The Ford Ranchero symbolizes the free spirit of the 60’s and 70’s. It is a stylish cosmopolitan vehicle that, through clever design, can be used as a work horse in tight spaces, making a model that was loved by many. In fact, our very own Dan Zarowny has a 196o Ranchero (and yes, he’s keeping it in the family). This is the type of muscle car you’d see in a Steve McQueen movie or an early Bond thriller. In fact, when I did some research into how many movies feature the Ranchero, the list was super long. You can go ahead and read this list at http://www.ranchero.us/forum/index.php?threads/rancheros-in-the-movies-and-tv.4091/
Here is a brief history of the Ford Ranchero by www.dearbornclassics.com
The Ford Ranchero was produced by the Ford motor company from 1957 through 1979. This unique vehicle was the first of its kind being the first car with a truck bed. In the 23 years of total production, there were a total of 508,355 units produced. After the immediate success of the Ford Ranchero, Chevrolet proceeded to try and duplicate their own version of the Ranchero in 1959, but the Ranchero was the original “car-truck”.
One unique feature of the Ranchero was that it was always patterned after a selected Ford car line. In the 23 years of production, the Ranchero car line changed 5 times with numerous body style changes.
From 1957 through 1959 the Ranchero was patterned after the full size Fairlane and featured all the engine options including the Thunderbird 352 special v-8 engines as well as luxurious interior trim options. The Ranchero was offered in the standard model as well as the custom model, which featured attractive body side molding, more accessories and the more elaborate interior finishing. Many of these Rancheros were offered with two tone paint and interior trim options, making these some of the most desirable Fords sought after by the collector and individual today.
From 1960 through 1966 the Ranchero followed the Falcon body style design and now became the compact Ranchero pickup. The early falcon Rancheros were a great economy hauler which boasted 30 miles per gallon from the 144 cubic inch six cylinder and able to haul an 800 pound load capacity. These trucks made good sense for the ranch or around town. In 1963 the Ranchero was equipped (optional) with a 260 v-8 engine. This new Ranchero had great styling following its father Falcon. Now also available with factory 4 speed manual transmission, buckets seats, and deluxe trim option, this was a truck to have.
The 1964/1965 Ranchero changed Falcon design again and also featured all the performance upgrades as the Falcon car. In 1965 the v-8 option was now available in the 289 cubic inch version. Also available on deluxe Rancheros, was the very rare , two tone paint scheme for 1965 deluxe Rancheros. These Rancheros used the 1964 style double strip body side molding with the rear quarter panel chevrons (see photo). The 1966 Ranchero was somewhat of a unique vehicle in that its body style was only used for one year and followed the 1966 Falcon body lines. This was also available with 289-4v engine. A very nice looking truck with plenty of power.
The Ranchero made a change in 1967, when Ford decided to make the Ranchero into a Fairlane body style. Now available with the sporty stacked dual headlights featured on the Fairlanes, these were very well accepted and are among the most popular among Ford collectors. This new Ranchero was available with all the v-8 options including the healthy 390-4v with 320 horsepower right off the showroom floor. Sporty Fairlane trim options, bucket seats, 4 speed transmissions, styled steel wheel are among the popular options available.
This sporty Ford Ranchero continued in 1968 ushering in the new age of high performance with the big block Torinos. Rancheros were now available in three models, named “500”, “GT”, and standard models. GT models, were the most highly equipped of the three and were stock with v-8 engine and color keyed body side “c” stripe up through 1969 to follow papa Torino. Available from the factory floor with the 335 horsepower 428 cobra jet motor and ram air induction systems, wow! What a truck!! They continued to be offered with many goodies for the Ford truck lover. Up through 1971 With some of the most powerful production motors ever built. These same trucks were also, available with the six cylinder engines for the man on a budget. These Rancheros offered great variety to the truck buyer. These Rancheros were medium sizes vehicles following the Torino platform.
In 1972 Ford made a major body change in the Torino commonly referred to as the “fish mouth” grill design. Although large, was very attractive vehicle. The days of huge horsepower were now gone due to smog issues and changes in rating horsepower. The new Rancheros had several engine options, usually fitted with the C6 or FMX automatic transmission but also available with the healthy “Hurst” 4 speed shifters up through 1973. This Torino body styles carried through until 1976.
The 1977 Rancheros had now became the ultimate in truck luxury with The Thunderbird/LTD body style . In addition to the new longer, LTD body lines, the Rancheros were available with many of the LTD standard equipment such as power seats and windows, power steering, power disc brakes, and tow packages. These trucks were big and comfortable and were available in the Ranchero standard, 500, and GT models previously offered since 1968. The last and final year of the Ranchero produced a limited edition 1979 ½ Ranchero with all leather interior, dash board, and special paint color and trim scheme. The number of these produced is unpublished, but has proved to be a very interesting vehicle on its own.