CC Outtake: 1976 Ford Club Wagon 4×4 High-Roof – Ready For Anything

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When I was younger, I decided the ultimate vehicle was a 4×4 turbo-diesel camper van. The desire to be as free and self-sufficient as possible, and able to go wherever the spirit called was powerful. I fulfilled that partly with my ’68 Dodge A100 back in the 70s, as well as our ’77 Dodge Chinook in more recent years. So whenever I see vans like this, especially with a license plate from across the country, I stop and give a moment’s reflection accompanied with an inevitable tinge of jealously. 

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My apologies for the sun rays that spoiled the picture, but we can make out a rather burly version of Ford’s evergreen Econoline. I’m not sure it’s possible to divine its year of manufacture; my Econoline Rosetta Stone for interpreting the subtle changes to its grille has gone AWOL. But my best shot is that it’s one of the first few years of this generation, which started in 1975. I’ll call it a ’76, because I would have really wanted one then. A survivalist survivor. And adorned with a deer skull, no less.

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The plates are from Vermont; a place that is sometimes associated with Oregon. I think the two states have the highest percentage of Subarus; or at least did so back in the 70s, when Subarus were almost unknown elsewhere.

I initially had “Econoline” in the title, but it really is a Club Wagon, with its windows all-round, as well as the badge on the rear identifying it as such. Love those air horns; just the right touch. And to let folks know you’re coming to a blind curve on a one-lane back-country road.

What I wouldn’t have given for this in 1976, as a recent arrival to California; just the ticket to explore its infinite natural wonders. Well, that an an infinite-limit credit card; these big Fords do get thirsty.