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My Post-Apocalyptic Escape Vehicle

1959 Country Squire with push-button station wagon living equipment (1/2)

1959 Country Squire with push-button station wagon living equipment (2/2)

The bittersweet irony of this is that my family, when my father was a Ford dealer in Paradise California, actually owned that ’59 Country Squire in that exact finish. O tempus! O fugit!

News item from the Washington Post, July 3, 1958:

    TRAVELERS and sportsmen who would like to park their cars after a day’s drive and set up camp by pushing a few magic buttons, may be able one day to do just that.

    With the “pushbutton camper,” a specially equipped experimental Ford station wagon, a traveling couple could pull into a parking area, lower a boat from the roof top, pitch their tent and set up a kitchen unit protected by an overhead awning — almost without getting out of the car.

    One push button lifts the boat and swings it over the side so it can be easily removed for launching. A car-top tent, containing a full-sized double bed, already made up and equipped with a reading lamp, is erected by another button.

    After the tailgate is opened, a third button slides out the compact kitchen unit complete with an electric refrigerator and two-burner stove, a work table and meat cutting block, and a sink with hot and cold running water.

    The roof compartment also houses a shower head, complete with curtain. Ford has no definite plans for mass producing such a vehicle. If consumer demand warranted it, a company official said, the automatic equipment could be produced by independent suppliers and installed by a Ford dealer. — Future Tents: 1959 | Shorpy Old Photos | Photo Sharing

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  • Terry October 18, 2020, 12:02 PM

    Wow! My grandfather bought a new ’59 Ford station wagon from the local Ford dealer in Sonora, CA. McGowan Motors. Green paint, no Woodie trim. My fault with it was the engine was a six cylinder, not the cool sounding V-8.

  • M. Murcek October 18, 2020, 12:24 PM

    And, as regards Portland’s mayoral choices: H.L. Mencken said “The voters should get what they vote for. Good and hard.”

    So, there is that…

  • Stargazer October 18, 2020, 12:48 PM

    The ’59 Ford will survive an EMP. Good choice!

  • jwm October 18, 2020, 1:05 PM

    I can remember riding to Huntington Beach in the back seat of one.
    Also– Had a buddy in high school who had a black one. His dad bought it for him. Unfortunately it was a six cylinder. So he talked his old man into buying a white one with a V-8, like in the picture. Then he decided that the black one was cooler, so he started doing an engine swap. Guess what happened.
    Yep. Both cars ended up going to the junk yard.
    His next car was a ’61 Falcon. I remember helping him put a clutch in it. But the Falcon was a three-on-the-tree. Not cool enough. So he bought a Hurst Mystery Shift kit to get the gear shift on the floor. Guess what happened…


  • Auntie Analogue October 18, 2020, 1:06 PM

    Even the Jetsons would be envious!

  • Elmo October 18, 2020, 2:12 PM

    My Dad’s first brand new vehicle ever was a ’56 Ford wagon. He bought it in Fresno, where he worked for one year as a Yale Townsend forklift mechanic and salesman. The wagon was red and white, with a V8 that had a major oil leak from the day he bought it. After getting the run around from both the dealer and the factory rep for six months he finally got a new motor out of them… after he threatened to drive it through the dealer’s showroom window.
    Did I mention Dad was a hard-headed Irishman?
    Interesting note about the Ford. It came standard without a radio or a heater. And that happened to be the year that it snowed in Fresno. So how did we keep warm? We bundled up and sang songs!
    Simple times.

  • Bruce Wayne Garrett October 18, 2020, 4:59 PM

    I have a 59 Ford that I have been driving since April 2000. I drove it today.

  • ghostsniper October 18, 2020, 5:45 PM

    Where da baffroom iz?
    Mama ain’t gonna poop in no bucket ya know.

  • James O'Neil October 19, 2020, 2:09 PM

    My dream cars; 1924 Packard Touring car and/or a Green Morgan 3 wheeler (I knew a girl once..). Neither would be bad as a post apocalypse rig though the Morgan would be a bit cool and drafty winter driving up here on top of the world.

    Either, today, would cost an arm and a leg and a gonad.

    Guess I’ll stick with my Jeep Wrangler though I am looking for a rebuilt ’60s carbureted engine sans computer, sans fuel injection to store and, if necessary, install if the fit hits the shan.