Coun­try ... With­out Squire


Street Rodder - - Contents -

Kyle McConkay’s ’61 Ford Galaxie wagon

If you’re a prod­uct of the ’40s-’70s chances are your fam­ily owned a sta­tion wagon at some point—as a young child, it was prob­a­bly the coolest thing; as an ado­les­cent, not-so cool … es­pe­cially when it be­came your first car to drive once that cher­ished li­cense was is­sued. May not have been as cool as Biff’s deal­er­ship-fresh St­ingray, but as long as you parked it around the cor­ner, no­body was the wiser … right?

As we ma­ture, we be­gin to see value in many of the things we thumbed our noses at (or ducked our heads as we passed neigh­bors’ houses), like brush­ing our teeth or hav­ing a job. But sta­tion wag­ons? Ab­so­lutely. Sta­tion wag­ons may have scarred you as a teen, but don’t for­get the ex­tracur­ric­u­lar week­end ac­tiv­i­ties they also af­forded—like go­ing to the beach or the lake … right?!

All these years later, while Biff’s War Bon­net Yel­low Vette is still hard to beat, that old Coun­try Squire wagon with its faux ex­te­rior wood sid­ing and an over­abun­dance of in­te­rior square footage ain’t too shabby now, is it?

Ap­par­ently Kyle McConkay doesn’t think so, even though it wasn’t on his radar when on the hunt for a new project to re­place a re­cently de­parted Ford open-cab pickup. The Ok­la­homa-based me­chanic doesn’t seem to have any four-door pho­bias lin­ger­ing from his child­hood, so just what led him to this ’61 Ford Galaxie Squire-less Coun­try Sedan? Since we were cu­ri­ous as such, we asked him, as well as what ex­actly got his wrenches turn­ing in the first place.

“My in­ter­est in cars has been part of who I am since I can re­mem­ber. Grow­ing up, we would travel all over the coun­try and would al­ways play the game ‘What’s that old car?’ I also had to learn at a young age to fix just about any­thing—I went from toys, bi­cy­cles, and TVs, to mo­tor­cy­cles, which then even­tu­ally led me to the cars I owned. Learn­ing and the con­tin­ued abil­ity to re­pair is­sues as I got older led me to know­ing not only did I have a pas­sion for cars, but I was good at it. I at­tended vo­ca­tional school and was a teacher as­sis­tant in the evenings, spend­ing as much time as I could learn­ing and gain­ing knowl­edge un­til get­ting out of

school. It wasn’t un­til my late twen­ties that I had the abil­ity to ac­tu­ally buy and build cars that sparked my in­ter­est. After some buys and trades, I built a ’30 Model A and ’62 Chevy C10. I have al­ways had a love for an early ’30s Ford road­ster but had never found the right one. I came across and did some trad­ing for a ’34 road­ster pickup from a hot rod en­thu­si­ast I had dealt with be­fore—but after an ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent, the ’34 was no longer. I went back to search­ing again for some­thing turnkey, as I wasn’t ready to build again. Even­tu­ally I came across this ’61 Ford Galaxie Coun­try Sedan. It was strange: big, black, and beau­ti­ful, I’d never seen any­thing

like it. After sev­eral con­ver­sa­tions, I drove to Her­nando, Mis­sis­sippi, ready to pur­chase and bring ‘her’ home. A wagon wasn’t the thought my wife and girls im­aged my next pur­chase to be, but it all turned out well and be­came a great fam­ily car.”

Kyle’s sta­tion wagon was ini­tially done in its cur­rent non-stock guise some years back in Texas, with paint and body by Sean Orn­duff Crafts­man­ship (formerly Orn­duff

Hot Rods) and in­te­rior work by Ad­vanced Auto Trim. It is, how­ever, stock in the way of driv­e­train com­po­nents, as it still uti­lizes the

352 FE and Cruise-O-Matic, but the sus­pen­sion has been mod­i­fied with airbags and rolling stock up­dated with Astro Supremes mounted with Coker’s ra­dial wide white­walls. A far cry from your mom’s old gro­cery get­ter, wouldn’t you say?!


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