Long live the long-roof! We were pretty excited to see Québec native Félix-Antoine Gravel posting a bit about his 1968 Ford Country Squire Wagon on his RK Nation page because, well, wagons rule. From taking a brand-new Volvo wagon ice-racing to the ‘67 Pontiac Bonneville Wagon that went to Bonneville with Freiburger and Dulcich, we love wagons. But when Félix started telling us his story, we knew we had to share it with our readers.
Félix said he had been binge-watching Roadkill, Hot Rod Garage, and Dirt Every Day for a couple years before, he attended the Salon Auto Sport de Québec, an auto show heavy on custom cars and projects, in April 2016. Félix was just 18 at the time and he said, “I decided that this was the year I would find my first car and seriously get into hot rods.” At the show, he was enamored with a ‘32 Ford Tudor owned by François Boudreault, who chatted with Félix and introduced him to V8 Passion magazine editor Fabrice Monceaux.
“Before I could realize it, in the span of maybe a month or so, I was following all these amazing people in a variety of Canadian classic car and rockabilly-themed shows,” Félix said, “and they had taken me under their wing as part of the family.” His enthusiasm for cars grew and he soon came across an ad for the ‘68 Country Squire with a 302, two-barrel carb, and three-speed automatic. In his short time in the enthusiast world of Québec, he found that he knew the seller through a friend and in short order, Félix was the ‘68 Ford’s new owner.
We’ll let him take it from here.
“So here I was now, with my very own car, enthused at all the possible road trips I could go on in my cruise ship. One major problem though: I didn’t have my full driver’s license yet, which meant I couldn’t drive it alone. No big deal as fall quickly came around and I had to store the car to protect it from the gnarly snow storms we get so frequently here, not to mention the road salt. This gave me the time to finish driver’s ed and finally earn my license.
“This is where I stand at the moment I’m writing this. I am anxious to hit the road once I can pull the beast out of storage and learn what to do when the road hit backs. The wagon is functional, although it hasn’t really been driven much in the past few years. Actually, I’m pretty sure the one hour long trip between my home and the place where I stored it is the longest distance it was driven in years. I do expect it to break down a few times during the road-rehabilitating period.
“The previous owner imported it from Florida in 2013, as you don’t see many of these around here, or at least you don’t see many that actually survived 50 years of Canadian winters. I do not plan on doing a classic restoration, but this isn’t either the kind of car that I would see myself modifying that much. I’d actually like this to be just a comfortable long-trip cruiser that gets decent mileage on the highway and that’s as reliable as possible. I can’t say I’m not tempted by HOT ROD Power Tour.
“The brakes were gone through very recently, but since they are drum brakes all around with no power assist, I’ve already got a disc and power brake conversion planned. Engine-wise, I’d like to keep the 302 alive as long as I can and actually learn how to deal with points ignition and carburetors. When the time comes, I could see myself either rebuilding the 302 or hopping the car up slightly with a 390. My friends and I have also discussed dropping in a modern power plant, which I’m not opposed to. Finally, aesthetics-wise, I do not plan on doing anything major to it. It was repainted a few decades ago and its flaws are a perfect excuse to actually drive the thing and not baby it.
“Once it’s road-proven and I’ve put a few thousand miles under my belt, I do want to get focused on the next project, an actual hot rod or custom. I have many dream cars, but the 1957 Ford Ranchero is a model I’ve always been fond of, and seems like a wonderful platform for styling and performance modifications. I’d like to take on such a project while enjoying the ’68 wagon.”
How cool is that? A ‘68 Country Squire with a 302 is a heck of a first car and a killer roadtrip-mobile. We’re eager to see updates from Félix on his RK Nation page and we’d also love to see your projects, too. You can get your own RK Nation page for free right here, where you can share what you’re driving and wrenching on with enthusiasts like you. We might just feature it on the website like we did with Félix’s longroof.