The year is 1969 and you are shopping for a family sedan of some kind to fit your family of 6 comfortably. You search for a while and there is a Ford brochure that has just what you need. A Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon that offers all the bells and whistles you want for your families safety.
The family ‘truckster’ offers comfort and room for all your family. Available in 6 or 8 passenger version, the LTD wagon was big! A 121″ wheel base and overall length of 219.6″ (18.25 feet) it was an enormous cargo mover. The car was wide as well, at 79.8″ (6 foot 8 inches) the cargo area could easily accommodate a a sheet of plywood with the tailgate down, but was just shy of 8 feet (7.8ft) with tailgate closed so you did have to either roll the rear gate window down and sit the wood on there, or leave the gate down. Either way, room was key, and for a big family, the LTD was unmatched.
The LTD Country Squire engine choices were rather limited. The base car came with a 2 barrel 302 cid V8 engine making 210HP. The optional engines were either 390 2 barrel making 265HP, a 2 barrel 429 cid making 320HP or the 4 barrel 429 cid making 360 HP. The car shown here has the 390 engine and gets reasonable gas milage on the highway but does just barely provide enough power to move this huge car. But hey, this wasn’t supposed to be a performance car but more a family car that your wife could drive the kids around in.
When you ordered the Country Squire, you received simulated wood grain on the outside panels, and simulated wood for the interior dash work. Seats were vinyl foam padded bench seats (Ford called it indestructible vinyl, but we all know today vinyl seats were anything BUT indestructible.) Rear seats for the 7th and 8th passengers were sideways facing each other. A feature of the wagon, that was very handy was the tailgate design. A “Three-way” tailgate could be opened like a car door, with or without the power window down, and the whole gate could be dropped down like a truck tailgate. A very good design for practicality. The front grille only in the LTD wagon offered hideaway headlights , a feature that was very popular in the late 1960’s.
Driving a LTD wagon was a bit like being a boat captain, the suspension was very soft and cushy and had a nice ride on the highway as you floated over dips in the road. Hard cornering was to be sent into a major lean through the turn so it was good thing you had seat belts otherwise you would go sliding across the massive vinyl bench seats. Unless you ordered the top 429 engine, your driving experience was that you weren’t going to be racing anyone off the lights in this 4,256 pound car.
The Country Squire LTD sold very well, with 46,445 units of 6 passenger versions, and 82,790 units of 8 passenger cars sold. Most of these cars are long gone today, having rusted to the ground thanks to poor steel of those days. The odd survivor can be found like the one in my photos here, but the car isn’t exactly a collector classic, and requires a true station wagon lover to appreciate them. If you decide you want to own one, it wont take more than a few thousand dollars to be the proud owner of a LTD wagon tank. Happy hunting!