Wood Applique Find: 1955 Ford Country Squire

Old station wagons with wood trim are a real treat in today’s modern age, but often these sweet family haulers have succumbed to rust. Well, if you have been wishing for a solid start for a vintage wagon project, then this ’55 Ford Country Squire may be right up your alley. After many years in storage, this Ford is quite complete, with a fair amount of extras. Currently this wagon project is bid up to $4,205. You can find it here on eBay out of Ottertail, Minnesota.

The Y block V8 was supposedly rebuilt at some point, and the seller assures that the engine is not seized, and that the oil is in good condition. While that sounds dandy, there are a few things to make mention of. There are a couple of random screws threaded into the water pump housing to block off unwanted ports. Also, the brake master cylinder has been wrapped with a rag many years ago, to what I would assume to prevent brake fluid leaking/sloshing. Although, the great news is the engine does turn over, so there is some possibility to revive the Y block.

Not quite a dream boat inside, but the interior remains mostly untouched. The door panels looks suitable enough to clean up and use, and the dash also looks like it would clean up as well. The bench seats are a little worn, particularly the front bench. If you wanted to revive this project, a few seat covers, some carpet, and a solid cleaning would make the interior fairly presentable.

After examining the exterior of this Ford, it is quite clear that this wagon spent some time semi-protected from the elements. Surface rust is present, and there is a small amount of rot present as well. The driver side front fender has a rotted area on the dog leg. Also there looks to be some minor rust on the driver rear quarter. That same quarter has also been bumped at some point suffering with a mild dent. Beyond that, the body appears quite straight. The rear tailgate and rear hatch looks to have been replaced at some point. I would guess that rust got the better of the two body panels. There is extra glass included with this wagon, including extra wood trim. Most of the glass in the wagon has de-laminated, and suffers from cracking. I think this wagon could be a great candidate to enjoy as is, after gently reviving the exterior, interior, and the drive-train. Are you a fan of this wood applique find?


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  1. Little_Cars

    Thanks for the preview, Barn Finds! What a great period-correct family hauler. Shame that tailgate is missing all of it’s appropriate trim, and tag holder/light. Also looks like a trailer receiver once occupied a place on the rear bumper. How is it all the cool cars keep popping up in Minnesota? Nobody ever thinks of picking up and driving to MN with an empty trailer where I come from. Seems a world away.

    Like 5
  2. Rube Goldberg Member

    This person in Ottertail usually prices his vehicles fairly. I read, in ’55, this was the 2nd most expensive car Ford made, behind the new Thunderbird at $2492 and with options, it was the 1st time a wagon crossed the $2500 dollar mark. I believe this is the 272 as the 292 T-bird motor, which was available, would have “Thunderbird” on the valve covers. Be an “ambitious” restoration, for sure, but you’d have the best car Ford made in 1955.

    Like 7
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I believe one of these was James Dean’s hauler car…pulled the trailer with his Porsche on it. Except for that one day in ’55, when Dean and his mechanic drove ahead in the Little Bastard, and another guy followed in the wagon. Eventually the guy in the wagon caught up to Dean and his mechanic.

    Like 1
    • Will Fox

      Rex, the same stunt driver from “Bullitt” and “The 7 Ups” was behind the wheel of the white Squire that day! He and Dean had been in acting school together and were friends. (I forget his name, sorry)

      • Lance

        That would be Bill Hickman.

        Like 3
      • Gaspumpchas

        Great Thread- Stuntman Bud Ekins drove the Mustang in Bullit. Also was in the movie “the great escape”; did the bike stunts and the legendary Jump with the krauts hot on his tail. McQueen wanted to drive the mustang, but he was such a hot commodity the Studios didn’t want to risk injury. Of course the shots made it look like McQueen was at the wheel (or handlebars!) RIP Steve McQueen…you are sorely missed.

        Like 3
  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    Here’s a photo from that very day.

    Like 14
  5. Kurt

    I wonder if anyone has tried using real wood veneer to replace the appliqué on one of these. Wish this car was in CA. I’d try it.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Can’t remember where I saw it, but in my past I have seen a wagon at a show where an owner added real wood to a Nash Rambler. We’ve also seen an AMC Pacer wagon here on BF where an enterprising fella applied real wood. I’ll see if I can find a photo of the Rambler in my stash.

      Like 3
    • Gray Wolf

      I had a friend who used wood grain contact paper to simulate wood grain paint on his ’34 Chevy and won his class at a National VCCA national event. I believe he clear -coated the frames and nobody could tell. It was beautiful!!!

      Like 2
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Funny you should say that Kurt, I have a 1951 dodge two door hard top that I’m still trying to decide if I want to turn it into a phantom woodie. I’m almost done with body work and most of the car is in primer. I have done a little steam bending on other projects and have developed a plan where I’d do the fit up and shaping in strips ( much like a cedar strip canoe ) the outer mouldings would be hand shaped with a 1/4” notch all the way round the back edge. I’d attach the moulding to the car and steam and fit 3/4×1/4 strips into the moulding botch and glue it to the outer moulding. I’d then apply epoxy resin to the outer surface with weave fibreglass fabric. I’d then remove the solid panel from the car to seal the sheet metal from water intrusion. With completed paint work completed I’d reinstall the panels with stainless steel screws. Finally I’d clear coat the whole car. My plan is to work out the bugs to this plan on a scrap door before I go ahead. Also my wood of choice would be white cedar for the outer mouldings and red cedar for the panel strips. Your strips also need to be routered with a bead and cove bit set. The problem is this is a very labour intensive process and could take along to to do. That’s where my dilemma about doing it comes into play.

      Like 4
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Outstanding choice on the red and white cedar!

        Like 3
      • Kurt

        Sounds like a lot of hard work. Your idea for a test panel is excellent. I am restoring an old Beetle and test panels have saved me a lot of heartache.

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        I’ve built a custom side car for my 1977 Goldwing using cedar and fibreglass which I painted black with the cedar exposed to give that woody effect it’s also pinstriped in orange and gold to match the bike. I get a lot of compliments on it. I’ve had that on the road for 5 years now, of course in Canada the riding season is short. I’d put a picture up if I could figure out how to do it. Wood working is as rewarding as car restoration and if i didn’t have my Dodge I’d probably be building wooden boats. Like doing wood sculptures too.

        Like 4
  6. Gaspumpchas Hulsizer

    Sweet wagon.
    Before you think of anything else on this beauty, you need to look at the front crossmember, where the lower control arms are attached. These were notorious for rusting out. Fixable , its a job, if you can find a solid crossmember. This one is pretty clean otherwise. I believe FE engine fits well. Good luck to the new owner!!!

    Like 2
  7. RandyS

    yellow firewall?

    Like 3
    • On and On On and On Member

      Anyone check the paint codes on the data plate?

  8. bigdoc

    Cool car

  9. Marshall

    The ad did not make it clear whether or not the car ran. Though probably not. Judging by the engine bay picture, not likely. In which case, why would the seller tow the car to the middle of a grassland to take the pictures then?

  10. Peter Morrow

    Talk about a coincidence, visiting the National Museum Of American History in Washington today , Lo and behold , they have one of these in excellent condition. Mm, maybe a late night visit to swap the required parts?

    Like 2
    • ccrvtt

      That one’s a 1956 if I recall. Green. Ford green. Beautiful car.

      • Peter Morrow

        Hello CCRVTT
        The car in the museum is definitely a 1955 model.
        Smaller grill rectangular slots.
        Round parking lights .
        1956 model bigger grill slots and rectangular parking lights.

        Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        I have a snapshot of the National Museum of American History 55 wagon (pre-cell phone, printed on paper). It is a period-correct shade of aquamarine and looks like it could have driven right off of Pennsylvania Avenue and put on display. Not an over-restored museum piece (surprise!). Being from the DC area, that was my first stop with my new wife after we got married in TN. Tough to beat a trip to the nation’s capital at least once in your life even through all the post 9-11 security measures.

  11. Del

    Neat and rare. Saveable.

    Toss that y block and get a 312.

    New paint and seats and viola

    Like 1
    • anav8r

      312 _IS_ a Y block…

    • Ed P

      The 312 was a y block also.

      Like 4
  12. TimM

    Cool car and a great history lesson on the James Dean crash!! The picture of him with the Ford woodie behind him is really cool too!! That car would be sweet fixed and driving again!! I would be a player if I didn’t have three other projects I was already working on!! If I brought this home my wife might put me in a home!!!

    Like 4
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Yes TimM, my wife would also put me in a home, but not mine!

      Like 4
  13. chrlsful

    like it, 3 seating rows, hummm

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