Rare Survivor: 1957 Ford Del Rio Wagon

Station wagons are hot in the collector market right now, or at least popular. A two-door wagon would be even better and I can’t imagine many wagons being cooler than this 1957 Ford Del Rio Wagon. This unique and nice hauler is listed here on eBay in Woodruff, South Carolina and the current bid price is $21,200 but the reserve isn’t met yet. Thanks to Ikey H. for sending in this tip!

What a car! The Ford Del Rio wagon was only made for the 1957 and 1958 model years and the two years were very different in appearance. I prefer this two-headlight style over the 1958 four-headlight version, but that’s just a personal preference. Ford wanted something to compete with the Pontiac Safari and Chevrolet Nomad and you don’t see too many of them around today.

I’m not sure why Ford ended production of the Del Rio wagon. In its first year of production, 1957, Ford sold more Del Rio wagons than Chevrolet sold Nomads during all three years of their production. 1958 sales were down about 2/3 of 1957 production and then they were gone. Ford came back with another two-door wagon with the 1960 Falcon but there’s something about the ’57 Del Rio that gets to me.

The interior looks great overall, despite the missing floor covering in the front passenger compartment. The seller says that they took it out to show how solid the floors are. This was a California car until the early-2000s when it went to the east coast. You almost need sunglasses inside, those are some bright vinyl seats. They look good overall, including the backseat and the headliner, which appears to show some deterioration but maybe that’s a photo glitch? The rear cargo area has a two-piece tailgate and enough room for your camping gear or a surfboard or two.

The engine is Ford’s Y-block 292 cubic-inch V8 which had 212 horsepower and the seller says that this one runs well. They recommend getting new tires and that’s a good idea in case the next owner was thinking of taking a cross-country trip with this beauty. Have any of you owned a Ford Del Rio wagon?

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Comments

  1. Rustytech Member

    I agree it is a cool wagon and would be a great addition to any collection, but I think @ $20k+ it’s a bit overpriced. At $15k one would have room to take care of obvious problems and not be under water.

    Like 15
    • Stanley I Marks

      I totally agree, with all you said, Rusty. This is a solid ’57
      It would have been nice, if the seller had undercarriage pics.
      BTW… I think we can agree, this is no longer FLAME red. But the seller could have buffed out the body. It would have made a world of difference, for appearance sake.

    • dougie Member

      Rusty you might be a little behind on values. It’s up to $25k with 64 bids!

      Like 1
      • john

        Wow 25k . Worth it for an original. Back seat looks to be original and stock while front seat looks like it was covered. The original had the pleats like the back seat. What a find for someone who desires an original Ford ’57 wagon.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    If I could drive this, I’d go to Home Depot not twice, but three times a day!

    Like 13
  3. Ryan Poortenga

    Ha, I was just watching the video of this beauty by Pure Vision/Steve Strope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhaXM3bf0Io&t=689s

    Like 5
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Ford’s cars didn’t do well past ’57 because they went from a great, clean design to bulging ugly for the ’58s. They turned that around with the the ’60s clean design. This is about the nicest example of the ’57 I’ve ever seen.

    Like 2
  5. Jay E. Member

    Until I was 10, my family drove a Ranch Wagon. Sunday drives, mystery trips, family vacations. Everything Americana happened in that car. We loved it. I never heard it called a Del Rio though. It had a 390 with 2- 4 barrel carbs and all of us kids loved it when bad ass Dad “made a smoke screen” (did a burnout)! It was big, roomy and powerful. Had a hell of a horn, the whole car vibrated. Black with a deluxe red interior with a padded dash. Dad installed seatbelts for the kiddies. Got sold when gas went to .50 a gallon, for a VW bus. We cried.

    Like 15
    • Barney

      I have a 57 Del Rio. No where on the car does is say that it is one but everyone that knows 57’s knows what it is. I’ve owned it for almost sixteen years and I’m never parting with it. Actually they are not rare. I’ve been to larger Good Guys shows where there have been two or three of them in attendance but that said it gets more positive comments than just about any vintage car I’ve ever owned. By the way I cringe when some key board expert expertly declares that all 58 and 59 Fords are ugly. I also have a 59 Ranchero and people love it. The 59 Ford remains the only automobile ever given the Tiffany design award. Then there was that 59 Retractable that I sold a few years ago…..

      Like 13
  6. IkeyHeyman

    My mother had a ‘57 Ranch Wagon, the basic model without the pizzazz of a Del Rio. It was a good car until we got T-boned by a distracted driver on a family trip. Everybody ended up okay but the car was never the same.

    Like 4
    • Bill Hall

      When I was in High School MANY MANY MOONS ago my Dad bought a 57 2 door ranch wagon, 292 3 overdrive very fast and what learned to drive a manual trans on. These where the good points, the steering had an inch or two of play, the heater defroster didn’t work. I ended up wrecking when I couldn’t see out because I was to STUPID to wipe the windshield.

      Like 1
      • Wayne

        The inch or two of play was caused by the Idler arm having warn out. The one in the ’57 Country Squire the family had decided to fall apart completely and I “T”boned a telephone pole @ 17 years old. Dad went through the roof until they got it up on a lift.

        Like 1
  7. Jim ODonnell Staff

    Nice one Scotty!

    I’m a Nomad fan and have been since the first time I discovered one in my teenage years but these Ford Del Rios are way overlooked and certainly worthy of consideration. It has really nice lines complemented by its simplicity of adornment.

    Unfortunately, we’re not likely to see models like this again.

    Thx,

    JO

    Like 8
  8. Deane Tranbarger

    Ford made 2 door wagons starting in 1952, if you don’t count the previous woody versions, through 1961 in full size cars. They were more utility oriented and not sold in upscale trim packages. The Nomads and sister GM versions were likely made to compete with that form.

    Like 5
    • Last 1LE

      Hey Deane,
      You’ve overlooked the 1956 (one-year only) Parklane 2-door wagon. It was basically a Fairlane, Crown Victoria two-door wagon with the same trim level inside and out as a Crown Vic. The were At least the equal of the Tri-Five Nomads, but lacked the flair and pizazz of the Nomad’s body design. Ford sold 15,136 Parklanes vs. 90,665 Ranch Wagons (standard and ‘Custom’ trim levels) for model year 1956. (Source: ‘standard catalog of FORD 1903-1990’ by Robert Lichty, Krause Publications, Inc.)

      Like 5
      • Big_Fun Member

        Thanks for that update, I remember Hemmings Classic Car has a two tone on blue ’56 Parklane on the cover of the August 2017 issue. Quite the beauty.

        Like 4
  9. Dusty Rider

    My first car back in ’66 was a ’57 Ford 2dr sedan, kind of a turquoise and white with a green & white interior. 292 3spd column shifted. It sure seemed at the time that it was fast, but I know better now!

    Like 5
  10. Joe Haska

    The Del Rio Wagon is absolutely, the first car on my wish list, and this one checks every box. Except the one, where I have just finished my latest project, sold it and I am a cash buyer. To previous comment, if you think you can buy one of these for 15 K, your not even on this planet.

  11. Frank D

    Nice wagon which had terrible engines. Thinking a Coyote engine would be a improvement with another tranny, suspension mods and tires with stock looking wheels. Then detail it to within an inch of it life an enjoy it.

    Like 5
  12. ricky Whiting

    Back in the day my dad owned a 1957 Mercury 4 door wagon. Had a 368 4barrel in it and a Merc O Matic push button gear selector on the dash. Also had an electric tailgate window. Was fast at the time. Would have been a pretty rare car today.

    Like 1
  13. glenn hilpert

    They made around 46,105 of these cars. My dad bought a 57 4-dr country sedan, two-tone White /Beige back in the mid 60’s. That car had a lot of room but had it many mechanical issues and smoked bad. It was a well used auto in the day and not taken care of by previous owner, but I did like the car.

    Calif. Division of Forestry had several all dark green Del Rios used by their Rangers and Chief’s Division.

    Like 1
  14. Maestro1 Member

    Ikey, that’s unfortunate yet interesting; I drove to the West Coast to start life in a ’55 Ranch Wagon bought used on the East Coast and drove it across the country. I bought it for $80.00. It was T Boned in San Francisco by a drunk going through an intersection. It never recovered.
    Somebody buy this Del Rio and i think some chrome is missing from the B pillar if I’m not mistaken.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Maestro1,

      I’ve seen more than a few Del Rio wagons over the years, and none had any chrome strips or chrome ornamentation on the B pillar. You might be thinking of the regular 2-door Ranch Wagon that had a side chrome trim that started below the B pillar.

      The Del Rio wagons had that great Fairlane side swoop trim. I restored a Del Rio for a customer, and found the side trim pieces were easy to get, as they were the same pieces as on the Fairlane 2-door post sedan. [But not the 2-door hardtop side trim.]

      Like 1
    • Barney

      I own a Del Rio now. There never was any trim on the B pillar. It’s an idea though

      Like 1
  15. bobhess bobhess Member

    Keyboard “expert” here.. Compared to the ’57s and the ’60s they were good looking enough for Tiffany to compare them with a lamp. Not knocking the cars, just the looks. Something good to say about them.. GM should get the ’58 uglier than a lamp award.

    Like 5
    • Barney

      I may be mistaken but I believe the 59 was the only year to get the Tiffany award

  16. local_sheriff

    So if I understand it right a Del Rio has an identical body/roofline to the base ’57 Ranch wagon just a higher trim level 2door wagon, in contrast to the Nomad’s less typical ‘wagon’ greenhouse?

    Like 1
    • Barney

      You are correct. In fact there was no call outs anywhere on the car saying it was a Del Rio

  17. Jack Mack

    I had one of these back in the as a company car…..I liked driving it a lot.

  18. geoff moore

    I have always loved the 57 Wagon…I grew up with it and when I could afford it I found a Del Rio at the swap in Portland OR. Bought it for $1800 and drove her home..3 years and a ton of $$ later, she was ready for the road…352 Cleveland, c6, new paint, interior, chrome re done, chrome smoothies, etc. My favorite car of all time.

    Like 1
  19. scottymac

    Though I’m probably in the minority here, I much prefer the ’58 model over the ’57. It took a bold move to take a step away from Ford’s signature round taillights, and the front fenders finally looked full, instead of having the weird filler around the ’57s headlights. Trying to remember from my years as a pump jockey back in the Sixties, didn’t the ’58 have ribs or indentions in the roof the ’57 didn’t have? Best part, though, was the T-Bird tie in, with that massive front bumper/grill.

    Like 2
    • willam r HALL

      My Family had a 58 Ford wagon bought new in Portland Or and always garaged. It rusted away just looking at it.

    • Chuck

      The entire “Big Four” went for quad headlights in 1958.

    • ronald simpson

      ’58 was my first car, and first year for the FE engine. I had a Fairlane 500 two door hardtop, 300 HP, 352CI “Interceptor Special” with 3sp od trans. Of course the new “Muscle cars” could take me, but I never list to a ’57 chev or any car like that.

    • john tingle

      The 58s had the ribs in the roof for added strength. I guess there were concerns on the ’57s in this regard.

  20. John Member

    Worked for a Bell suppy co. back in the day in Indiana installing Direct /distance Dialing, had a 57 Ranch Wagon W/aggressive snow tires(in winter of course) had a foot or more of snow in the boondocks, never got stuck, would just plow thru, impressive as never had to push

  21. Robert Eddins

    this is a beautiful automobile. when ford wanted to they had style. GM and Mopar just seemed to get styles that made us say “Wow”. i ackowledge this is just my humble opinion. the GT 40 was glorious to see and watch.

  22. Guy Blessing

    The Del Rio was the base for the popular Ranchero p/u. 292/312 engines had a lot of issues.

  23. Joe H

    My very earliest memory in life is riding home from the dealership in the “way back” of a brand new 57 Ranch Wagon when I was 4. Slippery plastic kind of surface had me sliding from side to side and having a ball. I never heard of a Del Rio until recently. If it was a option that cost money I am sure we didn’t have it

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      LOL!!!! Love those old plastic seat covers. Reminds me of some relatives, who had their living room furniture, covered with plastic.
      You would sit down & hear a loud fart. The person had a look, on their face with, “I didn’t do that”. LOL!! That was better than a woopy cushion.

  24. Robt

    Love this car and the amazing shape it is in. But … I prefer a ranch wagon with out the side trim. Almost never have liked swoopy side trim. Tacky in my mind.
    Also understanding the originality of this car I’d still want to drop in a solid FE motor with a 4 or 5 spd. Of course adding appropriate brake and suspension upgrades … keeping original look and feel as much as possible.
    Awesome platform.

  25. Russell Ashley

    My wife had a 57 Ford Crown Victoria when we got married in 1965, and we drove it on our honeymoon trip. I didn’t like it then but now when I see a 57 Ford I think I would like to have one to make me think of that time. If I did ever get one it might be nostalgic but could never be like that first trip we made in a 57 Ford.

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