(first posted 5/1/2012) Ah, the Country Squire. What says 1960s to 1970s upper-middle class suburbia better than one of these? Before minivans, before SUVs, and before crossovers, these were the ne plus ultra family hauler for upwardly mobile moms.
The Country Squire had been a Ford staple for many years by the time the 1975 model came along. Introduced in 1949 as a two door steel-roofed wagon with real wood inserts in the doors, quarter panels and tailgate, they were soon a family staple. The 1975 model was a restyled version of the 1973 Ford. ’75s had new front and rear styling, and several new interior options across the board. The Country Squire gained a new grille and hidden headlights, shared with the plush LTD Landau series.
All LTD wagons were powered by a 400 CID V8, backed by a Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic transmission. A 460 V8 was optional. Other standard features included power brakes, power steering and a power tailgate window.
Country Squires added the usual woodgrained vinyl sides and tailgate, framed by light fiberglass woodtone moldings. An extended range fuel tank was optional, adding an extra eight gallons to the already good-sized tank.
These were the biggest Ford wagons would get, with a length of 225.6″, 121″ wheelbase, and 79.9″ width. You did get a lot of space though, with 94.6 cubic feet of cargo volume – more than 100 if you counted the below-deck storage.
An interesting feature was the dual facing rear seats, which turned your Country Squire into an 8-passenger wagon. It was very different from the rear facing seats found on most Detroit wagons of the time, with the exception of the 1971-76 GM B-body wagons, where the third row actually faced forward. Ford’s famous Magic Doorgate made it a lot easier to get in and out of the jump seats, too.
If the standard interior wasn’t to your liking, there were several optional interior choices. The Landau Luxury Group was the best interior you could get, with embroidered split bench seating, shag carpeting and – ooh, an electric clock! It was essentially the same interior found in top-drawer LTD Landau sedans and coupes.
Only slightly less plush was the Squire Brougham option, which featured a split bench seat with fold-down armrests and passenger recliner. It was, as you might have guessed, lifted from the LTD Brougham series. Most Country Squires were loaded, and popular options included the SelectAire air conditioner, Automatic Temperature Control, vinyl roof and a luggage rack with built-in woodgrained wind deflector.
Now, if you didn’t want to flaunt your good fortune, you could get a plain-sided LTD, load it up with options, and the neighbors wouldn’t be the wiser. But then you’d miss out on those cool hidden headlights!
Whether basic or fancy, these wagons were just the thing for hauling the kids to the Grand Canyon or towing your boat up to the lake for the day. If National Lampoon’s Vacation had been done in the ’70s, this would have been Clark Griswold’s ride.
Thanks are in order for PN, who shot this well-traveled Squire a while back.