A 1963 Ford Country Squire station wagon in fine shape is worth over $15,000 these days in excellent condition. Pristine wagons like the one pictured here from a Barrett-Jackson auction are worth way more. This week’s column deals with making sure there’s a return on investment if a reader decides to rebuild his wagon, which has sat for 35 years. (Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auctions).
Q: Hi Greg. I have a 1963 Ford Country Squire station wagon that has been in a shed for 35 years. It needs a total restoration, but is all there. It has a 352 V8 with two barrel carb, automatic, p.s., p.b., and all the glass is there.
My family and I used this car a lot and it has about 225,000 miles on it. Unfortunately, the front bumper has been exposed and is rusted bad. The rest of the body is OK with rust in the usual areas. It has the “wood-look” fiberglass panels on the side with brown wood decals and is finished in a cream color.
I would like your opinion on what should happen to this car? I would like to do something with it, IE: sell it as is, or rebuild the motor, brakes and so on and put it on the road for Sunday drives. Or, should I send it to the junk yard? I haven’t seen any of these cars for sale or at the local shows. Do you think there is interest in this type of car? Thanks, Michael Hemphill, Springville, Pa.
A: Michael, thanks for your letter. First, the interest in station wagons continues to grow, as collectors specifically seek out wagons nowadays, especially from the 1950s and 1960s. Your 1963 Ford wagon could well be an in demand vehicle, but first you’ve got to do a return-on-investment scenario, as the cost of a rebuild mechanically might be more than you expect.
First, you need to have your wagon checked by a certified mechanic, which means getting it out of the shed and having it towed to a reputable garage where they can put it up on a lift. You do say the front bumper was exposed and is rusted bad, but you must remember that the chassis could also be rusted badly from sitting 35 years. You won’t find out until you get it out of the shed. Second, the 225,000 mile on the engine and transmission mean a certain complete rebuild, and I would be surprised if the brakes aren’t all locked up and need a rebuild, too.
To sell or rebuild will be answered soon enough when you get it to the mechanic.
There’s another option you might consider, but it is time consuming and there are no guarantees. It’s called “parting a car out,” where you sell everything from the speedometer to door handles to valve covers in hopes of making a few bucks before the junk yard crusher calls. If you go to eBay, you’ll see thousands of parts for sale from part out cars, many of which are either very tough to find in original condition.
In summary, have a professional look at your wagon and then make your decision. If you can get the engine started, I’d do so as you might be able to sell it in its present condition. As for pricing, current prices for a drivable 1963 Ford Country Squire according to NADA are a low retail of $3,712 for one in below average condition, to an average condition price of $7,507 to top condition of $15,070. The original price was $3,127 back in 1963, and that 352 V8, which puts out 220-horsepower.
Good luck with your wagon, Michael, and if it is economically worthy to rebuild, I’d give it a go and enjoy the experience. If not, call the junkyard or part it out. Thanks for your letter.
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now, BestRide.com and other GateHouse publications. He welcomes reader questions on old cars, auto nostalgia or old-time racing at 116 Main St., Towanda, Pa,. 18848 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org).