What Station Wagon Does Nancy Wheeler Drive in ‘Stranger Things?’
Stranger Things is one of the most beloved Netflix shows of all time. It is equal parts science fiction/horror and a heartwarming coming-of-age drama set in 1980s Indiana. One of the joys of this period show is its abundance of Radwood-era classic cars. Season three featured one of the most iconic Stranger Things moments when the ensemble piles into Nancy Wheeler’s Mercury brand station wagon with its rear-facing rear seats to hunt down a monster. The scene left many fans wondering what exact car Nancy drives.
What Station Wagon does Nancy Wheeler drive in ‘Stranger Things?’
In Netflix’s Stranger Things TV show, the Wheeler Family owns a wood-paneled Mercury station wagon from the car’s 1979-87 generation. As the show progresses, and teenage Nancy Wheeler drives her friends around more often, the car features more prominently. But Netflix filmed the show with an inaccurate 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park.
Two main Stranger Things characters–Mike and Nancy–are siblings in the Wheeler family. Therefore, it makes sense that the Wheelers’ car is central to the show. This wood-paneled station wagon brings a certain 1980s flair as early as episode two of season one. When the Wheelers aren’t driving their Mercury around, you can spot it parked at their house.
The Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park features heavily in later ‘Stranger Things’ seasons
By the third season of Stranger Things, Nancy is driving the Mercury Grand Marquis station wagon daily. Mike Wheeler and his friends spend most of their time bicycling around their hometown of Hawkins, battling monsters they find. But in episode seven, Nancy and Mike team up and she loads all the younger kids into her station wagon–including in the rear-facing seats.
The station wagon features prominently in the finale of Stranger Things season three. It also lives to fight another day and Nancy continues driving it in central scenes of season four.
The ‘Station Wagon’ used to film Stranger Things is inaccurate
Even though the first season of Stranger Things is set in November 1983, the Wheeler family drives a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park station wagon. This vehicle would not have existed during the first season, or even during the fourth season–set in 1986.
How could the professional filmmakers working for Netflix have made such a clear continuity error? In this case, it might not be as grave an error as it seems: the Mercury company built the Grand Marquis car from 1975 through 2011–in some form. It sold a wood-trimmed station wagon variant–badged as the Colony Park–from 1979 through 1991.
The Wheelers are a relatively well-off family. It is not unrealistic that they own a car less than four years old in 1983. Because Mercury made few changes to the Colony Park, using a 1986 model year picture car to film the show is not especially noticeable. Perhaps the filmmakers had better luck finding a pristine example from the model’s later years.
Next, read about the Ghostbuster Ectomobile or learn more about the cars of Stranger Things in the video below: