1956 Ford Custom Ranch Wagon
Chassis no. M6FR220249
In 1952, after having offered wooden-bodied wagons since the 1930s, Ford introduced its first all-steel station wagons. The new 1952 wagons were offered in 2-door and 4-door models, a first for Ford, which had built both four-door and two-door wagons in the past, but never at the same time. The 2-door editions were called Ranch Wagons and they would handily outsell the 4-door models every year until 1957.
The 1955 Ford line featured the first all-new body styling since 1952. The new Ranch Wagon models incorporated a swept-back B pillar design that gave them a stylish appearance compared to competitive 2-door wagons, which retained vertical pillars. (An exception was the limited production 1955 Chevrolet Nomad, with its broad slanting B pillars.)
All Fords received a face-lift for 1956 that generally enhanced the clean lines of the 55s.
The 1956 Ranch Wagons continued to be by far the most popular 2-door wagons on the marketmore than 105,000 would be sold. (By the late 1950s, though, 2-door wagons would trail off in sales; Fords final full-size 2-door Ranch Wagon would be built in 1961.)
The 2-door Ranch Wagon style was offered in three trim levels for 1956the plain-vanilla Mainline, a more deluxe Customsharing trim with the Customline Ford passenger cars and featuring a nicer and more colorful interiorand a new Parklane model that was designed to compete with the Chevrolet Nomad.
The offered 1956 Ford Custom Ranch Wagon is distinguished by that models full-length side trimwhich provides a color break line here for the optional Fiesta Red and Colonial White two-tone finish. The Ranch Wagon is further set off by its factory optional full wheel covers and era-styled wide whitewall tires.
The M at the beginning of the VIN indicates the car was factory-equipped with a standard 202-hp, 292cid, Thunderbird Y-block V8. (Y-block coming from the deep-block design of the new engines, which resembled a capital Y in cross-section.)
Ford Motor Companys Y-block engine family began with the overhead-valve (OHV) V8 introduced in the 1952 Lincoln. A 239.4cid version of the OHV V8 was introduced for the 1954 Fords. This engine grew to 272cid in 1955 (with a larger 292cid version reserved for that years Thunderbird and Mercury models.) In 1956, the 292cid Thunderbird engine became the standard V8 in all Ford wagons and Fairlane models. Late in the model year, the Thunderbird Special 312cid V8 became an option. The same eye-catching Thunderbird V8 front fender emblems were used on all V8 wagons, regardless of engine choice.
The V8 in the offered Ranch Wagon is dressed up with a chromed air cleaner and chromed valve covers. The cars Fordomatic automatic transmission was an option, which added $178 to the $2,350 base model price in 1956. It also features the 12-volt electrical system found on all 1956 Fords; it was an upgrade of the 6-volt system used on earlier models.
The Ranch Wagon interior is trimmed in tan, brown and black vinyl. The consignor states that most of the interior, as well as much of the exterior chrome, is factory original.
Today, as in 1956, the Custom Ranch Wagon provides space and utility with a distinctive 1950s flairwhile also offering the capabilities of a relatively high-performance V8. Wagons of the 1950s were often worked hard and surviving examples, especially in quality condition, are scarce. The attractive styling, desirable era-authentic color combination, and relative scarcity of the example offered here assure it will draw admirers whenever and where ever it is shown.
The 1956 Ford Custom Ranch Wagon is offered with a California title.