1957 Ford Country Squire
Aware that the market was ever-changing, Ford embraced a dramatic restyling from the ground up for 1957. The Country Squire and the rest of the station wagon family were not overlooked.
Wraparound windshields made use of a reverse-canted A-pillar, while the side-glass area was larger and allowed for better vision. A wider, curved liftgate was employed, and for the first time, two- and four-door wagons had equal amounts of load capacity as all portions of the middle seats now folded flat. The rear seat in the Country Squire and three-seat Country Sedan still had to be removed when not needed, but when in use, both wagons now held nine passengers.
A new frame design accompanied the totally restyled
1957 Ford models, including the Country Squire.
A modified version of the 1955-56 Country Squire's fiberglass framing was employed, but the wood-toned Di-Noc shed the horizontal plank look. Side-window frames and the upper tailgate continued to copy the look of wood grain.
Inside, the Country Squire featured four interior color combinations, again shared with the related Country Sedan: blue or tan "Silver Tweed" woven plastic with white vinyl bolsters, or all-vinyl in dark green-and-white or red-and-white pleated patterns. The new instrument panel featured a contrast-color band through the middle and a fan-type speedometer with fuel and coolant temperature gauges built into the ends.
Ford really offered two kinds of cars in 1957. The Fairlane and new Fairlane 500 rode a 118-inch wheelbase and sprouted bold blade tailfins that rose out of the midsection of the car. Custom/Custom 300 sedans and the station wagons shared a 116-inch wheelbase and more-modest fins.
The bumper-to-bumper measurement of wagons grew by more than five inches to 203.5. Height was cut to 58.9 inches on nine-passenger wagons, 58.7 on six-seaters. Contributing to these decreases were the use of smaller-diameter 14-inch wheels and a new "cowbelly" frame. The latter's underslung cross-members and bowed-out side rails allowed floor pans to nestle in between and lower the car.
Other new chassis features included revised ball-joint front suspension and outboard-mounted rear springs. Wagons used an extra sixth leaf in the rear springs, and nine-seaters rolled on wider 8.00 × 14 tires.
One benefit of the new measurements was increased wagon load capacity. With the tailgate lowered and the center seats folded, a 106.5-inch-long cargo area was realized. (Ford claimed 34 square feet of floor space.)
The upper liftgate of the 1957 Country Squire
now wrapped around to the sides of the car.
One area that did see a reduction was the floor-to-roof measurement, which dropped from 37.4 inches to 34.6. A two-stage latch now served to unlock both the liftgate and tailgate, and a new type of hinge allowed the tailgate to open fully flat. (One-piece tailgates with a retractable rear window were starting to come into wider use, especially among the Chrysler Corporation makes, but Ford would retain a two-piece style for several more years.)
Under the new front-hinged hood, the base Mileage Maker Six engine maintained its 223 cid, but horsepower was further tweaked to 144. The 292-cid V-8 with two-barrel carb developed 212 horsepower. The 312-cid job made 245 horsepower with one four-barrel carb, 270 with dual fours, or 300 with a centrifugal supercharger.
Ford's 1.6 million units for 1957 were enough to wrest model-year sales honors from Chevrolet. That included an all-time record 321,170 station wagons, a substantial 19.4 percent of all full-sized Fords made that year. Country Squires made up 27,690 of those wagons, a total that wouldn't be bested until 1965.
Find details on the 1958 Ford Country Squire in the next section.
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