The day is Saturday 26th March 1932 exactly eighty-four years ago today, the great man Henry Ford was photographed standing next to a V8. Although Ford was not the first to introduce a V8, his engine broke new ground as it was the first ‘compact V8’ using a different ‘v’ angle so he could build them smaller and therefore cheaper. It also released the V8 technology for use in smaller cars…which gave ‘race car’ performance.
The greatest example of this was the praise given to Henry Ford by Bonnie and Clyde who credited the engine for being able to escape the police who only had four-cylinder cars.
Today, the actual 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan (boasting a massive 85bhp at the time) in which Bonnie a Clive took their last getaway and where they ceased their reign of terror, is on display at Whiskey Pete’s Casino. Las Vegas.
Speaking of engines, we had a ’67 fastback dropped into us for an unexpected visit just after the car had just passed its MOT with flying colours. On the way back from the test centre the engine decided to have an episode and blow a head gasket. This is never a good thing at any time, but you just can’t predict these things, ever. The engine had the dreaded sight that all mechanics cringe at, the oil in the engine looked like it had been replaced with Bailey’s liqueur. Yogi had an evaluation (we called it a guess), he took a head off from the left hand side and sure enough, number six pot was all shiny and clean.
To recondition the engine and do the required work can usually cost more than a crate engine. We had a new engine in stock and the agreement was to swap the engines out. So Yogi got to work straight away and put the kettle on, then had a cuddle with Enos first.
The engine was to use the original components where possible and came out fairly easily although there were some issues with the starter motor having a stripped thread for the retaining bolt. At this point, a two man job to get the engine out with the hood still in place so the pics are before and after.
The new engine dropped back in, but we had to be careful of the headers so they didn’t get damaged in the process.
We hope to have the car tuned, settled down and ready to be taken away early part of next week. How’s that for service?
The Country Squire:
The Ford Country Squire is a full-size station wagon that was assembled and marketed by Ford Motor Company from the 1950 to 1991 model years in North America for its namesake Ford division. Throughout its entire production run, the Country Squire was the premium station wagon model of the division, sold only in the full-size car range. In use for 41 years, it was the third longest-used car nameplate used by Ford in North America (behind only the Thunderbird and Mustang). Distinguished by its wood grain trim, only the first-generation 1950-1951 versions are true “Woodies”; to lower the high production cost of true woodgrain trim, the body trim on subsequent versions was composed of various simulated wood grain trim, with varying degrees of coverage of the body. Prior to 1986, other variations of the “Squire” name would be used on smaller “wood grained” Ford station wagons. Initially based on the Ford Custom Deluxe and the Ford Crestline that replaced it, in 1955, the Country Squire became a distinct model as Ford separated its station wagon and sedan model lines. While sharing trim with the Fairlane and then the Galaxie, the Country Squire remained a separate model line until 1968. For 1969, Ford consolidated its sedan and station wagon model lines, with the Country Squire becoming part of the Ford LTD line, gaining its model prefix. With the 1983 split of the Ford LTD and Ford LTD Crown Victoria, the LTD Country Squire remained part of the full-size line until its discontinuation. During its production run, the Ford Country Squire was joined by two other equivalent wood grained station wagons in other Ford divisions: In 1958, the Edsel division sold the Edsel Bermuda (which became the rarest Edsel); from 1957 to 1991, Lincoln-Mercury sold the Mercury Colony Park, sharing the body shell of the Country Squire from 1961 onwards. Ford Motor Company elected to discontinue the LTD Country Squire and Colony Park during the redesign of their Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedan counterparts for the 1992 model year. With the discontinuation of the Chrysler Town & Country in 1977, Buick Roadmaster Estate and Chevrolet Caprice Estate in 1996 (the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser was discontinued in 1992), the full-size station wagon segment disappeared in North America, with the lone exception of the 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum.
The second generation 1952 – 1954; In 1952, Ford expanded station wagons into a line up separate from its newly redesigned sedans. The Country Squire was the top model, now available solely in a four-door configuration; it was the wagon counterpart of the Crestline series. Joining the Squire were the four-door Country Sedan (Customline) and the two-door Ranch Wagon (Mainline). The 239 Strato-Star V-8 was the only engine offered in the 1952 Country Squire. Unlike its predecessor, the 1952 Country Squire no longer was a true woodie; like the Country Sedan, it wore a full steel body. The wood grain finish was now constructed by wood grain transfers edged in real wood trim on the sides and tailgate.The real wood trim was discontinued halfway through the 1953 model run and replaced with fiber glass trim with a wood grain finish.
This customers 1954 Ford Countryman Squire will be used to tow a race ready Mustang to and from meets we understand. The car has been standing around for a while and needs some serious work to get her road worthy, whether this will be a full restoration or a patina car we are not sure yet. But this is a big, big car.
The engine was a bit of a concern for us, parts and availability of course. So Yogi rolled up his sleeves, put the kettle on and took a look at the “Y block” series engine while scratching his fur. We made sure it was all free by hand cranking, checked there was some oil in it and got some fresh fuel. We cranked it over for a few turns, then started it in anger as it were.
The result was a short lived, but very sweet success, we now had positive something to work from.
To finish we thought we would share a funny photos of the dogs, what Enos didn’t realise was he was going back in there shortly, if looks could kill!
One last thing:
We shall be holding enquiries in the yard next week as to who “accidentally” left this glove on the engine swap out that Yogi was working on. When we find out who it was there will be some serious questions asked; “what exactly were you trying to point out?” Very funny though and Yogi is trying to find the culprit, I doubt very much that we will find out who left it somehow. 😀