New England Survivor: 1954 Ford Ranch Wagon

The Mainline was Ford’s entry-level series from 1952 through 1956. It would come in a variety of body styles including the 2-door Ranch Wagon, like the seller’s beautiful example. These wagons would be popular with small businesses to use for making deliveries or service calls. While this one spent most of its life in Maine, it currently calls Pittsfield, Massachusetts home and is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $15,000.

The 1954 were largely carryovers from 1952-53, but with a few differences. The base engine was a 233 cubic inch overhead valve-six rated at 115 horsepower and the front suspension used ball joints now instead of kingpins. The Mainline Ranch Wagon saw sales of 44,300 units, making it the second most popular wagon that Ford sold that year. Thanks, Classic Ford, for some 1954 Ford history.

I love a car with a story and this wagon has one. We’re told that it served as a runaround vehicle for years for a couple with a second home in North Haven, Maine. We assume while in their ownership, it was put away in 1983 and stayed there until recently. The hardware graphics on the wagon do not reflect a real business; they were added recently to help complete a vintage look. They will pull off easily if not your thing.

It took a few things to bring it back to life, but it’s said to be quite functional now. The repaired items include:

  • Complete new brake system
  • Serviced gas tank, fuel lines, and carburetor
  • New water pump, thermostat, and radiator flush
  • New valve cover, timing cover, and oil pan gaskets
  • New battery and cables

Not a bad list for 37 years of hibernation. It still has a leak in the exhaust, but the seller says he’s ordered a new exhaust and perhaps it will arrive before the sale. The stance is not stock as the wagon been lowered in the front and rear and sports new shock absorbers. We doubt the paint is original and the seller admits it could use buffing up.

The interior has had some recent work done and it looks quite good. A new headliner and front rubber floor mat with new sill plates have taken place. New seat foam was installed, and all the seams repaired. The seller tells us that Maine has no titles for classic vehicles, so the buyer will receive a registration from the State of Maine to facilitate a transfer. Which suggests that he did all this work without retitling it to himself. That’s a lot of work for a flipper.

Hagerty purports that $27,000 is top dollar for a 1954 Ford, less 10 percent for the six instead of a V8. Given that not much remains to be done to this vehicle, I’d be inclined to show it off as it is and be happy with some instant equity in my wallet.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    ’54 was when Ford introduced their first overhead valve V8. In addition they had an “Interceptor” police engine with solid lifters that you could order. The drag racers were in hog heaven. Nice to see one of these in one piece.

    Like 12
    • Paul Draver

      My Dad had a 54 Customline with the new 239 Y block V8. Very quiet engine. My Dad cranked it a few times when it was idling. All the Y block engines had solid lifters. They went in the opposite way from everyone else so the cam had to come out to remove or install them.

      Like 1
      • Johnny

        Yes the motor had to come out and the motor had to be flipped over on it top. Push all the lifters down. Then pull the cam out. Very good motors. I had to do it. I,m talking about the v-8. The in line six you you not. If it is like the old Chevy six. Just take the side cover off and their is the lifters. You,d also have to take the valve cover off and loosen the rockers in order to take the push rods out.The lift the lifters out. So much more simple then any new crap they put out. I ,d leave this car the way it is.Simple and easy to work on and reliable.Easy on gas too.

        Like 2
  2. Steve R

    I love these two door wagons.

    I hate the fake lettering, it’s a tacky gimmick to get people look at a car. It’s not needed if a car stands on its own merits, like this does.

    Steve R

    Like 26
  3. Allan W

    North Haven, Maine is an island about an hour by ferry from Rockland, so it is remote. Really remote. Ya gotta take the ferry to Vinalhaven, then take a private boat or ferry to North Haven. I love this wagon and I was hoping the lettering was legit. It is better without the lettering, IMO, it seems almost dishonest on what appears to be a very honest working man’s car. If this car spent most of its life on North Haven, it has probably not been driven very fast, and likely has never seen an accident. Or a red light.

    Like 10
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Very nice! A great basic beauty. Used to
    lots of them when I was younger. In fact, a friend of Mom’s had one that he
    used to pull his midget race car and he
    had a homemade wooden roof rack to
    haul things like parts and spare tires for
    the racer. Manny’s the time that he’d come by and take us to the midget races at the speedway in Fairbury, Illinois in the early ’60s. Like all of you,
    I really like this car and want it badly. But I don’t recall Ford ever making a 233
    cube six though. All theirs were 223 up
    til ’65 when they came out with the 240
    cube mill. If the 223 ever takes a dump,
    you could bolt any later Ford 6 to take it’s place. That won’t happen for awhile
    though, so buy that later 6 and store it
    away til you need it.

    Like 3
  5. Mr.BZ

    Mom had a ’52 Ford 2-door wagon (4 kids), ’54 Ford 4-door wagon (5 kids) and ’61 Plymouth 9 pass. wagon (6 kids). I was #5, so this ’54 takes me WAY back!

    Like 5
  6. Bunky

    Neat car. Doesn’t need phony stick-on letters. The engine would be a 223 c.i. Other option would have been a one year only 239 ohv V8. First Y block.
    My Dad bought a ‘60 Ford pickup new with a 6 cylinder, 3 on the tree. (Non-synchro first gear). Ended up being my first vehicle. Got the job done. Not a lot of power, and 14 mpg in perfect tune.
    This would be a fun, dependable rig! 👍🏻

    Like 4
  7. Mike Hartman

    Altho I’m a Chevy guy, my first car bought with my own money was a 54 Ford Mainline. Bought that at 15. Then next year bought a 54 Crestline Vic. I had 53 in 1983 and in 1999 I had a 52 Courier. Always liked the style, not the engines tho. I still have the 54 Crestline but it’s been sitting in the same spot since 1973.

    Like 2
  8. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Crestline Victoria? Does it have a chrome band over the roof? Mike, why is the car sitting so long? We all need to gather our collective knowledge on Barn Finds and get that danged thing running and driving. What happened to make it immovable for 47 years?

    Like 1
    • Al

      no chrome band in 1954 only 55 and 56 crown vic

      Like 1
  9. Maestro1 Member

    1000 years ago when I was starting out in life I bought a 1955 Ford just like this, used, for $80.00 and drove it across country to my future.
    It was T boned by a drunk going through a stop sign in San Francisco.
    A 3 speed manual V-8, trouble free across the Country and over the Continental Divide. I won’t forget that car, and, if I had the room and no projects in motion, I’d look at this seriously even though I am so far away.

  10. Chris Londish Member

    Mainline in Australia was the coupe utility like the Ranchero only earlier, this is cool and a good price although it puts it in 30 thou range landed here

    Like 1
  11. Phlathead Phil

    Wow, that is tew kewl for any more words!

    Would make a “Handsome” stablemate for my ‘53 Crestline Victoria no post.

    Awesome find B.F.

    Like 1
    • Al

      one of my fav 53 vic is it a black white top 50th anniversary one

  12. Rob

    ahhh, reminds me of my first car, appears to be the same maroon color, I had a 52 Mainline 4 dr. $14.95, (in 1962) still have the invoice. it had a 6 cyl.,had a bad oil leak, threw a rod went to the junk yard, followed the guy around with a starter kit, until I found one I wanted, a 52 automatic with a “Flathead”, I stood there while it was idling and it was as if I was looking through a window from another room, no sound!, the quietest motor I have ever heard. They pulled the motor, put it in the trunk (without the lid) of my mothers 62 Comet, payed them $35 for it, pulled the 6 cyl. out, had to change from the torque coverter to a clutch, bolted it all together and dropped the whole thing in. I had to go find a radiator for the flathead,
    (4 hose). when I took it to the muffler place, with my glass pack muffler, they put the exhaust together, I can still remember backing it off the lift, it was as if I was driving an electric car, absolutly quiet! What memories, that was 43 cars ago.

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