Chevrolet offered a station wagon in the top-of-the-line Bel Air series for the first time in 1954. It was a handsome eight-passenger wagon with a high roofline that made it a true carryall for the suburbanite who wanted to haul both family and lumber. The wagon seated eight and both back seats could be removed to increase its cargo space. The deluxe trim of the Bel Air also signaled the coming of the station wagon as a family car worthy of Chevrolet's other top models, and not just something for the handyman. The Bel Airs were easily recognizable by the spear-shaped double molding on the rear fender, and the wagon had a vestige of simulated woodgrain trim. Under the hood, Chevrolet introduced a "Blue Flame" six-cylinder engine for the 1953-54 model years, but this would also be the last year Chevrolet would offer only six-cylinders throughout its model lines.

THE SPECS

Price $2,283

Engine 235.5-cubic-inch inline six-cylinder

Horsepower 115 at 3,700 rpm

Wheelbase 115 inches

Overall length 199 inches

Seating capacity 8

HISTORICAL FACTS

Year 1954

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Median family income $4,173

Dow Jones industrial average (year-end) 404.38

Academy Award movie "On the Waterfront"

Milestone First open heart surgery performed.