Older Restomod: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon

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The Ranch Wagon was Ford’s entry-level, full-size station wagon from 1952 to 1974. It was a no-nonsense people mover that often came with few frills. If you needed a wagon to go camping or fishing or deliver groceries, the Ranch Wagon was the one to beat. But this 1955 edition is an older restomod that comes with a 1980s small-block V8. It’s got its share of little bumps and bruises, which means you can show it occasionally without worrying about adding more scratches. Located in Leavenworth, Kansas, this interesting Ford is available here on eBay where $9,000 has yet to crack the reserve.

Ford more times than not has come in second behind Chevrolet in terms of sales. But with basic wagons, Ford beat out Chevy in 1955. When it came to 2-door station wagons, Ford built more than 84,000 Ranch and Custom Ranch Wagons in 1955, while Chevy mustered just under 48,000 of the 2-door 150 and 210 Handyman wagons. On the upper end of the scale, Chevy had the 2-door Bel Air Nomad, but it saw little traction in ’55 and Ford wouldn’t have a comparable model until the Parklane in 1956 (a one-year wonder).

The seller doesn’t know a lot about the history of this Ranch Wagon as he bought it mostly the way you see it some time ago. The mods were made before his/her watch and seem to be both tasteful and functional. For whatever reason, this ’55 Ranch Wagon wears some ’56 exterior bling, like the grille and front bumper. The wheels are aftermarket and the machine sports Coker bias-ply white wall tires. Whatever engine this vintage transport had when new (maybe a 272 V8) was replaced by a 302 cubic inch V8 with an overdrive transmission. It’s said to run, drive, and stop pretty well, so you should be able to use it on the weekends without fear of immediate failure.

In the photos provided, the tint of the paint seems to differ from light blue to medium blue, but we’ll chalk that up to variations in lighting. There is evidence of prior bodywork such as filler material in the rear wheel wells and the rocker panels have been redone, as well. From 20 feet, things look fine but as you get closer a few rust bubbles will pop out. The interior matches the tone of the exterior and was mildly customized with the rest of the auto back in the 1980s.

The seller, who comes across as an interesting sort, isn’t particularly anxious to sell but has too many older cars to properly maintain. Who knows where the reserve was set, but the seller indicates he/she will lose $6,000 on his investment when that point is reached. You could probably drive this Ford indefinitely without a major rework of things. But if you decided to restore it, would you stick with the restomod or go back to 1955, mechanical bits and all?

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  1. Scott T

    Looks like a 56 !

    Like 8
    • Rick

      Not the dash. That’s a ’55 dash for sure with the round radio and heater controls.

      Like 5
    • Shuttle Guy Shuttle GuyMember

      He mentions in the eBay ad it’s a ’56 grill and bumper.

      Like 4
  2. Michael Garner

    I looked at the pictures on Ebay, and I can see at least a few spots that make me a bit suspect about the rust. Didn’t see any pictures from underneath, and no pictures of the back hatch opened up. I would wonder how much repairing/replacing would have to be done. I sure do like these old wagons though.

    Like 3
  3. Terry Morrison

    Front wnd and side trim is definitely 56 (Customline) and dash is 55. Best guess is someone liked the 56 detail compared to 55 and had access to some “spare parts”.

    Like 5
  4. Troy

    Well reading the evil bay add I’m out. bidding is already just over $10k and I think that is about what its worth in this condition and reading the add he wants closer to $30k but to answer your question I would drive it a few years then make some custom touches of my own drive it a few more than pass it on

    Like 2
  5. tompepper

    56 grill also.55 had the big round parking / signal lights

    Like 4
    • Ken

      I agree it’s a 56

      Like 2
  6. geezerglide 85

    My grand parents had a new ’56 Ranch Wagon 2dr. Bought at the end of the model year. (it was a demo). They then retired to a farm in upstate New York. They had an accident when down in NYC. At that time it was 10 years old and had only 25,000 mile on it, but was so rusty it wasn’t worth fixing. Surprised any of these are left in any cond. this one looks really nice. and 302 is a good upgrade.

    Like 2
    • JustPassinThru

      Fords in those years rusted horribly.

      Ford pioneered the electro-plating immersion paint job about 1958 or so, and the reason for it was, their manufacturing/painting process left the product HORRIBLY conducive to rust. I’m not sure what GM was doing that Ford was not – thicker steel, or more attention to primer; but Fords just dissolved into rust. Proof is, how few Fords survived. We can find Chevrolets from all years in the 1950s, often in sound shape, but, say, the 1957 Ford…even though it was all new, more-attractive than the last-year Tri-Five, and sold better…it did NOT survive.

      My old man’s ’57 Ford wagon was unsafe with rust in five years. And that was in the New Jersey area – not snow country.

      Any rust would require careful, maybe professional evaluation. It may have been painted properly at the restoration; or it could have used third-world reproduction stampings.

      Like 2
  7. Bub

    “You could probably drive this Ford indefinitely without a major rework of things.”
    With respect, do you even read your write ups before hitting send? You couldn’t load this heap on a trailer safely. Start with brakes from pedal to pads and then EVERYTHING you encounter in between. EVERYTHING.

    Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      With respect? I see very little of that in your comment, bub.

      Like 11
      • Bub

        I re-read my post and you’re right, 370zpp. Thanks for the tap. I didn’t mean to bring attitude. Funny thing is I really like Russ and his presentations.
        I’ll clean up my act 👍

        Like 8
      • Bub

        Still. Only a stunned c#nt could think you’d get reliable service out of this offering.
        All due respect.

        Like 3
      • 370zpp 370zppMember

        thanks for cleaning up your act . .

        Like 3
    • MikeG.

      Wow ! I wish I could be as knowledgeable as you !!!

      Like 3
    • Big C

      Is the seller your ex brother in law?

      Like 0
  8. RichardinMaine

    Love the wagon. Shame about that color. HATE baby blue on anything automotive. But that’s just me.

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      And me!

      Like 1
      • Jimmy Novak

        I feel it’s so important to read about folks’ personal color preferences here.

        Like 4
  9. Bunky

    I have an original ‘56 Ford pickup with virtually no rust. For some reason it hasn’t “totally dissolved in rust”.
    I vote for Bub to have a “Time Out”. I would happily Cruise this wagon just like it is.

    Like 12
    • Dave

      LOL! I agree. Russ said you could probably drive it indefinitely without a major rework. I don’t include a thorough inspection as a major rework, and if you drive it 20 feet and step on the brakes, thats plenty of test to load it on a trailer.Not at all a heap. Of course I would inspect it all, not a big deal.

      Like 4
  10. ACZ

    Since part of this is a 55 and part is a 56, does that make it a “hybrid”?

    Like 3
  11. Joe Haska

    The negative comments about this car surprised me. I love these Ford wagons 55 to 57 and they are hard to find. It is a mystery in regard to what year it is. My guess is it is a 55, because why would you just change the dash? But changing the front clip and some trim would make sense. Also, I don’t think it matter, it is a modified car, if you don’t like it, keep looking.

    Like 0

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