1956 Ford Fairlane Country Squire Station Wagon
Displacement: 272 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 176 BHP
Cost New: $2,533
A more luxurious design, more reliability and increased safety features were the hallmark of the 1956 Ford lineup. Minor updates to the grill, along with the change from "spinner" style parking lamps to more modern oblong units, gave the new line the look of a higher-priced car. Ford also ended two of its transparent features in 1956. The "Astra-Dial" speedometer was replaced with a more conventional hooded cluster, and the Plexiglas roof was no longer offered after 1956.
This was the year that Ford changed over to the more reliable twelve-volt system, which allowed the addition of air conditioning and better power assist conveniences. The increase in extras also required an increase in power, with compression being increased in every engine made. There were four powertrain options, from the 137 BHP six-cylinder engine to the 225 BHP Thunderbird Special V-8.
Ford recognized the public demand for a safer vehicle, and began promotion its "Lifeguard Design" in 1956. Features like standard deep-dish steering wheels, available seat belts, safety door latches and a padded instrument panel were part of the innovations Ford adopted.