1966 Ford Country Squire 2017-08-03T13:40:55+00:00

Project Description

OVERVIEW

Before the dark days of the 1980s when streets became cluttered with frazzled soccer moms piloting their rambunctious offspring in wood-paneled, slab-sided minivans, parents had a far cooler way of transporting their large family around. This was especially true in the 1960s with cars like the Ford Country Squire, which packaged a powerful V8 engine into a sleek but spacious station wagon. With seating for up to 10, it was never a problem to load up your friends and family for a road trip. You could even load up the solid wood roof rack (a factory option) with your luggage to make the most of the seats inside.

The 390 cubic inch V8 is shared with the Ford Thunderbird of the time and provides ample grunt to propel you and whoever or whatever you want to carry with you. The Country Squire is every bit as comfortable as you’d expect for being a huge land yacht. There’s a certain intangible style that this car exudes. It is every bit as practical and easy to drive as a modern Escalade or Range Rover but it’s so much more unique and characterful.

OVERVIEW

Before the dark days of the 1980s when streets became cluttered with frazzled soccer moms piloting their rambunctious offspring in wood-paneled, slab-sided minivans, parents had a far cooler way of transporting their large family around. This was especially true in the 1960s with cars like the Ford Country Squire, which packaged a powerful V8 engine into a sleek but spacious station wagon. With seating for up to 10, it was never a problem to load up your friends and family for a road trip. You could even load up the solid wood roof rack (a factory option) with your luggage to make the most of the seats inside.

The 390 cubic inch V8 is shared with the Ford Thunderbird of the time and provides ample grunt to propel you and whoever or whatever you want to carry with you. The Country Squire is every bit as comfortable as you’d expect for being a huge land yacht. There’s a certain intangible style that this car exudes. It is every bit as practical and easy to drive as a modern Escalade or Range Rover but it’s so much more unique and characterful.

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A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

On any interstate in the late 1960s, Ford wagons were as common a sight as minivans and SUVs are today. They were large, safe, comfortable, spacious and very practical if you needed to transport 4×8 sheets of plywood home from the lumber yard.

The Country Squire was the top trim level available, paralleling the Galaxie 500 and LTD series of passenger cars. In 1966, Ford pioneered the “Magic Door” gate, which allowed the tailgate to function either as a traditional one that could be lowered flat or a door that swung outward for easier access to the interior. Engineers designed the gate through the use of a traditional stationary hinge on the right and a 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.

For the 1966 model year, County Squires were equipped with a standard 240-cu.in. overhead-valve straight-six that produced 150hp. When a buyer ordered the six-cylinder engine, they received a $107 credit. It is unclear how many chose this route, but with the Country Squire clocking in at a hefty 4,049 pounds, it seems logical that not many took the credit. Reportedly, very few six-cylinder Country Squires exist.

The base transmission was a three-speed column-shift manual, but most Country Squire buyers opted for the three-speed C-4 Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The stronger C-6 transmission came with the 265hp 390 V-8s. A three-speed manual transmission was required with the more powerful 315hp 390 V-8 engine, but at extra cost. A Motor Trendroad test from November 1966 claimed a four-speed manual could be ordered with the 390 and 428 V-8s.

A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

On any interstate in the late 1960s, Ford wagons were as common a sight as minivans and SUVs are today. They were large, safe, comfortable, spacious and very practical if you needed to transport 4×8 sheets of plywood home from the lumber yard.

The Country Squire was the top trim level available, paralleling the Galaxie 500 and LTD series of passenger cars. In 1966, Ford pioneered the “Magic Door” gate, which allowed the tailgate to function either as a traditional one that could be lowered flat or a door that swung outward for easier access to the interior. Engineers designed the gate through the use of a traditional stationary hinge on the right and a 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.

For the 1966 model year, County Squires were equipped with a standard 240-cu.in. overhead-valve straight-six that produced 150hp. When a buyer ordered the six-cylinder engine, they received a $107 credit. It is unclear how many chose this route, but with the Country Squire clocking in at a hefty 4,049 pounds, it seems logical that not many took the credit. Reportedly, very few six-cylinder Country Squires exist.

The base transmission was a three-speed column-shift manual, but most Country Squire buyers opted for the three-speed C-4 Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The stronger C-6 transmission came with the 265hp 390 V-8s. A three-speed manual transmission was required with the more powerful 315hp 390 V-8 engine, but at extra cost. A Motor Trendroad test from November 1966 claimed a four-speed manual could be ordered with the 390 and 428 V-8s.

WORD ON THE STREET

“Country Squires from the ’50s have a Happy Days vibe, while the overstyled 1970s leviathans are a perhaps not-so-happy trip back to the malaise era. The ’60s are the prime hunting ground, as those wagons are old enough to be cool yet modern enough to be freeway-worthy. The decade’s earlier cars exude more vintage character, with their wraparound rear quarter windows and giant bull’s-eye taillights. But we dig the rectangular cars from ’65 through ’68. Not only are they as squared-off as Johnny Unitas with a brush cut, they drive better than their earlier siblings – although that’s a pretty fine distinction when compared with today’s cars.”

Unknown, Automobile Magazine

“Ford’s Country Squire nameplate had a very rich history. It was first used on the iconic woody wagons of the 50s, then escalated to the top of the range full size wagon models by the early 60s. In fact, this name is associated with some of the most luxurious and large vehicles offered in the 1960s-1970s. Classic design traits of the Country Squire helped it to stand out from LTD and Galaxy models such as the classic woodgrain sides, upgraded interior, more powerful engines, and usually luggage on the roof with loads of kids in the back. One trait that everyone certainly remembers about classic wagons are the third-row seats, or as many affectionately called them, “the way back”.”

Kieran Fannan, FordAddict.com

“Before the minivan came on the scene in 1984, soccer moms had a different way to get the little ones to practice on time. Moms and dads across America drove station wagons, which were, in essence, an extension of sedans with the same mechanicals. There likely isn’t a baby boomer alive that hasn’t ride in a station wagon at one time or another. These land yachts could carry up to 10 passengers, with plenty of room for all their luggage up on the roof rack. Unfortunately, the demise of the large station wagon as many of us know it began with the “aero” design of the 1990s, with the third row seat niche going to sport utility vehicles.”

George Mattar, Hemmings

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SIZES, PERFECT FOR
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