Few Hollywood cars are more iconic of the classic American family road trip than the clunky green station wagon from 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. The ugly, uncomfortable, gas-guzzling monstrosity was everything a family road-trippin’ vehicle should be. Now, that same automotive gem could be yours — sort of.
At this month’s Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Palm Beach, a pitch-perfect replica of Vacation’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster station wagon will go on the auction block. The official website offers few details about Lot #375, except to say that it’s a recreation-based on the original movie car with an upgraded eight-cylinder, 5.0-liter engine. It’s clear from the pictures that the current owner spared no detail. From the rooftop luggage to the overdone faux-wood-paneling to “dead” Aunt Edna propped up top, this is a meticulous replica.
Mercilessly, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster was never a Ford production car. Instead, Kustom Kar King George Barris dreamt up the abomination just for the movie. He started with a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire wagon, then added plenty of fake wood paneling, a Metallic Pea paint job, and doubled the headlights for no good reason. The result was a breathtakingly heinous “Dad-mobile” that proved the perfect chariot for Chevy Chase’s moronic-but-well-meaning Clark Griswold character. Even Clark didn’t want the car, but Eugene Levy — an actor born to play the role of low-level schlub — convinces him. “This is a damn fine automobile if you want my honest opinion … You think you hate it now, but wait until you drive it.”
A total of five Wagon Queen Family Trucksters were built for the original National Lampoon’s Vacation. Filmmakers needed them all to account for the seemingly neverending string of bad luck the Griswold’s encountered on their ill-fated cross-country drive to Walley World. An original wagon went on the auction block at a 2013 Mecum auction with no bites on its $35,000 price tag. The same wagon was later snatched up from Hemmings for nearly $40,000. But, the whereabouts of that version and its four siblings are currently unknown.
This year’s Barrett-Jackson collector car auction runs just April 11-13, 2019, so the opportunity to snatch this up will be short-lived. Interested Vacation-ers can register to bid at Barrett-Jackson.com. The best part: No reserve price.