Restore or Drive? 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon

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The Ranch Wagon was Ford’s entry-level station wagon between 1952 and 1974, serving in both full and mid-size product categories. It was your basic, no-frills people mover. This 1955 edition is in running condition but needs more tinkering to be a daily driver. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this old road warrior is available here on craigslist for $7,500. As the seller says, “come look at it before trying to low-ball.” Another cool tip compliments of T.J.!

In the early 1950s, Ford (along with other auto manufacturers) moved away from wood-bodied station wagons because the cost of producing them was no longer justifiable. Enter the steel-bodied wagons which would later have fake wood applied to the sides for those who wanted that look (at Ford, those would be known as Country Squires). At the other end of the food chain was the Ranch Wagon, which was only available with two passenger doors (if you wanted four, you moved up to the Country Sedan).

Basic Ranch Wagons saw a production of 40,493 units in 1955, while the Custom Ranch Wagon had another 43,671 copies made. So, there was clearly a market for these low-buck transports. The seller’s version looks to have spent a lot of time out in the Sun, but the body appears to be straight and there is no talk of any rust. If looks are important, then you’ll want to apply a new coat of blue paint and the interior is mismatched, with the front bench seat having been replaced by one of another style and material. Or you could just leave it alone.

The seller says a lot of new parts have been installed, but a little more work is needed (we’re not told what). New stuff includes rims and tires, radiator, an upgrade to a 12-volt electrical system, alternator, battery, gas tank, carburetor, and floor shifter. The Y-block 292 cubic inch “Thunderbird” V8 is under the hood along with a 3-speed-manual transmission. An interesting observation if that the rear wheel wells appear to have been cut out to mirror those of the 1957 T-Bird. The seller is open to trades but doesn’t elaborate as to what might float his/her boat. This wagon might turn more heads at Cars & Coffee if left unrestored.

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  1. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Huge wheel wells and tiny tires make the car look as though it’s on tippy toes! :-)

    Like 4
  2. CadmanlsMember

    Good bones but those rear wheel wells, not like your going to get new quarters really easy. Got an 8 and 3 speed but those fenders geez. I am sure the seller got it that way and hopefully it helped him to negotiate a better price.

    Like 6
  3. James Cleer

    Would like to come and see it where in Albuquerque are you

    Like 0
  4. Rw

    Rear quarters were probably done in the 70s and had N-50s on it.

    Like 6
  5. Steve Clinton

    “needs more tinkering” is putting it mildly.

    Like 2
  6. Glenn Hilpert

    Whom ever owned the car, ruined the originality for cutting the rear wells. Seen this over the years on several cars and what a mistake.

    Like 2
  7. Lance

    The first thing I noticed in the picture was the 55-57 Thunderbirdish rear wheel wells. If I bought it they would be gone pretty quick. Not sure if the replacement quarters I have seen will cover all of the area that was removed to get these mistakes covered up without extra metal work.

    Like 1
  8. DON

    My father bought a new 55 Ranch wagon as he was an electronics salesman and used it on his routes . That car and his bosses new Studebaker coupe ended up flooded to their roofs when the hurricane of 1955 hit New London. Lucky for him he had insurance on it !

    Like 1
  9. GOM

    I’m odd man out. I sort of like the rear wheel arch cutouts. Not only do they remind me of the T-bird (and would have done so to a greater degree if they hadn’t been quite so symmetrical) but they follow the “Nomad prinicple” of having the high-end 2 door wagon look significantly different than the low end and/or 4 door wagons. Granted, this is a pretty crude example of that concept, but I’ll bet that was the rationale for the modification. Cleaned up and painted, I don’t think it would look half bad.

    Like 2
  10. Corky

    Maybe the wheel wells are stock and the rear end is jacked up ?? How about a real bumper ??? would a regular 1955 rear bumper fit ??

    Like 1
  11. Gary

    Corky, the rear wheel well openings are far from stock. They were cut for tire clearance. A stock rear wagon bumper should fit fine.

    Like 0
  12. Richard Williams

    Lower the rear down would make it look better. It looks jackup anyway.

    Like 1
  13. Foster BusbyMember

    Modify a pair of T-bird fender skirts and finish the image!!

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    a 115 inch WB & 16.25 ft OAL don’t make this a monster.
    A 4dor moved our small family from Baldi-mur, MD to Bosin, MA in 1960 or so. It was a heavy hitter and real solid. So much so that mom, not used to the Northers sno, went into a tree on the ice’n banged up her knee to have bursitis life long.
    The ‘tank’ looked fine but for a fender dent and bumper destroy. Still, due to age’n that era the ins. co ‘totaled it”. Henceforth dad got her R. Dulphenes, &10s, SIMCA 1000, fiat 128, etc as the kid buss & mommie-mo-bile. Later, da kids drivin themselves, she got the spyders (C comments in corvair column – today’s 15th of 19 entries).
    8^ )

    Like 0

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