John Carollo
April 1, 2002
Contributers: John Carollo

When you hear the phrase, "Look at that car go," you don't expect the word "space" to follow, as in "Look at that cargo space."

That's just one element of the package that makes Bill Cromling's car get attention. The Grafton, Ohio, resident has put together the real deal.

This car was spotted as part of the "Revvin" with Ford" display at the '01 Woodward Dream Cruise. It was surrounded by concours-quality cars of all types, but there were no station wagons within blocks. It drew looks from everyone.

"This car gets a lot of attention by baby boomers who had wagon experiences growing up," says Bill. "Same thing for those who remember the early NHRA Super Stock factory teams that were given wagons for tow vehicles."

Your first reaction is, "What?" Admit it. You don't expect to see a station wagon in a show field. The body style gets your attention; the color holds it.

The car was painted in Sherwin-Williams hues. Bill chose Ford's Harvest Gold Metallic as the body color. To go topside, the roof needed a darker blend, and Copper Brown Metallic gets the job done, even if the color comes from the GM catalog.

Before this machine could get to the eye-opening state of today, there was plenty of work to be done. It was shipped from the factory to Brewster, Ohio, a small community with a heavy Amish population. The owner kept the vehicle through a move to Florida and then a return to Ohio. Bill purchased the car in the fall of 1999, spotting the ride in a local auto sales magazine. It was rust free, but the engine was tired and needed to be replaced.

"With the help of my son Jon, we removed the engine and delivered it to PC Automotive in Oberlin, Ohio, for a complete rebuild," remembers Bill. "They added an Edelbrock Performer cam and manifold, and bored it .030-over."

While the work was being done to the engine, the body wasn't sitting. The car was disassembled and soda-blasted. A friend from church, Bob Bricker, prepped the car for the paint shop, working very meticulously on the long roof. North Coast Collision Center of North Ridgeville, Ohio, handled the paintwork.

All the trim, rubber parts, switches, and lights came from Greg Donahue Restorations. The interior work (the area often ruined in station wagons, thanks to rambunctious kids…guilty as charged) used the expertise of Paletta's Auto Trim in North Olmsted, Ohio. Their work included designed door panels and seat patterns, with Bill's chosen colors accenting the exterior nicely.

While the car has a positive present, the future holds excitement for Bill and the rest of us. Plans include replacing the 352 engine with a big-block 460, a C4 transmission to supplant the existing Cruise-O-Matic, and stepping up to a 3.50 gear (currently 3.00). Power disc brakes, air-ride suspension, and a new air-conditioning unit are on the wish list. And that cargo area? It's an important factor.

"My wife Maureen and I have enjoyed the driving experience with its comfortable ride. The huge cargo area is handy for those unexpected purchases she seems to find on our trips," Bill says.

That cargo space will come in handy for hauling home the trophies, too. This car will be bringing its share back to Ohio.

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