Y-Block Tree Speed: Ford Ranch Wagon

2 door station wagons offer the right amount of “cool” with the right amount of doors and storage. It only gets better when said wagon has a “Y” block V8 and a manual transmission. Although this 1954 Ranch Wagon is a little rough around the edges, there is a lot of potential in this relatively straight and solid wagon. Having sat for quite a while, this wagon is mostly complete, and has the potential to be a great project with plenty of space. This “Y” block classic is offered for $3,500. Check it out here on craigslist out of Oroville, California.

With various grass clippings and other dried vegetation, it would appear that this 292 “Y” block has been hibernating for a while. Being a California car, hopefully doing a careful cleaning and fresh fluids would yield the possibility of this engine running once again. Overall the engine has a relatively nice appearance with the valve covers showing off the Ford name oh so proudly. In the engine bay, and on the exterior, there are two different shades of blue to be seen. Beyond the varying colors, the engine compartment only reflects minor surface rust in a few places. Depending on your flavor, I think more carburation would be a fun option for the 3 speed manual wagon.

Taking a peek inside, the interior is dusty, and the bench seat and floor are lightly covered with trash. Looking past the trash, the interior isn’t too shabby and certainly has some high points. The dash is lightly coated with dust, but appears to suffer with only minor flaws. Thankfully a classic radio is still installed, and this dash never fell victim to a rough and cut modern radio. There is at least the driver side door panel installed, and usually it is the one that receives the most wear and tear through time. Looking at the other pictures, there is a back seat still in the car although the rest of the interior’s condition is unknown. I would suspect the interior overall is reasonable, and would benefit greatly from a cleaning, and may even be nice enough to use as is based on your tastes.

Mostly covered with paint, this wagon is a bit weathered from the California sun. Overall the body looks quite straight, and there only appear to be a couple of missing trim pieces. The worst part of this wagon is the rear quarters as there is a fair amount of rot and holes present. The seller has mentioned that the rockers have some rust, but it is not apparent from the photos. With plenty of potential, and a V8 “tree speed” there are a few avenues this project could take. What would you do with this 2 door wagon?

Fast Finds


  1. XMA0891

    Great find! Although I much preferred the little two-door Plymouth wagon of the same generation you found a while back… Keep rooting around for these… Love ’em – Love reading about them!

    • Marshall

      In the early 1950s, two-door station wagons were common. Our family had a 1953 Plymouth two door station wagon during the 60s. I believe it was in the later 1950s when two door station wagons were being phased out in favor of four-door station wagons. During the 1960s, two door station wagons went extinct in favor of their four door cousins, at least with the Detroit big three automakers anyway.

    • Mountainwoodie

      I think the joke is “military intelligence”. As for the car..the fellow selling the Edsel a few weeks back has a bunch of ranch wagons and 4 door wagons..all Fords sitting there at his place..waiting to be restored or parted out.

    • tugdoc

      My dad always bought two doors because the kids in the back could not open the doors and fall out! Including his wagon a ’49 Woodie.

  2. Sam

    Cool wagon! How about a street legal “gasser” wagon if there is such a thing.

    The GMC motorhome in the background is interesting.

  3. Oldog4tz Member

    Flagged for removal?

  4. Brian T Kearns

    Don’t know why but this has been flagged for removel by caigs list great find tho

  5. Bob

    I wouldn’t mind driving that with a 460 stump puller under the hood.

  6. Rocco

    It looks like it says Overdrive on the back tailgate.

  7. Bob C.

    Not the original engine. This should have the 239 y block with 130 horsepower. The 292 is a much better choice though, because it was in production for 10 years, making parts availability easier.

    • Alan Brase

      How do you know it’s not a 239? I think it might be. The right carb and crossover exhaust. Also, I think the 54 valve covers were orange. Later ones black and said: “Thunderbird”.
      I agree the 292 would be a better basis for more power. Truck versions had forged cranks, for the truly serious power seekers. But WHY? It’ll be happy going 60mph with 239.
      WRT “why a 2 door wagon”? Back years ago, before car seats and all, parents had the theory that the tighter you packed the kids the safer it was. ( well, it seemed that way, anyhow!) And with no doors, it was harder for them to fall out. Some still did.
      Before the government decided to try to make cars safer.
      As I saw it, it was a “Kombi” type vehicle. material hauler, occasional seating.
      BTW, that is WAY too much money. I feel the market has gone down on everything in the last year. $1500 would be more realistic.

      • 63Comet

        Yes, way too much money. Your price is more realistic.

      • Brian M Member

        My parents subscribed to the two door is safer thing until the purchase of our 59 Ford when I was about 15. We had 50, 51, 53, 55 and 57 new 2-door Fords and Dad even disabled the driver side rear door on the 39 Chevy woodie that was the family car for a while (had to leave the passenger side functional so we could get into the back seat, which was only two positions on the left side to allow access to the way back). Wish I had that one back or the 57 Ranch Wagon.

  8. Brian M Member

    It also says Overdrive on the tailgate. Any mention of it anywhere else?

  9. Puhnto

    We had one of those when I was a kid! 1954 Ford, 2-door Ranch Wagon, with V8, three speed, and overdrive. I don’t think we had a clock though and only an AM radio. Love to have it now.

  10. Ed P

    I don’t understand why Ford thought putting the heat of the exhaust up front was a good idea.

  11. Matt

    It appears from the photo’s that it has the original 239 and the overdrive is a pretty neat set up, if it works. It almost works as a 6 speed. With the overdrive handle pulled, once over I believe it’s 12 mph you jab the accelerator and it kicks on a solenoid which will allow you to have somewhat of 2 gears for each 1. So say you are in 2nd gear and the OD is activated, you can slow down and if you accelerate it would put you in a sort of passing gear and up shift on it’s own.

    I know it’s tough to see in the pic I’ve attached. But under the heater controls there is the OD handle that must be pulled for that option.

  12. Mr.B

    My folks had 3 daughters, but Dad still hung onto his beautiful 49 Merc convertible! Then my older brother came along, and he had to sell it for one of these 2 door Ranch Wagons. Nice 2 tone green/tan, I can just hear the old man saying “at least its a 2 door”! Then I was born, and they sold it for a 4 door Ranch Wagon. If that wasnt bad enough, my little brother popped up 2 years later and they had to buy a 61 Plymouth 9 passenger wagon, forever known as the Queen Mary!

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