312 V8 Power: 1953 Ford Country Squire

There are several inconsistencies with this Ford Country Squire listing. First up, the price is listed as $2,222 – that’s incorrect. Also, this Ford is a Country Squire – the equivalent of the Crestline sedan, not a Crown Victoria Country Squire. Finally, it is a 1953 model; the listing has it as both a ’53 and a ’54. Now that that’s out of the way… Let’s check this 1953 Ford Country Squire out in detail. It is located in Yuma, Arizona and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $25,000. Thanks to Ikey H. for this tip!

This Ford is a member of the second generation of Country Squires (1952-1954) and is a Woodie of sorts. The side panels are wood-grained vinyl transfers while the surrounding trim is genuine wood. In 1954, the wood trim gave way to “grained” fiberglass pieces. The 1953 model Fords, station wagons or not, are notable for being the last year that the venerable flathead V8 was employed – at twenty-two model years under its belt – 1932-1953, it was a good, long run.

The seller claims that this wagon has been sitting, indoors, since 1977. Fortunately, the storage appears to have been dry, and the Arizona climate has probably helped too as the body shows to be very solid. There is some mild surface rust/patina evident, and perhaps a slight bit of rust in the lower fender leg, but that’s it. The real wood trim is showing some delamination but that’s not unusual after 67 years. All of the trim pieces appear to be in place and don’t look to be rotted or split. Even the seemingly thin blue finish is still presentable; a thorough cleaning could reveal paint that is in better shape than the garage images indicate.

The surprise with this Country Squire is under the hood. The original 110 HP, 239 CI flathead engine gave way in 1957 to a 312 CI “Y-Block” V8 engine. The engine turns over but it sounds as if it’s a non-runner. It’s an interesting find as the originality of this last year flathead Ford has been altered, but the driving characteristics may be worth the swap. The seller lists this Wagon as an A/C equipped car and the Ford sourced air handler is prominently mounted beneath the dash. There is an automatic transmission in place but there is no word as to whether it is the original gearbox or a later edition.

The seller claims the interior to be “clean” but I suppose that means the general condition, it does appear to be understandably dusty but the upholstery and door cards are in fine shape. For ’53, Fords were supposed to have a commemorative steering wheel center celebrating its 50th anniversary. The center emblem is visible but I’m not certain if it is the correct one or not. Unfortunately, the cargo area is obscured by all kinds of detritus. Why sellers don’t remove their stuff before taking pictures, I’ll never know but it certainly isn’t helpful.

As we have discussed here on Barn Finds before, station wagons are hot, some more than others of course. This ’53 Country Squire has a lot going for it but my speculation on value gets back to the matter of the engine. What’s your thought, does the engine swap help or hurt its value?

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Comments

  1. Phlathead Phil

    Radiator hose is single indicating it’s a ‘54.

    Power brake booster indicates it’s a ‘54 as ‘53’s did not have them. (Just try to find one.)

    OHV engine indicates it is a ‘54.

    Air cleaner indicates it is a ‘54. ‘53’s had oil bath cleaners.

    Horn ring indicates it is a ‘54 as ‘53’s had half ring 50th anniversary hubs (one year only.)

    Suitcases located in the rear are period correct and indicate the driver left the scene sometime in late 1954 when his phlux capacitor failed.

    I think his name was Marty?

    Thanks B.F.’s for taking me “Back to the Future.” ⏰🤣

    Like 9
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Look at the grille and turn signals, I’m seeing a ’53. The engine was swapped with a 312, no telling what else was swapped when the engine was changed.

      JO

      Like 7
      • Pete

        53 fords had flat head engines & 54’s had 239 OHV engines.One year ahead of Chevy OHV engine. I owned a 49,50 & 2-54’s. 53’s grill center piece is round like this car, 54’s grill center piece had a square bevel on the center piece. I had a 56 with a 312, I believe that was the 1st year for the 312

        Like 2
      • Phlathead Phil

        Jim,
        The car is a ‘54. Not a ‘53.
        Go to Facebook marketplace read this:
        Phoenix, AZ · on Sunday
        #### price is not 2222 / marketplace wont allow correct pricing#### 1954 ford county squire woody, 1 owner car, converted to 312 in 1957 by ford dealer, power steering, power brakes, auto trans,a/c car has been stored inside since 1977 , tires are new , motor turns free and is extremely clean inside, cooling system was run with soluable oil ( clean) have original title, located in yuma az $25,000.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        That’s the ad that I used for my post, I read it already. Don’t cherry-pick the wording of the ad, the title is as follows: 1953 Ford Crown Victoria country squire wagon I made the exact statement in my post that the seller refers to it as both a ’53 and a ’54 in two different places. Did you read my post in its entirety? Here’s the refresher:

        The surprise with this Country Squire is under the hood. The original 110 HP, 239 CI flathead engine gave way in 1957 to a 312 CI “Y-Block” V8 engine. The engine turns over but it sounds as if it’s a non-runner. It’s an interesting find as the originality of this last year flathead Ford has been altered, but the driving characteristics may be worth the swap. The seller lists this Wagon as an A/C equipped car and the Ford sourced air handler is prominently mounted beneath the dash. There is an automatic transmission in place but there is no word as to whether it is the original gearbox or a later edition.

        Somebody had a Ford dealer perform the swap with a newish 312 motor in 1957 – it’s all in the listing and I’m basing all of my comments on this car being a 1953 model. And BTW, as to your assertion that this Ford is a ’54, check all of the comments, you’re way in the minority on that front. Yes, to know for sure as one poster suggested, we would need the VIN which we don’t have.

        JO

    • John

      Flathead Phil,
      Didn’t the 272, Y block appear about this time?
      Merry Christmas,
      John

      Like 1
      • tom casserly

        1955 or there abouts.

      • Phlathead Phil

        To my knowledge, the Y block appeared first in the Thunderbird in 1955. If this car was a ‘53 Flathead the block casting would probably be different at the bell housing. This is why I believe it is a ‘54, because the 239 ohv block would mate to the trans. Therefore, any ‘54-‘57 block would mate to the trans, but not a Flathead from ‘53. The steering post, wheel and hub is ‘54.

        Car probably had front end collision damage and it was converted by the dealer due to its market value at the time.

    • Brian M Member

      Taillights, grille and dashboard all 53. Wood on outside is real, as stated, 53. Engine, if a 312, is 56 or 57. Other stuff, like radiator, booster, etc, probably transplanted from donor vehicle that provided the engine.

      Like 3
  2. Phlathead Phil

    Jim Odonnell,

    You state in your write up; “The original 110 HP, 239 CI flathead engine gave way in 1957 to a 312 CI “Y-Block” V8 engine.

    This is incorrect. The 1954 models came out with an OHV engine. That’s why the brake power booster is a ‘no doubt’ factory improvement. More horsepower means more need to stop.

    I encountered this issue on my ‘53 Vicky project.

    Early on you state; “The 1953 model Fords, station wagons or not, are notable for being the last year that the venerable flathead V8 was employed – at twenty-two model years under its belt – 1932-1953, it was a good, long run.”

    ??? To my knowledge the Y block came out in late 1954 in the Thunderbird.

    1957-1932 equals 25 years… whatup?

    For 1953, Ford had the “Overdrive” and the upgraded “Fordomatic.” Don’t think the bell housing from a phlathead would mate/align with a Y block, but I could be wrong.

    Also, the radiator looks like it was positioned in front of the original Flathead radiator support.

    Also, no vinyl in 1953. There appears to be extra wood trim in the back.

    Not being critical, just sayin’ ya know?

    Cool ride, of course!

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Again, you’re basing your comments on this car being a 1954. The seller hedges his bets referring to it as both a ’53 and a ’54. I see a ’53 based on my earlier comment.

      JO

      Like 6
      • Will Fox

        The car IS a `53. It simply has a later 312 OHV V8 in it is all. Originally it should’ve had the flathead. Contrary to an earlier comment here, the 1954 model year for Ford STARTED with their first OHV V8–not a late year entry. I’m willing to bet the VIN reflects that this car is a `53.

        Like 7
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Exactly my contention Will, and going with that, the rest falls in place. I thought I stated, specifically, that the engine was, as you correctly stated, a 1957 312 CI replacement for the original 239 flathead. I guess some posters in their zeal to demonstrate their knowledge missed that critical item.

        JO

        Like 8
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Another item to add to the confuse factor… what was taken off the top of the left core support and doesn’t that bracket off the radiator look a bit home made?

    Like 1
  4. Rich

    Maybe it’s just me but this site seems to be a mess of wrong info, everyday. It does not seem to be getting better, thus this comment. It appears that a lot of the “factual” info provided is not actually factual at all. I base this on amount of comments where people correct the “facts” presented by the writers. Rather than confuse the readers, my suggestion would be to simply present the cars without trying to sound knowledgeable about the specific details relating to options, and other manufacturers details. This is not to poke at the writers for the site, you appear to be trying your best to inform the reader. Just the same, perhaps the website could spend more effort to confirm the details on the rides offered up, or just refrain from presenting false info in the first place. For many of us here, I feel that no facts are better than false facts, especially when the resulting copy leads to a reader being confused.
    After a year of lies and false info being forced upon the public it may be time to consider changing the way the copy is written. Life is stressful enough at this point. Good intent does not equal good information…
    Also would suggest eye exams for all copy writers here. Too many cars are presented here with “little or minimal rust.” When in fact a lot of the offerings are one tow truck away from where they truly belong, the junkyard. Extreme optimism should be left to 15 and 16 yr old kids, not foisted upon those of us who can see reality for what it really is.
    BTW, really like this site, but wishing for some improvement, and realistic assessment of the vehicles presented here.
    This vehicle is a mess, as is the mental state of one who hopes to sell said car for a ridiculous price.
    Happy holidays to all, let’s pray for a better 2021.

    Like 17
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thanks for the most passive/aggressive response that I have ever received.

      My job is to not heap scorn and negativity on cars for sale, nor am I representing the seller. If anything, I am trying to avoid constant negativity as there is enough of that everywhere and every day. This is a site about finding cars in a distressed condition, what do you expect to find? I am not trying to convince anyone of anything, that’s up to you to figure out – it’s a subjective assessment designed to do exactly as ccrvtt suggests, start a lively conversation among contributors – and maybe learn a few things. No one is or can be, an expert on every car that was ever made but we try to do our best within a very short time window. As to the criticism directed at this post, I disagree with other commenters regarding the model year – so start at that and work forward.

      As to your comment, “Maybe it’s just me but this site seems to be a mess of wrong info, every day. It does not seem to be getting better…” it’s you, the growth in clicks and comments garnered clearly indicates otherwise. If this site is too offensive for you, or my writing distresses you to such an extent, I’m sure there are many other online sites that you may find more to your liking.

      JO

      Like 39
      • CVPanther Member

        Incredibly well put, Jim.
        And a great write-up.
        The staffs collective knowledge and most of the comments (and the no politics rule) are what makes this site one of the best car sites out there.
        I learn something whether I’m on here 5 minutes or 5 hours.
        Thanks for that and happy and safe holidays to everyone.

        Like 6
  5. ccrvtt

    Rich – Whew!

    I find this site to be highly entertaining. It serves as a forum for discussion. The writers are for the most part far more knowledgeable than I am and they are not averse to criticism or correction. Often times the readers will correct and contradict each other which makes for lively conversation.

    In any case the writers do their best to promote responses and generate interest in a hobby we all love. Old guys sometimes have a hard time remembering things accurately. Old cars help us relive days gone by.

    Like 25
    • On and On On and On Member

      Well said ccrvt I couldn’t agree more. And of course in line with your thinking, Rich’s comments are his opinion and welcomed also. That’s the beauty of a written forum.

      Like 13
  6. Puhnto

    That’s not a ‘54 dashboard or grille.

    Like 5
  7. Rich

    So sorry, I am not trying to offend anyone here. best wishes to all here. sorry for any hurt feelings, really. the writers have a tough job here. as do most of us who are still employed. posting ideas or suggestions should not always be construed by others as criticism, or negativity.
    God bless you all, in the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”
    This is not Mr. Rogers neighborhood, it’s an internet site….

    Like 7
  8. Grease

    Totally enjoy “Barn Finds” this website is not trying to be a museum level mouthpiece. The site brings incredibly interesting vehicles onto Facebook that most of us would otherwise never have the opportunity to dream about.
    These guys are working from owner supplied pictures and owner supplied write ups. They then use excellent reputable research sources to come up with 95%+ correct information.
    I imagine Barn Finds helps hundreds (thousands) of vehicles find great homes and at better prices!
    I’m Canadian – all Ford nameplate cars in Canada used Flat Heads through ’54. In the US for ’54 Ford switched to Y Block OHV engines. This wagon would have come with a flat head and in 1957 it was “upgraded” to a 312 Y Block by the owner.

    Like 6
  9. IkeyHeyman

    My mother had a ’53 Ranch Wagon, so I recognized this as a ’53 right away. They only made 11,001 Country Squires that year, so there can’t be a large number remaining, but to answer Jim’s question, I think the engine swap is a plus.

    Like 2
  10. Calipag

    It’s a 53′.
    The speedometer on the 54′ is plastic window on the windshield side.
    You can get all the info on a 54′ Ford from 1954Ford.com.
    I have a 54′ wagon and this is not one.

    Like 2
  11. charlie Member

    OK, buy it and DRIVE it. Lots of ’54 and later parts on a ’53 so not a museum or concours piece, and the later engine is far better if you want to take it on LONG drives on the Interstates. A car to be used, not put in a glass cage in your living room. But for the price, it would be nice.

    Like 4
  12. Mike Henry

    I just want to know what’s in those old suitcases in the cargo hold. Did they return from a vacation and not bother to unpack? Grandpa’s life savings?

    Like 3
    • PairsNPaint

      Dirty socks and underwear.

  13. Erik

    Parked and forgotten? “Someday” project that never took off? How many of these types of forgotten or planned projects are still out there.

    Only unfortunate thing is the ever-increasing “buy in” costs of projects like this that sadly may keep cars like these from ever truly getting brought back to their glory.

    Who else is tired of seeing the “future” of cars like this and we all know what that future is by looking at the present.

    It is seen where the high costs of restored examples are keeping interested buyers from buying those examples. And so interested buyers turn to the parked and forgotten examples only to not have money left in the till to undertake the project and so it remains parked and forgotten or a “someday” project.

    Worse yet it is seen when the buyer starts the project only to run out of money in the till or soon faces the high costs of shops that look to highly profit off such restorations (often to fund their own projects and “collections”) rather than to provide a service at a fair cost to preserve the vehicle and to preserve the hobby of classic cars for all us common folk who started and supported the hobby until recent years.

    So that present we can all see for this car tells us that the future for this car may sadly be yet another story of parked and forgotten, or “someday” project that never took off, or disassembled project car.

    So while we all sit on the sidelines watching this all happen because we have been relegated to the sidelines, at least there is comfort in knowing that BF has future “content” that we all comment on in the future!

    Like 2
  14. Dennis S Myers

    I had a 2 door 1953 OHV 6. It might be the worst car I’ve ever owned. Supposedly the 215 OHV 6 had equivalent hp to the flattie… But Ford gave the 6 lower gears in the transmission, a lighter duty rear, and smaller brakes. I think they knew something they didn’t advertise. Mine was the bane of my existence from 1971 to 1974. The flattie was such a better engine. The Y block was a little better – I used to work on them with my neighbor’s home-brewed race team. The only real race-worthy Y was the 312 (at least without some super-duty work). So, if that wagon came with a 6, the 312 was a light-year improvement if you really want to drive the car. If it had the flattie V-8… Well, I think I might have tried to keep that one in there. The Y had some upper valve oiling issues and had that interesting external oil delivery pipe outside the engine that liked to leak… I like the flatty better. They both have great exhaust tone, though! I vote for the flattie if it had it originally or not…
    BTW, Barn Finds! Thanks so much for your hard work. You rock!

    Like 6
  15. streak

    PHOOEY THAT IS A 53 WITH THE DRIVE TRAIN FROM A 57 IN IT THE FIRST OHV FORD MOTORS WERE LOW CUBE DISPLACEMENT ABOUT 272 AND SUBSEQUENTLY WENT TO 292 AND THEN 312 AND 332 352 ANND SO FORTH

    I ONLY WISH THE PRICE TAGS ON THESE ROLLERS HAD NOT ALREADY GONE PAST Saturn whoooooosh

    Like 2
    • tom casserly

      First Over Head valve was a 239, same displacement as in the 1953 239 Flathead. Then came 272,292, and 312. 54 was also the first year for ball joints. I have a 54 Crestline Victoria and the body was really made for a flat head, stuffing the Y-Block in there made for some trouble for Ford that one reason why the 55 is a totally different body and firewall..

      Like 2
      • Bob

        The firstY block was a 256 ci.

      • Bob C.

        That was for Mercury. Ford had the 239.

        Like 1
  16. Stu Richter

    I enjoy this site and especially the comments. With regard to this Ford wagon, I would love to have it if I could do it justice. Best of the Season to all who read about these cars and may everyone have a better 2021 and your own Barn Finds.

    Like 5
  17. pwtiger

    The VIN should tell us what year it is, I think that the second digit in the VIN should be a 3 if it is a 1953. In my opinion if it will run it might be worth 10K

    Like 2
  18. HARM R SMIT

    Regardless of the comments I love the styling of these Fords. It sums up the Fifties and nostalgia associated with it.

    Like 2
  19. Mr.BZ

    Mom had a ’52-2 door and a ’54-4 door Ford wagon (consecutively, as our family grew), so this one fits right in for me. I was only 5 or 6 when Dad sold the ’54 (for $100 I’m sure, Dad said no used car was ever worth more than $100) so don’t remember much but the 3-on-the-tree and the CA black plate–BIJ597. Many thanks to everyone at Barnfinds, your work is much appreciated from one who works from home and desperately needs positive distractions!! Happy holidays to all, and my NY’s resolution will be to finally become a member!

    Like 1
  20. Paul

    This generation ’52-’54 Fords are hard to tell apart. I consulted my History of Ford book to make sure I had it right before responding. The car is definitely a 1953 Ford, so the later V-8 engine is definitely a swap. The front turn signals on these 3 years are how you tell them apart. The ’52 has chrome rings with crossbars (something like a Lincoln hood ornament) mounted on the fenders below the headlights, the ’53 has rectangular turn signals placed below the middle chrome spear on the grille (this car has that setup), and the ’54 has small bullet shaped turn signals mounted on the middle chrome spear. Hope this helps! Now to figure out where engine #2 came from!

    Like 1
  21. Rodney - GSM

    Time for a musical interlude here,
    “You say ‘53, I say ‘54, let’s call the whole thing off.”
    (Thanks to Mr. Gershwin)

  22. Kenneth Carney

    Whatever year it is, it should be saved.
    As for the Y-block, it came along about
    a month to a month and a half into that
    year’s production run (’54) say maybe
    October or November of ’53. The gentleman that stated ’54 model cars
    were designed to take a flathead was
    absolutely correct. They were transitional vehicles that bridged the gap between the flathead and the Y-block. Simply put, Ford used flatheads
    until all the bugs were worked out of the
    Y-block before they offered it to the
    driving public. The things I hated most
    about the Y-block were the front mounted distributor and the exhaust
    pipe that sat in front of it. You had to
    wrap the distributor in Seran Wrap to
    keep it from getting wet and take great
    care not to burn your arm on the exhaust
    pipe while you did that. As for the 312,
    I’d swap that and the Fordomatic out
    for a more modern 302 and a C-6 tranny.
    That would be the way to go with this
    one. A much better drive train and easy to service too. Just too bad it’s not me
    doin’ it.

    Like 3
    • tom casserly

      I really liked being called a “gentleman”! But this poster is wrong in saying the distributor was in the front. it’s in the back on an angle pointed to the passenger side of the car’s body

  23. Bob Member

    My 2 cents: I enjoy this site and look forward to receiving it daily. As some have said I too find the commentary both by the writers and readers to be educational and entertaining. As to the cars themselves I often find myself in the mind set that the hobby which I have participated in for over fifty years has gotten to be much more expensive to play in. But a seller is entitled to ask for what ever they want and buyers can opt to buy or pass.

    On the flip side I see plenty of good deals on this site and although I can’t justify my forking over the big bucks some of these cars command; I can still enjoy looking. Right now because of the time of year and our current situation, I liken the site to sort of a virtual car coral.

    So thanks for the presentation and the commentary.

  24. Jim ODonnell Staff

    To everyone who has made a comment here, I would like to express my sincerest thanks and I truly mean it! We don’t always agree but as long as we share our views in a civil manner, we’ll be able to exchange a lot of good information, learn a little, have some fun and who knows, maybe find an interesting car or truck to acquire – it does actually happen!

    What drew me to being a Barn Finds writer is you, the readers, 99% of the comments are great – funny, informative, probing, you name it, it’s a very enjoyable experience and that’s unusual in an internet forum! I like variety and will continue to mix it up with many different types of vehicles – I’ll strive to have something for everyone!

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year! Please be safe!

    Thx,

    JO

    Like 2
    • tom casserly

      Love the site and love most of the comments. Happy Holidays to every comment contributor and of course all of the Barn Finds Staff!

    • Phlathead Phil

      Jim,

      Yes, we agree on one thing as you point out. B.F.s is a GREAT site, and seemingly so very entertaining. I enjoy it immensely.

      I’ve learned quite a bit from the posts here.

      I have owned scads of cars and trucks (some I wish I still owned) in the last 50 years and if it’s one thing I’ve learned, there is always a new curve on every make and model.

      Concerning the 53-54… Ford did a lot of interesting stuff for years, so did Chevy. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to use parts from two years, so I have learned once from owning an 88-89 Chevy 1 Ton Dually. It was made with parts from both years.

      I’ve heard it said; “Parts are Parts.” Many are interchangeable.

      There is no doubt the wagon has had parts infused from ‘53,’54 and maybe ‘55-57?

      I researched what year Ford added factory air.

      Seems the earliest was 1955. So the air is add on.

      My point is this car raised many questions, but bottom line is the vin number and we agree on that.

      As for the suitcases I haven’t got a clue as to there model or make!!!

      Happy Holidays!! Jingle Jingle.

  25. PairsNPaint

    Since it’s no longer original, if anyone pulls the trigger on this and it’ll wind up at best as a restomod, what difference does it make if it’s a ’53 or a ’54? Everybody just settle down now. Enjoy the site.

  26. Swolf Member

    I love cars-have owned and collected over 60. And I learn from all of you everyday.

  27. JEFF S.

    My first car in 1974, was a 51 Ford 2dr custom coupe, with the V8 flathead. I would rather have the flathead, as it is the original engine. Converted mine from 6 volt positive to 12 volt negative. Left the 6 volt starter in place, all you had to do was bump the starter button and the car was purring. I installed a CB radio with 75 watt amp, while cruising Bellflower, CA, I keyed the mike and got the reply, when you talk no one else can talk. At night the headlights would dim so much, you had to limit you talk time, lol. Those were the good old days.

  28. Bob C.

    That was for Mercury. Ford had the 239.

  29. chrlsful

    I come here to relax. Don;t give a “F” what yr it is. Don’t like the snipyness (Y they got rid of the thumbs dwn?). Glad it did not deteriate to name calling & stayed on the car(s). Congrats on that (“No it’s a xxxx.”; “No itsa xxx!”);

    Due to sex, the net really soared (pic and vids sell) so I’m really happy for the pic as we can now C some older’n rarer cars. I yell at em when they perch da girl in frnt of the car as I can;t C it (“If she must B there just mover her 10 ft to the right.”). Here, today, I C the car that moved our fam (4some) from Baltimore to Boston, 1960. I like the flattie, would like to C “the last ones made” but the owner hada different idea. I can C that, other changes w/the car. A 60, 70 y/o car like this will have these changes.I know U want to show your knowledge abt these changes. Y others argue abt it just seems to B alota testosterone…sorry. signed: “Just nother reader” (or “IMHO”)~

  30. Kevin Kendall

    Know a guy that found a 53 Mercury woody in an old garage,pulled it out & got it running,cleaned it up top to bottom & front to back & put a for sale sign on it. $38,500 or best offer.

  31. robert ramsay

    i sold the car, it is a 1953…… original flathead water outlets on radiator were plugged with soldered in freeze plugs, the old man bought a matching 1955 shasta 14′ trailer to tow and after the flathead gave up a few years later had the ford dealer install a 1957 312 motor in 1957 along with the power brakes, a/c etc

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