the Specials were well appointed. Thus, the Special line was prestigious enough for the hardtop wagon, though a pillared version was also available.

The Special Riviera Estate Wagon featured a 122-inch wheelbase, seating for 6 with a rear seat that folded flat for cargo space, and a 250-horsepower engine. Options included a split rear seat and a third row seat to provide seating for 9.

The higher-model of Buick's hardtop wagon was the Century Caballero Estate Wagon. It had the same wheelbase as the Special Riviera Estate Wagon, but featured a more powerful 300-horsepower V8 engine.

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