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Classic Cars for Dogs

A recent survey suggests medium size SUVs are the most dog-friendly vehicles for drivers who want to take their pet pooch with them in the car.

So what about the good old days? We travelled back a few decades to create a list of the best classic cars for dog owners, and why certain breeds are better suited to a certain vintage.

Which Old Classic is Best for Dog Lovers?

To begin, even though we're blogging about cars, this post is not about any of the modern vehicles with "Dog Mode"!

Even so, it's fair to say the leaders of the pack for "Dog Mode features" are BMW, Ford, and Tesla.

The design of this new technology will assist the driver when carrying a canine companion in the vehicle.

Put another way, it can keep the climate control operating in situations where you need to leave a dog inside the car.

Important: Rule 57 of The UK Highway Code states that "when in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you must stop quickly. Hence, a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage, or dog guard are recommended ways of restraining an animal in a car."

Not All Classics are Dog Wagons

By definition alone, classic car status refers to a historic vehicle from years gone by. During this era, the passion for vintage cars met with a similar respect and fervour for owning canines. Some of the most notable classic car meetups were the epitome of this unique relationship.

Even so, depending on the size of your hound(s), you needed to have a big enough vehicle to provide space and comfort for the animal.

So, taking a Great Dane for a ride in a 1967 Mazda Cosmo 110S two-door Coupé would have been a special kind of challenge.

Moving on...

Of course, years ago some of the best classic cars for dog owners were estates, station wagons, and the good old shooting brakes. So, let's dig a little deeper and find out which breed of dog was better suited to which car... and some reasons why!

Alfa Romeo 33

The Italian automakers launched the Alfa 33 5-door hatchback in 1983. The following year, they released a station wagon version that they eventually badged as Alfa Romeo 33 Sportwagon estate (previously called Giardinetta).

We're going to link this four-wheel drive classic car with Boxer dogs, a medium size, short-haired breed of the extinct bullenbeisser and the mastiff.

Here's the thing:

The Alfa 33 (Type 905) had flat engines that used a powerful "boxer" configuration, meaning there were no unbalanced forces. The result was low vibration and an unmistakable rasping noise coming from the boxer engine.

Chevrolet Nomad

Chevrolet is well known for producing cars named after states in the US (e.g. Chevy Colorado). They also used the Nomad nameplate on several station wagons between the 1950s and the 1970s.

The 2-door Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad station wagon is a unique combination of fresh styles and the growling V8 engine.


In fact, it was one of the most expensive Chevrolet models during this era. So, you needed to be a wealthy individual to own one.

Thus, no matter which breed of dog you travelled around with (usually the small fluffy breeds) it would be feeling regal inside the rear of your spacious Chevy.

Citroën DS Safari

Even though Citroen introduced this huge station wagon in 1958, they used different names for individual markets. For example, the French know it as the Break. But, they call it the Citroen DS Safari estate in the United Kingdom.

The roof is so long and wide that they made it from steel to support the roof rack. There are three (3) big folding seats between the front and rear squabs and there are two side-facing seats located in the loading area of the Break model.

Classic Cars for Dogs: Citroën DS SafariCitroën DS Safari Ambulance

They also built a special variant for their "Ambulance" configuration.

The result is the use of the 60/30 split which is able to accommodate a stretcher in the rear folding seat.

Plus, using a hydropneumatic suspension, means it has an extremely steady platform.

So much so, the BBC started using the Safari as a film car because of the steadiness needed for producing watchable footage (e.g. the Tour de France and other major sporting events).

It's fair to say the Citroen DS is a beautiful example of a curvaceous vehicle. Apart from the obvious use for the transportation of sick animals, you could also say your four-legged friend will appreciate a smooth ride thanks to the lack of steel springs.

Pro Tip: Another section contains more information about today's Citroën 4x4 models with updated news items from their registered offices in Coventry, United Kingdom.

Ford Falcon (XF)

The Ford Motor Company of Australia started producing this full sized car class in 1984. Even though they stopped selling the Ford Falcon XF wagon range in 1988, they still made the panel vans until 1993.

So, why are these good classic cars for dog owners? Well, despite the heavy "unpowered" steering, the top selling Falcon produces a smooth nostalgic ride for cruising long distances.

In Australia, this has to be the vehicle of choice for any family with herding dogs (e.g. the Australian Cattle Dog).

Mercedes-Benz W123

The first factory-built estate from the brand with the three-pointed star arrived in 1977. The introduction of the Mercedes-Benz S123 was a success, but it wasn't a cheap option for dog lovers.

Today, even though the definition of a historic car may not suit some of the later models, the Mercedes 123 estates have become very rare collectors cars.

Having an enormous boot capacity means there is ample space for a few small yappers or a couple of the big growler types.

In fairness, this is clearly the classic estate car for families who like travelling with their German Shepherds (called Alsatians in Britain).

Morris Minor Traveller

In fact, the first British car to sell over one million units was the Morris Minor. The Traveller estate version has a wooden frame and it started touring the bumpy roads around England in 1953.

Most medium size dogs will enjoy looking through the framed windows in the back compartment, such as grown up terriers. But, active members of the Morris Minor Owners Club recommend installing a dog cage for safer journeys.

Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

This lesser-known brand of American automobiles started building the Custom Cruiser in the 1940s. It is a full-size luxury wagon that also has some association with the Buick Estate.

After fitting "5 mph bumpers" to the 1974 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, it expanded in length to a whopping 5.8 metres (19 feet). It became one of the largest vehicles they ever built - making it roomy enough even for the biggest Great Danes in the country.

Volkswagen Type 3

The German multinational automotive manufacturer, also known for VW SUV models, started producing the estate-bodied Variant in 1962 and marketed it as the Volkswagen Type 3 Squareback in the United States.

It's true to say that a large, cumbersome rear-engine estate may not be a good classic car example for use as a dog wagon.

Even so, take a few steps to guard a man's best friend against the heat, and you'll be able to use the nose end to store all your doggy accessories.

Volvo 200 Series

There are few classic cars that are as robust and reliable as the old mid-size boxy Volvos. They were, and still are, as dependable and faithful as a domesticated canine.

So, the dog-friendly loading space at the rear of a 1975 Volvo 265 DL estate is enormous - and absolutely ideal for affectionate and gentle natured Scottish Golden Retrievers.

Editor's Bio: We are self-confessed car fanatics and we enjoy writing blog articles about the automotive industry - especially here in the United Kingdom.

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