The station wagon was once a ubiquitous site on the American roadways during the heyday of the American Big Three, and to a very large extent it was a symbol of the post-war nuclear family. These big long vehicles were built for comfort and provided plenty of room for all of the kids, pets, and cargo. And since they were big and designed to carry a significant load, many classic station wagons were quite powerful as well. Today, the true station wagon has been largely supplanted by the sport utility vehicle and the minivan, but they did indeed play a huge role in American automotive history.
One of the most memorable station wagons of all time was the venerable Ford Country Squire, and when you take a look back at it the first thing that grabs your attention is its longevity. It made its debut for the 1951 model year, and it was in production all the way through 1991. The 1951 Ford Country Squire was an authentic “Woodie,” with real wood outlining the doors and side windows. This lasted through the mid-fifties, when the wood was replaced by fiberglass and plastic (boo). The first Country Squires were offered with a 226 cubic inch six-cylinder as standard equipment, but that could be upgraded to the 100 horsepower V8. The wagon of course had three seats, and was intended to be able to carry up to eight passengers.
By the end of the 1950s the Country Squire was fully entrenched in the Ford lineup, selling over 24,000 units in 1959 at a price of around $3,000. By 1969, that production number had grown to some 129,235 units, with its most powerful engine option being the hefty 429 cubic inch Ford V8. 1969 marked the first year of the fifth generation of the Country Squire, and it was notable for the “Magic Doorgate” in the rear that could either drop straight down to load and unload cargo, or swing open from the side.
In the 1970s and eighties, tastes changed and fuel economy became an issue, and the popularity of the Country Squire gradually began to fade. It was discontinued after the 1991 models were released, but it rose to iconic status and survived for over forty years. Some of them are quite valuable today, and right now (as of this writing, that is) there is one listed over at FossilCars.com that many people may be interested in. It is a 1963 with a 428 Cobra Jet V8 put in to replace the original 390, and it looks stunning. Check it out, it is a true rarity, and if you were to add it to your collection it’s a good bet that you’ll have the fastest station wagon on your block!
Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer