Nomad Nemesis: 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon – Sold?

by | Oct 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

November 22, Update – While this “ClassiFIND” expired recently, given the seller’s history, we suspect it may not actually be sold yet.  For now, we’re labeling this ride “Sold?” However, we will keep an eye out for an updated listing. In the interim, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

October 15, 2023 Update – Nearly two years after the expiration of their last Craigslist ad, the seller of this 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon we’ve been tracking since August 2021 posted a fresh listing.  Using many of the same pictures, the seller once again asks $26,000 despite revealing that the car’s reverse gear no longer works.

January 12, 2022 Update – While this “Classifind” expired recently, given the seller’s past history, we suspect may not actually be sold yet.  For now, we’re labeling this ride “Sold?” However, we will keep an eye out for an updated listing.

December 5, 2021 Update – After a brief hiatus following the expiration of their last listing, the seller just posted a new Craigslist ad in which they’ve lowered the asking price from $26,000 to $22,000.

October 5, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” unless we come across a new listing.

September 3, 2021 Update – The seller just posted a fresh Craigslist ad for their two-door Ranch Wagon.  The price, description, and pictures all remain the same.

Two-door station wagons were popular throughout the 1950s for consumers who needed to haul cargo more than people. Inspired by British “Shooting Brakes,” arguably the most iconic example from this period was Chevrolet’s original Nomad, launched in 1955.  Taken by surprise that year, for 1956, Ford offered its one-year-only Parklane two-door wagon equipped with Fairlane trim that outsold GM’s Chevy Nomad and Pontiac Safari that year.  Meanwhile, Ford’s other two-door Ranch wagon remained the most popular two-door wagon sold in America in 1956, with over one hundred thousand units produced.

One of those examples preserved to this day in mildly modified form is this red and white 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon for sale, originally listed in August 2021 on Craigslist in Evansville, Indiana, offered for $26,000 currently (the original ask was $26,000). Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Ranch Wagon priced between this guide’s #3″ Good” estimate of $24,000 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $37,200.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the asking price falls between this guide’s  #2 “Very Good” estimate of $24,900 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $38,200.

The 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon is a vintage automobile that holds a special place in the annals of American automotive history. A member of the iconic Ford Ranch series, this wagon epitomized the spirit of post-war America, offering families a practical and stylish means of transportation that embodied the optimism of the era.

The 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon was part of Ford’s broader strategy to create versatile family vehicles that were functional and aesthetically pleasing. This wagon displayed the classic 1950s design cues, characterized by its sleek, curvaceous lines and prominent chrome accents. Its signature single-headlamp grille and sweeping fender lines were typical of the era, making it instantly recognizable as a Ford product.

The Ranch Wagon was designed to offer ample interior space, and its boxy yet attractive design facilitated this goal. It featured a two-door body style, with a spacious cabin and a cavernous rear cargo area that made it perfect for family road trips, grocery shopping, or any activity that demanded cargo space. The tailgate was a standout feature, with a distinctive two-piece design, allowing it to function both as a traditional top-hinged door and as a tailgate. This versatility was a significant selling point for buyers.

Under the hood, the 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon boasted a range of engine options, including the trusty Y-block V8 engine. The powertrain varied from the base 6-cylinder engine to V8s of different sizes, with the latter offering increased performance and speed. Buyers could choose between automatic and manual transmissions, giving them the freedom to tailor their driving experience to their preferences.

The interior of the Ranch Wagon was simple yet comfortable. Bench seats upholstered in vinyl or fabric were standard, and the dashboard featured a straightforward instrument cluster. While it may not have been as opulent as some of its contemporaries, the Ranch Wagon was practical and durable, making it ideal for the rigors of family life.

The 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon holds a special place in American culture for several reasons. First and foremost, it represented the ideal family car of the time. In the post-war era, when the American Dream was in full swing, families were expanding, and suburbs were growing. The Ranch Wagon was perfectly suited to meet the needs of these growing families. It became a symbol of suburban life and the freedom of the open road, which was central to the American experience.

Moreover, this wagon was a testament to Ford’s commitment to innovation. It featured innovative designs, such as the Magic Doorgate, which allowed for easy loading and unloading of cargo, and it was one of the first cars to offer the option of a two-way power tailgate. These features made it more practical and convenient than many of its competitors.

From a cultural perspective, the 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon was an embodiment of the values of the time. It represented progress, technological advancement, and the pursuit of the American Dream. Families across the nation relied on their Ranch Wagons for everyday transportation, and they often became an integral part of family memories, embarking on countless family vacations, picnics, and adventures.

In conclusion, the 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon is a quintessential representation of mid-20th-century American automotive design and culture. Its distinctive styling, practical features, and cultural significance make it a beloved icon among classic car enthusiasts and a nostalgic symbol of a bygone era. Whether seen on display at car shows or cruising down the open road, the Ranch Wagon continues to evoke a sense of nostalgia and admiration for an era when family, freedom, and the American Dream were epitomized by a simple yet stylish automobile.

This 1956 Ford Customline commercial epitomizes how American consumers in the suburbs were quickly finding a need for a second car in the driveway:

In addition to the color combination, the fact this car spent all of its life in California up until only ten years ago means you’re likely buying a very rust-free driver-quality example.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1956 Ford Ranch Wagon, 292 V8 (said to be original), automatic, manual steering and drum brakes. This Wagon came from California about 10 years ago, Ford’s version of the Chevy Nomad, these 2 doors are getting harder and harder to find in this condition, it was purchased from an 80-year-old gentleman in the Chicago area where he did a partial restoration on it. I bought it last year after it was sitting for a few years, it has a new battery, new alternator, new belt, new spark plugs, rebuilt carb., updated ignition wiring, newer horn, newer AM/FM radio with CD and MP3 port, new front speakers, new rear speakers, new carpet and has been detailed and hand waxed. It runs and drives like it should, and I have driven it about 100 miles around the local area. This is not a perfect vehicle, but is a good driver-quality classic and is a fun great-looking wagon. You can leave it as it is or take it to the next level, it still could use some TLC here and there. The last 2 pictures in this ad show the current NADA and Hagerty Values for this Wagon. You can email, call or text … texting is the quickest way to get me, I work a lot.  Thanks for looking

Show or go: what would you do with this Ranch Wagon?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Red 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon For Sale

    Ford’s response to the Nomad was not the Customline, it was the 1 year only Parklane 2 door wagon which used Fairlane trim and was available in 3 two tone combinations. Even though the Parklane handily outsold the Nomad and Pontiac Safari combined, it was discontinued after ’56 and was replaced in the line-up with the Del Rio Ranch wagon for ’57.


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