Ford Country Squire Seventh generation
|1979 to 1991|
|Assembly||St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door station wagon|
|Platform||Ford Panther platform|
|Related||Ford LTD Ford LTD Crown Victoria Lincoln Continental Lincoln Town Car Mercury Colony Park Mercury Grand Marquis Mercury Marquis|
|Engine||4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0 Windsor V8 5.8 L (351 cu in) 351 Windsor V8|
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic (1980–1991)|
|Wheelbase||114.3 in (2,903 mm)|
215.7 in (5,479 mm)
|Width||79.3 in (2,014 mm)|
|Height||56.5 in (1,435 mm)|
In 1979, Ford became the last American automaker to downsize its full-size car lines; the Panther platform became the basis for all full-size Fords, Mercurys, and Lincolns. Eleven inches shorter and nearly 1000 pounds lighter, the redesigned Country Squire retained the 8-passenger seating capability with only slightly reduced cargo capacity. The big-block 400 and 460 cubic-inch V8s were not included in the redesign, leaving the Country Squire with the 302 cubic inches (4.95 l) and 351 cubic inches (5.75 l) Windsor V8 engines.
The 1980s saw relatively few changes to the Country Squire. In 1983 the carbureted engine was replaced with throttle body fuel injection. For the 1986 Model year, Ford went to sequential multi-port fuel injection which is identifiable by the large intake with the EFI 5.0 badge on top. In 1988, coinciding with the facelift of its LTD Crown Victoria counterpart, the Country Squire received a new front clip. Inside, new front seats with larger head restraints were added. For 1990, the dashboard was updated (for the first time since 1979) with the addition of a driver's side airbag; the outboard rear seats received 3-point seatbelts.
1986 Ford Country Squire side view
After the mid-1980s introduction of minivans by Chrysler, Ford, and GM, sales of full-size station wagons began to decline. The primary reasons for the popularity of minivans were their superior cargo capacity and fuel economy despite taking up less garage space; by 1990, Ford's Aerostar had overtaken all competitors in sales with the exception of the Chrysler minivans. Although Ford redesigned the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis in 1992, the station wagon bodystyle was discontinued. In addition, a 1992 full-size Ford wagon would have likely competed against the wagon version of the Ford Taurus, then on its way to becoming the best-selling car in the United States.
Unique options and features
With certain versions of the Country Squire one could install an AM/FM-Cassette stereo with a combined and fully integrated Citizens' Band (CB) two-way radio, and replacement dual-purpose automatic antenna (with only one visible difference that the aerial mast was a larger diameter, and black-band at approximately half-way up). The radio would then have the appearance of an original equipment, factory radio.
Optional were opposing side-facing rear seats, which could be folded down to make a durable cargo surface. Available for use with the side-facing rear seats was a folding table with integrated magnetic checkers board. Magnets under the plastic checkers pieces would keep them from sliding on the board while the vehicle was in motion.
Behind a rear fender well was a hidden, lockable compartment, not visible when the rear seat back was in the upright position.
GM, Chrysler and AMC would adopt a similar configuration by the end of the 1960s. An advanced version of this was the 3-way tailgate which permitted opening the door sideways with the window up.