Wednesday, August 10, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1964 Ford Galaxie Country Squire

It's summer road trip season, so I thought I'd put together another station wagon special feature set. Last time it was "Big Three" wagons, one model each from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. It was a formula which worked pretty well here - except that in today's market climate, Chrysler is no longer one of the Big Three and for a couple of years at least, GM was no longer #1. That, and I don't have any more Chrysler wagons in the archives at present.

So, at any rate, let's begin with Ford. Our specimen is a 1964 Ford Galaxie Country Squire in what appears to be Sunlight Yellow (or Phoenician Yellow) with the ubiquitous Squire faux-wood trim and Medium Palomino vinyl upholstery. Another of the many wonderful old barges earning their keep and testing their parking brakes in San Francisco, this Country Squire looks like it's lived an interesting life. While it was built one year before the introduction of the nifty dual-swing tailgate that could be opened using hinges on the bottom or the side, this wagon does have a rear hatch with an opening rear window that can be rolled down inside the door. That's something you can't get on a lot of new wagons or SUVs.

The body's worn but mostly straight, chrome is good on the trim but the front bumper could stand to be straightened. Needless to say, a paint job and new woodgrain appliques are in order, along with a replacement of the moldy-looking plastic "wood" surrounding them. At the same time, the patina of a 40-plus year old car is pretty cool, too. That doesn't mean I'd leave the mold on the sides, though. That's kinda gross. I'd also replace the passenger side headlamp. Driving a car this big and this old, you need all the help you can get to see at night in case something runs out in front of you -- and you have to put your faith in those manual drum brakes to stop your barge without making street pizza of the neighbor's cat.

In terms of style I get more excited about this than, say, a new Cadillac CTS wagon. The CTS is, of course, faster and handles better than the ginormous Squire. But if you have a family to transport, the three-row, 9-passenger Ford is the Family Truckster of choice for your cross-country trip - and you won't have to put Aunt Edna on the roof, either.

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