This stunning 1957 Chevy Townsman was parked up to emphasise Chevrolet's estate car roots at the launch of the new Cruze Station Wagon
Matt Burt
11 July 2012

This 1957 Chevrolet 210 Townsman Station Wagon looked slightly incongruous in its setting when I snapped these pictures this morning. It was parked in a field in western Germany overlooking the town of Remagen and the remains of the Ludendorff Bridge, which was ferociously fought over during World War Two.

Of course, the big US machine wasn't there by accident, but parked adjacent to a gaggle of modern-day Cruzes to emphasise Chevy's estate car roots at the launch of the new Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon.

Although the modern Chevrolets are fine cars, I wasn't alone in being temporarily distracted by the Townsman. It was hard not to be, given the V8 car's hulking size in contrast to its sleeker modern stablemates.

The 210 Townsman was part of a wave of station wagons produced by Chevy during the 1950s in response to a huge increase in the popularity of such practical, load lugging vehicles in the post-war years. From the end of WW2 to the start of Townsman production in 1953, annual sales of Chevy's station wagon models multiplied by a factor of 12.

Chevy chiefs of the day identified a trend of decentralisation of population centres, particularly in the US, creating a new mode of city-country living and increasing the demand for spacious vehicles capable of transporting whole families.

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The Townsman on show in Germany is cavernous inside and beautifully styled, looking remarkably streamlined for a large machine. Sitting on the back bench, which seems big enough to accommodate four, it is surprising how high you perch - almost like a modern-day crossover. Sliding behind the wheel, it feels unfamiliar to reach for the steering column-mounted gear shifter and to grip that enormous wheel. The roof feels a long way away, and you get the sensation of rattling around in the cabin, especially after stepping from the more enveloping, cossetting environment of the Cruze SW.

The Townsman's tailgate area is a work of art, with the lower portion of the split gate sandwiched between distinctive rear fins. The glass of the side windows is ornately curved to meet the upper part of the split gate.

Unfortunately there was no chance to drive the Townsman today, but it was easy to imagine such a car packed to the roof with suitcases, excited kids babbling away in the back seat as Mom and Pop sat up front and cruised towards the seaside.

Wonder if we'll be as fascinated by today's station wagons in 45 years?

Join the debate


11 July 2012

People will be 'as fascinated by today's station wagons in 45 years' because by then  cars will be remote-controlled transport pods and the public will marvel at anything reminiscent of the good old days when fuel was only £6 a gallon and it cost no more than an arm and a leg to park on a meter.



11 July 2012

The old Chevy Estate is glorious, but surely a Daewoo Nubria estate would be more in line with the ancestry of the Cruze Estate?

Its Bizarre renaming a Korean firm with an American name, and then trying to pass off the American cars heritage as that of the Korean firm. Its even more bizarre to think a modern Chevy dealer might have these Korean cars in a showroom sitting next to things like a Camaro or Corvette!

If ever there was a car company with a confused identity this is it 



24 July 2012

Ahh but you've got to admit they're one of the few American manufacturers/brands that have pulled it off in Europe?  Don't forget the defunct revamped Daewoo models such as the new Aveo are now sold in America. 

11 July 2012

I see no sign of that dreadful " bow tie" badge they put on the Daewoos....

This is a real Chevy. The Cruze may be half-decent, but it's still a Daewoo.

12 July 2012

"the more enveloping, cosseting environment of the Cruze" The only time ever the cruze will be described as enveloping or cosseting. Ever.

13 July 2012

Wheres the flash for your camera gone ?


24 July 2012

Shouldn't that be 55 years?

1 November 2012

Sports cars often cost more in the first place which makes the insurance higher; this also makes the replacement parts more expensive. These cars are often imported which means the labor for repairs will figure into higher repair bills also. Cars that are considered in the sporting classification for insurance purposes are often vehicles with the highest theft rates. 

28 March 2013

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