Home » Truck, Or Family Truckster: 1969 Ford F100 vs 1991 Ford Country Squire

Truck, Or Family Truckster: 1969 Ford F100 vs 1991 Ford Country Squire

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I don’t know why I’m being all matchy-matchy with the cars this week. It’s not intentional; it’s just the cars that keep catching my eye. Monday ended up greige, yesterday was maroon, and today, both cars are white.

So let’s settle up yesterday, and then we’ll take a look at them:

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No surprise there. That Accord is really nice, and really cheap. And in fact, it looks like the ad is down already. Also no surprise.

So, onward. Today we have a couple of Fords built to carry stuff. One is built to carry people, and the other is for, well, pretty much anything else. It’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison, but once again, they’re what caught my eye today, so we’ll just roll with it. Here they are.


1969 Ford F100 – $1,950

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Engine/drivetrain: 240 or 300 cubic inch inline 6, 3 speed manual, RWD

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Odometer reading: 97,000 miles (or 197,000?)

Runs/drives? Quite well

There is something undeniably charming about old trucks. They’re romantic, quaint slices of pure unadulterated Americana, icons of what so many people blithely refer to as a “simpler time.” The reality of them is significantly less romantic than the Bridges of Madison County ideal: noisy, rough-riding, inefficient, and uncomfortable, but image, as they say, is everything, and old trucks will likely be dining out on their romantic appeal for a long time to come.

[Editor’s Note: This phenomenon has been covered here, in fact. – JT] 

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This old Ford has a lot more going for it than some silly notion, though. It’s powered by Ford’s legendary  inline six, though it’s not specified whether it’s the 240 or 300 cubic inch variety. Either way, it’s a cast-iron monument to durability and torque, and a perfect powerplant for a truck. It sends that torque through that most basic of all transmissions: a three-speed manual, with the shifter on the column.

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The seller says that six runs fine, and the truck drives well. The inside looks decent, with a simple vinyl bench seat covered by the requisite wool blanket. The interior is festooned with bumper stickers, at least, up to a point:

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Yeah. You’re not seeing things; there is no roof. The seller says it was cut out due to rust, but I have a suspicion they just wanted an open-top truck. They say the roof panel is included, and can be welded back in, but personally, I think it would be cooler if someone installed a folding canvas roof, Webasto-style.

1991 Ford Country Squire – $2,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 302 cubic inch V8, 4 speed automatic, RWD

Location: Union City, CA

Odometer reading: 175,000 miles

Runs/drives? Did, until a head gasket blew

“You think you hate it now,” the old movie line goes, “but wait ’till you drive it.” Ford’s Country Squire wagon is also an American icon, the faithful steed of a million family vacations and Cub Scout camping trips. Even if your family never owned one, wood-paneled station wagons were part of your upbringing, if you grew up in America in the 1960s, ’70s, or ’80s.

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And if you rode in one, chances are you argued over who got to sit in the “way back.” What is it about sideways- or rear-facing jump seats that is so appealing to kids?  These wagons also have a really clever tailgate/rear door: it can either swing down like a truck tailgate, for cargo loading, or to the side, for passenger entry.

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Unfortunately, this particular Country Squire has suffered a blown head gasket, and as such, is not currently drivable. No information is given about how it happened, but it sounds like the seller is in over their head. That’s the trouble with cool old cars: you really ought to know how to fix them yourself, or be able to afford to pay someone else to do it right, or you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak.

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Apart from the head gasket issue, this looks like a pretty clean Country Squire. I don’t see any rust, and the interior looks nice. This would be a good deal for someone with the mechanical chops to fix it up, and go over the rest of the mechanicals with a fine-toothed comb, just to make sure.

So that’s our choices for today: an old truck with no roof, and an old station wagon that needs to have its heads pulled. Neither one of them sounds quite so romantic or nostalgic when you put it that way, do they?

(By the way, the polls aren’t embedding today for some reason, so please click this link:)


Quiz Maker

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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54 Responses

  1. Tough one today.
    The pickup has the indestructible 6 and 3 on the tree. Timing GEARS – it really doesn’t matter if it’s got 97,000 or 197,000 on it.
    OTOH, a good looking Country Squire. The head gaskets (might as well do them both) is a one day job and you’ve got the whole top end resealed.
    Got to go pickup. Weld the roof back on and it’s uncarjackable.

  2. Ford was STILL making the chunky-bumper Country Squire wagon in 1991??!!! Damn!

    Was it that much bigger than a Taurus wagon? Or is that a typo, and this is a 1981 model? (Quick google search) Damn! I’d be all over a Chevy Impala wagon before giving one of these the time of day in 1991!

      1. The wagon wins today. I already have a ’94 F150 with the 300 inline 6, and that Country Squire brings back fond memories of my family’s white ’89 Caprice wagon (called it “The White Whale”). She’s a beaut, Clark!

  3. The F-100 is cool, even sans roof, but the child version of me, in the way back of our “74 Country Squire with the rear window rolled down, plays the trump card. Wagon all the way.

  4. I’m reasonably confident I could replace the head gasket on a simple engine from the comfort of my own driveway. Welding on a new roof or trying to make my own soft top… not so much. It’s time to strap Aunt Edna to the roof and hold John Candy at (BB) gun point!

  5. I’d have picked the wagon over a great number of previous Shitbox contestants, but not today. I miss my ’68 F250 too much. Even without a roof, I want that truck, and $1950 is an A-OK price. I just can’t quite be arsed to go all the way to Santa Cruz this week or I would Buy It Now, then probably dig up some mid-90s 351W for it along with a 5-speed manual, or whatever will afford me a bit more grunt while trying to get something better than 13 mpg.

    And I would take my sweet-ass time fixing the roof, too.

  6. The Wagon……easily.

    Aside from the fact that the truck is missing it’s roof, unless you need it strictly for truck work and LIKE old trucks, you could get something 20 years newer for not much more money.

    The wagon holds more people, seems to be in better shape, has a known issue that shouldn’t be terrible to fix, and is probably an old school soft and smooth highway people hauler. Plus, you could have it cosplay as the Griswold’s family truckster at Halloween!

    1. Thanks for saying Halloween instead of Christmas. There is an inflatable “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” display of the Family Truckster with a Christmas tree on top people have been putting out the last couple of years in my neighborhood. It bugs me to no end, as they had a Taurus wagon (“front-wheel drive sled” as Clark puts it) in that film.

      1. I’ve never even seen any of the ‘Vacation’ movies in full (I don’t get Chevy Chase’s humor as a comic actor…..he annoys me), but even I know that the truckster was a whole scene in the first one.

  7. Wait. I thought I was a special case of roofs flying off old Ford trucks! As me and the kids were motoring about 60 mph down the highway in our 68 f250 one day; BOOM it felt like an explosion as the roof separated from the top of the cab! Has this happened to anyone else in this generation of Ford trucks?

    1. Not off, but,
      Cruising home from a band with my gf in her (70? 72?) F100, going a bit faster than usual due to new tires, front-end work, & alignment, when (somewhat like you), BOOM ! Sounded/felt like we got hit by a cantaloupe-sized snowball??? Was my comment as we pulled into a handy rest area. Everything still attached to the truck, and no animals in the grill or underneath.

      She figured it out a few days later: at a music festival that summer, her niece had sat a large dent in the roof which popped out when I got up around 70-75. To quote Clarkson, “A little poo came out!” I can’t imagine what having it actually come off was like…

  8. This was basically my family vehicle line-up at one point in my childhood. 1968 Ford pick-up with a 197(?-don’t remember the exact year) Country Squire wagon. Each was very old and quite used up by the time my family got them, but I have fond memories. So I can’t choose and would have to go with both.

  9. Woodie! That wagon is in surprisingly nice shape, and given the fact I’ve currently got a perfectly good spare engine and transmission out of an ’89 Mercury Grand Marquis just sitting out in my garage, this one was quite easy.

  10. Wagon Wagon Wagon!

    Spent many camping/road trips stuffed in the “way back” of one of these.
    Though I got my head nearly squished like a grape by the rear window being rolled up on it once. Oof.

    Wagon Wagon Wagon!

  11. I love a good wagon. This isn’t a good wagon. Since I have an Outback… the truck would fill a gap that the wagon wouldn’t.

    I also suspect that roof or not… that truck will outlast that wagon by a couple of decades. And I have a mig welder.

  12. I need another truck like I need a hole in the head, but I’d still choose it. Nothing against the LTD wagon, but the F100 will probably still be running after I’m dead and gone.

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