When Ford was still building thick station wagons in the USA, the engineers showed their exuberant creativity with a camper study. Ford has now opened up its archives - the Country Squire Station Wagon Camper Concept is one of the gems slumbering there. The car has a boat tent on the roof.
Ford is well represented in our list of cool, clever, but also crazy patents - apparently tireless creative minds work for the car manufacturer. And that seems to be a tradition, as a look back at 1959 shows. Ford has now digitized part of its archives and made them accessible via the Internet. One or the other highlight seems to be slumbering in the pool, which has by no means been fully explored until now - such as the Country Squire Station Wagon Camper Concept from 1959.
Remote-operated boat crane
For conversion to a camper, Ford has the three-row Country Squire with one Equipped with a rear awning that keeps the individual struts in shape - the component is vaguely reminiscent of the wings of the aircraft of the Berlin aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal. On the roof of the station wagon is a boat that turns out to be a cover for a roof tent box. The boat folds onto the right side of the vehicle using a robust chain drive – at the push of a button. The camper controls many functions using a large, wired remote control. There the campers are supposed to take it down and then use it as a real rowing boat. By the way: The interior of the three-row Country Squire was also enough to push a complete rowboat in there - as Ford announced with advertising drawings at the time.
Roof tent and shower with curtain
Under the boat there is an erectable roof tent, which automatically unfolds pretty striped semicircular awnings to the right and left when you go up. The residents enter the roof tent, which is in a kind of tub, via a seven-step side ladder. The roof tent pan also houses a small tank that feeds the shower located on the right side of the vehicle. A surrounding curtain protects you from prying eyes when showering. While driving, the shower disappears behind a flap, and there seems to be room in the roof tent box for the curtain and its rods.
Kitchen still modern today
The target group for the station wagon was the same then as it is today: "Travellers and athletes" should find the vehicle great. Under the rear awning sits an extendable kitchen that looks modern even by today's standards - with a large, semi-circular shelf, two gas burners and a stylish sink. Under the shelf sits a fridge accessible by lifting the worktop.
Dream car remained dream car
Ford itself emphasized at the time that the car was not for sale. It is expressly an experimental vehicle - but also a dream car. And that's exactly what the car has remained for everyone who wants to go camping - a dream.
Vanlife and the creative camping ideas associated with it are a roof tent that is over 60 years old - as the Ford Country Squire Station Wagon Camper Concept proves. The fact that the tent is housed in a functional rowing boat could certainly be used as a model by one or the other camping outfitter - if they can build the boat easily enough.
The electronic unfolding via a monstrous cable remote control, the effective unfolding of the rear awning and the tent and the shower curtain that seemed a bit awkward - all of this was certainly more due to the show than to a real desire for series production. But the underlying ideas with a roof tent, an extendable rear kitchen and a portable shower have long since arrived in the camping series world - Ford set standards with its study at the time.