Friday, May 23, 2014

Dustbuster Roundup

Wagovan vs Vista
After seeing this funny little Honda parked near my house for a while I decided to take a closer look.  

This is a 1988 Honda Civic Wagovan! The rest of the world knew it as the Honda Shuttle, but I love the export name myself.
It's a body style that was around during the early-to-mid '80s that grew from the tiny, stubby Japanese subcompact wagons of the '70s.
When this was built the Chrysler Minivan had only been around for a few years, but it would soon take over the segment and result in the disappearance of these tall but little station wagons. I actually like the design a lot for it's efficient use of interior space, and under the skin this is all super-thrifty Civic. 
That dent on the hood is all-too-familiar to anyone who has owned a Honda from the era of the low front end. People who park by backing up until they hit the bumper of the car behind them don't realize or care how low the front is on these cars.
These little bars on the rear windows are the most noticeable difference between the Wagovan and the Civic Wagon (besides the name being written on the back panel); the Wagovan had protective bars on the rear windows and a single rear bench seat that slid forward to accommodate more cargo, while the wagon had a split 50/50 passenger seat. This one must smell like delicious green apples.
Dig the awesome '80s font used for the name.
On to another odd moment in '80s wagons;
 This is a 1986 Colt Vista (Imported for Dodge!). After importing various Mitsubishis since the '70s to fulfill their compact car needs, Dodge was still at it with the Vista. This is essentially a Mitsubishi Chariot re-badged for export to the States.
I like to think Mitsubishi was tired of not getting credit after all these years and decided to steal a little of the spotlight with this subtly snarky labeling. It's letting you know that not only did Dodge not build this car, they didn't even have the ability to carry it across the ocean so Mitsubishi had to do it for them!
Everything about this car is extreme '80s angular design. A bit longer than the Civic, this one looks even more poised to be rendered obsolete by the Minivan. It managed to hold on a bit longer though, being renamed the Eagle Summit and carrying on into the '90s, even though the same company was selling Caravans as fast as they could build them.

Back to one more Civic Wagon, this one from 1989. How can you tell the difference between '88 and '89? There are no longer 2 visible screws on the orange cornering lights. Who cares? This blog is the result of walking around thinking of details like this that would make most people yawn to death. I know who I am!
Typical paint job from this era that makes the car look like it just re-entered the atmosphere from space.
This ride has what might be the most hated feature of cars from this particular era: the automatic shoulder restraint seatbelts that trundled along a track from the corner of the windshield to the correct position behind your side window. Every person who ever rode in a car with this abomination caught their neck at least once from opening the door and immediately trying to get out. Brutal! I think the mandate to have them installed on cars was dropped due to the shoulder portion being disconnected in anger 99% of the time.
Split seats, no window bars; not a Wagovan.
We'll finish this boring '80s post with another Celebrity sighting;

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