Ford’s Nomad: 1958 Ford Del Rio Ranch Wagon

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The Del Rio was Ford’s second attempt at emulating Chevrolet’s unique Nomad sport wagon in the late 1950s. Like the Parklane of 1956, the 1957-58 Del Rio used a standard 2-door Ford wagon body with none of the special bodywork of the Nomad. And while it sold better than its Chevy competitor, it wasn’t popular enough for Ford to carry forward into 1959. This ’58 rendition of the Del Rio still wears its original optional two-tone paint, which was a hallmark of the short-lived nameplate. The Ford is coming out of an estate in Orange, California, and its running condition is unknown. Here on eBay, the bidding has arrived at $3,550.

For a wagon that wasn’t a sales success when new, the Nomad apparently was a thorn in Ford’s side. In 1956, Ford rolled out the Parklane which was a glitzy version of their 2-door wagon. Since sales were lackluster, the Parklane was dropped in 1957 in favor of the Del Rio, which was based on the cheaper Ranch Wagon with only a tad better trim and two-tone paint. Neither wagon involved any special adjustments to the body as had been done with the Chevy Nomad and Pontiac Safari. So Ford’s investment in the experiment was minimal.

After selling 46,000 copies of the Del Rio in 1957, Ford’s hopes were high. But when fewer than 13,000 were ordered the following year, they lost faith and the “Ford Nomad” was done. While on the market, Del Rio buyers could choose from either Ford’s “Mileage Maker” 144 hp I-6 or the “Thunderbird” 215 hp, 312 cubic-inch Y-Block V-8, of which the latter is likely in the seller’s wagon. It’s a dirty, dusty barn find that will likely need everything to be presentable, running automobile once again.

The seller got involved by listing this vehicle for a friend who is liquidating an estate. Perhaps this was Grandpa or Grandma’s old transport and they quit driving it, leaving it to the elements depending on the condition of said barn. We’re told it has little rust, has never been wrecked, and wears its original blue and white paint which has loads of patina. The glass is said to be good and the interior may be serviceable, once you give it a thorough cleaning. The photos provided are fair at best and the interior pic is blurry, so you’d have to see it in person to decide upon its condition for yourself.

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Comments

  1. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Lotta work here…..but looks like good bones…..I’d be in..if it wasen’t so far away….

    Like 9
    • David KirschnickMember

      Same here , worth the trip if I could nail down the price .

      Like 0
  2. OldsMan

    I love 57/58 Fords but I never thought the Del Rio pulled off the “sporty look” as well as the Nomad. The clunky B pillar and D(?) pillar made it way more sedan like- and not nearly the “coupe” feel the Nomad and Safari had…the Nomad was definitely a different look than the normal Chevy wagon of the time- the Del Rio vs Country Sedan was a little harder to differentiate

    Like 8
    • Terrry

      Basically it’s only a two-door wagon with two-tone paint. Any script or numbers to back up the “Del Rio” name? I’ve never seen one.

      Like 3
    • Dean

      That one is a four door, not a 2 door.

      Like 0
      • Terrry

        The one in the article is a two door “Del Rio”. The red and white Edsel is not a Del Rio, and a 4-door.

        Like 5
  3. timothy r herrod

    I have said it before on here and I will say it again, IMHO from the front the 58 ford was the best looking thing that came out of the 50’s

    Like 14
    • Rw

      Right on Tim it’s not a nomad

      Like 0
    • Garry

      I would have to put my money on the front of a ‘55 Chevy. Not in your face, just a calm, confident look of superiority.

      Like 1
      • Terrry

        The ’56 comes in a close second. As for the ’57, overdone and garish.

        Like 2
  4. Rw

    Ford never made a nomad

    Like 1
    • Danny from Oz

      Thanks scoop.

      Like 1
    • MGM

      What was the first year for the little falcon Ranchero?

      Like 0
      • Mike McCarthy

        1960 (the Falcon was originally designed to be a model of the Edsel…)

        Like 0
      • Mike McCarthy

        1960

        Like 0
  5. Maggy

    Cool car.I like it patina and all as well as the name…Del Rio.

    Like 4
    • Dave

      I would try for a vanity plate: “Vanessa”

      Like 9
      • Hotrodlincoln

        That one took me a minute but, Nice reference!

        Like 0
  6. tiger66

    BF: “Del Rio buyers could choose from either Ford’s “Mileage Maker” 144 hp I-6 or the “Thunderbird” 215 hp, 312 cubic-inch Y-Block V-8, of which the latter is likely in the seller’s wagon.”

    Unlikely this wagon has the 312 as Ford didn’t offer it in Fords in ’58, only in Mercurys where it was rated at 235 hp. The engine in this car looks to be a 292 which was rated at 205 hp, not 215. However, the H in the VIN indicates it left the factory with the 300 hp 352 FE engine so it’s apparently had an engine swap at some point.

    Like 6
    • JohnMember

      So it still could be a 312 correct.

      Like 1
      • Mike McCarthy

        Not if it’s stock. In 58, they offered the straight 6, a 292 Y-block, and 332, 352, or 361 FE engines. I had a 58 in high school that still had the factory owners manual in it. The 361 was the same as in the lower Edsel models.

        Like 0
    • David Scully

      I had a ’58 sedan delivery with a 332″ FE (solid lifter-2 bbl.), three-speed, no frills commercial beater – traded it away for a ’56 convert…

      Like 2
      • Terrry

        A fellow I knew in the service had a retractable ’58, same engine.

        Like 1
  7. Terrry

    It probably sold better than its Chevy counterpart because Chevy didn’t offer a Nomad in ’58.

    Like 3
    • B302

      The Chevy Nomad was sold from 1955 thru 1961. The first generation sold from 1955 thru 1957. The second generation sold from 1958 thru 1961. Chevy also sold a Chevelle based Nomad station wagon from 1968 thru 1972. I will not go into the Vega based Nomad or Van based Nomad. Respect to all.

      Like 9
      • Chris Cornetto

        HEY! I have one of those Nomad vans. Lots of faux and real wood, tilt wheel, beach furniture patterned seats. At least the last one to wear the name wasn’t a base cheapy wagon like a guys 72 I knew long ago. Surely not a 55 to 57 and really nothing could top a fully optioned 57 to me.

        Like 0
      • Terrry

        As I recall, the last Chevelle Nomads were budget models, and the ’58 Nomad was no longer a “sport” or uplevel wagon, just a middle of the line model. That’s kind of what I meant, in the context of the author.

        Like 0
    • Will Fox

      Correction: Chevy DID have a “Nomad” in `58-61, but by then it had been reduced to the equivalent of an “Impala” 4dr. wagon. By `62, they were simply Impala wagons.

      Like 3
      • Bob C.

        For 1958, the Chevy 2 door wagon was a Yeoman.

        Like 3
  8. Alan Henry

    I’d love that car. Ditch the “patina”, full repaint in original colors, some two inch whitewalls, and a set of ’58 wheel covers for me.The ’58s were exceptional looking cars. Our cousin Carol had a beautiful two tone blue four door model one step below the Country Squire. Years later, the identical car in mint shape showed up at the turnpike plaza building I worked at. The two tone ’59 Edsel would do me a treat too.

    Like 5
  9. Jay E.Member

    Wish I could go through the family’s old Kodak slides as I’m sure there is our 1958 Del Rio Ranch Wagon somewhere in them. Ours was Black/White and the gold trim really popped. Red interior easily fit the family of 6. Dad got it with the padded dash, which was special at the time. I thought it had a 390, but certainly it was a big V8 and had plenty of power. Dad liked to do burnouts with us kids in the car. We called then “smoke screens” and they made us all laugh!! “Do another smoke screen, Daddy!!! One of my fondest memories. When the gas crunch hit, Dad sold it for a VW BUS!!! All us kids cried, we loved that car and the trips it took us on.
    I’m too old to go down the nostalgia restoration lane but I sure hope someone picks this up and does it justice. It is a really sharp car and you never see these anywhere. Thanks Barn Finds, this was really cool.

    Like 15
    • Jay E.Member

      I should mention ours was a Country Squire and had the emblems on the rear quarter panels. Not a Del Rio.

      Like 4
    • Terrry

      Probably a 352. They resemble a 390 exactly .

      Like 2
      • "Edsel" Al leonardMember

        It’s a Y-block…either a 292 or 312 CID. most likely a 292..2 bolt holes in the valve covers say so….

        Like 4
      • Bob C.

        Also, the distributor is in the back, y block.

        Like 3
  10. Joe Haska

    Definitely on my list of cars I want to own. I have a friend who has a 57 Del Rio and he drives it all the time. This 58 is not in bad condition, but you know from the get go, it is going to be a total restoration and won’t be cheap.

    Like 1
  11. kellen silverthorn

    I concur that an FE engine would have been the top engine offering in 1958 Del Rios, and to me, that would be far preferred to the Y-block. By 1958 the Y-block was no longer Ford’s headlining V8. KS

    Like 1
  12. Don Sicura

    The right car in the wrong place for me

    Like 1
  13. Wayne

    Great car! I would love to have it. I don’t know if I ever saw a 312 with a 2 barrel carburetor. (other than the 1955 T-Bird I work on some times) It is the later style manifold with the “now” “standard” Ford/Holly style bolt pattern.

    Like 0
  14. Old Man

    I’m familiar with this ‘salvage yard’ in Orange (I live there…the city, not the salvage yard), and all I can say is “caveat emptor”.

    Like 2
  15. RalphP

    If that was Grandma’s car, then she was one hot mama because I noticed some extra gauges handing below the dash and an upgraded carb.

    Like 1
  16. RH FACTOR

    We had a restored Red ’57 in the shop I worked at. Pretty nice car, but other than being a two door, nothing special like the nomad or Safari or the Caballero.

    Like 0
  17. Eric

    That interior is not original, of course, and the gauges below the dash imply all sorts of “restoration” along the way!

    Like 0
  18. Marty Martin

    Man I got two handyman wagons and they’re both two doors. They are 1957. But I think it’s a little ridiculous to call this Ford The nomad version. Unless they truly use the word nomad they being Ford. Almost every car manufacturer had their two door wagons. It did not make it a nomad. Plymouth Chrysler Dodge had a two-door car station wagon that they call the suburban back in the fifties. Has GM progressed they actually named a four-door wagon nomad. Then revived it later to call a van nomad. This just a clunky old Ford station wagon that missing two of its doors.

    Like 0
  19. Tom

    To the best of my knowledge I had two 60 Chevy wagons they were both titled Chevy Kingswood Nomad and they were both four doors

    Like 0
  20. Mike McCarthy

    1960 (Originally designed to be an Edsel….)

    Like 0
    • "Edsel" Al leonardMember

      :>)

      Like 0
  21. Mike McCarthy

    Update: Sold for $6101. For the benefit of those that have questions on what engines, models, were available for a given car, I would highly suggest the website of the Automotive History Preservation Society. Thousands of ads and brochures for hundreds of cars. Here’s one for the 58 Ford: http://wildaboutcarsonline.com/members/AardvarkPublisherAttachments/9990392581214/1958_Ford_Prestige_Brochure_1-28.pdf

    Like 0

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