Sheridan Kahn, a landscape designer living in Ventura County, Calif., on her 1957
Ranch Wagon, as told to A.J. Baime.
My husband, Dan Kahn, has been a car guy his whole life. When we went on our first date, he picked me up in this truck and he had removed the door handles to make the truck’s body smooth. So on our first date, I couldn’t even figure out how to get in the vehicle. He works in the car business Monday through Friday, and on weekends he says, “Want to go to a car show? Want to go for a drive?” He has brought home some cars over the years—some that I thought were cool, others not. But I was never wild about any of them.
In February, Dan brought home this 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon. He had shown me pictures, but I did not know that he had actually bought it. The second I saw it, I fell in love with it. The paint happened to be my favorite color. There was a cheerfulness and a brightness about the Ford that instantly drew me to it. I decided to claim it as my own. I think Dan was surprised, and he is still surprised. I just took it.
Photos: Who Needs a Minivan When You’ve Got This?
Sheridan Kahn shows off her 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon by the California coastline
Sheridan Kahn and her husband, Dan Kahn, with their 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon and their kids: Kaitlyn, 7, Kennedy, 10, and Hunter, 6.
Emily Berl for The Wall Street Journal
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He had bought the Ford from a man in Georgia, and it had been restored with modern air-conditioning, modern power steering, modern brakes, upgraded suspension and a modern V-8 engine. So it is really easy and safe to drive. Dan put seat belts in the back seats for the kids. There was a vintage picnic basket in the back that came with the car. I put some flowers in it, and I started calling the Ford the Flower Wagon.
My daily driver is a minivan. It is easy and convenient for the kids, but there is nothing special about it. It is practical, and that goes for a lot of the new cars you see today. When we take out the Flower Wagon, everyone is smiling and waving. It is nostalgia and cheerfulness on wheels. We take our kids to the beach in it. They are not used to being able to see so much around them in a vehicle, and people can see in, too. So the kids light up from all the positive energy.
There is a whole other part of this story. I have always been interested in landscape design, and during Covid, I spent all my spare time gardening. The Flower Wagon inspired me to finally start a business. It’s called Flower Wagon Design, and I am just getting it off the ground.
The wagon’s whole aesthetic—the color, the shape, the way it moves, the way it inspires people—can be summed up in a word: charm. It is just a fun time, every time we take it out.
Write to A.J. Baime at [email protected]
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