Karissa Hosek © 2015, courtesy of Auctions America

This single-owner Country Squire Wagon has less than 1,500 miles from when it was purchased new at Titus Will Ford in Tacoma, WA. As per its original sales invoice, it is equipped with a 400-ci V8 engine and an automatic transmission. Conveniences include deluxe bumpers, electric rear window, air conditioning, color-keyed seat belts, AM radio, light group, tinted glass and a luggage rack.

The owner stated that the “interior is as-new, no marks and absolutely fresh.”

It is astounding to see an automobile that is unchanged since it left the factory in 1974.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1974 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon
Years Produced:1950–91
Number Produced:64,047 (1974)
Original List Price:$5,950
SCM Valuation:$7k–$10k
Chassis Number Location:Base of windshield, driver’s side
Engine Number Location:Top rear of block, near oil-pressure sending unit
Club Info:International Station Wagon Club
Alternatives:1973–74 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon, 1974–77 Chrysler Town
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 1112, sold for $42,900, including buyer’s premium, at Auctions America’s California sale on July 17, 2015.

Normally, a typical ACC profile would dive right into the history, design or track prowess behind the car in question. But, hey, this is a big green bomb station wagon, which reminds just about every car guy of the Griswolds’ Wagon Queen Family Truckster in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

Of course, that’s not this wagon. The movie wagon was a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire modified by George Barris. No, this is an ultra-low-mileage 1974 model that, for reasons unknown, was mothballed and stored away like it was cast in gold.

I attended the Auctions America California sale and was immediately possessed by this avocado-green torpedo. At first glance, most of us would likely walk right past it. You might consider it to be a piece of auction chum that’s been tossed into the sale to get the bidding warmed up. “A green wagon with faux-wood paneling,” you might say. “Really? Whose brother or cousin got that in?”

But like a moth to a flame, you get sucked into the beast when the ultra-straight body and gleaming, perfectly aged paint capture your eye. Then you see that it’s one-family owned with less than 1,500 miles.

Then, the all-original presentation (including the paint) pulls you in even further. Before you know it, you’re sitting inside the green land yacht and sucking in the nearly-new-car smell that was hermetically sealed inside that minty interior.

As original as they come

This wagon was truly beyond belief. So much so that I scoured over the exceptional paint to see if I could detect any paintwork or non-factory tweaks. Other than some detailing under the hood, the old Squire was as original as you’re ever going to find. This wasn’t some sort of low-mileage barn find or even a garage find that was covered with a tarp and used as a storage shelf for moving boxes and old bicycles. This wagon was seriously loved.

How or why it came to be really isn’t all that important for this profile, but it’s certainly a curiosity. Most of the documentation was present and it came with three original sets of keys, handbook, original sales documents and some of the registrations.

The interior was unused. In fact, I felt guilty when I sat in it, like I was violating a space that very few have ever occupied. The gauges and dash looked literally factory fresh and the steering wheel was untouched. “Mint” is not even the correct word, perhaps “pristine” or “faultless” might be a better description. And not in a puffery sort of way.

Find another

So how does one value a 1974 Ford LTD Country Squire wagon with an undisputed 1,353 miles on the clock?

Well, you won’t likely ever find a true comp. Even if you can unearth another low-mileage example, it will likely be a wagon that was stored under a shady oak tree with a blue tarp draped over it. Birds, bugs and rodents will have had their way with it, and while it might be an old wagon with low miles, it will never (and I mean never) compare with this example.

Of course, this car’s rarity makes sense. Who would save this? I could understand a minty, squirreled-away low-mileage car that’s far more desirable, such as a Yenko or Boss 429. But we are talking about an ordinary Ford family wagon. Some would say it’s downright ugly. And it’s not rare — Ford sold piles of wagons in 1974.

The estimate was pegged at $35,000 to $40,000, and that was with a bunch of speculation and imagination in play. Nobody really knew what this might do — only what it could potentially bring on a good day.

One thing Auctions America does very well is to add a variety of cars to their auctions. This car was certainly no exception to that. It was as odd as the California classic-car-sales environment can be. What sells great on one day (or one sale) can do remarkably poorly another day. For this car on this day, the right buyers were in the room and the new owner was reported to be a fastidious collector who was smitten with the originality of the offering.

The deal

Well bought or well sold? Given the “one-off” consideration, we can toss our price guides and comps out the window (or multiple windows in this case). By the books, a 1974 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon is worth about $7k–$10k for a really nice, crisp example, and somebody needs to be really lusting for a great one to stroke that check. By our database, a replica of the “Vacation” movie car went unsold at Mecum’s Houston on April 6, 2013 (ACC# 215819), with a high bid of $35,000. Otherwise, that’s about all we will likely find with regards to any serious valuation research.

The colors are totally period-correct — in fact, it’s superb in that regard — and the condition is near perfection. There is also very good documentation. On the down side, it can’t be driven unless you enjoy shredding your cash, but I am sure the new owner understands that caveat.

With all that in mind, and ignoring the fact that it’s an enormous green chunk of dubiously styled American iron, I’d call it a fair deal at the money spent. And it’s most certainly a piece of Americana that will survive for future generations, who will inevitably ask, “What were they thinking?”

(Introductory description courtesy of Auctions America.

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