Back in the days before people travelled around in off-road vehicles that are too low to go off-roading in, and military vehicles that the military wouldn't touch with a no-bid contract, American moms reached their right hands back to smack their kids in the back seat of station wagons. Station wagons lack many of the features of the SUV and MiniVan we have come to know and love today - the in-car entertainment system was not a multi-disc DVD Player, but an AM radio, with a built-in 8-track player if you're lucky, and the GPS system consisted of a dad who refused to stop to ask for directions. Dual zone air conditioning was provided by allowing the back windows to roll down as well as the front, and unlike an SUV, you could actually see past it if you were backing out of a parking spot next to one.
Unlike an SUV and even some MiniVans, a station wagon was never, ever, cool. But they were incredibly useful hiding up to 8 children if they lay flat in the back. In the UK, we had similar cars that about 2/3 the size and were called Ford Granada Estates.
On of the characteristic features of a station wagon, that for a while held over into the realm of the minivan is wood paneling. Why designers felt that a stretched out version of a sedan needed a fake wooden patch over the side and back, I'll never know, but there it is above on the Chevy Caprice.
And again, below on the Chrysler Town and Country.
The Town and Country, of course, is now a minivan.
Oh, look! A 1978 Dodge Monaco!
The way this one's parked, it looks like they were designed to blend into the suburban environment.
Someone had the audacity to name this one the Plymouth Gran Fury:
And, just for the record, here's the heretoforementioned Ford Granada Estate, from my own personal childhood. I didn't have one, mind, I was running around in a Triumph Dolomite, but back in 70s swinging London, you couldn't spit without hitting one of these.