Lisa Birnbach would be proud. The author of the 1980s best seller “the Preppy Handbook,” would no doubt smile if she spotted what I saw the past couple of days.
There was a Subaru wagon in Newport, Rhode Island adorned with plaid, sort of a Ralph Lauren take on the iconic Ford Country Squire.
In the same town and on the same day I encountered two versions of the quintessential mode of transportation of the 1980s prep: the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Then there was this Jeep Wrangler in West Hartford, Connecticut with a spare tire cover in a standard preppy pink and green monogram. The driver’s name was not Muffy, but likely has a relative by that name who shops at Murray’s Toggery.
Could this be a trend in automotive customizing? At the New York Auto show in April I was fortunate to have the ear of Buick head Duncan Aldred. With that anticipated revival by Jeep of the Grand Wagoneer in 2020, I told him he should beat them to the resurrection of an icon by introducing a wood option to his popular family hauler the Buick Enclave and soon to be released Buick Regal wagon. He chuckled at the mockups I showed him on my iPhone.
But station wagons are coming back. Preppy Handbook readers drove them in droves in the 80s before the SUV craze, so maybe the driver of the plaid Outback is on to something.
In the meantime, maybe I’ll had some plaid pillows to the now extinct rear facing way way back row of my vintage Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. Crimson velour is preppy right?