CC reader Teddy has uploaded another batch of great finds from the Portland area. This ’57 Ford caught my eye, for a number of reasons, including the two other vintage Fords in the driveway. This Country Sedan is a perfect representative of the cars that hauled the large families of the time. But why did Ford call it a “sedan”?
It’s just a semantics issue, but the word ‘sedan’ did come to specifically mean something other than a station wagon. Oh well; tell that to Ford’s marketing department. The Country Sedan slotted in below the Country squire and above the lowly Ranch Wagon.
Fords were all-new for 1957, which explains why they spanked the ’57 Chevy for top dog in sales. But like the all-new ’57 Chrysler Corp. cars, the Fords also suffered from quality issues. But this has survived quite well, thank you.
I had a ’57 Ranchero many decades ago .
Not visible in these photos, but all these Fords have Baby or Booster Seats(s) in them. Here is an actual 57 Ford Sedan.
This one looks like a 58 to me, on the shorter wheelbase (Custom 300?).
Thats a 58, at least here it was sold in 58 called the gold flash. I saw a 57 Ranchwagon at a show on the weekend the only US Ford wagon we got not many survive.
This is NOT a1957 it’s a 1958 model.
I thought 58s had quad headlights.
It is a 1958, the resolution makes the quads hard to see but all four are there!
Thank you all for the input.
I love this! These were still occasionally around when I was a little kid, but all rusted nearly to death. The condition of the body on this car is awesome.
The older I get, the less I understand the front end styling on these. I see how all the pieces came to be there, but something is just off about it, like maybe the way the headlights stick out too far. Inset quad headlights would have worked just right on this design (but I understand that they were not yet legal everywhere).
Willing to bet it was designed with quads in mind, then when it was clear they might not be approved across the board, the design was changed at the last minute. Avoided how Chrysler and Mercury had to do it with quads for some states, duals for others, which undoubtedly raised production costs (and the Chryslers with duals didn’t really look right either…ended up looking like Studebakers to my eye)
The Plymouth/Dodge/Lincoln solution of running smaller parking/indicator lights framed to look like quads may have been the best way to handle that, all things considered.
Nash for 57 did the quads anyway for the Ambassador of that year.
Probably right. The ’57 Merc had the same eyebrows and offered optional quads. You can see how the choice would have looked on the Ford.
It seems even Ford knew the front end on this car was its weak spot. I looked through the ’57 brochure, and it seems like they avoided any prominent views of the front.
The lack of any sort of chrome bezel around the headlights on even the high trim cars was simply not the norm for the era.
I did run across something quite fascinating in the ’57 brochure. If I understand this correctly, they produced Ford’s first “Pillard Hardtop,” by putting a B post inside the car behind the windows. I’ve never seen such a car, and this may be a one year only style, and Ford may be the only manufacturer to have done this – with the pillar completely inside.
Great ad! Trim like a panther! So this is where the name for the “panther” platform came from!
With clearer thinking, I botched the comment about the “Pillard Sedan.” I’m fairly certain this was just Ford’s “thin frame” sedan windows. I read too much into the marketing comment.
Looks like he’s clear coated the rusty patches, perhaps with a semi-gloss clear coat. There’s a guy on FTE who swears by linseed oil for preserving patina like that.
Anyway, it’s a… handsome car. Not beautiful, IMO, but a fine example of fifties Ford styling.
Country Sedan could have been an attempt to destigmatize the station wagon and upsell to standard 4 door buyers.
Something similar was done in the past few decades of calling cars with low cut rooflines “4-door coupes”.
Absolutely true! The station wagon had been, until after WWII, a commercial vehicle – a light truck. The 50’s brought about the “sedan-based-station-wagon”, as we have known it since (at least until recently, as it is returning to its roots). The era also saw a major population shift away from the cities, creating suburbia to an extent not previously imagined.
Given the needs of a family moving out of the city, and the car-based nature of the new station wagons, this was the sedan for life in the country – Country Sedan.
A “Berry Draper” wagon! #Madmen
Perfect patina ….. maybe too perfect …..
Maybe “Patina In A Spray Can” —
Anyway, it’s terrific with the clean wide whites
Love the patina, hope it was come by honestly rather than “artificially aged”. But in any case it’s a fantastic-looking car. I’ve always liked the ’57 Fords, slightly awkward though they may be.
I can remember that a after market kit was available for the 1957 fords to mount 4 headlights like the 1958s had. The 4″ quad smaller headlights looked terrible when installed versus the stock 7″ stock sealed beams.
That sounds like it would look like Studebaker’s grafted on quads, W. Johnson. “Like”…. not good !
You mean like this? Pods stuck on accommodate quads with duals bugging out in the space. One friend calls them ‘cyclops-eyed’ Champions!
Nice license plate too.
Nice article, nice car. My dad had a ’57 Sunliner convertible and our next door neighbor had a ’57 Ranch Wagon as his daily driver.
I don’t remember the 4 headlight ’57 kits but I vividly remember the no headlight ’57 Fords. By the mid ’60’s in the midwest a lot of them would rust around the headlights and they would fall off, leaving 2 rusty jagged holes in their place.
I couldn’t find this JC Whitney catalog image–and then I realized I’d posted it under Jason Shafer’s 1958 Impala article last fall:
I love the line about the “old fashioned” lights becoming obselete! Little did they know that in 30 years we would revert to composite headlights!
Boy, no kidding. Those kits really were terrible looking!
I always thought the 1957 Ford front end was a modernized, less blocky imitation of the 1956 Chevrolet. Actually quite pleasant (I did not like the junked-up look of the 1957 Chevrolet front end).
When I was 14, a friend of the family who owned a home heating service and fuel oil delivery co. had a 1957 Ford Courier delivery van, essentially a regular station wagon with no back seat or rear side windows. Three speed on the column. I would guess 6 cylinder but never checked.
He gave me the keys to the truck/van at the Freeport Yacht Club and I learned how to drive stick in the very large parking lot of that facility. The vehicle smelled strongly of home heating oil (basically the same as diesel, no?) and was chock full of tools and bags of the sandy stuff one spreads on fuel oil spills.
It’s impressive that this one hasn’t rusted out around the eyebrows– a common occurrence when I was growing up in northern New Jersey.
It’s telling that I don’t see very many ’57 or ’58 Fords here in Arizona; it makes me wonder if they were prone to falling apart even here. Granted, they do show up in car shows, either meticulously restored or greatly altered from original equipment. But I just don’t see them around as daily drivers the way I still see ’55-’57 Chevrolets. Kind of a pity; for some reason, I mostly like the looks of the Fords better.
I used to see a pale green ’58 sedan on my way to work, usually near the entrance to the Arizona Biltmore on 24th Street. It was not restored, but the paint was somewhat better than Teddy’s example. I was never close enough to grab a cellphone shot. I think the color may have been called “Ice Green.”
Those headlight bezels were the first things to rust out. IIRC, we replaced the ones on our 57 Ford Fairlane 500 Town Sedan in 1960. My cousin’s body shop kept a steady business in doing these repair jobs. And 57 Fords sold in huge numbers back in the day – in our small IN town just about every model was represented, including a Skyliner (well, it was a 58 but there was a 57 Sunliner).
I think this model from my childhood collection – friction but missing an interior or contrasting trim, etc. – is representative of the subject car. And it has the typical acetate warpage.
“But why did Ford call it a “sedan”?”
Paul – same reason, I guess, that Packard used the name “Station Sedan” on their bathtub wagons.
As noted, Ford didn’t call this a sedan, but a “Country Sedan.” I figure the marketers were trying to conjure up images of sedans appropriately modified for “Country” use. Station wagons were always rather pricy, and the early ones especially so. The image of a wagon being used as a country resort hack was what marketers wanted you to think of.
This still from the 1954 movie “White Christmas” sort of says it all. Granted, its a 1950 Plymouth, but you get the idea.
And that, Charlie Brown, is what “Country Sedan” is all about. (With apologies to Linus and Charles Schulz!)
Me thinks that patina on the Ford wagon maybe “created” as the chrome parts look fresh and shiny and have no pitting.
Is that one of those 1961-1963 Ford F-Series “unibody” trucks in the background? I actually like the look of those.
’57 Ford with quad headlight conversion;
And that ends up looking like a ’58 with ’57 trim/grille. Reinforces my belief that this was what the ’57 was supposed to look like before they changed back to dual 7″ because of 50-state legality concerns.