The battle of the brands was in full force between Ford and Chevrolet during what is now called the “golden age of classic cars.” Both motor companies fought each other for market share with new features and designs. Ford almost lost that battle to Chevrolet in the early 1950s. But then came the Ford 1955, which offered a new design and boosted engine.
The new Fairlane car line turned heads when it replaced the Crestline as the top-trim level, while a new Crown Victoria-style featured a chrome “basket handle” across the familiar “Victoria” hardtop roof. The 1955 Ford also featured the new panoramic windshields found on Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs the previous year. Also that year came a new feature, although only as a dealer option: seatbelts could be installed as well as a feature called “Select Aire,” which had an integrated heater core and evaporator coil unit within the dash and cold air discharge vents located on top of the dashboard on either side of the radio speaker. The feature would go down in history as air conditioning.
Station wagons were offered as a separate series for the first time in 1955. The Ranch Wagon and Custom Ranch Wagon, for example, were two-door wagons, while the Country Sedan and Country Squire models were four-doors wagons, the latter featuring wooden appliqué side mouldings that would be the signature feature of the line.