(first posted 1/3/2018) Every journey starts with a step. Or, in our case, replace the “e” with an “o” and make it a “stop” for gas and coffee on the outskirts of Las Vegas. However daunting our 810 mile journey back home may have seemed that morning, when I turned from inserting the nozzle into our car’s filler I realized our journey was going to be nothing compared to the things this little 1960 Ford Falcon Ranchero has likely seen and is just as likely to still see.
I have no idea where it came from or where it was going beyond that the tow car had California plates and was on the Eastbound side of the I-15, so presumably the Ranchero was heading east as well but where to? The owner was nowhere to be seen the entire time I filled up and waited for my family to bring me sustenance so presumably it will forever be a mystery.
Less of a mystery is the appeal of the Ranchero itself; this 1960 represents the first year of Ford’s downsized and now Falcon-based trucklet. Soldiering on through the 1965 model year in the same basic form, this body style does much more for me than the car on which it is based.
This first-year example was likely (originally) powered by the 144 CID inline-6 with a 2-speed automatic transmission. Hauling around a surprisingly light 2475 lbs, performance was probably at least adequate, maybe a bit less so if the bed was filled to its full 800lb capacity. Or, if a Niedermeyer disciple was the owner/operator, then likely overloaded by a factor of two to three times that.
30mpg! And America’s lowest-priced Pickup! What’s not to like? The two caballeros in this ad’s, uh, cab, certainly seem to be enjoying themselves hauling what looks be a load of tomatoes.
Our example isn’t quite as shiny, being in what appears to be the midst of an aggressive chemical stripper campaign to remove the paint. That process is much more advanced on the driver’s side of the truck, but the black paint was bubbling, peeling, and lifting all over, just waiting for some more elbow grease.
The rear shows what is clearly not the factory bumper anymore, but with the step is likely to be more useful. However, the body is low enough for even a not especially tall child to be able to place items into the bed so maybe the bumper was replaced for a different reason. But otherwise pretty much all of the trim and odds and ends are still in place which should make restoring it an easier task. That being said though, it seems like it would be easier to remove the paint if one removed all the bits first but what do I know.
This cutaway shoes the 6-foot bed all loaded up, I suppose the planners wanted to be sure that potential buyers didn’t think it was much less capable than a “real” truck. Our example is certainly using all of the available space as well with quite an assemblage of random items.
This truck was fairly obviously someone’s pride and joy at one time, the red wheels look great and it still sports a set of BF Goodrich Radial T/A’s. I don’t think that black was the original color but am not sure what it may have been; there s a lot of red peeking through on the hood though. The interior is red as well though, so I don’t know.
I think this truck would look great in a creamy white as in the first ad but with the red wheels and interior. The black is a bit too menacing which really doesn’t work on a Ranchero (for me). I wish the owner well in his endeavor as the more I look at this little truck, the more I want to see it again at the next stop on its journey. Carry on, little truck, and may you venture forth under your own power soon yet again!
Las Vegas, NV, December 26, 2017