When you marry into a family, sometimes it’s wise to not open your mouth too soon. Give it a dozen or so years.
There is also the spectrum of wisdom. At one end, you have that which has freshly fallen from the proverbial Ye Olde Turnip Truck; at the other end, the Divine Keeper of all that is wise. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum falls your humble author, who recently strolled around his in-laws’ six-acre homestead with camera in hand.
Put these two philosophical observations together and you wind up with this delightful article. So let’s go for a walk before anyone finds out what we’re up to. I know the stories of all of these fine machines.
First up is this ’57 Ford Ranchero. It has been sitting in this location since at least 1993, when I first starting dating the wife. It actually belongs to one of her two older brothers, who claims it has a factory 312 cubic inch V8. That sounds plausible, except…
there is no mention of it in sales literature. A few books have made mention of limited availability of the 312 in 1957, so perhaps he is correct.
Sadly, the most action this old Ranchero has seen in the last two-plus decades occurred a few years ago. That same brother-in-law was keeping a few goats on the property, and it seems the Billy was fond of standing on the roof. Having the goats there actually was a good thing, as this Ranchero was nearly covered with foliage before Billy arrived.
Several yards behind the Ranchero is this 1967 Mercury Monterey convertible. One of 2,673 Monterey convertibles made that year, my father-in-law acquired it in the late ’80s from a car dealer who’d taken it on trade–without a drive train.
(He’s) Always meaning to get around to it, but meantime this Monterey has spent years languishing near the woods.
Despite the completely sad state of its appearance, the car has served a purpose as the delivery room for an untold number of cats. I’ve dug around the inside of this Mercury a time or two to retrieve kittens for little people to play with.
While my father-in-law (previously, you met him here) occasionally intends to get around to the poor Mercury, it’s doubtful it will ever look this good again.
Sitting beside the Mercury is this 1950 International 3/4-ton pickup. It also belongs to my Ranchero-owning brother-in-law.
The first time I opened the hood on this International, I was pleasantly surprised to see it possesses an overhead-valve engine.
Perhaps its being an L-120 series explains the engine?
It was found parked in someone’s back yard in downtown St. Louis, in the early ’80s, by which time it had been sitting for about 15 years. My father-in-law tinkered with it for a few minutes and got it running, and they drove it back home. It was refreshed while my brother-in-law was in high school; he graduated in 1983 and promptly joined the United States Army. The truck has been sitting there pretty much since then.
The interior still doesn’t look too bad considering the truck’s storage conditions.
Sitting on the other side of the Mercury is this F-100 pickup; I want to say it’s titled as a 1962 model. While this truck is referred to as a unibody, it really isn’t one.
This Custom Cab model is also the only “unibody” I’ve seen with a long bed–I don’t know how rare or common that was.
The wraparound rear window is another item of uncertain commonality.
Opening the hood does not reveal the original straight six; somewhere along the way, the tiny six hit puberty and grew into a 429 cubic inch V8. I heard this pickup run back around 1995, when my brother-in-law was driving it, and it sounded great at the time. It’s been here since the late ’90s.
Last, we have this boat. Yes, you’re right, we don’t cover boats here–but we do cover automotive-styling fads over the course of time.
And it’s certainly apparent that a boat with tail fins has exerted some influence on automotive design.
Here’s a closer look at one of those fabulous marine fins.
Watching these vehicles deteriorate has been painful; still, presenting them to all you CC readers does seem like a great way to preserve them.