To close out the 1950s, Ford returned to more traditional styling, characterized by a set of nice, big, round tail-lights, and a restrained grille and front bumper. Then, too, there was a return to a single wheelbase. All 1959 models now rode on the 118-inch stretch formerly reserved for Fairlanes.
Graced with pleasing new styling and an
improved economy, Country Squire sales rebounded
in 1959 from a sharp downturn the previous year.
In the wagon lineup, the 1959 Country Squire looked as regal as it had at the start of the decade. Bodysides and tailgate continued to be swathed in mahoganylike Di-Noc bordered by lighter-grained fiberglass sections. Missing, however, was the simulated woodgrain treatment around the windows. It was replaced by polished stainless steel.
The Squire and nine-seat Country Sedan finally overcame the issue of third-seat convenience when a folding unit was developed. Before the load floor could be extended, the third seat's cushions had to be removed and kept in the car. ("[T]hey're wonderful as mattresses or picnic cushions," the station wagon catalog advised.)
A new kind of upholstery material, "Radiant Sof-Textured" vinyl, appeared for seat bolsters in Country Squires and Country Sedans. Overall length gained another 5.3 inches to 208. Most of this added room was devoted to the cargo compartment, with a new length of just over 116 inches with seats folded and the tailgate down. Total cargo space was rated at 92 cubic feet.
The essentially unchanged six remained standard equipment. Next up was the return of the 292-cid, 200-horsepower Thunderbird V-8. A single 332-cube big-block was offered in 1959, a 225-horsepower Thunderbird Special with two-barrel carburetion. The Thunderbird 352 Special returned with its 300-horse rating. When equipped with a V-8, the 1959 Country Squire became the first Ford wagon to break the $3,000 ceiling.
A new dash design and a stowable rear seat
characterized the interior of the 1959 Squire.
With the recession past, automakers' sales bounced back to life. Ford passenger-car production surpassed 1.4 million for the model year. Wagon output warmed up to 269,378; the Country Squire did its part by attracting 24,336 customers.
After the 1950s, the Country Squire continued to thrive for another three decades. Ford consistently led the wagon market, and the Squire was its flagship. Years later, when the fictitious Griswold family drove cross-country in the film comedy National Lampoon's Vacation, their heroically decorated over-the-top "Family Truckster" was made from a Country Squire. Nobody needed to ask why.
Check out specifications for the 1950-1959 Ford Country Squire in our final section.
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