Back when a Jeep was synonymous with "off-road," and the terms "mini-van" and "SUV" weren't yet invented, the way to carry lots of passengers and cargo was a station wagon. Originally contrivances cobbled together from a car frame and a lot of wood, station wagons became a fixture in an America growing up with cars. By 1961, when Ford's Country Squire graced the road, the epitome had been reached. Station wagons were big, roomy, powerful and solid - true highway vacation cruisers.
FM has done an outstanding job on the 1961 Ford Country Squire. The image has a full suspension, operating doors and tailgate, a lift-panel revealing the spare tire and jack, and a fold-down rear seat to provide a full cargo bed. The dash detail is high caliber, right down to the key and fob in the ignition. The miniature Thunderbird 390 engine is fully detailed, with all wiring in evidence. Undercarriage detail is also on par. The finish, in Laurel Green, is a tad dull but, since cars of the era weren't done in clear coat, it's acceptable and comes up nicely with "The Treatment" model wax. As is becoming more and more common with FM, an extra "Family Vacation Pack" is included, with 3-piece luggage set, cooler filled with soda pop and ice, beach towels, suntan oil, water jug, beach ball, inflatable water toy, beach umbrella and a car seat-mountable baby "driver" seat! In my humble opinion, these little "goodies" are a great tip-of-the-hat to collectors. [Let me take a moment to mention the new format Collector's Guide/Care & Handling booklets FM is including with its models. Reminiscent of the User's Manuals that come with 1:1 cars, FM is to be commended for upgrades such as these (as well as the "pictorial" boxes for all new images) that add an element of fun to the collecting experience.]
Ford's Country Squire was definitely an upscale way for the "June and Ward Cleavers" of the early Sixties to head off for the family vacation. It provided a lot of space for the family and its gear and a lot of comfort for the trip ahead. Sure, minivans and SUVs have trendy new gizmos but they are merely adding to the basic idea laid down by cars like the '61 County Squire. The issue price is $135.