Were there any unique versions of Ford's last postwar woody? Yes. A prototype of the convertible sports wagon or Mercury Sportsman was reportedly built, and Siebert of Toledo, Ohio, constructed a few 10-passenger wagons on a stretched wheelbase. The latter, featuring four doors and a fourth seat, may have been built as 1949 Fords only.
As for differences between the three model years, there are quite a few among the Fords but very few among the Mercurys, apart from the expected front-end styling changes shared with their linemates.
Beginning about mid-1950, the wood tailgate on both models was replaced by a steel gate decorated with woodgrain decals, and the removable center seat was replaced with a fixed fold-down seat.
The Ford's attractive woodgrain instrument panel gave way to a panel simply painted in a neutral color, its chrome windshield molding was replaced with a rubber molding, and its wood interior panels were abandoned for cardboard that simulated wood.
For 1951, the Ford wagon retained the 1949-1950 instrument panel while all other models had a completely new dash, and the wagon's spare tire cover was no longer offered. Interestingly, most of these nice custom touches were retained on the Mercury for all three years.
Ford could offer a little more in the Mercury because it charged more for it. But the company really held the line on wagon prices in all three years due to the highly competitive market of the time. In fact, prices actually declined a bit for 1950-1951.
For 1951, Ford turned over all wood-wagon body assembly to Ionia, probably for reasons of cost efficiency. It is a paradox that the name "Country Squire" first appeared on the Ford wagon for 1951, when the model was much less a fancy "Squire" than in previous years.
The name was emphasized beginning with the new all-steel 1952 models, adorned with mere decals and a token natural wood border.
Go on to the next page to learn about Gordon Buehrig and the 1949-1951 Ford Mercury woody.