Ford Country Squire is First Produced
The Ford Country Squire was a full-size station wagon built by the Ford Motor Company from 1951 until 1991; it was based on the Ford full-size car line available in each year.
The Country Squire was the premium station wagon in the Ford range (see also Mercury Colony Park), and always featured real- or imitation-wood trim on the doors and tailgate. As a full-size wagon, it could carry up to 8 passengers with the unique dual-facing rear seats option which was fitted in the cargo area, as opposed to the usual rear-facing seat. The Country Squire was the iconic top of the line American family wagon, with similar "Squire" wagons as top of the line for other cars, including the Pinto in the Ford line up.
The Country Squire was based on the Custom DeLuxe series in 1951, the Crestline from 1952 to 1954, the Fairlane from 1955 through 1958, Galaxie 1959 through 1966, and the LTD/LTD Crown Victoria from 1967 through 1991.
The Country Squire was a "woodie". Actual wood was used on the sides until the mid-1950s. From the mid 1950s onward, the framing of the wood was fiberglass and the remainder a plastic appliqué.
The era of the wood-bodied station wagon was just about over when Ford made an important change to its family hauler and gave it a new name -- the Ford Country Squire. Then, when all-steel wagons became the norm, the Country Squire kept alive memories of the past, mixing postmodernism and practicality.
It was in January 1991 that many automotive journalists got their first look at the 1992 Ford Crown Victoria. At the time, they were told that production of the full-size 1991 Ford would end that February.
The new design was offered in just one body style, a four-door sedan. Noticeably absent was a model that had become something of an American icon over more than 40 model years: the Country Squire station wagon.
Long before the minivan was a twinkle in any Detroit product planner's eye, the Ford Country Squire established itself as the archetype of a new kind of status symbol. Perhaps no other name was as synonymous with that chariot of "baby boom" suburbia, the station wagon.
The Country Squire reached this level of fame by the curious trick of making a seeming virtue of the very thing that had previously held down wagon sales: the expensive, maintenance-intensive wood body.
At the start of the 1950s, automakers were rushing all-steel station wagons to market, cars without so much as a matchstick's worth of wood on them as a clear signal to customers that "all that" was a thing of the past. Ford, too, was preparing to embrace the new trend.
But just as the last of the genuine "woodies" was about to depart the scene, Ford brought out a wagon decorated with big swatches of simulated wood. Reserved for its plushest and most-expensive hauler, the look preserved the old image of the wagon as plaything for the leisure class but with no loss of modern convenience. Plus, Ford kept at it year after year.
As the consistent leader in the wagon market, its successes were bound to be imitated by rivals. In time, most every other brand that offered wagons had one with woodgrain decals on its sides. (Ford even copied itself, putting the Country Squire touch -- and name -- on station wagons it brought out as part of new car lines introduced in following decades.)
Find a brief history lesson on Ford station wagons in the next section.
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Class Full-size station wagon
Body style(s) 5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout