Ford Del Rio
The impetus for the creation of the Del Rio was Ford’s desire to remain in the two-door sport wagon market started by the Chevrolet Nomad and Pontiac Safari, and the decision to discontinue the company’s original attempt at sport wagon, the premium Parklane, which failed to entice buyers during 1956, its only year in production.
While the Nomad was Chevrolet’s most expensive model, offering a premium vehicle with a show car inspired body style, the Del Rio was strictly based on an existing product, the utilitarian two-door Ranch Wagon, Ford’s least expensive station wagon.
Beginning with the basic body, buyers of the Del Rio offered a unique two-tone paint scheme (optional), better quality interior and exterior brightwork (including gold anodized aluminum accents) and a higher grade vinyl upholstery. Del Rio buyers also had their choice of either Ford’s “Mile-Maker” 144hp six or its “Thunderbird” 212hp V-8 power.
Like all other Ford station wagons at that time, the Del Rio used a two piece tailgate – a feature that dealers emphasized was an advantage over GM’s steeply raked rear-gate and self storing window which were known for water leaks in heavy rains.
While the Ford sold more Del Rio's in 1957 (46,105) than Chevrolet did with its Nomad in its three years of production, Ford terminated the Del Rio program at the end of the 1958 model year after selling only 12,687 of its "sport wagons".