I’ve always likes wagons, and when in the Sixties (and I was in my twenties) I discovered small English ones I was hooked, and got a nice Hillman Husky. This was in Alaska, where I’d returned after serving there in the Air Force. A few years after that, several months before heading to California, I bought a beaten-up (though only four years old!) Austin Mini Countryman for $275. We barged this to Seattle, drove down to the Bay area, and in the course of not quite five years drove it up and down the coast, then down to SoCal and out to Nashville. In '82 it went to some people in Kentucky as a family resto project.
A '60 Falcon and two Alfa sedans later we were here in Pasadena CA, where our Milano began showing the wear of being THE car, and we got a 2001 Subaru Forester. You might agree with the factory in calling it an SUV, but you’re both wrong: It is a small station wagon. The newer ones have gotten too big for our taste – they ARE SUVs, and Consumer Reports said of them, “The Forester is not an agile vehicle …” – but ours is agile enough to very nearly rival its Milanese stable-mate when it comes to backroad shenanigans. Which is saying a lot.
Next on the agenda … I am waiting for a nice early-'60s Hillman Husky to show up on one of the auction lists. I’m not holding my breath, knowing most of their shortcomings (like very fragile differentials, which I remember too well) and the cheapness for which they sold for too long. But I also know how to fiddle with them now, and remember how sweet mine was to drive.