Same Family Since New: 1952 Ford Ranch Wagon

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All hail the two-door station wagon like this 1952 Ford Ranch Wagon. As popular as ever, they usually don’t remain as-is for long. Before this example gets snagged and visions of a hot-rod hauler dance through the next owner’s head, let’s check it out. This old Ford is located in Kent Washington and it is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $1,525, with nine bids tendered so far. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

A seemingly incongruous model configuration, most mainstream manufacturers offered a two-door station wagon at one time. By about 1960, it was pretty much done unless you include late bloomers like the ’64-’65 Chevelle and later Vega/Pinto, sub-compact models. This example has been in the same family since new and a neighbor is now handling the sale.

This Ford looks fair at best, it has supposedly been sitting for about ten years. The bumpers have been re-chromed and “Most of the glass is good with the exception of both doors and the passenger’s wing window – but it’s flat glass, so easily replaceable” as the seller states. While there is some rust working around the driver’s side rear wheel opening, but the body basically looks intact and the frame is supposedly sound. That said, the rear floors are listed as “crunchy”, the doors won’t stay closed, the hood won’t stay up and the tailgate won’t open all of the way. The finish is undergoing some interesting shedding, it looks like a more modern two-stage finish that is giving up its second stage clear coat.

No flathead here, this Ranch Wagon has a 101 gross HP, 215 CI, in-line six-cylinder engine, under its non-cooperating hood (the owner has the missing hinge spring), that was rebuilt several years ago. It might run, – the seller hasn’t tried to start it (there’s a red flag). A three-on-the-tree manually shifted transmission might get power to the rear wheels but potential new owners are advised, “This isn’t a car you’d want to drive away as-is“.

The seller advises, “The owner’s mother replaced the upholstery and headliner several years ago. There’s some extra upholstery material that goes with the car“.  I’m seeing what looks like a JC Whitney front seat cover, not recently replaced upholstery. I will admit that the headliner, however, looks fine – hardly the case with the cargo area though, which shows as untouched and is definitely in need of some touching. The door panels are different – not sure what to make of them.

OK, let’s not beat around the bush with the old what to do with it segment – this 1952 Ford Ranch Wagon is going to become a hot-rod haven or a restomod reality. Lay it on us, what mods would you recommend?

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    ’52 to ’54 is my ultimate favorite of the ’50s Ford shoeboxes. I’m still regretting selling my ’54. But it is what it is. I don’t know why it is but out in the Chinook Belt, a six-cylinder-powered Ford is quite a rarity. Cars of this era seemed to all be powered by flathead V-8s. I recall a ’55 Ford Mainline, driven by a kid in high school and a ’56 pickup driven by a local farmer that were six bangers. Well, a local carpenter had a ’51 pickup and another local farmer had a ’60 pickup with a six. And another farmer had a ’52 F-4 that was a six as well so I guess that adds up to five, out of at least 100 vehicles. Sixes just weren’t popular…

    Like 12
    • MrBZ

      geomechs, you would have loved my mom’s Ranch Wagons, a ’52 2 door and it’s replacement, a ’54 4 door (as our family grew). As kid #5 I only remember the ’54, but the ’52 lives on in tons of family slides!

      Like 3
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

      As a kid, Ma had a 55 4-door Ford wagon (with the round radio face. It was red as I recall with an ohv 6 and 3 on the tree. It was a nice car that we got used from a local dealer. Nice car and pretty much trouble-free. She kept it until her desire for a convertible could no longer be squelched and a succession of them followed (57 black Olds 88, 59 powder blue Pontiac Catalina, 67 red LeMans with buckets and console, and finally an 84 Dodge 600).

      Like 3
  2. Tom Bell

    Hope the car butchers don’t get to this one. It deserves a proper restoration, not someone’s grotesque idea of resto-whatever.

    Like 22
  3. Fred W

    A LOT of potential here, especially if the price doesn’t skyrocket

    Like 3
  4. Will Fox

    First year of this styling generation aren’t real plentiful, and being a 2dr. Ranch wagon is probably second most scarce model after the cvt. I myself would do a full restoration, but do an OHV V8 transplant of some sort on it. Like a resto-mod. And yes, it would make a great hauler!

    Like 2
  5. Robt

    Nice wagon. Looks like a lot of potential if it doesn’t get bid up too far.
    I like the inline 6 w/3 on the tree. An effective combo on a machine like this. I could see this cleaned up and upgraded some for safety. Then used as a daily driver for my cabinetry/carpentry business.

    Like 4
    • HCMember

      Such an open canvas Ford wagon. Not at the same level as Ranch Wagons and Country Squires were. If it were mine to do, I would put a reasonable 302 and C4 Trans and a 9 inch rear end if needed,and front disc brakes with rebuilt rear drums. Definitly updated Mustang style rims and tires. Paint and interior done for the period and year for the Ford wagons.

      Like 1
  6. Lowell Peterson

    I’m always amused with ads for ‘original family owned’ (BUT not taken care of) is always left out of the ad?

    Like 2
  7. David Scully

    It looks like someone had already started a ‘fresh-up’ on this fairly rare ’52. Most ’52s – even when new – suffered from the ‘Korean chrome’ problem (due to Korean conflict constraints on chrome plating). Bumpers and trim all look great, and the splash panel behind the front bumper looks to be reasonably fresh… California plates on a Washington state ‘for sale’? That OHV inline six-holer was a first in ’52 for Ford, and it had a lot of ‘go’. This is a seeming good candidate for a ‘cars n’ coffee’ cruiser with just a little more effort.

    Like 1
    • Al

      in 1954 dad had a 4dr 1952 mainliner 6 with 3 on tree family friend had a new 1954 ovh ford v8 auto 1952 was just as quick off the line

      Like 1
  8. Chris in Pineville

    keep the six-banger!

    Like 4
  9. KurtMember

    This wood be an affordable and attractive alternative to a woodie. The wood sided wagons are selling for six figures.

    Like 2
  10. Bill Hall

    The Six motor is more than adequate, If you look at the specs very close to a V 8. As for the hood spring that was a common failing of Ford at this time. My Dad had a 52 & 53 Merc both with bad hood springs and messed up hoods.

    Like 1
  11. David

    Restomod – – Keep it as original as possible with updated brakes etc. Looking at this 52 makes me feel like I am having a religious experience.

    Like 1
  12. HCMember

    What a sweet 52 Ford 2dr Wagon. She’s got custom Hotrod and street rod written all over her. Updated drivetrain, disc brakes, AC, paint and interior. The world is your oyster if you put some work into it. Just be boring to do another basic restoration.

    Like 1
  13. Charles R. Wirt

    To who ever buys it, please restore as original as possible, maybe blueprint the engine, bring it back to as produced.

    Like 6
    • KurtMember

      There are horsepower gains with blueprinting for sure.

      Like 0
  14. geezerglide85

    Were all ’52 wagons 2drs, thought I read somewhere that a 4dr wagon wasn’t made till ’53? I think those door panels are original, I’ve seen others that had them.

    Like 0
  15. Robert Griffith

    not a Mercury Marader engine, those were 368 c.u.

    Like 0

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