View Full Version : Blasphemy.... Wagonaire Style

03-30-2016, 08:14 AM
And even in 2004, they still couldn't get it right....


BY BRENDAN SAUR (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/author/bbimmer7/)
– MARCH 30, 2016
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/IMG_4918-1024x614.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/IMG_4918.jpg)
Take a seventeen-foot, extended-length SUV, take out the actually usable third row, replace the entire trunk area with waterproof truck lining, separate it from the passenger compartment with a limousine-style glass divider, and oh, add a retractable roof and rear windshield – that pretty much sums up the concept behind the Envoy XUV.
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-1-1024x724.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-1.jpg)
This concept wasn’t all that new, as a similar idea had been implemented with the 1963-1966 Studebaker Wagonaire. However unlike the Wagonaire, the Envoy XUV was a truck-based SUV, came at the cost of its third row, and had a power retractable roof that wasn’t overly prone to leaking. The XUV’s cargo area also included a drainage system capable of draining 35 gallons of water per minute, making spraying down the cargo bed with a hose an easy task.
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-2-1024x502.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-2.jpg)
Similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche/Cadillac Escalade EXT, the XUV’s rear seats tumbled forward and the midgate divider could be folded down, increasing the cargo area to 95.2 cubic feet. Due to the XUV’s modifications, cargo capacity was actually less than that of the Envoy XL by some 12.4 cubic feet. Unfortunately, utilizing this 95.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats was not well-suited for messy hauls, as folding down the midgate exposed areas of the interior not easily cleaned with a hose.
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-4-1024x597.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-4.jpg)
Much like the similar-era Lincoln Blackwood, the GMC Envoy XUV’s failure was in its attempt at offering the best of both worlds between a pickup truck and SUV. As it demonstrated in practice, the Envoy XUV wasn’t able to maximize the cargo carrying benefits of a pickup, nor the passenger carrying benefits of an SUV. At over 208 inches long, the XUV was longer than a standard cab Sierra pickup, yet offered less cargo space (with the seats/midgate upright) and even had a higher load floor height!
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-5-1024x726.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-5.jpg)
At the same time, the XUV only sat five passengers, or the same as the standard-length Envoy, which was 17 inches shorter in length and six inches lower in total height. As aforementioned, the Envoy XUV actually had a smaller cargo capacity than the seven-passenger Envoy XL, which had nearly identical exterior dimensions.
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-3-1024x739.jpg (http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Envoy-XUV-3.jpg)
Despite its ability to transport items such as a bookcase or a tree upright, most consumers clearly didn’t see a need to spring for the Envoy XUV (which despite its added mechanics, was priced less than $1,000 higher than the XL), and GMC discontinued the XUV after less than two years of production. Regardless of the XUV’s very narrow appeal, credit must be given to GM for having the gall to go ahead with creativity and put such a unique vehicle into production, even if it did come at the expense of improving current and more practical SUV offerings. I mean, they could have just rebadged the regular Envoy and sold it under six different brands. Oh wait, GM did do that.

03-30-2016, 09:07 AM
:mad: :( :mad: Agreed, Jeff; thumbs-down, for sure.

Brendan does acknowledge the Wagonaire, but tries to downplay it to bolster his party line about GM's "innovative ideas" and such. Since he only used stock advertising photos, he could have copied a Wagonaire photo from 'most anywhere to better frame his writing.

:yeahright: Ridiculous. :mad: :cool: BP

03-30-2016, 10:00 AM
When GM was designing the Envoy XUV, they knew a great deal about the Wagonaire. One of their designers found my web site with some Wagonaire photos and called me. We discussed the good and bad points of the Studebaker design by Brooks Stevens, like the water leaks and exhaust fumes coming in the rear section. I sent him copies of the parts catalog pages showing the bits and pieces of the roof mechanism, and told him to visit the Studebaker National Museum to see one. To GM's credit, they did make the rear section water-compatible and they added the window behind the row of middle seats to block the fumes and wind noise. There were only about 20,000 Wagonaires and fixed roof wagons made in the 1963-66 period. I wonder how many XUV's got built.

A while back, I Photoshopped my Wagonaire onto the wheels, running boards, and chassis of my Expedition. The result looks surprisingly modern. Even better with a couple inches chopped from the roof height.

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03-30-2016, 01:30 PM
Looks a lot like a Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Wonder (tongue in cheek) why?

03-30-2016, 02:31 PM
I thought the same thing as skyway! I also think it looks like a 60 series Toyota Land Cruiser! (It was a Cruiser after all!....)

That actually looks like a project i would like to do....Take a 4x4 frame and add a Wagonaire body to it!

Bill Pressler
03-30-2016, 02:48 PM
I know it's conventional wisdom to goof on GM, but the writer notes it was sold by all six GM divisions. Maybe someone can enlighten me, but I don't remember a Pontiac, Cadillac, or Saturn version of the TrailBlazer/Envoy/Bravada.

03-30-2016, 06:17 PM
And, the point is...

03-30-2016, 09:50 PM
The GM version is hard to look at .. Very awkward looking and not attractive at all . Interior is nice though .
Im not a huge Wagonaire fan but it does look way better then GM's version .

03-30-2016, 10:07 PM
The truth is that while GM was busy suing Avanti for building the Studebaker, Avanti should have sued GM for ripping off the Studebaker Wagonaire. Kind of twisted but true.

03-31-2016, 05:51 AM
I know it's conventional wisdom to goof on GM, but the writer notes it was sold by all six GM divisions. Maybe someone can enlighten me, but I don't remember a Pontiac, Cadillac, or Saturn version of the TrailBlazer/Envoy/Bravada.

Saab and Isusu got versions as well

03-31-2016, 06:06 AM
Looks a lot like a Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Wonder (tongue in cheek) why?

Ditto me on that, too, especially the chop-top. But the Envoy was butt ugly in any configuration.