Restore Or Restomod? 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This project will test your willpower: restore to original spec or restomod. I can see the devil and angel on each of your shoulders now, fighting with each other over how to finish this cool 1958 Ford Ranchwagon. This project is listed on eBay with bids of under $1,000 but the reserve isn’t met. It’s located in Mankato, Minnesota. Thanks to Peter R. for sending in this tip!

Seeing a snow tire on the back or front of a car, or both, reminds me of growing up in northern Minnesota. Do they even make snow tires anymore? I know that they do of course but with most people driving AWD SUVs now or front-wheel drive cars I don’t see old-school snow tires anymore. This car is a bit rusty (a bit?) but it’s much more well-preserved than most cars here in Minnesota would be after 20 years let alone 60 years.

In 1958 a buyer could get a four-door Ranch Wagon for the first time but I’m betting that most Barn Finds readers would choose a two-door model like this one. This one “just came out of long term storage.” The seller says that the “main rust issues are with the floor where your feet would be, otherwise as you can see in the pics the rockers, body mounts, spare tire well and others seem pretty solid!” Hagerty lists a #2 excellent example as being valued at $20,200 so this one will be a labor of love for the next owner.

As you already know, the interior needs a lot of work, too. The seller doesn’t list the transmission but I expected to see a third pedal in this one. The seats, oddly enough, look like they could be cleaned up and reused unless a person were going for a nut-and-bolt restoration. The Ranch Wagon was about utility and there’s enough space for hauling ranch supplies back there, if anyone ever really did haul ranch supplies, whatever those would have been.

There is no mention of the engine other than it’s a V8. Is this a 332 cubic-inch or a 352 cubic-inch? Or, a 292? Whatever it is it’ll need to be rebuilt like everything else will on this car. The seller has “not tried to get the car running, it came to us just the way you see it.” How would you restore this Ranch Wagon?

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’d restore the body and drive line I’d up grade the brakes to 4 wheel disc. And rebuild the suspension. The interior I’d also modernize a bit, newer seats buckets up front and a matching bench in the back. Final I’d repaint back to original colours. After completing I’d just enjoy it.

    3
    • dgrass

      Shave the taillights from the tail gate, rework the quarters, then insert some 58 ranchero taillights into the fins.

      Otherwise I am in agreement with canadainmarkseh.

      • Pat Lamb

        I took a quick look… I thought it was one of these weirdo cars with a flying bridge.

        12
    • Miguel

      Mark, if I can call you Mark, I would do something similar. I would restore the outside to look completely stock, but I would have a more modern drivetrain for dependability.

      The interior would be as it rolled out of the factory.

      DGrass, I certainly would not shave the tail lights. They are the thing that tells you this was the bastard model from Ford. My mother always told me her ’58 Ford was haunted or something and it was because Ford went away from the single round tail light that year.

      1
  2. sir mike

    WOW…a 2dr 58 SW…Keep the body stock…nice 2 tone paint…wide steel wheels…recover the interior…rebuild motor…keep carb….front disks…make a beautiful driver…

    4
  3. Tommy

    Not a 292 Y block

    2
  4. Fred H

    Its a” two ” door that needs ” too ” much work.

    2
  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    Cool car that’s going to need a heck of a lot of work. Anyone here brave enough to tackle the job?

    ’58 Edsel wagon taillights were the hot ticket for customising when I was a vatito in SoCal, along with a tube grille.

    A buddy of mine back in the late 1960s had a ’58 Ranch Wagon that had its original 352 swapped for a 390, 3-speed with Hurst ‘Mystery Shifter’ and a 9″ rear end with 3.70 gears. He ended up parting it out, in spite of a bunch of us each wanting to buy it as a complete car.

    The rear end ended up bolted to another buddy’s ’70 Mustang notchback that started life as a base six-banger/3speed and ended up with a hot 351C, Top-Loader 4-speed, disc brakes and tuned suspension. Another so-called Pro-Touring car that was built in the mid-1970s.

    3
    • Miguel

      How do you put the Edsel tail lights on this car?

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Have a look at the pic, Miguel, and you’ll see how it was done. It’s literally a bolt-on, and a ’57 tailgate is used.

        There was a guy who worked in a gas station in Hollywood back in the 1960s who took a ’57 Ranchero and turned it into a ’58 Edsel pick up. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool.

        5
      • Miguel

        I can see how it might work, but this Ranch Wagon is missing some very important chrome pieces to make it complete.

        Also, full disclosure, I read 1958 Edsel wagon as 1959 Edsel wagon and from the ’59 I had I couldn’t see how those lights could possible be used on this body without major modifications, and they weren’t that attractive to begin with.

  6. Bob C.

    I’m with Tommy, not a 292 because the distributor would be in the rear. Definitely one of the FEs.

    3
  7. 64 Bonneville

    Mileage maker 6 was the base engine in the Ford line of wagons, however many were ordered with the 332 cubic inch V-8. The main optional automatic was the Fordomatic, a 2 speed, but the Cruise-a-matic was a 3 speed, as evidenced by the D1 and D2 on the shift indicator. Judging from the size of the air cleaner, I would guess it is the 4 barrel version of the 332 V-8,with 265 H.P., rather than the 2 barrel version of the 332 V-8 with 240 H.P. The chrome trim around the automatic shift indicator would be for the Cruise-O-Matic, rather than the Ford-O-Matic.
    I am somewhat surprised at the lack of power steering or power brakes, given the engine option and the upgrade automatic transmission. However they did come standard with a foam rubber front seat cushion for added comfort. (Ford brochure words on “added comfort” not mine).
    Hagarty only list 3 conditions for vehicles, I believe, and all in running condition. I like to evaluate on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being parts only, with less needing done the lower the rating number. Since the car looks to be complete, pending a personal inspection and evaluation, I would call it a 4 since everything needs to be re-done, and it doesn’t run. Also throw in the fact that there is very little available for mid-50s’ Ford wagons in the aftermarket, much would need to be fabricated. $3500, max unless you will die if you don’t get it, then no more than $5K

    1
    • Marty Parker

      The original Ford-O-Matic was a three speed transmission. In “Drive” it took off in second gear unless you floored it then it kicked down to first via a switch under the gas pedal. The 2 speed Ford-O-Matic wasn’t until later.

  8. glen

    This car should have been used in Christine, this looks evil! As for snow tires, they are mandatory in Quebec. They stay soft in sub-zero temperatures, much better than all-seasons.

    3
  9. Matt

    Flat black ,lower it to the ground make it shoot flames have fun for a while then slowly bring interior back to stock and dress the body up original colors when you were ready …and take a lot of pics of both

  10. Matt

    Voodoo kings kustom kar club

    2
  11. Kenneth Carney

    Would be great for my line of work. Would restore the car as close to
    factory spec as possible while doing
    some upgrades to all the vital systems
    to make it a safe daily driver.

    @beatnik bedoin: I saw your friend’s
    handiwork in an issue of Car Exchange
    Magazine in August of ’82. The reporter
    covering the story dubbed it the EdCharo.
    Cool truck. Still think about it to this day.
    As for this wagon, I’d take it on if my health would permit it.

    6
  12. mlm

    I like some of that other old classic stuff that’s lurking in the background.

    2
  13. steve..

    Mom had one..Grey/white. The holes in the rear wheel wells would allow the tires to throw pebbles at us kids and we’d get hit in the back of the head. She claimed we were making this up..until my sister handed her a palm full of little stones.
    Used to take it camping and the climb up into the mountains would cause it to overheat. Had a bucket and sis and I would climb down to the stream, fill the bucket and then, with me on the bumper, pour it in the radiator. Years later it occurs to me that there must have been a cracked head or leaking head gasket to cause that kind of water loss. So..even IF NEW I would not REALLY want this car….

    1
  14. JagManBill

    Got one – 4 door – bit better condition tho. While its not a “barn find” it was a “behind the barn find” – sat for 40 years. 223/3spd w/od. Still trying to decide what to do with it. I found a nice 223 out of a 64 with only 2k miles on its rebuild that I had planned on dropping in and going bone-stock and dog-dish caps.
    Then my Son-n-law offered me the 460/C6 out of his totaled 76 T-Bird that has less than 1000 miles on its since being a crate motor restoration. If I got the 460, then things will change – 58-60 T-Bird or 62 Galaxie console (floor shift), buckets out of a 62/4 Galaxie 500XL, 64-66 T-Bird or Galaxie front disc brakes (bolt on), 9″ out of the 76 T-Bird with its disc brakes, 16″ wheels off a 05-09 Mustang GT (kinda have a Halibrand look to them) etc…etc…
    what to do what to do….

    3
  15. Philip

    That’s about the condition that my 58 Chevy was in when I bought it in the middle 80’s, except the engine/trans was sitting on the floor, and the doghouse was off. I’d love to tackle this one, but I did the Chevy 28 years ago, much older now.

    3
  16. George

    put a SOHC in it!

  17. Jerry

    VIN: B8LR145189
    Engine Code B V8 332 ci OHV – 2V Carb. 240hp
    Production Year 8 1958
    Assembly Plant L Long Beach, CA
    Body Style R Custom / Custom 300 Ranch Wagon / Country Sedan
    Production Sequence 145189 145189
    Data Plate Information
    Body Series 59A Tudor Ranch Wagon
    Paint Colors T Silverstone Blue
    Trim U Blue Sof-Textured Vinyl and Blue Whipcord Embossed Vinyl or Blue Embossed-Stitch Vinyl
    Date Code 11G July 11, 1958
    Transmission Type 3 Fordomatic (2-speed)
    Rear Axle 1 3.10:1

  18. mark

    The motor is not a 352. 352 is very similar looking to the 390 which followed it.

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