What Was the Car in National Lampoon’s Family Vacation?

Are some iconic cars in movies like “National Lampoon’s Family Vacation,” such as the black Porsche 911 Turbo or the Lamborghini Countach in “Cannonball Run,” because they stand out in the wagon station Truckster Family Griswold Clark? Are they awesome like the Boys Bad in the Turbo 911 Porsche or the Cannonball in the Lamborghini Countach? Are they ready to go to Wally World?

And, in the timeless words of the car’s salesperson, “If you believe you dislike it now, wait until you experience driving it.”

The Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon
Wagon Queen Family Truckster | Barrett-Jackson

Perhaps not in green. However, nowadays an Expedition would possess the equivalent street credibility that a LTD in Crown Victoria trim used to have as Ford’s premium wagon. Moreover, it would be the very vehicle upon which the renowned Wagon Queen Family Truckster is modeled after, originating from a Ford LTD wagon from the early 1980s.

It’s hard to believe, but long ago, those giant station wagons were the precursors to today’s giant land yachts – the crossovers and SUVs that comfortably hold eight people. Maybe the Truckster Family had something right, after all, in favor of falling out of favor with these coolish cars.

Interesting fact: a duplicate of one of the initial film vehicles was purchased for approximately $40,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2020.

What was modified?

The Ford Truckster, the car that the movie’s characters in Family Truckster drove, had a metallic pea color. It had a gold crown below the back roof rails and a giant grille with gills. The car was covered with at least 10 blue ovals, which were probably a great delight to Ford. The car also had fake wood panels. The folks in the movie probably felt like they were dressing up when they turned the car into a Ford LTD.

However, no spoilers here. Despite some action-packed off-roading and multiple wrecks, it seems that the Wally World trip turned out to be a disaster for the family. Even his own family was shocked when he drove the car for the first time. The Family Queen Wagon, also known as the Truckster, was a blue sports sedan that Clark Griswold ordered from afar.

Interesting Fact: Audi created a peculiar concept edition of the Truckster on a contemporary SUV.

What was a Ford LTD station wagon?

1978 Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon | That Hartford Guy, Wikimedia Commons

It was a frame-on body design based on a truck, just like many full-sized SUVs today. It had power windows and front power seats, as well as a cassette deck and an AM/FM radio. It had seating for 10 people on vinyl Dura-Weave upholstery. It was only a few hundred dollars more than a 5.0 GT Mustang, costing $10,253. The 1983 Crown Victoria Wagon was the most expensive version of Ford’s full-size car.

The vehicle featured two enormous imitation wooden panel decals spanning the entire length of the automobile, but exclusively on the wagon. Alternatively, one could choose between a four-door or a two-door version of the same fundamental car in 1983.

In the 1989 film ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’, a Ford Wagon made a return appearance.

Front End of a Tan 1996 Ford Taurus
1996 Ford Taurus | Wiki Commons

In the third edition of the Vacation series, the newly introduced Ford Taurus wagon made a cameo.

The Ford Taurus, renamed as the Ford Five Hundred Sedan in hopes of boosting sales in 2008, was a successful car. However, it was never sold as a four-door sedan as well as a wagon. The metallic pea color of the car wasn’t even a factor in its huge success. At the time, the Taurus was an all-new car for Ford, but it featured fake wood paneling, once again playing a major role as a Ford wagon in the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.