Curbside Classic: 1969 Ford Ranchero: The Anti-Paternity Mobile

(first posted in 2011)    It’s long overdue to bust out a Ranchero, especially on a day after we’ve done farm tractors. Not that there’s really much correlation: I’d love to know what percentages of Rancheros actually ended up on ranchos. Alternatively, in the hands of women, other than from divorce settlements.  Just who really did buy Rancheros, and why?

Yes, it was folks like these hard-working ranchers who are just about to round up some steers with their herd dog, castrate them, and haul them back to the feed lot in the bed of the Ranchero; while holding hands the whole time, of course.

My question is about the original owners, because buying old Rancheros and El Caminos has been the cool thing to do for practically forever. I can’t believe how many ’78-’87 Caminos there around here still.

Maybe I’ve just answered my (earlier) question. Have folks always bought them because they’re cool? And here I thought they were popular for carrying small loads? Or did that suddenly change between 1964 and 1969? A lot did happen in those brief five years, including the pill.

One thing is for sure: one never sees children in any Ranchero ads. Aha! The Ranchero was a way for guys to signal to girls that they had absolutely no desire to have kids. As an alternative to a sports car, that is. It’s the Texan MG!

What better way to demonstrate testosterone’s highest ambitions? A sexy car to assist in the propagation of one’s genes while clearly signaling the intent to have nothing to do with them, just in case they should happen to appear as the result of an “accident”. Ford should have named it the Cuckoldo. And its bed is perfect for hauling the usual male detritus like guitars and basket-case motorcycles in case of a rapid and possibly forced evacuation.

Come on Ford; I challenge you to open your sales stats and prove that there ever was a single female buyer for a Ranchero. And I don’t mean those that signed the papers for their dead-beat guys either. This is the ultimate un-mommy mobile, the anti-Country Squire; the Country Himbo.

The Ranchero may not have hauled a lot of steers, even if they were just lightened up a bit, here in Rancholandia. But the related and legendary Falcon Ute down under probably has seen some fresh dung in its bed. It’s an interesting contrast, between these similar-vintage Ford utes, since they share the same basic underpinnings.

The new (US) ’66 Ford Falcon and Fairlane shared the same platform, shortened a bit for the Falcon sedan. And that was the basis for the XR Falcon that appeared there in 1966 too. The 1968 (US) Torino restyle was just a partial reskin of the ’66. So these two are related, but obviously Ford AU went a very different route in creating its own ute body, which shares very little with this Ranchero indeed, from the A-pillar back anyway.

The Aussies obviously started with a four door, hence the short door. That’s because the XT, XM and XY Falcons only came as four doors. But as different as these may look at first glance, I’ll bet the windshields can be swapped; the equivalent of an automotive paternity test. Can’t stay away from that subject for some reason.

And the Aussie Falcon ute’s advertising was a bit different too. I don’t see these two holding hands. Isn’t that a jarring image; that sleek front and that bed? That would never have worked here. There’s a big difference between the macho Ranchero look and reality.

(it does carry two steers)

It should not come as a surprise that this is the only ’68 – ’69 vintage Torino-based vehicle in my voluminous files. That vintage has just sort of slid off the google street-view radar, except for those well-restored and modded fastbacks hiding in some single guy’s garage. Odd, cause there are several similar vintage Malibus around. But then a ’69 Malibu does have a bit more of the preservationist’s pull than a ’69 Torino, eh? Unless it’s a Ranchero, of course.

(what’s that down the street?)

More Rancheros are coming this way, eventually. This 1969 sort of represents the middle years of its lifespan, 1960 – 1979. We just did the little Falcon, so we’ll give that a brief rest. And speaking of macho, it was the burly steroid-downing 1972 – 1979 that takes the beef-cake for that. And nary a one to be seen, yet.

I will admit that the very early Rancheros are not all that butch. But I’m still trying to imagine what woman might have bought one in 1960. A Phys-Ed teacher? Just the thing for hauling hockey sticks and bags of balls.