As early as the 1950 model year, Ford began using the Country Squire name to designate the top trim level of its largest station wagon model, and Country Squire production continued until 1991, the last boxy Ford LTD Crown Victoria. Country Squires were available in wood (1950-1951) or “wood” (1952-1991) body trim, and sold so much that the “Country Squire” became a any Great Detroit trucks for most Americans. Today’s Junkyard Gem is an example of an early Panther platform, Country Squire, which was discovered last month at a self-service yard in Sparks, Nevada.

For most of its production career, the Country Squire name was used on feature-packed vans based on the Ford Galaxie and LTD sedans. Things got a little messy in the LTD world from the late 1970s, however, when Dearborn put LTD II badges on mid-size cars from Turin while scaling back the big LTDs. Then, beginning with the 1983 model year, the LTD name appeared on the posh Fox-Platform Fairmont, and large Panther LTDs became LTD Crown Victorias. The Country Squire name was always on the largest LTD badged vehicle of a given year (although the “Squire” name was also attached to smaller wagons over the years). Just to confuse everyone even more, Ford called some low-spec full-size wagons “country sedans” for a while.

So, this wagon is an LTD Country Squire.Beginning with the 1983 model year, it became crown victoria squire. In 1981, Ford customers could also get a regular LTD station wagon.

Station wagons were out in the early ’80s, although few people realized it at the time. It would be some time, though, before minivans and SUVs really started selling the kidney-wrenching station wagon in the U.S., so Ford offered the longroof in three sizes for the 1981 model year (plus their Mercury counterparts): Large LTD , compact Fairmont, and subcompact Escort.

Since I was part of the early Generation X demographic with a gas-filled childhood in the 1970s and generally lowered expectations compared to the Baby Boomers before me, I rode a lot of languid country squires as a kid.However, my family has never attended a country squire, or any Vans for that matter; my parents had a 3/4 ton Chevrolet Sportvan Beauville, and two Fiat 128’s just to teach us a lesson in the mistakes of human endeavour.

The car came with expensive options, including the largest engine available in the 1981 LTD: a 351 Windsor (aka 5.8-liter) V8 rated at 145 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. The base LTD engine that year was the long-forgotten 255 cubic inch (4.2 liter) Windsor rated at 115 horses. Curb weight isn’t as high as you might think, with the car weighing in at 3,737 pounds.

The 5.8 adds $139 to the LTD Country Squire’s $8,775 price tag, or about $476 more in 2022 dollars for a $30,028 car. Air conditioning cost an additional $624 ($2,135 today). A four-speed automatic with overdrive is the only transmission available.

The paint is Light Pewter Metallic for an extra $63 (now $216).

Below the license plate mounting area, you can see what the “wood” siding looked like before it was exposed to the sun for 41 years.

The accumulation of dirt, lichen, and vegetation on the car indicated that it had been parked outside for years or decades.

It has remote exterior mirrors, but no power windows. Hey, the car has power windows for an extra $215 ($736 today)!

The build tag says the car was built in Louisville Assembly, where Ford Escapes and Lincoln Corsairs are built today. It’s being sold through St. Louis Area Sales.

That means it probably spent at least the early stages of its life in the Midwest. Here’s another clue to its origin.

Production of this generation of the Country Squire continued until 1991; the Crown Victoria, which debuted in 1992, did not have a wagon version.

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