Going Up the Country: Big Block 1968 Ford Country Squire Wagon on Air

All photos courtesy of Scott Bruski

Scott Bruski’s 1968 Ford Country Squire wagon can do it all. Whether he’s hauling his family around town or cruising across the country on the Hot Rod Power Tour, his big-block powered Ford can take whatever the world throws at it.

Originally put together as a tribute to Detroit drag racing legend Poncho Rendon by the previous owner, Scott had the chance to buy the classic Ford in 2013. “We went up for a long weekend and drove it back to Tennessee,” he says. “The exterior and interior are the same, except for new carpet and wear-and-tear that three boys ages six, eight and 11—now 13, 15 and 19—can inflict.”

From the factory, the Q-code ’68 was fully loaded with options. Power seats, power rear window, dual-swing tailgate, you name it. Scott says the ’66-’67 center console was an original California dealer option, although he also has a ’68 console with a horseshoe shifter waiting in the wings. Under the hood, the car sports a 428 cubic-inch big block.

“We did the Power Tour in 2015, nostalgia drags, NHRA Hot Rod Reunions and other events at Beech Bend in Bowling Green,” Scott says. Between local cruise nights, Nashville Cars & Coffee and other events around the region, the Bruski family logged plenty of miles in their wagon.

On the Road Again

Then, in 2016, Scott blew a head gasket coming over the mountain pass on the way to Coker Tire’s Chattanooga Cruise-In. He used the mishap as an opportunity to give the engine—and the car—a complete overhaul. “We bored and stroked it,” he says. “It’s now a full roller motor with a nice carb, long tube headers and a bunch of other engine, cooling and electrical upgrades.”

When it came to the suspension, he installed our ’65-’72 Galaxie kit with a RidePro E5 and an AirPod. Michael Young at Street Rods by Michael in Shelbyville, Tennessee, provided the system. Moog parts were also used to replace worn factory components.

“The install was not difficult,” Scott says. “We took our time, and the kit worked as well as it said it would. We had never done one before. The E5 AirPod system was up and running fast; it was ready to go out of the box.”

Scott kept things fun while setting up the compressor.

“For now, the hardware is hidden under the box that once held the largest set of Jarts lawn darts ever made!” he says. “Actually, it’s just a wrap I had done to look like I bought Jarts at a garage sale. The luggage is all garage sale too, but we did use it on the Tour in 2015. We just did HRPT again this year.”

So, now that it’s all back together, what’s it like to drive the ultimate family cruiser?

“I never liked getting this car much north of 60mph because the ride quality was so bad,” Scott says. “Now, with the bags and upgrades, it’s a whole different experience. I don’t worry about opening up the big block and letting her eat. She’s smooth and easy to control now.”

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