The early sixties were revolutionary times in Detroit, with so many interesting designs evolving the rush to grab the public’s attention. Not only was Ford building one-off concept or dream cars, they actively promoted Ford and Mercury Custom Car Caravans. But it was the one-off concepts like the Palomar Station Wagon that grabbed the public’s attention mostl! Apparently named for the Palomar Observatory on Mt. Palomar in Southern California, the wagon toured the auto shows for two-seasons 1961-1962
The Palomar featured two-door styling with a roof section over the cargo area that slid forward opening up the back like pickup, but it had another trick. The back seat rose up and short windshield flipped up for open-air touring or observation, thus the view-of-the-sky idea, and thus the Palomar name tag.
This fascinating roof design may have been inspired by the 1959 Brooks Steven’s Scimitar Station Wagon design built in Germany by the Ruetter for the American Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp. The idea would see production in the new Studebaker Lark Wagonaire series released 1963.
A sad end came to the Palomar when it was destroyed in the fire at the Ford Rotunda in Dearborn, Michigan in November 1962. As an aside, the destruction of the Ford Rotunda totaled over $15,000,000 in 1962 dollars! The Rotunda had been built for the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair to an Albert Khan design and then moved to Dearborn.
The fire also destroyed a large display of 1963 Fords and several other concept or dream cars. The Rotunda also housed the Ford Archives at the time, and fortunately, the archive of more than 14-million items including 250,000 photographs, was saved by the carbon dioxide Cardox fire protection system that someone at Ford, had had the foresight to install. Today, you can still inspect these archives which makeup the core the Ford Collection at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.