Ford Ranchero

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Ford Ranchero

Ford Ranchero

Ford Ranchero

 1957 - 1979
6 cyl. & V8
up to 428ci
up to 335bhp
3/4 spd. man / 3 spd. auto
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3 star
Ford Ranchero
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3


The Ranchero, the first US designed "Ute", was an ever popular model in the Ford line-up - its popularity ensuring it would enjoy a longevity spanning 23 years, from 1957 through 1979.

Naturally during this time the vehicle underwent several significant revisions, with the last model bearing no resemblance to the first - however in all versions the car remained exceedingly popular, with some 508,000 vehicles manufactured.

To counter the success of the Ranchero, GM were to release their version of the Ute, the 'El Camino', born from the existing Impala sedan and released some 2 years after the original Ranchero.

The original Ranchero (1957 to 1959) was based on the successful Fairlane, and offered the same luxury appointments and extensive options list as its sedan based counterpart.

Engine options included the Thunderbird 352 V8, while the model line-up included a 'standard' and 'custom' model, the latter featuring attractive body side mouldings, a comprehensive appointments list and more refined interior.

Particularly collectable today are the "two-tone" versions, such as that shown in the 1958 model pictured left.

From 1960 through 1966 the Ranchero became a little more utilitarian, now borrowing from the Falcon parts bin. This meant the car was smaller (for US standards), however the carrying capacity was not compromised and, from a working cars perspective, was perhaps far more suitable as a tradesman's vehicle.

The early models used a 144ci six cylinder engine, providing for the time very good fuel economy (an important consideration for a work vehicle).

But as is the case today, the public demanded that their Ute offer the same performance as was available in the sedans, and so in 1963 you could option your Ranchero to have the 260ci V8 engine fitted - with a factory 4 speed manual transmission, buckets seats, and deluxe trim options! By 1965, the V8 engine's capacity had grown to 289ci and, while rare, was available in a "two-tone" paint scheme.

With the "Custom" Ranchero proving immensely popular, and most customers ticking lots of boxes in the options list, Ford decided it made sense to again base the car on the Fairlane rather than the Falcon. The 1967 Ranchero therefore featured the Fairlanes "dual stacked" headlights, with engine options ranging to the 390ci 320bhp V8. Other options were to include bucket seats, 4 speed transmissions and styled steel wheels.

As the years progressed, the Ranchero was to become even more sporty, with a "GT" model being introduced into the line-up. Based on the Torino (made popular in the Starsky and Hutch police drama), the Ranchero could be optioned to have the 428 Cobra Jet engine producing 335bhp and featuring a ram air induction system!

During the early to mid '70's, changes to the Torino were reflected in the Ranchero, such as the introduction of the C6 or FMX autos and 'Hurst' 4 speed manuals. The 1977 Ranchero - the last of the line - was now to be based on the Thunderbird and LTD body style . That gave the car added length in just about every direction. The options list included much of that offered on the LTD, such as power seats and windows, power steering, power disc brakes, and tow packages.

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