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Period Mods: 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon 2-Door

It appears that at some point in its life, a previous owner has customized this 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon to their own tastes and needs. The majority of these modifications look like they may have been performed in the 1970s or 1980. Any or all of the modifications could be reversed, or the next owner could choose to restore the Ford to its retro-look from that era. Barn Finder Mike referred the Ranch Wagon to us, so thank you so much for that Mike. The classic Ford is located in Thomaston, Connecticut, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you fancy taking on a retro project, then all you need to do is hand the owner $3,750, and the Ford is all yours.

The first thing that I’ll say is that I’m pretty sure that the yellow paint that the Ford wears isn’t original. I’ve been trying to isolate a spot that might indicate the original paint shade, but have had no luck. This color, combined with the wheels that the car currently wears, and the aftermarket sunroof that has been fitted to the car, all tend to indicate that the Ranch Wagon received some updates in the 1970s/’80s era. Rust in the vehicle isn’t as bad as it could be, but the photos of the underside show a solid coating of surface corrosion that I would be addressing pretty quickly. There is some rust in one spot in the floor, but the rest of it looks solid. There is visible rust in the rockers, the front edge of the hood, the lower quarter panels, and in a few other places. None of this is particularly severe, and all should be able to be fixed fairly easily.

It isn’t clear whether this Ford started life with a Mileage Maker six, or a Y-Block V8 under the hood, but whichever it was, it is now well and truly gone. In its place is a Cleveland V8, but it isn’t clear what size it is. Behind the V8 is an automatic transmission, but once again, it isn’t clear what type. The sheer quantity of debris that has accumulated on the engine would suggest that it hasn’t fired a shot in a while, and the owner doesn’t indicate whether the engine even turns freely. What is interesting is that it appears that as part of the customization process, the Ranch Wagon now features aftermarket air conditioning.

The interior of the Ford is interesting because while it looks pretty sad at first glance, things might not be as bad as they initially seem. New carpet and new covers for the seats will definitely be on the shopping list, but the rest of the interior looks like it would restore quite well with more time and effort, than money. There is a radio/cassette player fitted into the dash, and its appearance not only tends to reinforce that ’70s/’80s look, but it appears that it might be a unit of reasonable quality. The rest of the dash and interior trim appears to be intact, so it looks like it will be time to roll up the sleeves and break out the cleaning products. One thing that I’m undecided about is the steering wheel. The current one would definitely have to go, but I can’t decide whether I would source an original wheel, or if a 1970s/’80s vintage aftermarket wheel would be the go.

For a car to get a second shot in life is not that unusual, because we’ve all seen plenty of classics that have been restored or customized. But for one to receive a third shot is that little bit rarer. That is precisely what this Ford Ranch Wagon offers to its next owner. It had its initial life as a stock family wagon, but its second life came when someone undertook the customization work that is apparent throughout the car today. Now it is time for the next owner to allow the car to receive a third incarnation. Part of me would love to see the car returned to something approaching its original form, but a larger part of me is saying that it should be restored to how it was when that yellow paint was fresh, and when that new engine went under the hood. I think that the car could serve as a tribute and insight into part of the customizing culture of that period in time, or maybe I’m just trying to regain a part of my misspent youth.


  1. CapNemo CapNemo

    I wish I knew how to post a picture of my Ranch Wagon. Tried, but didn’t work. I’m not gifted with certain technologies.

    Like 7
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Hi CapNemo, try loading your photo first, then your text. The only way it works for me. Best of luck, Mike.

      Like 2
      • CapNemo CapNemo

        Thanks Leiniedude! I’ll give it a mighty whirl!

        Like 2
  2. steve baker

    Ford did offer a fairly bright yellow in 1959. Also, a entry level vehicle like this could have been a fleet order, and available in a special color.


    It would be cool to restore it with a 300 hp 352!

    Like 5
    • Will Fox

      Steve, this shade of yellow is definitely way after production; nowhere near the color Ford offered in `59. More like 1970 maybe.

      Like 1
  3. local_sheriff

    Very cool find indeed, not only being a longroof but a 2door too!

    At this years July 4th cruising I spotted three 59 Ford 4door wagons, all in very nice restored condition . Nevertheless they are very cool 50s cars; my best wishes to the guy picking this one up!

    Like 3
  4. dave brennan

    Would have to sit in my driveway next to a bulletbird , just to show the taillights.

    Like 1
  5. Bob C.

    I vote it’s a 351 Cleveland.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      Or a derivative. My 77 F150 had a 351M with the EGR valve in the same spot as this one. After carbon stuck the valve open I fixed it and plugged the vacuum line and it never caused a problem after that.

      Like 1
  6. Will Fox

    I thought this rare 2dr. Ranch Wagon might be a good candidate for restoration, and then saw the cheap sunroof cut into the top. No thanks…….

    Like 4
  7. Wayne

    Somewhere there is a 1974 F250 missing it’s drivetrain and steering column and wheel. My bet, 400M with a C6. ( same York A/C compressor also) cool car until a can opener was used on the roof. After all the mods, why leave the EGR valve?

    Like 5
  8. Tempo Matador Ray

    Love the embossed roof lines(50’s styling). It wouldn’t take a whole lot of work to reverse the implanted sunroof. This unit would make for a great surfboard hauler…especially at the advertised price.

    Like 1
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Hmmm clean it off, take a blowgun to the debris under the hood, and inflate the tires, and you would get a better look at what you are buying, The hole in the roof is troublesome. And Steve baker, I though I was the only one left who liked 352’s. Do not underestimate the 390’s little brother. They would make a Heavy galaxie bring home the groceries nicely. I really like the looks of this 59, 4 or 5 speed would be sweet. if this mill has an EGR its probably a 400m, which is a boat anchor, with poor oiling and weak lower end. if its a 351 c leave it!!

    Like 3
    • steve baker

      Late 50 – early 60’s Fords CRY OUT for an FE series engine! The 352 was about the toughest engine ever made. My friend Burz had a used Sheriff’s Dept black Custom 4dr w/Police Pack 352 and 3 on-the-tree. He claimed you could drive it to the edge of the earth, shut it off, get out and piss off the edge, and not worry about it starting up again.

      Like 3
  10. Jim in FL

    This would fit in perfectly in my neighborhood as a beach buggy. Too bad it’s so far away, or I would take a chance on a $2500 offer. Put on a set of tires and rebuild the brakes and clean it up. Take a weekend at most. Then if the engine can be pulled into running condition, just drive it rusty and crusty. Frankly, it’s not a car that’s meant to be restored to showroom condition. I would just use it as a daily driver until something bad happens. I think sometimes we place too much emphasis on getting it right instead of just working within our budget and keeping cars on the road for fun. If the only option on something like this is a full resto, it will likely sit for another ten years.

    Like 12
    • local_sheriff

      You, Sir, seem to have very sound opinions on how it should be to own a hobby car. We’ve become too accustomed to believe that without a nut’n’bolt resto it’s impossible to enjoy a classic

      Like 10
  11. skibum2

    I am amazed that so many want the dirt and garbage in a car for sale. Hahahahaha…Drive it like it is??..NO.. Hahahahaha.

    Like 2
  12. Little_Cars

    That steering column looks like it would impale you at the first abrupt stop the way the photo is taken. I do like me some 59 Ford however. Good price, too far away, too much personalization.

    Like 0
  13. WR Hall

    This brings back loads of memories, my dad had a 57 two door ranch with a 292 3sp. I totaled this out in high school. The steering had a foot of play and the heater/defroster barely worked so it ended in the backseat of a 56 Buick. He also had a 58 bought new. This was a TOTAL RUST BUCKET from the factory, even though it was always in a garage in Oregon.

    Like 0
  14. David G

    Engine is a 429 or 460 with a C-6 transmission. Would be a neat and not often seen car when it is all fixed up nice.

    Like 2
    • Bob

      You were the first to call it right.

      Like 0
  15. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I look at a car like this, and think what a killer deal I just got on my ’67 Newport custom hardtop. All original, runs/drives/kinda stops, nice interior, decent paint, all for the grand sum of $1250. By the time I’ve spent the same $3750 on that Newport, it will be a dead reliable cruiser that drives perfect. $3750 will just get you started on this wagon.

    Like 2
  16. TimM

    Great car and a two door too!! I could see this thing going down the road with a candy red paint job a 5 speed and some custom wheels!!! Great project car and in a couple hours the sun roof could be welded up!!! It sure would be nice with a 352 or 351-C!!

    Like 1
  17. junkman Member

    Listed 29 days ago, not a hot item. Perhaps a lower offer might bring some satisfaction to the old guy that may want relive a former life. ( might be me)!

    Like 2

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