Usually cars in films are a background detail. Occasionally they have a more important role.
For the 1983 cinematographic production “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, a Ford LTD Country Squire was transformed into a Wagon Queen Family Truckster. The production designers could almost have taken a stock car as it was, so grotesque had some American vehicles become by the time the film was in production.
The producers of the hit comedy probably had this kind of thing in mind:
What makes the Vacation car a little different from other movie cars is that it isn’t merely a detail. That makes it more like James Bond´s cars, the Batmobile or Christine in the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. As always, what is once the subject of criticism can come back into favour. The vinyl-covered estate cars of the 1970’s and 1980’s are now viewed with nostalgic affection, much as Victorian architecture now is. A car like this is highly likely to fetch a good price:
The interesting thing is that the shaky aesthetic judgements that take one to faking wood-panelled estate cars are still with us. The modern equivalent is the use of carbon-fibre effect appliqués both inside and outside cars. And even if real stone is being used, Bentley will offer customers veneer that signals kitchen work surfaces and ceremonial architecture. It is even more semantically inappropriate than the vinyl that at least nodded to a historic use of wood on car bodies.