Easy Project: 1955 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon

Classics like this 1955 Ford Country Squire Wagon will always ignite a spirited debate amongst our readers. Some will argue that it is a prime candidate for a restoration project, while others will believe that it should remain untouched as an original survivor. I can see merit in both perspectives, but it is a decision that its next owner will need to make. The Wagon is located in Prescott, Arizona, and the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. The bidding has reached $7,800, but this remains short of the reserve. When our Barn Finds readers refer vehicles like this to us, we always appreciate it, so a big thank you has to go out to Larry D for spotting this one.

While he doesn’t explicitly state it, I get the impression that the Wagon has spent most of its life in the dry climate of Arizona. That makes its general lack of significant rust problems no great surprise. The owner indicates that the frame and body mounts are structurally sound, and the only problem that he mentions are spots in both lower front fenders. There is no mention of any other rust problems, with the spare wheel well and the tailgate being singled out as rust-free. The Pinetree Green paint is about as baked as you might expect from a car that has experienced exposure to harsh UV rays, and there is plenty of surface corrosion. A repaint would make a world of difference, but the buyer could choose to apply a clear coating to retain the Wagon’s patina. However, the owner includes some parts that might tip the balance towards a restoration. He has a complete set of fiberglass external moldings and new woodgrain decals. These will offer a great starting point if the buyer wants to return the Country Squire to its former glory. He also has a better grille that he is willing to throw in if the buyer wants it.

One area of this Ford that won’t consume a lot of money is its interior. The painted surfaces will require attention, and I’m pretty surprised that the owner didn’t tackle these before turning his focus to other interior aspects. They look tired, but repainting them would not be difficult. Beyond that, the dash appears to be complete, and it seems like the buyer could potentially restore the wheel with a bit of care and patience.

It was this photo that raised the question about the interior painted surfaces in my mind. The owner has gone to a lot of time and expense treating the Country Squire to a new trim kit. It presents superbly, but I’m probably not the only person who would’ve tackled the paint before I installed all of that spotless upholstery. He has fitted new seat covers, door trims, carpet, and I think that there’s also a fresh headliner. It gives the interior a factory-fresh appearance and provides a striking contrast to the weathered exterior. For enthusiasts with a larger family, this Country Squire features the versatility of 3rd-row seating, so the whole clan has the chance to enjoy the classic motoring experience. The refurbishing work has extended to that additional seat and the rear cargo area, leaving little for the buyer to do on this aspect of the Wagon.

The engine photos that the owner supplies are best described as ordinary. This shot is the better of the two, but it still doesn’t tell us much. We know that this Ford is powered by a 272ci V8, producing 182hp. The original owner also equipped the Wagon with a 3-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission and power steering. The owner purchased the vehicle around 10-years ago, and he has spent a few dollars on the drivetrain. He has installed new brakes, shocks, and a new exhaust. All of this work has been completed in the past few months, but he indicates that it would benefit from a new wiring harness. The Country Squire runs and drives, and the power steering works perfectly. The tires are now pretty old, so the buyer might want to invest in a new set before tackling any extended journeys.

I candidly admit that this 1955 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon leaves me feeling torn. Part of me desperately wants to address its minor rust issues and return the vehicle to a factory-fresh state. There is no doubt that once finished, it would be a real head-turner. The other part of me feels that treating the surface corrosion to avoid further deterioration and applying a protective coating would retain the character it has developed over the past 66-years. That path would be more affordable, and the Wagon would still attract plenty of attention. I don’t know which direction I’d choose, and I would probably decide once I had it parked in my workshop. Which option would you choose, and more importantly, do you like this classic enough to submit a bid?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I don’t know why anybody would want to “preserve” the awful exterior of this classic wagon by clear coating it. The interior looks great, the seller is including a set of fiberglass external moldings and new woodgrain decals, so address the rust and give it a nice paint job. Patina is rust and burnt off paint and not something I’d want to preserve. But that’s just me.

    Like 38
    • Tom Bell

      Total agreement here. It deserves a proper restoration. I believe these write-ups are scripted to be as neutral and unoffensive as possible regardless of the vehicle’s condition, rarity and value. We don’t want to anger the readers.

      Like 11
    • Andy B

      My sentiments exactly. Patina is rust and/or corrosion. Period!

      Like 10
  2. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    In my little world the sheet metal is far too patinaed to leave. (My Javelin is on the edge but I won’t paint it). As Adam noted why on earth would you not paint the interior parts before installing all of that upholstery even if you intended to leave the outside alone? whom ever buys this please show us the restored car in a couple of years, thanks.

    Like 6
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I agree 100% with you Ford guy. Back about 1976 or so a cousin drove a car just like this from California with his herd of kids and wife to my home in Everett, Washington for an extended visit. Don’t know what he ever did with that car, but it ran strong.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  4. Donald Hughes

    all interior parts were painted but for dash look at add

    Like 1
  5. Todd Zuercher

    The lead photo made me think it might be in my hometown, and sure enough it is! Once upon a time I would’ve probably known the seller but his phone # tells me he’s a Phoenix transplant. Neat car imo.

    Like 2
  6. Calipag

    That interior is beautiful! I have an all original 54 Country Sedan and keep and my eye on the prices of the station wagons across the board, not just Fords. Mine has the 239 ci with the 3 speed overdrive.

    4 door wagons seem to be picking up popularity with their value. I can’t wait to see what this one goes for.

    Like 5
  7. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    What a neat car. Old Fords don’t usually excite me but this is a beast. The interior takes it over the top. I’d have to get it painted. It deserves it after lasting this long and being so solid…

    Like 6
  8. AMCFAN

    The reason the owner replaced the seats and interior and little else is because there was nothing but springs. So to take a car and pull it out of the desert and add nice interior and repop tires and cha ching.

    With a car like this enjoy what you see. Once you foolishly paint one thing you have to do everything else, Once that happens no turning back. It will never occur you could have bought one already done for way less.

    Like 5
  9. gaspumpchas

    Great commentary on both schools of thought. If you decide to do the car there’s no turning back, you would need to do it all the way. Lots of work; I hope it comes back to its original look. Good luck and happy motoring.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 5
  10. Howard A Member

    I look at this a bit different, back in ’55, this car was the top of the line. The Country Squire showed your neighbors in “Pressboard Heights”, you were no average schmoe.( with a Ranch Wagon) This only shows how far our hobby has sunk, that a car like this, in it’s derelict looking condition, is actually popular. Pretty sad.

    Like 4
  11. On and On On and On Member

    I must admit that I am attracted to this era car because it simply reminds me of a simpler time (seemingly) because I was 4 years old when it came out. I love the ‘Pressboard Heights’ referral Howard, perfectly describes the suburban atmosphere of post war America. Times they were a changin. Now being my age and I think we all would appreciate simpler times, driving this wagon might help me realize that.

    Like 4
  12. Ken Vrana

    I can hear the response now but as a lover of ‘real woodies,’ who doesn’t live in a world where I could ever buy one, I’d take the new trim to a good woodworker and have him create it in real wood. Then I’d sell the replacement trim to someone who needed it.

    Like 3
  13. Stephen

    Either leave the exterior as-is and enjoy the patina or re-paint and restore the exterior to brand new.

    But don’t clear coat the patina – which ruins the whole effect.

    Like 4
  14. Steve Clinton

    Woodie? No, he wouldn’t.

    Like 2
  15. John Klintz

    A friend in high school had essentially the same car, same color, so this brought back some memories. Leave the patina, fix the rust, make sure it runs well and enjoy it as a “derelict.”

    Like 2
  16. Lowell Peterson

    Easy/project is an oxymoron. Only easy if someone else is doin it! This one is all fun to money , and not worth a lot when done. So buy it do it and don’t try to justify it financially! Please?

    Like 1
  17. Lowell Peterson

    Fair warning: A LOT of California ex pats that are bona fide car guys reside in Prescott now. So whatch for many cars hustled from there.

    • Todd Zuercher

      Yeah, we’ve been dealing with them since the ’80s and their moves here have accelerated in the past 30 years. On the flip side, there are a lot more cool cars here than there were when I was a kid.

  18. Bill Hall

    The motor could also be a 292. The difference that is obvious is the Carburetor. A 292 has an upright Holly 4 barrel. My dad had a 55 like that.

  19. Erik

    Anyone else feeling that the seller got to the most expensive part (proper disassembly, blasting, cleaning, priming, metal repair, skim filler, paint, reassembly with what is reusable along with new replacement parts) after buying exterior trim and has decided to get out while ahead? The patina craze originated by those without deep enough pockets or lack of patience.

    Like 1
  20. 19sixty5 Member

    I am generally not a fan of the whole patina thing, but for some reason this works for me as-is. Maybe it’s the look of “nature” with the Country Squire wood trim and the color, it just looks so natural to me. My normal thoughts of patina is someone is too cheap to restore it properly. Kind of like painting chrome bumpers…

    Like 1
  21. Howard Ross

    For all of the patina haters, remember the saying ” its only original once”. Patina tells a story.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      I agree completely. Funny thing about the “patina” haters, they talk as if once the car is sold with patina, that’s all that’s possible for the car’s future. As if it’s impossible to paint it because it was for sale with patina. And the notion that a car “deserves” a complete resto is the strangest thing. It’s just a car, it doesn’t deserve or not deserve anything.

      Like 1
  22. TMK

    what i see is a little customizing. Go over the body work paint it an emerald green, put the new wood decals and molding on. Then find a wreck Mustang with a coyote motor and incorporate the whole drive train under it. and up grade the interior a little maybe use some of the Mustang interior.

    Like 1
    • Lowell Peterson

      TMK! Now yer gettin it easy $25k and yer off to cars n’ coffee. Bring yer AAA CARD?

  23. DuesenbergDino

    I would take a few steps back on this and gut the interior and store safely while refurbishing the car. Ideally I would separate the body in order to blast the frame, powder coat and reassemble with new suspension parts. Rebuild engine at same time. Unbolt doors, fenders, etc. to get a really nice paint job with detail. Send out chrome and get ready to assemble. Note; this would be classified as a refurbishment and not a restoration as body would not be sand blasted or preferably acid dipped. Glass would be cleaned up and not replaced. Wire harness, dash just inspected and repaired, not replaced. This would allow a somewhat easier approach to having a beautiful “repaint” instead of full blown restoration.

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