The prospect of spending you next vacation skinny dipping with Christie Brinkley may make you want to be Clark Griswold. And while you can't have his Wagon Queen Family Truckster, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Country Squire may the next best thing, but is its price a trip not worth taking?
Having a car about which you don't give a rat's butt cheeks can be freeing. You're free not to have to get out and move that shopping cart blocking your parking space, choosing instead to shoot it out into traffic by ‘braking late.' You won't mind being the driver when someone offers up ‘I'll buy if you fly' and the destination's Taco Bell as you don't mind driving with all the windows down. And lastly, parking in a bad neighborhood isn't a problem if your car actually lowers property values merely by its presence. Yesterday's thrasher ‘85 Caprice Wagon was just such a master beater and with only eight Benjamins required for purchase, it's no surprise 82% tagged it as Nice Price.
Today's candidate is a lot older, a little bigger, and in much nicer shape than that Chevy. It's also over eight times more expensive. That $6,500 asking price means this is more a family car than a Manson Family car, and befitting a price that requires serious reflection before pulling the trigger, this 1973 Ford Country Squire looks to be in very nice shape, sporting both an ominous black paint job and enough woodgrain to make it look like the world's greatest moble man cave. Schlitz yeah!
Yesterday's Chevy exhibited the dimensions of a post-gas crisis reality, but this full figured Ford still says drink up! Large and in charge, the ‘73 Country Squire was the biggest Ford wagon to date, stretching a full 225.7 inches from its massive front bumper to its equally generous rear. That puts the wagon firmly in the Nimitz class and requires some serious displacement to keep it from becoming a Country Slacker.
Maintaining a modicum of mobility here is Ford's ginornmous 460 V8, a member of the 385 family of big blocks. In 1973 that engine put out what the factory claimed to be 208 horsepower and 338 lb-ft of twisty-twist. Backed by Ford's 3-speed automatic, and pulling around well over two tons means city mileage that borders on the single digits. The seller does say that this one runs well even when it's sucking gas like it's trying to drown a cat. He also claims that the A/C blows cold rather than just blows, and that all the electrics, including the windows, work as they should.
And then there's the space. This is a car in which you need to shout to be heard, not because of the background noise, but the distance between the passengers. Up front there's a split bench with a pair of high-back seats for each outer position, while in back there's room for three even if they're all named Oprah. Behind that fold-down bench is a vast plain of a load floor, where you wouldn't be surprised to find buffalo roaming or never hear a discouraging word. It only has 80,000 miles on its clock, and you're lucky to even get a clock as a speedo and fuel gauge are the only needles this dash possesses.
Room, an old-school America, Eff-Yeah! big block, and a mighty redwood adorning each flank, this beast has it going on. You don't need to be Clark Grizwold to know that taking your next family vacation in a land yacht like this could only serve to bring the family together, or allow them never to even see one another while in the same car.
But what about the $6,500 price? This is after all a 38 year old car, and while many Americans are still living at home at that age, would you want to take a vacation with them? What's you take on that price for this Squire? Is that a bargain even if you're not considering it by the pound? Or, does that make this one Country you wouldn't want to vacation in?
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