Barn Wood: 1951 Ford Country Squire

barn-wood-1951-ford-country-squire

There is just something fascinating about a woodie wagon, but sadly there aren’t many of these left on the road, as most have rotted away. The problem with mixing steel and wood, is that if the wood decays, it can be extremely difficult to replace it. Most of the wood panels on this 1951 Ford Country Squire have turned to mulch, but the seller does have replacement panels for it. They listed this project and all the extra parts that go with it here on eBay.

barn-wood-1951-ford-country-squire-side-view

When Ford introduced the Country Squire in 1950, it was one of their top of the line models. It is based on the Custom Deluxe and came with many of the same features, but with the addition of a fold down middle row seat. This one has been in storage for the past 10 years in Idaho and the seller claims before that it was in Wyoming, which could explain why the metal is so rust free.

barn-wood-1951-ford-country-squire-interior

 

 

The interior is also in need of a complete restoration, but it appears that all the rare pieces are still here and the wood looks solid. The middle row seat still folds down as it should and actually looks to be in good shape. Besides the replacement wood panels, the seller also has a variety of other extra parts that are included with the car. Sadly, the original 239 cui Flathead V8 and transmission are no longer with it.

barn-wood-1951-ford-country-squire-rear-corner

Rebuilding a woodie can be a daunting task, especially if you have to find or make replacement wood panels. Finding the wood for this one could have been a major task, as Ford only built these true wood-sided cars for two years. Thankfully this one comes with the replacement wood pieces, which should make the project a bit easier. If it was mine, I would find an engine for it, fix the rust, install the wood panels and drive it with its current patina. What would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. SoCal Car Guy

    Complete replacement wood kits for 1949-51 Ford (and Mercury) wagons are available from Woodn’ Carr (www.woodncarr.net/kits.html) in Signal Hill, CA. Not cheap at around $6,000 and probably not necessary for this project. On a different note, I am so @#$%ing sick of “patina;” seems as though any old and seriously roachy old car or truck has patina instead of just looking like shit. A well preserved original finish, even with wear and some worn (polished?) through spots has patina, rusty-coated old sheetmetal with odd fleck of paint here and there has automotive leprosy. Just my personal opinion…

    As to what to do? With the original drivetrain MIA, I’d update the chassis, steering and brakes with bolt-ons (several companies have extensive selections of bolt-on upgrades for ’50s Fords — check Fatman Fabrications for one example) and slip in a small-block Ford (302, 351) with either AOD or five-speed, depending on personal preferences, add air conditioning from someone like Vintage Air, and drive the hell out of it.

    Like 1
  2. paul

    You gotta love tin woodies…. this one is not for the faint of heart, but must be saved at what ever the cost.

  3. Jim Marshall

    Of all the shoebox wagons the 51 was the first one with a steel tailgate with simulated wood applique over it proven by the condition of the tailgate in the picture. 49 and 50 still used the wood on the tailgate along with the sides. Another interesting thing about the 51 wagon is why did Ford not put the new 51 dashboard in the wagon? If anyone has the answer please respond. Thanks, Jim.

    • rancho bella

      Maybe they had left over ’50 dashboards?………….

    • Barry Draeger

      The dashboards for these woodys are different (narrower) than the all-steel bodies. The writing was on the wall for the woodys in ’51; it was probably a cost saving measure.

  4. rancho bella

    Who ever ends up with this has got more money than cents……….Once done, then what? Go to sell it……..it’s bath time. Just an opinion……..I’m usually wrong anyway.
    I see an easy 50K to make it right. The wood kit alone is 10K (+/-) since the kit will not require a tail gate.

    • Dolphin Member

      Rancho,
      I wasn’t aware that a kit was available for this year Woody, but when I googled it the description said that the pieces are cut oversized to allow for variations across cars, and will need to be custom fitted to each car. So to the cost of the wood kit add hours of labour to get the fit right.

      As you say….not for the faint of heart.

  5. Dolphin Member

    I know a guy who restores Ford woodies, mostly the years just before and just after WW2, so he does earlier years than this one. I don’t know whether this car would be easier or harder than his cars to rebuild the wood on, but it will definitely be difficult and time consuming to get it right, especially getting the gaps between the recessed metal body and the wood panel inserts narrow and consistent.

    When you see a Woody ‘before’ and then after a restoration, it just seems like magic that they can look so good after starting out looking so sad. This one could be great after a restoration, but be sure that whoever does the wood has skills that are at a very high level.

  6. paul

    As an x body guy I will say you need to find a serious wood craftsmen for this one.

  7. larry

    Can anyone say “MONEY PIT”?? I had one of these back in the early 70’s. Bought it without an engine, put a small block chevy and turbo 350 trans. Sure had ALOT of fun with that car, like we all say “wish I never sold it”. This one is a question mark to me, is it to costly to restore it ? But it would be a shame to see it just rot away. To bad the owner thinks he has a gold mine!!!!

  8. Barry Draeger

    A good friend and his dad have been restoring a similar ’50 woody for the past several years (see links below) The wood was better, but the body was a lot worse than the ’51 shown here. The ’51 is definitely restorable, but the wood kit alone will be ~$10k

    http://www.2002tii-restoration.org/projects/winter_08.htm
    http://www.2002tii-restoration.org

    • Barry Draeger

      My mistake, the wood was missing on my friends’ ’50 woody when they started.

    • Ray Lafleur

      Hey Barry i just saw some pics of your woody resto i am also restoring a 51 woody not sure if you are willing to share any pics or info but it would be great if could. just got my wood hope to start installing next week if all goes well

  9. Aaron W

    This vehicle is just about like buying a steam powered car…if you are not comfortable and proficient with the technology that makes it unique then you are going to have to pay an “expert” piles of money to do what you can’t.
    I have a good friend that started out with a ’50 in way worse shape than this one and it came out nice, he’s only got about $8000 bucks but a zillion man hours in it. He made all the wood parts himself because that $6000 kit is really just a starting point. Every single piece still must be hand fitted by sanding (a lot) for alignment, thickness and gap. My buddy made his own forms and steam bent laminated ash and mahogany.

    As for being a money pit..have you seen what a nice example goes for? Mega bucks.
    If you pay 15k or more for this car, 6k for the wood, $$ for the correct drivetrain and then pay a shop for all the man hours to do it all…yes, it might be a losing proposition but the same is true of almost any car that you pay someone else to do. This will have to be a labor of love.

    • paul

      Not many car guys know about steam, bent, laminating wood or making forms & those kits like you say are just an expensive starting point, hence the gazillions spent because now you need a body guy to do his thing before the wood craftsmen does his & then the mechanics do their thing, while the car when done can be a 6 figure car, you can spend that & more getting there.

  10. AMCFAN

    The guy seems to be fishing for an offer. $6K won’t do it.
    I am thinking if you offer $10K you may own it. Then add the $10K worth of wood. A new engine/trans. Body and paint . New chrome and a little something for labor. Where are we at? Oh yes. Another $??? for the unexpected!
    Pass.

  11. Tom S.

    Oh, it’s not that bad. Just get a couple drums of Scott’s Liquid Gold Wood Cleaner & Preservative and get to work. Geez.

  12. Maxx

    This is the first photo of a Woodie Wagon I’ve seen on here. Come to think of it several years ago there was a Falcon wagon I used to see everyday while walking home from school.It looked like wood-grain on it, how long were the woodies made?

  13. geomechs geomechs Member

    I wouldn’t mind taking on a project like this one. If it had the original powertrain it might even be worth the current price. But the way it is now, it’s going to be mid to upper five figures to complete the restoration. Getting the steel done is one thing; finding and rebuilding an engine/transmission is another. Then comes the wood. A beautiful project once completed but it’s going to be $50K by the time you’re driving it.

  14. David G

    Ambitious project indeed, but wow, what a great per-VIN-plate color to have for a Woody project if you wanted one. Nothing like a nice medium blue body to nicely pop the woodwork colors! Long way to go before that point, but one more vote for this particular project… Neato!

  15. William Robinson

    I read somewhere that all of the wood for these cars was sourced from the same forrest. They bought the whole thing and sourced the wood from there. Does anyone know if this is true or not? If so then finding the correct wood could be a challenge.

  16. Bobinott

    @MAXX – Ford continued to put wood grain trim on their wagons into the early 70s. Sadly, it was just vinyl sheeting. I think that started in the early-to-mid 50s. Even the “wooden ribs” were just plastic.

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