Family Truckster! 1981 Ford LTD Custom Wagon

If you’re like me, the 1983 classic National Lampoon’s Vacation starring Chevy Chase is a must-watch whenever it is on television. With the most popular in the “Vacation” series probably being Christmas Vacation, the first movie is a cult classic that introduced us to the Griswold family as they traveled cross country to reach the fictional Wally World theme park. Their mode of transportation was a “Metalic Pea, Wagon Queen Family Truckster.” Now you can own a replica of the awesome movie car. It is being sold as lot #375 at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction in April. This car was built from a 1981 Ford LTD Station Wagon and is sure to draw a crowd wherever it goes!

“You think you hate it now, but wait til’ you drive it.” is one of the classic lines delivered by comedic actor Eugene Levy. Levy plays the salesman who sells Clark Griswold (Chase) the car but unfortunately for Griswold, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster is not the car he ordered. Due to the quick staff at the car dealership, Griswold’s trade-in is quickly processed and crushed forcing him to take the Truckster. If you’ve never seen Vacation, check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

The car is powered by a 5.0 liter V8 with 4-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, there isn’t any information in the ad regarding the build. It has clearly had a complete exterior overhaul, but the engine compartment and interior look stock.

The interior is different than the movie car, but that doesn’t really matter. The story is the exterior.

Here is the infamous gas filler location on top of the front passenger fender. Unfortunately for Griswold, the first time he tries to fill up his new car, he can’t locate the filler. This turns out to be a very funny scene in the movie that showcases Chevy Chase’s ability as a physical comedian.

The dash of the car even includes this awesome plaque! I’m not sure how high the bidding will go, but this car is sure to bring the new owner years of enjoyment. Maybe it will go into a museum or private collection of movie cars? Let us know what you think about this car and share what your favorite movie or television vehicle of all-time is.

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Comments

  1. 71_LT1

    “Oh God, the dog wet on the picnic basket” ! Great movie, iconic car, and it should be a hit everywhere it goes. 👍

    Like 28
  2. Doug

    Does it have “Honky Lips” painted on the right rear quarter panel?

    Like 39
  3. Paul

    “You’re driving me to Phoenix!”

    Like 7
  4. Michael jaurigue

    I owned one,well not the Family Truckster but the wagon it was built on,it was the exact same color even the fake wood paneling,wish I would have kept that car lol

    Like 7
  5. Pookie Jamie Pawlicki

    Now parked near that bridge is a Torino. Now inside that Torino is my brother. Tell him I sent you and he’ll lead you back on the freeway. I’m not from around here I’m from the easy side of Chicago here on vacation. Lol

    Like 18
  6. Troy s

    I liked the wagon he used for a trade in, although I can’t remember what it was, Vista Cruiser maybe? Great movie full of laughs, that scene at the dealer had me rolling, along with the “jump”. HaHa!
    As for favorite all time movie car for me…has to be the black ’55 Chevy from American Graffiti…light side of me goes for the blues mobile.

    Like 11
    • Chales

      I always wondered if the car at the gas station with him trying to fulind the filler was the blue sport wagon he ordered but some how got cut.

      Like 3
      • Willybill

        Save the neck for me Clark. Cousin eddy was the best

        Like 4
    • local_sheriff

      His trade-in was a 1970 Vista Cruiser.Here’s a shot before parking it

      Like 18
      • local_sheriff

        …and here you have the end result. It’s a hilarious scene, however I get abit emotional thinking about how salvageable this wagon indeed looks.
        OK, this was 1983 and at the time it was only an old wagon, but chances are slim no one would ever do that with a 70 Vista today to shot one single movie scene !

        Like 13
      • Mike B

        Clark drives in with a 70 Vista, wood and blackwalls, yet it’s a 71, whitewalls and no wood that gets crushed. Just sayin…

        Like 13
      • Miguel

        RIP Cista Cruiser

      • Doug

        Actually this vehicle is the original Griswald family wagon.

    • Bluetec320 Bluetec 320 Member

      My favorite car was Ellen’s Volvo 240 parked in the garage next to the Truckster. Too bad there was only one shot of it.

      Like 6
  7. Fred W

    This scene is my favorite- dead granny on the roof!

    Like 21
    • Rob M.

      Aunt Edna. They should have just left her. They could just look for the buzzards.

      Like 3
  8. PDXBryan
    • David Ulrey

      Hilarious!

      Like 1
      • PDXBryan

        There is not one single design element on this car that makes any sense. It’s brilliant! ;^)

        Like 7
  9. Adam Clarke Staff

    Great article Montana, and it brought back some pretty good memories. My favorite was the scene with the airbag.

    Like 5
  10. Paul

    “Pipe down Russ.” Lolol

    Like 5
  11. WILLIAM BOSSA

    “you hate it now….wait until you drive it”

    Like 5
  12. Andrew

    Is it a prequel? I think the others are sequels. A prequel to me is when a movie about earlier in time is released after a movie that is set later in time.

    Like 2
  13. Will Fox

    “Poor little guy; he tried to keep up with ya for the first mile or so…”

    ROFLMAO!!
    The scene with the bloody collar and leash when the cop pulled em over was a gut-buster!!

    Like 5
  14. Superstreet

    Im ready to BUY it Now for what its worth!

    $50.00 then Ill sell it Pic and Pull for $125.00 so it can be scrapped!

  15. Mike

    I will be at the auction next month, I will make sure to check.it out.

  16. Arby

    I think they got the “Metallic Pea” wrong…

  17. Jerry C

    That first still pic from the movie instantly made me laugh. I remember first seeing the movie when it came out – saw it at a drive-in. Laughed through the whole movie. But I remember the scene when he first bought the car. When they described the color as metallic pea, me and my buddies busted a gut.
    Don’t forget Christie Brinkley in that Ferrari ! Hotness.
    Just goes to show that a movie can be as classic as a car.

    Like 4
  18. Maynard Reed Jr

    I’d drive it.

    Like 1
  19. Greg Gjerdingen Member

    By the time the Wagon Queen Family Truckster rolled down the road. Gas fillers were easier to find then the late ’50s and early ’60s cars.

    I put this together on Hemmings.
    https://www.hemmings.com/users/182767/gallery/5946.html

  20. lc

    Think I want to re-watch the movie after all these years. And I happen to have the movie!

    Like 2
  21. Dallas

    Love love LOVE Vacation. The reboot with Christina Applegate and Ed Helms was great, and it featured an awesome car as well… the Tartan Prancer, the Albanian Honda! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99iAONlvpbw

    Like 1
  22. BR

    All you have to do is mention the movies and I’ll break out in laughter. What a hoot!

    Like 2
  23. JLit

    If Spahn still made bodies I’m sure this is what the 1981 model would have looked like!

  24. Kevin

    Back when you could tie the leash onto the back bumper.

    Like 3
  25. G.W.Gilmore

    I always thought it was the uglyest wagon I’ve seen. They ruined it. And I love Stationwagons very much myself would love to find one in good condition (NO RUST) I mean and working motor. I’d be glad to have it as my everyday driver. But not that one there!!!!.

  26. Streamliner

    This car just sold at BJ Palm Beach, FL for $91,000. + $9,100. (10%) buyer’s fee = USD $101,100. I’d guesstimate the person who altered this car to replicate the Family Truckster used in National Lampoon’s Family Vacation did not spend more than $25,000. on this replica. A basic, unaltered green 1981 Ford Custom wagon w/woody treatment in relatively good condition would sell for around $6,000. in 2019. This tribute car just sold for $95,000. MORE than that. In this case, the interior was unaltered, except for “Family Truckster” badging on dash. Even if seller had $50,000. into this, they doubled their money. Impressive numbers.
    https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1981-FORD-LTD-CUSTOM-STATION-WAGON-228853

    Like 1
    • Wishful Thinking

      On Apr 2, 2020 Doug wrote:
      “Actually this vehicle is the original Griswald family wagon.”

      Wrong. This is NOT the same vehicle used in the film. There are many differences, incl. interior, front grill, etc. Could list 2 dozen differences.

      Yes, an excellent replica, but NOT the same car. A “tribute” car.

      Not only does this car not look the same, but was sold as a lookalike. Why would BJ and the seller advertise and represent it as a lookalike if it were the real car — so it would sell for less?

      Like 1

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