Station wagons have almost disappeared from the American automotive market and hardtops, that is pillarless coupes and sedans, vanished a long time ago, the victim of changing tastes and modern crash standards. There was a time, however, when buyers favored style over safety and car makers were happy to oblige with cars such as this 1957 Buick Cabellero.
According to How Stuff Works, during the 1957 and ‘58 model years Buick offered two hardtop station wagons, the Cabellero and the Special Riviera Estate. American Motors, off all things, introduced America to the hardtop station wagon in 1956 and a few others followed suit the next year, including Buick.
The Cabellero was the fancier of Buick’s two offerings and featured a more potent engine and more portholes on the front fenders. Even though it was priced considerably higher than the Riviera Estate, the Cabellero outsold its stable mate by a wide margin.
The market for these wagons saturated quickly and sales figures for the 1958 models were a fraction of those for 1957. Given the poor sales (and the inherent structural problems with the design) Buick decided to pull the plug on the hardtop wagons at the end of their second year.
This one was on display at this year’s Survivor Car Show in St. Charles, Ill., and was awarded Survivor status by the judges, the third tier classification. Heavy patina and some rust-through in the floor boards seems to have cost it some points.