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Thread: 1990 Country Squire bought for 390 dollars.

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    Default 1990 Country Squire bought for 390 dollars.

    So, wagons are like chips - you can't just have one.

    Driving a box wagon thousands of miles away from the country of its origin usually means that one has to monitor all main ebay-like websites for spares. Those used parts that are available at hand are either useless, or priced too high. Like, bare metal doors, in dire need of a new paint, for 100 dollars + another 40 for shipping. So it is an arcade game, to get one's hands on a set of parts, or a donor car, before someone else does.
    Some 2 weeks after purchasing Escort, amidst the roaring mayhem of preparations to move out from the city - intertwined by the exam session, and the paperwork necessary to get the new home, I found one of these one-of-a-kind, rare offers. There was a photo of a nice looking Country Squire hearse, last facelifting, offered for ~390 dollars (1490 PLN) as a parts car. No title --> the car is officially scrapped, and what remains is a set of parts. In the shape of a car.
    I called the owner quickly, learned that he tried to sell it some 2 years ago for ~1500 dollars, but there was no interest in his offer and he decided to scrap it to avoid paying insurance etc. Paid a deposit and started looking for a hauler to get it across the country. A good offer on the hauling marketplace popped up quickly, the car would get picked up in around week, for 220 dollars (800 PLN). Well, getting a complete, and working CV for around 600 dollars is not bread and butter, so I finalised the transaction, paid for hauling, and for some spares that were also available. These spares contain two brake disks, and two brake calipers, plus some smaller stuff, all for ~80 dollars (300 PLN). And these are brand new parts imported from the US...
    I left Kraków for good on March 1st, and drove back on March 2nd to see the car, after it was unloaded on a friendly garage's parking. Looks quite decent, isn't it? The roof rack is in the back, but the emblems are, unfortunately, missing.






    The interior was modified as it was used as a hearse. But only the rear seat's backrest was cut, the rest of the parts are still in, though some got covered in some kind of fabric. Nothing irreversible, anyways.






    The separator wall is made of plywood, probably, and seems that it can be dismantled easily.


    The backward mirror still has a college sticker. I bet they used this car for banging, before it was shipped from the US.


    Maybe they also used it for banging when it was used as a hearse? Looks like there is enough space for that, still. No idea what is under the floor panels, I hope to see the 3rd row of seats...


    The rear doors are damaged, but maybe still salvageable?


    An AAA sticker. Strange thing that they kept it for all these years...


    This was supposed to look like some kind of a funeral decoration, but for me it looks like a symbol of a WH40K Chaos god. If you add this to the bangbus theory, than it looks like a Slaanesh' vehicle. Kinda cool.


    The engine runs very smooth, and the car is drivable. Has a huge ATF leak, so it is barely possible to do a test drive (and that is only possible in the closed parking, the car is not registered and not insured). Has good turbine wheels, and a lot of nice parts. But there is a chance I can re-register it as a classic car; will try to investigate that in the coming weeks.

    I spoke with the previous owner after the car was already hauled to Kraków, and heard the story of its purchase. There was a Polish handball player, who, after getting a serious injury while playing, had to end his career. He moved to the US for some months, or a few years, and worked in a company that converted wagons to hearses. He learned a lot about the process, and after moving back to Poland, started a company with his in-law, who had a large mechanical garage. They were buying damaged wagons from IAAA/Copart, shipping them to Poland, and converting. Getting such a hearse was a thing those days! You had to pay a deposit, and then wait a few months. After a phone call that the car is ready, you had to pack yourself and take a bus/train/whatever to pick it up. But travelling with a large sum of money by public transportation was not a safe trip at all. So the previous owner of the car spoke to his friend in a bank whether he could do a phone money transfer (it was around 1997, most of the people could only check their balance at the bank counter, etc.). That was possible - so he took a train, and arrived at the "hearse garage" to pick the car up. CV was there, looking great - freshly repainted, black with chrome decorations. He told the seller that he will pay him soon, but he needs an access to the phone, called the bank, asked the seller for the bank account number, ordered the transfer and simply said - in 30 minutes, you will get your money. - But how?, replied the seller - Just call your bank, and they will know that you have the money already. So they wait these 30 minutes, and after that, the seller calls his bank, ask for "his" banker, the banker checks and yes, there is the whole sum, underway, the bank already knows about it, but they need to check it in, and he will have it "available" in a few hours. The seller was quite astonished that one can transfer money that way! And that's all for a nice story.

    I hope to have some updates next week. As for now, maybe the most interesting news is that someone called the previous owner and offered him 2700 USD (10 000PLN) for the car, if they still have it. I really did catch a good offer, I guess.

  2. #2
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Looks really good. Here's hoping you can get it registered.

    Interesting options. Turbines. They did get the rear defrost, so that's at least one other option. I think that upholstery was also optional. The dome light is very base model (I thought they had done away with that by 1990).
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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    Thanks. There's also an autolamp unit installed, though I didn't stand a chance to test it as I only visited the car during daylight. It is possible that some parts were swapped from a different CV - like the Turbine wheels, for example. Certainly the beak used to be burgundy, I I would have to check for other parts of the body to try to identify the original paint.

    And, what I have already forgotten to write - the underbelly is rusted, but not seriously (like, only surface rust), but the exhaust is in sorry state. It is not a big problem, though, as the mechs already found how to use standard, EUDM parts to rebuilt the exhaust of The Colon.

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    If it's not that rusty, that divider wall comes apart relatively and you have all the parts for rear seat, you're set atleast 87% better than almost any box wagon in Finland, ford or gm...

    The black with the scarce outside trim is quite an interesting look, I like it. I wonder how shiny it'd be with good wash and maybe quick polish.

    Eyyy, another 40k fan, let's not hijack this thread though
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
    2008 BMW 530d Touring, "Femma"

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    It seems like half of the paint is matte, half of it is gloss. I am going to buy some carnauba wax to polish The Colon, so I can try to work a bit with the CV, just to see how much one can get out of it.
    I also need to find the missing emblems, but I think that ebay would be the best idea. A single hood ornament for an LTD is priced around 75 dollars here, and I hope to get a whole set of such for a similar price from the source. Maybe I am not right
    Speaking of 40k, I am not that big fan, though I kind of like Slaanesh, he seems to be a cool guy to hang around with and definitely we have some common interests. I wouldn't mind playing a decent hack'n'slash (like Vermintide), or MMORPG featuring the Death Korps of Krieg, or anything featuring venturing into the Eye of the Terror. What I missed terribly while playing Neverwinter online was a possibility to rampage through the Abyss, and having some counterpart of it in the WH40K universe would be a very nice way to finish a busy day at work - just ripping and tearing evil creatures, drawing delight from their agonizing screams, for a couple of hours. Ahh, a symphony to my ears

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    Wow, nice score! Wish I could find a reasonably-priced slick-side wagon over here...
    '91 LTD Country Squire LX | 2010 P7B | '03 Marauder
    formerly: '02 MGM, '04 MGM, '04 MGM v2.0, '04 MM, '07 P71 w/5-speed, '03 SAP P71, '04 CVLX (now in pantera77's stable)

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    Let's go with some news.

    During the weekend, I started examining the back of the car to find out if there is still original floor, or not. Some new photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/d8PrjGX2NLSzrP3p8 Apparently, the wood panels and the "lift" were all installed on an original, metal floor. No 3rd row of seats, unfortunately.
    The only part permanently missing seems to be the backrest of the backseat, and the skidding plate between it and the cargo space. But that should not be much of a problem: I spoke to the automotive expert today, he reviewed photos of the CV hearse and the car qualifies as a classic one, so it is possible to re-register it. We agreed on pulling the funeral equipment out from the car, and leaving it moreover complete, just without the backseat. After it is reverted to this state, cleaned and polished a bit, he can start the process of registering. The total cost would probably be ~200 dollars for his work + 80 dollars for a special MOT for classics, and probably around 80 dollars for plates etc. The exhaust has also to be rebuilt, and there are some leaks... but still, I presume that the car will be registered, driving and ready for some 1000 dollars, which is quite nice - I am pretty sure that wagons here sell for around 5-6000 dollars at least, so it's still quite a nice deal!

    In the meantime. If someone could look at the photos... I am puzzled by two things:
    - lack of the fender lower lights - where they an option?
    - one-sided LTD Crown Victoria fender emblem, with a different font then that from the tailgate etc. Is this a fender from and older car then, or it was factory made?

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    You nailed it. Lower fender lights were an option (commonly called ditch lights on here). And that mismatched lower fender emblem would be from a 1983ish-1987 wagon.

    If looking to replace your emblems, the 88-91 steel side wagon ones are unique to those models. Someone on here may have a few. You can use the smaller 88-91 sedan versions (c-pillar location I think) if you cut the pins off and use double sided emblem tape to mount them. Position them just right and they'll cover the holes.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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    That makes me wonder what else could have been replaced. The beak looks burgundy, or plum on the inside. The right wheel arch somewhat similar. The floor looks white... My guess is that the car was itself white, and before being painted black, the hearsemakers covered it in minium... Nevertheless, I guess I need to take a look at the doors and decode the sticker. If only this door comes from the original car.

    Also: I am not sure if the wagon was a steel side. I expect my Colony Park to have had started its life as a blue car with wooden panels, only to be repainted in Poland. The CV could have went the same way. Thank you for pointing out the emblem thing - @mainemantom is already on his way to help me with getting a nice set

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    Awesome find! There's a guy in my area with a Mercury wagon ('87 or older style) rotting away in his backyard. I told him about this website but he doesn't spend much time on-line.
    '79 Continental Town Car
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    Dug the title out. Looks very nice, and is an interesting part of the car's history. Is there anything particularly special inside, or do they look typical?




    Had a bit time last week, so I started pulling the "funeral" fabric out from the door covers and plastic parts. As for the backseat... Does it look like an original one to you? Or does it come from a completely different car?




    Someone asked about the steely sides... so the original colour was not black, here you can see some remnants of it; interestingly, the cargo compartment looks like it was white... two cars welded into one?


    A goodbye photo. The dead tire was some 20 years old...



    Some new things are on the way. The "coffin lift" was dismantled today, and I am going to visit the car on Thursday to remove other parts of the hearse equipment and reveal the rear floor. Dying tires were replaced by Bridgestones from the Colony Park. They are far from being new, but are rideable, and that's the only thing that actually matters. The car is also set for having the AC system checked. Same question as for the CP - how much R-thing has to be put inside?

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    To me the back seat looks recovered. Factory seat belt slots and plastic are there. It seems like the original fabric was used to make a pattern for the stuff that is now there. That is based upon what I see. Seems like you have a LOT of work to do. Do you know any good upholstery people ? It would not be too hard to have a new interior made. Get a sales brochure to pick the style and color. As far as two cars cut up to be made into one. Very common for cars going overseas. It has to do with customs and taxes. Car parts are different than whole cars. Vehicles that are salvage are bought. Then bad sections are cut off, good sections put into a shipping container Everything is declared as used car parts and sent over seas. Vehicle is then rebuilt /pieced together. That is what happens to stolen cars that are bought for parts too. I had some interesting training at the port in San Pedro Ca. many years ago.
    Last edited by Mainemantom; 04-07-2021 at 12:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    To me the back seat looks recovered. Factory seat belt slots and plastic are there.
    Possible. But I have a feeling that is looks very difficult from that which I have in my Colony Park in terms of shape and spring action...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    Seems like you have a LOT of work to do.
    To be honest, it could have been worse. Look eg. here https://sprzedajemy.pl/karawan-chevr...a9f-nr17738482 --> this is how bad it could have been. My Country Squire does not need that much salvage operations...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    Do you know any good upholstery people ? It would not be too hard to have a new interior made. Get a sales brochure to pick the style and color.
    I could actually try to do it myself, but, to be honest, I am not sure if I want to have the backseat re-skinned. It's missing the backrest, so I still have to find it... and maybe it would be more sensible to just find a moreover matching seat from another car and put it there. Aklso, someone offered me a backseat from a pre-1979 LTD wagon... but I guess that would not fit here, am I right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    As far as two cars cut up to be made into one. Very common for cars going overseas. It has to do with customs and taxes. Car parts are different than whole cars. Vehicles that are salvage are bought. Then bad sections are cut off, good sections put into a shipping container Everything is declared as used car parts and sent over seas. Vehicle is then rebuilt /pieced together. That is what happens to stolen cars that are bought for parts too. I had some interesting training at the port in San Pedro Ca. many years ago.
    Hmm, the title suggests that the car was bought as a moreover complete one. Maybe only the rear end was repaired? Let's see what lurks under the wooden panels in the cargo space...

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    Is it really that most yank hearses in Poland are outfitted to that general degree? Which is more involved that I've seen in Finland.
    Most american hearses just had the rear seatbacks folded or removed and the coffin rails installed. Some wagons can still be found with divider walls, but those are usually behing the backseats and thus remnants of the van-tax-insanity of times passed.
    I have seen only a few hearses that actually had the hearse-type body modifications with the black vinyl rear half and actual flooring.
    Maybe the hearses with more modifications were phased out so long ago they werent considered useful to convert back...

    Box wagons (chevy and ford) have an absurd history in Finland due to taxation and overabundance reasons.
    And many of those still left kicking carry the marks of that time. Often called "church benches".
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79lincolnlover View Post
    Awesome find! There's a guy in my area with a Mercury wagon ('87 or older style) rotting away in his backyard. I told him about this website but he doesn't spend much time on-line.
    Pics from 2019:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 004.jpg   029.jpg   038.jpg   046.jpg  
    '79 Continental Town Car
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arquemann View Post
    Is it really that most yank hearses in Poland are outfitted to that general degree? Which is more involved that I've seen in Finland.
    Most american hearses just had the rear seatbacks folded or removed and the coffin rails installed. Some wagons can still be found with divider walls, but those are usually behing the backseats and thus remnants of the van-tax-insanity of times passed.
    I have seen only a few hearses that actually had the hearse-type body modifications with the black vinyl rear half and actual flooring.
    Maybe the hearses with more modifications were phased out so long ago they werent considered useful to convert back...
    Not sure to be honest. As far as I recall, I know more about... 7 hearses?

    -> My own Colony Park, served as a hearse in Białystok. Painted black, no mods.
    -> My own Crown Vic, served as a hearse in Olecko. Painted black, fender masts, tin cross on the roof, polished sun shades in windows, new upholstery, Slaanesh' markings on the windows, and rearranged cargo space, without any serious modifications;
    -> Caprice wagon I sent you, served as a hearse in Strzyżów. Painted gray, cargo space rebuilt anew, windows hidden under fabric;
    -> Caprice wagon I considered buying, similar to the one from an internet ad, but partially rebuilt by the new owner;
    -> Colony Park offered for 5000 Euro, painted black, fender masts, cargo space rebuilt; was later reverted to the original state by its owner;
    -> Whale Roadmaster, also heavily rebuilt;
    -> post-99 MGM, also a complete rebuilding.

    There was also some ~10 Caprice wagons/Colony Parks/Crown Vic I know they got scrapped. I got some parts from them, but none of the offers featured backseats.

    Also, I recall speaking with a guy from the Netherlands who bought a whale Caprice hearse. The company which built it bought some ~20 of them, brand new, and converted them into hearses. 20 backseats, factory new, were sent into garbage dump...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 79lincolnlover View Post
    Pics from 2019:
    Not sure if this poor thing is ever gonna drive again...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnw View Post
    Not sure if this poor thing is ever gonna drive again...
    Mice have probably played inside the engine bay for years. Fixing up the body and swapping it onto a rust-free frame, would be one option for someone that wanted to restore this.
    '79 Continental Town Car
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    "bnw"
    someone offered me a backseat from a pre-1979 LTD wagon... but I guess that would not fit here, am I right?


    "bnw"
    Hmm, the title suggests that the car was bought as a moreover complete one. Maybe only the rear end was repaired? Let's see what lurks under the wooden panels in the cargo space...[/QUOTE]


    On the pre 79 back seat. I doubt it will fit. Pre 79s are wider.
    Regarding the title: The title is different from the shipping and customs documents. Title was given by the insurance company as salvage. At that time the car was whole. What happened after it was sold to the buyer is another story. When a vehicle arrives in a country it is taxed on that country's rules. When "parts" arrive. the tax can be much less. The title from the US may or may not be used to register the vehicle when it is put back together. It is possible that your car arrived as a whole car OR it came as parts. You may never know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnw View Post
    Not sure to be honest. As far as I recall, I know more about... 7 hearses?

    -> My own Colony Park, served as a hearse in Białystok. Painted black, no mods.
    -> My own Crown Vic, served as a hearse in Olecko. Painted black, fender masts, tin cross on the roof, polished sun shades in windows, new upholstery, Slaanesh' markings on the windows, and rearranged cargo space, without any serious modifications;
    -> Caprice wagon I sent you, served as a hearse in Strzyżów. Painted gray, cargo space rebuilt anew, windows hidden under fabric;
    -> Caprice wagon I considered buying, similar to the one from an internet ad, but partially rebuilt by the new owner;
    -> Colony Park offered for 5000 Euro, painted black, fender masts, cargo space rebuilt; was later reverted to the original state by its owner;
    -> Whale Roadmaster, also heavily rebuilt;
    -> post-99 MGM, also a complete rebuilding.

    There was also some ~10 Caprice wagons/Colony Parks/Crown Vic I know they got scrapped. I got some parts from them, but none of the offers featured backseats.

    Also, I recall speaking with a guy from the Netherlands who bought a whale Caprice hearse. The company which built it bought some ~20 of them, brand new, and converted them into hearses. 20 backseats, factory new, were sent into garbage dump...
    Only hearses I've seen with more than the absolute minimum modifications were both the bubblebutt '90s Caprice wagons. Both had the rear half covered with black vinyl and slaaneshi symbols on the sides. The interiors had wood floors and dividers like modern hearses. Other of the two is daily driven by the owner.
    I know a handful of box caprices and a two box vics that were hearses, all of them had just the rear seats folder flat and some coffin hold-down installed. And black paint outside.
    Caprices and box panthers sold new in Finland are often easy to identify, ain't got shit for options: no power locks, crank windows, partial power seats, no AC, no cruise, but it's gotta be a wagon.

    That Caprice you linked, I've never seen such, so much ornamentation. Is that just due to... Catholicism?

    A Colony Park I tried to buy had had to divider walls installed, none when new, then one behind the front seats for hearse use, and then removed and one installed behind the now-bastardized rear seats for registering as a van.
    Due to the van nonsense of the 90's and early 2000's, most caprices and other box wagons are rarely original inside, with the shitty van-spec rear seats or something reinstalled in the place of those. Best examples have 3 rows of seats, each a different color.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, "Maisa"
    2008 BMW 530d Touring, "Femma"

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