Cool Custom: 1961 2-Door Ford Ranch Wagon

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We uncover two-door station wagons here at Barn Finds with surprising regularity. Many are in less than usable operation such as this rare 1958 Mercury Commuter and that always begs the question of what to do with the car. Well here’s one whose future had been decided but the seller is changing direction and would like to now send it off to a new home. It’s a last year, 1961 two-door Ford Ranch Wagon and it is undergoing some interesting enhancements. This Ford wagon is located in Paxton, Illinois and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds for best offer.

As can be seen, this Ranch Wagon is experiencing a metamorphosis. Besides the obvious – the completely stripped body, it’s in the process of losing some height, courtesy of a 2″ chop, but that will need to be continued by the next owner. The body is described as rust free and the seller adds, “All original glass, trim, and lighting are here and in excellent condition“. In addition to the body blast, the frame and suspension components have been likewise treated. Yes, the doors and hood, along with many other parts, are included in the sale.

Ford offered some pretty stout engines back in ’61 but they all paled compared to the recently rebuilt 429 CI monster V8 engine planned for this wagon – you can cover a lot of ranch with that baby. It’s connected to an automatic transmission (C-6?), with a 2500 RPM stall speed converter and 3.73 limited-slip gears out back. Need to pitch out the anchor in a hurry? Got ya’ covered with all-around four-wheel disc brakes.

The interior, which is gutted, will include bucket seats and a center console of unknown origin, though the console photograph resembles one that has been borrowed from a similar era XL500. As to what else is present, or needed, inquiries will have to be made. The seller suggests, “This rare wagon needs to be finished up and is not that far from completion“. Based on the images, it looks like it has quite a way to go still but there are a lot of interesting components and approaches, all coalescing around this rare two-door wagon – if you have interest, please contact the seller.

The seller adds to his previous comment by stating, “For recent personal reasons, I am unable to be that person. My hope is the right person will take this on and get her back on the road“. There is quite a bit of vision that has occurred here, and certainly, some sound execution though I’ll admit changing horses in the middle of the stream as it relates to that chopped top, gives me cause for concern – it’s a bit more than just taking a Sawzall to it. I certainly do agree with the seller’s sentiments and I hope that the right person does come along and finish this most interesting project. I’m definitely not that person but perhaps one of our readers is up for the challenge?

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  1. MorganW MorganW

    Wow, what a shame

    Like 5
  2. Connecticut Mark

    Just wondering, he has all original glass, but chopped now, isn’t that glass useless?

    Like 9
    • Fred W

      Absolutely. No problem with side pieces, but good luck getting the curved back window and windshield custom made. Might be possible to cut down the originals but it better be a very competent glass shop.

      Like 8
      • Mark James Mark James

        I still have this wagon and have got her back in a roller state finishing the chassis and reinstalling the body- the curved glass comment is incorrect though- the chop starts at zero and transitions to a 2″ at the window posts. The curved glass also sits on an interior shelf that when lowered 1″ absolutely carries the side glass as is with no modification. Not that it doesn’t require a little work. Responding to an older comment but none the less.

        Like 0
      • BrianT BrianTMember

        There are two ways to go with this. A competent glass cutter can cut the originals or have a pattern (buck) made and have custom glass made. You’ll have your glass within a month.

        Like 0
  3. Will Fox

    With the 2″ chop of the roof, it’s already been ruined, so WTF cares. These 2dr. wagons are scarce, and should be restored to showroom if an owner can. They represent the end of an era where full-size wagons are concerned, and `61 was a good year for Ford.
    But this? It doesn’t matter what some buyer does with it. Tub it & take it to the track for all that’ worth! This car is no longer worth saving IMHO.

    Like 4
  4. Steve Weiman

    I always wondered why anyone would purchase a two door wagon back in the day. Having that conversation with someone who owned a 56 Chevy two-door wagon purchased from the original owner: “ purposefully chose the two-door wagon over the four-door because he felt it was safer to keep the kids inside the car“……. Makes some sense, no child door locks or seatbelts in those days. Just a thought my dad would probably kill one of us if we opened one of the back doors was enough to keep me from giving that a try……. :)

    Like 2
  5. FrankMember

    Great project for someone to finish.

    Like 1
  6. Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

    WOW! I sure would like to see it when it’s finished!

    Like 1
    • Mark James Mark James

      Not finished yet, but is closer than she was 2 years ago. Still needing that next person to finish her up. If you know someone- I am in the Hudsonville Michigan area now.

      Like 0
      • BrianT BrianTMember

        It is looking great!

        Like 0
  7. BrianT BrianMember

    I like wagons of this era especially 2 door examples. I’m sure this will look great when done but, imho, chopping it has put this beyond what most amature hobbyists are capable of. The original glass could be cut down but what if? I hope someone completes it and it would be great to see some after photographs.

    Like 0
  8. Joe Haska

    This is a neat car and would be very cool, but the chopped top was a very bad idea. It pretty much takes this car off the market for most people.

    Like 1
  9. Joe Machado

    I found a 1959 Ford 2 door fleet wagon in wrecking yard in Bloomfield, New Mexico several years ago.
    Medium green, with a painted sign on doors, New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Have a couple pictures

    Like 0
  10. geezerglide85

    A lot of people question why there were 2dr wagons. I think (maybe I’m wrong) a lot of govt. contracts called for 2dr wagons, so the car companies kept making them for that purpose. I read an article about Studebaker having a govt. contract for 50 1962 model 2dr wagons, but they discontinued them after 1961. So they put the ’62 nose on the ’61 body and shipped them.

    Like 0
  11. Robt

    That 2” chop will look good when all said and done. But it’s going to take the right person or right shop.
    I’m not that person but would love to see it completed. With a mild hot rodding job to the rest of the car. Sleeper inspired. Some great hardware is already included.

    Like 0
    • Mark James Mark James

      I still have her and she has come along a little…Still looking for the next owner though.

      Like 1
  12. Joe Machado

    No chopping anyhing here.
    If you wann chop something, go chop a 20 something window v w bus.

    Like 0
    • Robt

      Sounds like it’s already been chopped or is in process. Don’t know why you need to be the decider of taste here?

      Like 1
      • Joe Machado

        Duh, response to taste is in either direction, like or not, that is a decider of taste, duh, it’s a response.
        Should it be mentioned again, what would you do as Barn Finds has asked before on many cars?
        Gotta go, picking up aa Hemi SuperBird 4 speed.
        Audious muchachos

        Like 0
  13. Robt

    Joe Muachado,


    Like 0
  14. Claudio

    Fits my taste perfectly but not really !
    I love customs and protourings
    So its good
    But i only own convertibles
    But i would certainly enjoy looking it over !

    Like 0
  15. Haynes

    What this feels like is the classic “newbie” being sucked dry by the local scumbag “car dude” with a shop and a wrench. Hope I’m wrong

    Like 0
    • Mark James Mark James

      You were mistaken sir- I understand the process of this car completely- Although I am still looking for someone to take her off my hands- I have her in the current state of this photo up in Michigan (Hudsonville area).

      Like 1
      • Robt

        Mark James,
        In my opinion, if you seriously want to move this car out of your garage through any kind of sale it will be up to you to have to all the glass cut and reinstalled first.
        Good luck!

        Like 0
      • BrianT BrianTMember

        Great looking car. That 2” chop sets it apart from any you’ll ever see. The glass is quite doable although a few people here don’t think so. Good luck on your sale.

        Like 0

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