(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 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.
There seem to be a lot more el Caminos still on the road than Rancheros, Whether that means Chevy sold a lot more of them than Ford or that the el C was more reliable I’ll leave it up to Paul to find out. I see them at least once a week here.
In my earlier post on the EL Camino (“El Caminos of LA”), I postulated that the Elky hit the sweet spot for vehicle size on both the 64-72 trucks, and again for the 78-87 models.
In addition, Chevy built the El Camino for an addition 9 or 10 years, giving them an advantage in cumulative sales, and putting newer vehicles on the streets.
My sense is that the El Camino was the better seller of the two throughout most of their shared history, though, especially towards the end of the Ranchero’s run.
In addition, the GM intermediates on which the 1964-87 El Camino was based seem far more popular as hobby/enthusiast vehicles than the Ford models on which the Ranchero was built. At least in parts of the country with climates where most older vehicles are hobby/enthusiast vehicles, this is another big factor weighing in favor of the El Camino.
I think its down to El Caminos being more popular. I personally think they’re much better looking than Rancheros. I think when Rancheros start getting old people just let them die, whereas the Caminos were decent looking cars and make good hot rods. So they’re kept on the roads while the Rancheros go to the crusher.
In my old neighborhood there was a gentleman who owned several FordMoCo products (Lincoln Town Car, Ford Bronco, old Ford truck with a hand operated crane on it for lifting engine blocks into the back) including a 1972 to 1976 Ranchero sitting proudly to the side of the driveway. Looked drivable and the old gentleman did own a machine shop here in our little city at one point but I never saw that car move in the 5 years I lived in that neighborhood. If I’d have had any money I’d have asked the old fella what the story on it was and made him an offer, he might have sold it to me he seemed to like me and my dog. He had to be more interested in getting rid of that thing than the 1955 Ford Thunderbird that was in his garage.
Found on e-bay. Though of you immediately, pretty much porn for anyone loves the old 5th Aves
link good for one more day, during which time i’ll keep myself occupied and try not to place a bid
My parents don’t have carpet that plush in their house. If you want real car porn try searching Auto Trader for New Yorkers in the United States. There might still be one on there (think it’s been on there for nearly a year) that is two tone blue and silver with a continental kit. Very classy.
Who drove these cars? We had a neighbor who drove El Caminos. He was a building contractor (acoustical ceilings). My guess is that a lot of Ranchero/El Camino owners had similar vocations. He was married with a couple of kids, which is anecdotal evidence against your theory.
At least here in the Northeast, people didn’t really drive pickups for personal transportation. Maybe the Big Three didn’t really offer trucks with plush interiors in those days.
So, to answer the question you didn’t ask, what killed these vehicles were the XLT, Eddie Bauer and King Ranch trim packages on the F-150.
Actually, I think compact pickups, first from Japan and eventually from Chevy and Ford themselves, are what killed these. Remember that both the Ranchero and El Camino started out based on full size cars in the late ’50s, and neither were very successful in that form. While Ford downsized the Ranchero to the Falcon platform, Chevy shelved the El Camino until ’64. The Ranchero involved into a bloated barge by the late ’70s, just like the Torino it was based on, losing the nimble, carlike packaging that made it appealing in the first place.
The Chevelle/El Camino didn’t suffer as badly in the ’70s, and the ’78-’87 model really was right-sized for the times and the needs of most pickup owners. It’s not even terrible to look at either. Enthusiasts on the interwebs are always geeking out at the thought of the Aussie Falcon and Commodore utes coming to the U.S., but I don’t think it’ll work. The El Camino was cheap; A GM Zeta ute would likely be pushed as small block-equipped performance vehicle and will be another dud like the Chevy SSR.
@Buick: I think you’re mostly correct. I would add another change happened in full sized trucks in the 70’s and 80’s. Most standard trucks grew a ‘king’ size or extra cab, and four door trucks became more mainstream. Also, full size P/U had been pretty spartan up until the 70’s, it seems that after the first big gasoline crisis folks wanted ONE vehicle that did everything they needed, and the roomier, more luxurious trucks were just the thing. Between mini trucks taking the market from below and better equipped regular trucks doing the same at the top end, the market for the Elkys and Ranchos fairly evaporated.
OT: My very first car was a 1969 Torino GT 2 door Sedan (not a fastback). Complete with a 390/4 bbl and 4 speed. I’ve never looked, but I wonder how many of those were made? It was fun seeing that interior again, barrels on the instrument panel were handy for keeping change for toll booths & etc. I could tell when I got a good shift off of the line, the change flew out of the barrels and land in my lap!
Agreed with the above, but would note that the final nail in the El Camino/Ranchero’s coffin was the phasing out of the medium-sized RWD bodies/platforms on which they were built, as the U.S. auto industry moved to FWD. Ford considered moving to a smaller Fairmont-based Ranchero after 1979, but as it turned out, the Fairmont only lasted a few years beyond that anyway. Over at GM, the El Camino and Caballero probably hung on as long as they did only because of GM’s decision to continue building the closely related G-body personal luxury coupes. The last of those didn’t stick around much longer than the El Camino and Caballero did.
My Aunt and Uncle had a ’57 Ranchero and a ’58 Edsel back in the 60s. She usually drove the Ranchero, which I always admired greatly. Years later, I bought a ’64 Falcon Ranchero to haul my music gear to gigs. I loved it, except that the seat wouldn’t adjust far enough back — and I’m only 5’6″! In those days most people did sit alarmingly close to the windshield for some reason, guess that’s why they invented those suicide knobs. 🙂
Later I had a ’65 Comet wagon. which was pretty much the same vehicle but with a much better seat adjustment range and covered cargo area. Maybe it wasn’t quite as “cool”, but I did find it an improvement overall.
But anyway, two more strikes against the ideas of Ranchero drivers not breeding and all being males. Sorry ’bout that!
Don’t the Rancheros have the spare behind the seat? That is something that changed on the Australian Falcon ute. I can’t say about the early models but later on there was more room to slide the seat back, but not recline it.
Here in Australia, we have had a long line of hot Falcon-sized utes thanks to Holden Special Vehicles and Ford Performance Vehicles. They were usually bought by tradies who made a lot of cash during the last boom. The second hand market is full of young guys not realising marriage is just around the corner. Ute racing is a popular undercard to the V8 Supercar series; with nothing over the rear, these things really like to swing out.
I love those 4-barreled dashboards of the 1968 & 1969 Torinos and rancheros! As far as the Ranchero goes, I prefer El Caminos, all years. The last years of the Ranchero – the ones where the front was as long as the back and the cab was smack in the middle were the most outrageous of all. If I had to choose a Ranchero, it would be the 1968 & 1969 models. In any event, whether it is a Ranchero or El Camino, but especially Ranchero, the vehicle isn’t complete unless you have steer horns affixed to the hood! E. Dan would approve, I believe!
I always wanted a 1970s Caddy with steer horns on the hood. When my grandmother’s second husband died he had a pair of steer horns approximately 4ft from tip to tip hanging in their basement. It was 1999 when this happened and after she decided to move closer to family I helped her move. I had to resist asking for those horns which she would have given me in a heartbeat (that’s just the ways she is) because my future ex-wife (whom I had only been married to for about a year at that point) would have impaled me with them.
Dan, go get’em now! It’s the “perfect storm”: You’re in New Mexico, you probably either own or wear a cowboy hat or both – if you don’t – well, that’s a real problem – steer horns are a must-have necessity! They would be for me, anyway. Believe it or not, there’s a guy in the neighborhood next to mine who has mounted a pair of horns on his old beat-up beige Camry! I need to get a picture, as Paul and no one else would believe it!
It must be a generational thing – my image of the car for steer horns is a pale yellow 1946-48 Town and Country convertible.
My 80-year-old grandpa just sold his beloved ’85 El Camino Conquista to my mom and her husband. This one is about as nice as you’ll find, give or take, and still be a daily driver. It has been painted, but in the exact original brown and more brown, with pinstriping ALMOST to the point it starts to look stupid. The stripe guy even did the top of the steering column.
Grandpa has missed the truck terribly, having decided that the Elco would need some unkown expensive repairs. (All that needed really addressed was that it had a vacuum leak in the dash.) The original 305 had not been touched in over 300,000 highway miles, but was tired and needed an overhaui. It had one full transmission rebuild, and one torque converter replacement at different times. It had one new Quadrajet put on it. Still had R12 refrigerant in the a/c until a couple years ago. The rest was so stock it isn’t funny.
Mom’s husband went through a barely-run 350 Corvette motor over the winter and had it and a 700r-4 installed a couple weeks ago. Says it runs great, better mileage, a lot more grunt, still with that Quadrajet on a Weiand dual plane. Grandpa doesn’t like that it has been souped up, but honestly a early ’80s Corvette motor has no actual soup, and if anything the thing is probably more driveable than it was when new with that engine and overdrive. I think the dope-smoker-black window tint is what he doesn’t like.
Anyway, grandpa has always but always said that if they still made them, people would buy them. I always point out that it didn’t quite work out that way the first time, but he is steadfast in his belief that El Caminos are the best thing ever. I will admit I’d rather have a nice compact pickup over the Elco, but not by much. Mostly due to ground clearance and snow and whatnot. The Elco likes neither.
Yeah, no surprise that you haven’t spotted any Torinos of this era or any other. I love the ’68-’69 fastbacks that look like a big Mustang. But the other variants, Ranchero included, were pretty dowdy. The ’70-’71 was better, but Ford was completely overshadowed by the intermediate muscle cars from GM and Chrysler. Yeah, you could get a hot Torino that could run with the best of them, and the cars sold very well, but they just didn’t have the image.
Then the ’72-’76 cars were just garbage. Too big outside, laughably small inside, and just a fat, sloppy, ugly car overall. My grandfather had a thing for beater Fords and drove a very rusty ’72 Gran Torino hardtop until around 1990. It was the Dude’s car, basically. That car was so dilapidated by the time he finally junked it, he had to drive around with a board in the back to keep the front seat from collapsing. Sure, it’s unfair to judge a car after 18 years of abuse, but the nearly new ’74 Torino company car my dad had is a big reason why there hasn’t been a Ford in my parents garage ever since.
That said, I’ve always had a thing for the Torino, in part because of its rarity today and because i’m so sick of the ubiquitous Chevelles. Clint Eastwood’s ’72 Gran Torino Sport in the eponymous film was actually pretty cool, although I’d just assume never see another Starsky & Hutch replica ever again.
In short: These cars were crap, but I love ’em anyway.
I didn’t say that I don’t have any Dude-mobiles, though 🙂
“Then the ’72-’76 cars were just garbage. Too big outside, laughably small inside, and just a fat, sloppy, ugly car overall.”
Don’t forget the rust. Oh my lord, the rust.
Ford Australia sometimes markets to hoons, as seen in this add. The ute it seems is for blokes.
Needs a 5 post bullbar to look rite
A cop chase in a car ad?
It’s a thing I had to see to believe it.
The front guards and roof profile of that model Ranchero very nearly match the 72 XA Falcon ute, it used the 2door hardtop doors with frame less windows unlike the XR pic.
Starting in 1969 my brother in law bought Rancheros to drive in his job as a sales rep for a seed company in the central valley of California. He told me they were far more comfortable to drive than the pickups of the time and since he was doing 60,000 miles plus each year that was a big issue. He traded each year and always got the largest engine available and had air shocks put on. He drove them until Ford quit making them and switched over to half ton pickups. In today’s auto world I don’t think there would be much of a market for vehicle like that, but a restored one sure looks sharp today.
The early Australian Falcon utes were different than the U.S. Ranchero in a number of respects, aside from the doors — they were shorter overall, and the spare tire was in a different location.
The XM Falcon was indeed available as a two-door; the two-door hardtop was introduced in the XM line.
The Torinos seemed so bloaty and wrong when they were new, but I guess the decades since have desensitized me to bloat, at least a bit. Must be, because I find the Torino-based Rancheros and wagons to be awfully attractive now. But I remember all to well how badly those Detroit Acres of Plastic interiors were aging already 15 years ago…
Like this. 🙂
And this one (ok, I’ll stop now) 😀
Love that, a Squire would only make it better!
The windscreen on the Ranchero looks to be a faster angle than the Falcon. There were two reasons why Ford Australia developed their own ute body when the Ranchero already existed, the first being departure angle clearance – note this also applied to the wagon here which was also different – and also weight distribution as it was expected to take a decent load. The front of the bed on the Falcon is forward of the sail panel behind the side window, approximately where the forward tie-down point is on the side. The floor of the bed extended further forward as the front wall of the tray followed the angle of the seat backs. On later model utes, 1972 XA to 1998, the floor of the bed is approx 7′, however due to also having a forward sloping tailgate the length at the top is only 6′.
As with El Caminos Rancheros are pretty rare in Australia but a few have been privately imported over the years.
I am only 24y.o. but my first car was my 1975 Ford Ranchero. It has a 351 modified big block v8 with a little two barrel carb on it. I was tempted to sell it a few years ago but then i got the chance to see my first classic car show down in east texas. now I’m just itching to get the restoration on its way. I work for a police department, so the bed of the ranchero only sees work action when i am helping friends move or building things at my parents house. Any other action it sees, well, thats another story. But you can tell that this baby has seen its fair share of use over the years before i got the chance to start working on it.
Sorry to sound so discriminatory but your article sounds like your a man hating dyke, not a “Paul”.
Woke up without your sense of humor today? 🙂 Have you heard of the expression “tongue in cheek”?
The references to castration and carrying bags of balls in the cargo bed did have me squirming in my seat as I read …
Excuse me, but Curbside permits only one rabid ranter at a time, and that’ll be me, son – me. ME!
AND I’ll answer the question everyone seems to have not touched on at all, (except Roger 628)
RUST killed these vehicles. The Ranchero of this generation rusted faster than an ungalvanized screw aboard the Titanic. The floors disintegrated into air leaving only the frame to prevent you from falling out of them, a-la-Flintstone. You can’t really save your ride when the floors rot out of them. You can’t really Bondo your way into restoring these Rancheros.
RUST killed these cars.
With a mattress in the back you’d be amazed at what can happen in a ute
Bill Clinton introduced Americans to this idea back in 1992, when the story spread about his high school exploits with an old El Camino. I recall that Astroturf was what he used back there.
Ute production is nearly over in Aussie thanks to the imported Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado and having driven a new Ranger last night after totalling the International I was driving I can see why.
I always thought the Rancheros and El Caminos were the semi modern equivalent of the three window coupes, especially with a tonneau cover. They do seem to survive well for whatever reason, you see more of them riding around than the equivalent year coupes and sedans despite their lower production numbers…
Photo attached: my ’72 Ranchero, owned since 1997. Clean, dry and original western car. First owner had it on an Adams County, Colorado ranch. I am the 2nd owner; when I got the car it took several cleanings to get all the ranch grasses out of the suspension and grass debris out of the interior.
Rancheros, and more so El Camino/Caballeros, are still common along the Rockies front range and I know of about six or seven other Rancheros in my town.
I do have a woman friend who did buy a new ’79 Ranchero (last production year). It too was a ranch car; she lived on a ranch at the time and dealt with horsey kind of stuff with the car.
What engine does your ’72 have?
i just did a cursory check on Craigslist for Palm Springs and nearby for Rancheros and El Caminos. There are a lot of both, with slightly more El C’s.
Tonka made a plastic version of this year model to go with their car transporter. It’s a very well proportioned toy, albeit with slightly undersized wheels.
Personally, I think the 1972 is the best looking year; Constellation’s example above looks hot. For another Australian variant, take a look at the XA, XB and XC Falcon utes. Based on a shrunken fuselage look, they are a really stylish pickup, particularly the XA. Part of the success of the design was to use the long doors from the coupe.
I have absolutely no use for a ute, but a RHD 72 Ranchero or 1979-84 Camino would suit me fine.
Although I occasionally see El Caminos and even Cabelleros, I’ve seen extremely few Rancheros in my lifetime. However on my trip to the west coast this past summer we did pass one on the highway. I managed dig out my camera and snap this picture before it was out of sight. A late-’70s Ranchero was no match for our 2013 Subaru Legacy rental.
Here’s the picture:
The only ones I’ve ever liked are the ’60-’65 Rancheros. They were the ones that were truly compact. The odd thing is that in the compact pickup market, Ford insisted on competing with itself – from ’61-65, the Ranchero was sold right alongside the Econoline pickup. Never saw the sense in selling both.
I had a ’78 model in the mid to late eighties. It was a good vehicle. I did all kinds of mostly light duty hauling with it. I enjoyed the car like ride and handling with the utility of a pickup bed. At the time full sized trucks were still on the spartan side, and the relatively new compact pickups were even more spartan. When I purchased mine a friend had a Luv truck he wanted to sell to me. It was a nice little truck, but I wasn’t interested in a 4 cylinder, 4 speed, no a/c when I could have a V8, automatic, power steering and a/c for the same money. I would take another one if I had a reasonable chance to get one.
Ranchero’s are pretty rare in these parts nowadays, but the last generation El Caminos are still around. Many of them seem to be owned by older gentleman who have some need for a truck but don’t want a full sized one.
I don’t know the production numbers, but I don’t recall ever seeing very many of the ’68 – ’69 models. Not only is the subject truck a rare survivor, but I notice it has the standard transmission, which makes it even rarer.
From my childhood (1960’s) I remember practical uses of both a Ranchero and an El Camino.
My father is a pharmacist (now retired) who had as a delivery vehicle an early 1960’s (Falcon based) Ranchero. It was cheap to buy and maintain. It was used primarily to deliver small orders to customers that were placed in a box on the seat next to the driver. In those days pizza places weren’t the only businesses that delivered. 🙂
On rare occasions the cargo bed might be used to haul larger shipments from suppliers warehouses or to bring to the drug store something like a new refrigerator (many prescription meds needed to be refrigerated then and still do today). It was replaced in the late ’60s by a Volkswagen Beetle. No more appliance hauling but there was much more interior room for deliveries.
The second instance does indeed involve a woman. When I was about 8 years old we got new next-door neighbors. He was a classic East Texas “good ‘ol boy” who worked for the telephone company installing switchboards. Remember when Ma Bell owned every piece of equipment except the mouth on one end and the ear on the other? He brought to the neighborhood something unique but I didn’t realize it at the time – a 1963 GMC stepside pickup with 305 V6. Before you younger guys think I’m totally confused look it up.
His young bride (by about 12 years in fact) was a true cowgirl. On weekdays she worked in a bank but on weekends she piled her saddle and tack in the rear of her 1960 El Camino and drove a few miles out of town where she kept her horse. It was also not unusual to see the El Camino parked in the driveway with a couple of bales of hay in the back.
Oddjob from Goldfinger recommends the Falcon Ranchero for its cubed-Lincoln carrying abilities. 😉
My favourites are the 1964 Ranchero and the 1968 Ranchero. It’s unforgivable that neither of them are made today. If you want to see car based utilities, visit Australia.
There was never kids in Ranchero (or El Camino) because these cars were the automotive equivalent of birth control! No woman wanted to breathe the same air space as a man who drove one of these chumpmobiles, let alone actually date one! Talk about closest thing to truth in advertising. If only instead of ranchers Ford had depicted the Ranchero’s true customer base; cheesy, chintzy dudes sporting mullets & Members Only jackets, blasting Thin Lizzy through blown out Kraco speakers sourced from K-Mart! Every Ranchero or El Camino I ever saw was being piloted by a character fitting this description. Call me judgemental if you want; you KNOW I’m right!
@ William Powell: I beg to differ! I grew up through junior high and high school from 1980-86. I lived in SW WA state (across the river from Portland OR) and all the owners of the Ranchero I saw were typically fathers… in the neighborhoods around where I lived and of kids from school. The appeal of the Ranchero? You could use it like a truck but it was better on the fuel bill and drove more like a car than a truck. As for the fathers… they were your average, ordinary blue collar types and none sported a mullet. The cheesy part must be from the town you lived in…
I read the article with curiosity after bumbling onto it blindly while searching the web for related material. What was cool about the 1968 & 69 Ranchero was that it was based on the Fairlane platform… thus you could get all the engines allowed the Fairlane including a 428 CJ engine. If you also ordered a Detroit Locker rear axle then technically you made your Ranchero into a 428 SCJ Ranchero not that Ford ever advertised it as such. For those that argue that Ford never offered such an animal and state they don’t exist because it wasn’t in the factory brochure, I say you’d best educate yourself before blathering on nonsense. Back then, all you had to do was order one and if you paid what they wanted up front, it would arrive anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks later. In fact, you could pretty much order a Ranchero with any of the Ranchero or Fairlane options according to my grandfather who was working for Ford back then. Ford did the same thing with the 427 too through the 1967 model year and briefly into the 1968 model year. Yes, you heard me right… a factory 427. What’s really cool is finding a Ranchero GT or Ranchero 500 with A/C with a customer ordered shaker hood scoop sitting atop a 4V V-8 engine and Magnum 500 rims. Find a Ranchero so equipped from the factory and you’ve got a rare Ranchero no matter the color! If I could only go back in time…
I should also mention the Rio Grande model of the Ranchero though it was for the 1969 model year only. What was it? Basically, it was a very basic trim package that tacked on a few odds & ends to help sell the Ranchero which wasn’t doing so well back in 1969 and I suspect that slow sales were due to the trucks. The F-Series trucks were doing quite well thanks to the upgrades made to them via much more luxurious trim packages (interior & exterior). The Ranger package was especially nice.
My regret is that nobody ever got Ford to do something really out of the norm such as make a Boss 302 Ranchero… or even a Boss 429 Ranchero. Wouldn’t that be a rare vehicle if you had one? I know why Ford didn’t do these things – they didn’t believe they’d sell enough of them for it to be worth it and I’d still bet good money that they’d be right all the way to this day in 2015. They also wanted to reserve them strictly for the Mustang because the Mustang had become the defacto face of Ford. Still, those engines in a Ranchero sure would make for a wild Ranchero and a very cool rig! Attaining traction however… might have been a problem >.<
The bottom line for me is that I've always been a fan of the Ranchero over the years and I've known quite a few folks that owned one or more of them. My parents had a 68, one of my best buddies as kids had a dad that owned one and so on. They could be powerful, very serviceable vehicles when it came to hauling items while still being sporty at the same time. No, they couldn't compete with many of the cars on a road course but they were never meant to do so. Of course, I never attempted to haul loads of wood or furniture or gravel in any Mustang, Fairlane, Torino or other FoMoCo car I've ever owned either! What's hot right now? To the best of my knowledge and from what I've seen, the big block Ranchero from 1966 to 1971 – especially the 1971! Find any 390 4V, 427 or 428 Ranchero and you've got a real find!! I should mention the 390 2V Ranchero is nothing to sneeze at either though it'll be worth far less than either a 427 or 428 car. Of course the more optioned they are the better. I should also mention that it's possible to find a 260 V-8 4V or 289 V-8 4V car as well from 1963 to 1965 for the 260 and from 1965 to 1967 for the 289 (which will be a K code car – the same as the Mustang hi-po engine). Any Ranchero with either of those engines would be quite a find and I'd snatch it right up if the price were reasonable.
Best wishes to everyone!
Well, now that most F-150 sold are not used for work duties, the normal truck has replaced the coupe utility as the bachelor’s cruiser.
My first wife’s uncle was a farmer and always drove pickups. When he was thinking of retiring he decided to treat himself to a new truck. He liked my ’73 Ranchero so well that he bought a new ’79 Ranchero. It was a lot fancier than mine and he used it on the farm for a couple of months before finally retiring. Much like today, he used his Ranchero as more car than truck. His wife had her own car,but whenever I saw them both together they were always in the Ranchero. Both of them are gone now. They lived in the same small town that I do but I don’t know what ever happened to the Ranchero. I was no longer in the family by that time.
I worked for a precision sheetmetal fab shop from ’73 to ’84. The owner was a dedicated car guy and restored a 1970 Ranchero with a 429 CJ and shaker hood. It got an orange paint job, black chrome and tan leather.
It was designated as a light duty parts delivery vehicle, and did it deliver. Going down the freeway at 65 mph a stomp on the gas pedal would break the rear tires loose any time, every time.