Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Readers ride: 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon, 2-door classic stationwagon

When you see this 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon, your looking at a junkyardlife. Tyler Fleming and his dad Steve, of Gadsden, Alabama, live a junkyardlife. The pair buy old cars, wrench on them, drive 'em and sell them when another project comes along. More than a dozen vehicles from the '40s and '50s have crossed their path in the last few years. "We buy and sell cars," Tyler says. "We have an enclosed trailer that we keep pretty well stocked with parts. When we go to car shows my dad will take the latest project car and I'll take the trailer, loaded with parts to sell."  
1959 Ford Ranch Wagon 2-door 
The father, son duo know driving dream cars doesn't come cheap. "We figure since we are already at a show, we might as well try to make a little money," Tyler says, matter-of-fact. "It's sorta like killing two birds with one stone. Have fun at the car show and make few extra buck at the same time. Nothing wrong with that right?"

Tyler spotted this '59 Ford 2-door Ranch Wagon for sale on Craigslist last fall.  "The owner, in Russellville, Alabama, said the car came from south Georgia," the younger Fleming says. "I believe him, after laying under it and all the red dirt falling in my face, it had to come from south Georgia." The previous owner made it drivable and took it to a few car shows but was ready to move on to something else. That's where the Flemings went to work.
 
BEFORE: Original 1959 Ford 223-cubic inch engine
Engine swap, more
The Ranch Wagon's tired inline 223 cubic-inch engine with the 3-on-the-tree tranny got the boot. "We installed a 302 cubic-inch engine with an automatic transmission out of a '79 or '80 model Lincoln Versailles (aka the top of the line Granada)," Tyler says. "We've changed out the straight shift rear end gear for one that will work better with a automatic trans, reworked the brakes, put the shifter in the floor and had the front seat recovered." 

 AFTER: 1979 Ford 302-cubic inch engine now in the '59 Wagon.

Future plans
Since these photos were made, the Flemings have added a luggage rack to the roof, along with surf boards that were bought at a trade day. The father-son duo keep the wheels and wrenches turning. "The plan is to leave the paint as is and just make a cruiser, surf wagon out of it," Tyler says. The rear seat will be recovered this winter, providing they still have the car. "We plan on keeping it for a while or at least until something else comes along."

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