As I've been packing up the near-get-me-institutionalized levels of crap in my house, I occasionally come across something more interesting than a desiccated squirrel carcass or a box of Sega cartridges. This was one of those times — I found a 1963 Ford Book of Styling, and in it, this amazing mystery wagon.
The book itself is an amazing paperback art-book with all sorts of half-pages, vellum overlays, and the grand, perhaps slightly over-reaching idea that the 1963 line of Fords is a direct decedent of the greatest traditions of human art. I mean, '63 was a pretty good year for Fords, don't get me wrong, I'm just not 100% sure a Falcon is the equal to the Great Temple of Ramses II. But I'm willing to hear them out.
There's lots of great material in this book which I'll cover, but the one thing I want to focus on today is a tiny illustration on the very last page of the book. It's not credited or identified in the footnotes, but appears to be a styling study for some unproduced Ford sport-wagon concept.
It doesn't appear to be part of Ford's novel Aurora concept wagons, as this one would have to have been drawn sometime before 1963, and the first Aurora didn't appear until 1964. Or perhaps it was an early study for one of them?
I've tried to hunt down more about it, but so far haven't found anything conclusive. It appears to be a two-door shooting brake, with some rakish wood paneling and a very slick B-pillar that swoops up to lead the eye to a central roof spoiler. The proportions and shark-nose front rake suggest that this would have been a real sporting wagon, perhaps built on the Torino platform?
There is one sort of clue. The tiny script on the side of the wagon (the image appears to have been flipped horizontally; I flipped it back) seems to read "Country Cruiser," a name Ford had been using on their Mercury wagons. I could be wrong about this, but that initial letter of the second word does appear to match the first, and they both seem to be "Cs."
So, my guess is this was some early concept art for a stillborn sports wagon/shooting brake concept, possibly to be sold under the Mercury brand.
I think it would have been pretty bad-ass. If anyone has any insight about this drawing, please let us know in the comments!