Underrated classic: 1966 Ford Country Squire

We often like to take a look at some underrated classics on this blog that somehow helped advance the entire industry but time seems to have forgotten, whether the looks were simply too out-there to warrant any long term fanbase or the car simply arrived on the market at the wrong time. Considering the number of models that have graced America's roadways over the past century, it's no wonder that a few nameplates have fallen through the cracks, failing to be high priority collectors items.

One kind of car that has a niche fanbase is the old-school station wagon. While wagons from the 1950s tend to get all the recognition from classic car enthusiasts, there are some supreme models from the late 60s and early 70s that deserve a little bit of credit for contributing to change in the way cars would look and perform going forward.

1966 Ford Country Squire

You either love how this wagon looks or absolutely hate it. The generation before it had a more sleek and compact look that car lovers could get behind, even though, like the 1966 model, it still had those wood sideboards that were common on wagons from the early 50s that attempted to emulate the surfer style of old Studebakers. For 1966, the Country Squire was wider, longer and featured stacked headlamps and a toothy metal grill that gave it the face of a shark as opposed to the more finessed look of a 1964 Ford Galaxy.

While you could get a Torino station wagon from the same era with a cobra jet engine under the hood, the Country Squire came with a less impressive but still competent 390-cu.in. V-8. But it wasn't speed that made these cars sell – remember, Ford wagons were as common on the roadways in 1960s as their SUVs and minivans are today – but the utility that this model offered.

It was in 1966 that Ford changed absolutely everything when they introduce the Magic Door Gate. That's obviously a gross exaggeration, but this feature was definitely something that would be integrated into other models as the years went by. As anyone who grew up being driven in a station wagon from the 60s will recall, the tailgate would essentially drop down like the on on a pickup while the rear window, in some models, would lift up. The Magic Door Gate allowed the rear door to either drop down the traditional way or swing open from the side like a regular car door.

While this feature may not give you reason to sell your minivan in exchange for an almost 50 year old station wagon, the amount of space under the hood for a larger V8 and the aggressive wide stance of this model makes it a beast on the track. Best of all, the expansive cabin allows you to take your entire pit crew along for the ride with you.

Would you, or have you, considered purchasing one of these wagons for your classic American car collection? Leave your thoughts, or your pictures, below: