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Ford Country Squire
[[File:1982 ltd country squire frontleft|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1951–1991
Class Full-size station wagon
Body style(s) 5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout

The Ford Country Squire was a full-size station wagon built by the Ford Motor Company from 1951 until 1991, encompassing seven model generations. The Country Squire was based on Ford's full-size car line and was the premium station wagon in Ford's model range. The Country Squire was initially built as a "woodie". After the mid-1950s the rear body was composed of fiberglass covered by a vinyl appliqué printed to simulate wood. Later versions featured an all-steel body and are best remembered for featuring body sides and a tailgate covered by simulated wood trim and panels, however the Country Squire could be purchased without them. Models without simulated wood trim were marketed as the Country Sedan and Ranch Wagon between 1952 and 1974; subsequently, all full-size Ford wagons were sold as Country Squires.

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. Due to declining sales, Ford elected to exit the full-size station wagon market after 1991.

The Colony Park was the equivalent model sold by Ford's Mercury division.

First generation (1951–1954) Edit

First generation
[[File:1950 Ford Country Squire|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Production 1951–1954
Related Lincoln Continental
Ford Customline

The first generation Country Squire was a "woodie". The frame, fenders and hood were made of steel; the rear of the car's body was made of wood. From the mid 1950s onward, the rear body was composed of fiberglass covered by a plastic appliqué printed to simulate wood.


Second generation (1955–1959) Edit

Second generation
[[File:1957 Ford Country Squire|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Production 1955–1958
Related Edsel Bermuda
Lincoln Continental
Ford Fairlane


Third generation (1960–1964) Edit

Third generation
[[File:1960 Ford Country Squire|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Model year(s) 1960–1964
Related Ford Galaxie
Ford Country Sedan
Mercury Commuter
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Meteor
Mercury Monterey
Lincoln Continental

Prior to 1961, all Ford wagons used a two-piece tailgate assembly that required the operator to lift the rear window up and locking it into place via a mechanical support, and then drop the tail gate down to fully access the rear compartment.

For the 1961 Ford adopted a tailgate assembly that used a self-storing window feature which could either be rolled down into the gate via crank on the outside of the gate, or by an electrical motor actuated by the key or an interior switch. A safety lockout measure required that the rear window had to be fully retracted into the tailgate before the tailgate could be lowered


Fourth generation (1965–1968) Edit

Fourth generation
[[File:1966 Ford Country Squire -- 09-15-2011 front|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Production 1965–1968
Related Ford LTD
Mercury Colony Park
Ford Galaxie
Mercury Marquis
Lincoln Continental
Mercury Monterey

In 1966, all Ford wagons introduced the Magic Door Gate, engineered by Donald N. Frey,[1] which allowed the tailgate to flip down like a traditional tailgate or to open to the side as a swinging door. The Magic Door Gate was made possible through use of a traditional stationary hinge on the right, and combination of hinges along the door's left side which carried the weight of the gate as it swung outward when used as a door.

1967 Ford Country Squire

1967 Ford Country Squire

1968 Ford LTD Country Squire

1968 Ford Country Squire


Fifth generation (1969–1978) Edit

Fifth generation
[[File:1969 ford galaxie squire|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
1969 Ford Galaxie Country Squire
Model year(s) 1969–1978
Engine(s) 302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) 385 V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) 385 V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) 351M/351 Cleveland V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed manual
3-speed FMX automatic
3-speed Ford C6 automatic
Wheelbase 121.0 in (3,073 mm)
Length 225.7 in (5,733 mm)
Related Mercury Marquis
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Colony Park
Ford LTD
Ford Galaxie
Ford Custom

1969-1972Edit

The fifth generation Ford Country Squire (1969–1972) rode on an expanded 121.0 in (3,073 mm) wheelbase as compared to the previous generation and included as standard a 302-cubic-inch V8. In mid 1969, the 302 cubic-inch standard engine was phased out in favor of a new standard engine, the 351 cubic-inch V8. Optional engines included the 390 cubic-inch or the 429 cubic-inch V8. In 1971, Ford offered 400 cubic-inch V8 as an option. Country Squires from 1969 and 1970 used the same body panels and varied in terms of front grille and bumper, interior trim and other minor changes. The later two years of this generation saw an extensive revision of the exterior, having only the roof and tailgate in common with the 1969-1970 models. This generation was the first to use Ford's new "Three-Way Magic Doorgate," which could swing down as a tailgate, swing out as a door with the window down, or swing out as a door with the window up (not possible with 1966-1968 wagons).

1973-1978Edit

1973 Ford LTD Country Squire

1973 Ford LTD Country Squire

For 1973, the platform used by full-size Fords and Mercurys was restyled; the addition of 5-mph bumpers in the front in 1973, and in the rear in 1974, would make these the longest station wagons ever produced by Ford. With the Galaxie soon to be discontinued, the Country Squire was integrated into the LTD lineup. Additionally, a non-woodgrain LTD wagon was also sold; the Custom 500-trim Ranch Wagon was sold only for the fleet market.

Unlike its LTD sedan counterpart, the Country Squire was available exclusively with the 400 and 429 cubic-inch V8s; the 460 replaced the 429 in 1975. As a move to increase fuel economy, a 351 cubic-inch V8 was added into the lineup in 1978. In 1975, Ford added hidden headlamps to the Country Squire (bringing it in line with the Mercury Colony Park and the new Grand Marquis); non-woodgrain wagons still wore exposed headlamps.

Production figures:[citation needed]

  • 1969: 129,235
  • 1970: 108,914
  • 1971: 130,644
  • 1972: 121,419

Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78.[2][3] This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.

Sixth generation (1979–1991) Edit

Sixth generation
[[File:1982 country squire frontright|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Also called Ford LTD Crown Victoria station wagon
Production 1979–1991
Assembly St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Platform Ford Panther platform
Engine(s) 4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0 Windsor V8
5.8 L (351 cu in) 351 Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed AOD automatic (1980–1991)
Wheelbase 114.3 in (2,903 mm)
Length
1979-1987

215.7 in (5,479 mm)

1988-1991
216 in (5,486 mm)
Width 79.3 in (2,014 mm)
Height 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Related Ford LTD
Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Town Car
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marquis

In 1979, Ford became the last American automaker to downsize its full-size car lines; the Panther platform became the basis for all full-size Fords, Mercurys, and Lincolns. Eleven inches shorter and nearly 1000 pounds lighter, the redesigned Country Squire retained the 8-passenger seating capability with only slightly reduced cargo capacity. The big-block 400 and 460 cubic-inch V8s were not included in the redesign, leaving the Country Squire with the 302 and 351 cubic-inch V8s; unlike General Motors station wagons, no six-cylinder or diesel engines were offered.

The 1980s saw relatively few changes to the Country Squire. In 1983 the carbureted engine was changed into one with fuel injection, identifiable by the large intake with the EFI 5.0 badge on top. In 1988, coinciding with the facelift of its LTD Crown Victoria counterpart, the Country Squire received a new front clip. Inside, new front seats with larger head restraints were added. For 1990, the dashboard was updated (for the first time since 1979) with the addition of a driver's side airbag; the outboard rear seats received 3-point seatbelts.


DiscontinuationEdit

After the mid-1980s introduction of minivans by Chrysler, Ford, and GM, sales of full-size station wagons began to decline. The primary reasons for the popularity of minivans were their superior cargo capacity and fuel economy despite taking up less garage space; by 1990, Ford's Aerostar had overtaken all competitors in sales with the exception of the Chrysler minivans. Although Ford redesigned the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis in 1992, the station wagon bodystyle was discontinued. In addition, a 1992 full-size Ford wagon would have likely competed against the wagon version of the Ford Taurus, then on its way to becoming the best-selling car in the United States.

Unique options and featuresEdit

With certain versions of the Country Squire one could install an AM/FM-Cassette stereo with a combined and fully integrated Citizens' Band (CB) two-way radio, and replacement dual-purpose automatic antenna (with only one visible difference that the aerial mast was a larger diameter, and black-band at approximately half-way up). The radio would then have the appearance of an original equipment, factory radio.

Optional were opposing side-facing rear seats, which could be folded down to make a durable cargo surface. Available for use with the side-facing rear seats was a folding table with integrated magnetic checkers board. Magnets under the plastic checkers pieces would keep them from sliding on the board while the vehicle was in motion.

Behind a rear fender well was a hidden, lockable compartment, not visible when the rear seat back was in the upright position.

GM, Chrysler and AMC would adopt a similar configuration by the end of the 1960s. An advanced version of this was the 3-way tailgate which permitted opening the door sideways with the window up.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "The Thinker (Detroit Style)" (April 21, 1967). Retrieved on 2007-07-27. 
  2. Kowalke, Ron (1997). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946–1975. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-521-3. 
  3. Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976–1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999)

External linksEdit

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