(first posted 1/27/2015) The question about how much real hauling American pickups do is always worthy of debate. Obviously, some do, others don’t. I wonder if there’s any surveys on that, but then I suspect pickup drivers that don’t haul things might be inclined to fib or exaggerate a bit, if only to justify for themselves their decision to buy one. Kind of like those surveys that ask folks about how often they’re having sex. A statistician figured out that men overstated the amount of sex they were having by some 300%, and women by 200%.
But when it comes to this Ranchero, in 1975 no one would have asked that question of its buyers. American “utes” might have done a bit of real work in the early years of their fairly short time on earth, but by 1975, these were…well, just another variation on the theme of the “personal coupe”, the predominant category at the time. It just happens to have neither a back seat nor a trunk lid. The “personal business coupe”, an old concept updated for the seventies.
What’s the difference between these two? A lid on the trunk, which a large percentage of the Rancheros and El Caminos ended up with anyway. The formula is a center-mounted cab, and a long hood and rear appendage.
The result being the automotive design equivalent of this. But at least the loco can go either direction.
Actually, this Ranchero’s bed does show some rather modest signs of wear. But if I had to guess, the scrapes and little dings are more likely from big coolers full of beer that weren’t tied down properly in its early days. Or from the owner throwing his limited furniture in the back in an indelicate fashion when his girlfriend kicked him out one unpleasant Friday night in 1978. And from numerous subsequent moves over the decades. Let’s face it; the owners of these Rancheros just weren’t all that likely to be family men. Unless they were the kind to throw their kids in the back. Anyway, “personal business” is what it all was, and the Ranchero was just the “coupe” for it.
Well maybe this owner has settled down and doesn’t expect to be moving his mattress, dirt bike, big tv, and garage bags full of clothes to new digs anymore, because it’s for sale, and has been for some time. It appears that $5,500 is just not realistic, at least not in this town. Maybe he needs to advertise in Sweden or Germany?
It’s in pretty decent shape; on second thought, I’m thinking I’ve got it all wrong. No young guy’s Ranchero bought new in 1975 would still look like this today; the odds of it existing still at all are stacked against that. I’m guessing it was a grandpa’s car, bought after the kids were gone so he could haul carefully selected hardwood boards for his wood shop, where he turned out cradles and toys for his grandchildren. And one of his sons ended up with the Ranchero, and having not found any hauling use for it in some time is ready to move on.
Aha! The sign in the front windshield has a red “4” taped over the previous “5”; the price is dropping. It also tells us it is bestowed with the 400 CID V8, but just don’t anyone call it an “M Code”. Our Ford anoraks will set you straight on that in the comments.
My Encyclopedia shows two horsepower ratings for the 1975 400: 144 and 158. Don’t ask what the difference was; it’s like asking what’s the difference between a wet noodle and overcooked pasta. And the owner discloses it has 127k miles, A/C and power steering. And that it runs great. Doesn’t everything? And that he must sell. Doesn’t everyone?
What a cheerful interior; no dull and drab pickup brown or gray here. A zingy dingy Creamsicle motif. The seventies were so special.
The outside looks like the Creamsicle got dropped in the mud. Earth tones, in other words.
The only downside I can see is that compared to a great big new double cab pickup, the Ranchero undoubtedly gets worse mileage. But no one is going to ever wonder whether you haul loads with it or not. Guilt-free trucking; that alone should justify the asking price.
CC 1969 Ford Ranchero – The Anti-Paternity-mobile
CC 1957 Ford Ranchero – The First respectable Truck
Fast forward to 2015, Hyundai may introduce a modern Rachero.
The Ranchero always makes me think about the Mullet haircut–there were more or less linked up, at least at the tail end of the Ranchero’s popularity. I hear the Mullet is coming back into vogue, so I guess its time for the automotive equivalent to come back around too.
I don’t have much faith in Hyundai being able to design a decent pickup powertrain. But that said, I wish there were more ‘extra cab’ pickups that had these dimensions. That’s a good all around vehicle for light hauling, still fits in a garage and doesn’t end up looking like a stretch limo. I hate the proportion of a ‘normal’ shortbed with an extended cab, or even a crewcab. Just WAY too long and limo-like.
A most exelent find. I wonder if the color scheme (both interior and exterior) was factory, and if so, what the option package was called. (Ranchero LDO?) I actually really like this.
That’s gotta be factory. I was just thinking how typically 70s this was — to the point of being invisible back in the day.
For a while I had a ’74 Ranchero. It was the same brown / tobacco / metallic earth tone as this one, so I’m certain this is a factory color scheme. However, it did not have the pumpkin colored contrast on the sides or tailgate.
The interior was solid brown.
I had a 74 Gran Torino – same color combo as this – with the light tan vinyl top. The body color was call Medium Copper Metallic.
I see what you did there with that Exelent part. You decided to adopt the seller’s form of spelling.
Does anyone know about 1975 Ranchero GT 420 Gem Top?
It for sure is going to end up in Germany and will be offered for about 15.000,00 – 18.000,00 Euros.
There are a lot of Rancheros and El Caminos offered in Germany.
I think they are pretty cool and would get me one if I had more time and space.
The price plus shipping would probably still be less than what it could sell for in Australia, but it is a pretty small buyer pool that wants one of these.
A quick check on car sale sites show a couple of 1975s and several other 1970s Rancheros, one a GT in a similar colour and contrasting patches but without the vinyl roof. It does have a 460 though, and a much higher pricetag.
Also a 59 Ranchero with blown methanol 557 ci big block set up for drag racing!
These Rancheros look just like a scaled-up version of the Falcon ute of the era (1976-79 XC model), but without any real benefit from the extra size.
nice Ranchero, I liked this era of the Ranchero’s far better than the El Camino’s of this vintage, I especially liked the interior of this car, it’s not too often you see a well maintained Ranchero of this vintage.
Never been much of a truck fan but I liked the early Falcon based Ranchero best of all.Ford styling had took a big step back in the 70s but so had most of the opposition
Seeing this Ranchero amuses me.
My dad’s uncle had a ’74 Ranchero that was given to me years after his uncle died. It had a 351 and enough rust to flirt with needing a tetanus shot if you got too close.
Anyway, this uncle (Leland) smoked like a chimney and had had his left leg amputated in the late 60s due to poor circulation. He spent a lot of time with his older brother (Stan), an old bachelor who had horrible arthritis in his hands, making them nearly useless. He also smoked like a chimney. Both were my grandfather’s younger brothers.
Every once in a while Leland and Stan would go plant something and use the Ranchero to bring in the harvest. I remember it being loaded down with pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, etc.
Leland drove the Ranchero until the bias-ply tires would no longer hold air. One day when it was loaded down after a harvest, a tire blew. The two of them had a rough time changing the tire with one being immobile, one having useless hands, the Ranchero being overloaded, and both having emphysema. It took them over an hour, laughing and coughing the entire time, but they got the tire changed.. For whatever reason, this was the first thing that crossed my mind upon seeing this brown Ford.
What a great story. I had eccentric great uncles of my own, and I can picture these two making the best of a bad situation.
Where was the spare stowed on these, under the bed? If so, getting it out from there was probably the hardest part of the project.
If memory serves, the spare resided underneath between the rear bumper and axle.
This body style Ranchero (1972-79) had the spare tire mounted horizontally, behind the passenger side’s seat, in it’s own storage area.
IDK about the other years? My Father had a Falcon based ’66 Ranchero; cannot recall where the spare tire was (if he even had one?)
I had a 72. The spare tire was behind the passenger seat, laying down, probably where the rear seat would have been on the wagon version this was modified from.
Correct. It also is secured with its own “seat belt” and has a plastic handle type device to assist in pulling it out. Probably missing on most of these by now but my ’72 has these intact.
My eccentric uncle had a Stanley that he modified. He got pulled over on the PA turnpike going 120 but the cop didn’t give him a ticket as it was older than anything he had ever pulled over. He also had a steam tractor and a steam roller that he used to sterilize tobacco beds.(by injecting steam into the ground killing anything there) His stock Stanley got sold off by the kids with the rest of his really cool stuff.
Jason, I think I have become that eccentric uncle.
I like this the least of the Rancheros but they made some with the big six. That was a winner IMO.
Nice find Paul. I think that wouldn’t have lasted long on Houston’s Craig list.
Interesting story Jason. I wish I had such colorful stories of elder family members 🙂
I’ve been fortunate in that regard. That statement contains a degree of hesitancy as I do not know how genetic eccentricity might be.
And the owner discloses it has 127k miles, A/C and power steering. And that it runs great. Doesn’t everything? And that he must sell. Doesn’t everyone?
And I bet those 127K are all “original” miles, too!
I’ll bet nothing even “needs repaired” !
Wonder how well the seller knows it’s history and concluded it had 127,000 miles. Without that 6th digit on the odometer who can tell for sure? I’ve seen a number of vintage vehicles over the years advertised as having 100,000+ miles when it was clear to a well trained eye that the miles showing were actual. The condition of that driver’s seat alone is telling. If i ran across something like this on the road I’d carefully examine the engine bay, vital fluids and undercarriage and, if their condition was commensurate with the rest of it, I’d snatch it right up. (Maybe even offer my pampered S10 in trade.)
The 1975 400 was rated at 144 HP for the Torino and 158 HP for the LTD. I always found this amusing as the 302 in our ’72 Comet had 143.
I have no idea why there was a 14 HP difference for the same engine in 2 different car lines.
IMHO you were best off just checking the box for the 460 and being done with it.
2-bbl versus 4-bbl, I’d assume. Either that or single vs. dual exhaust. (Or a combination of the two.)
It really is interesting how far ratings dropped in just a few short years–In 1971 the muscle car wars were still in full swing (though the peak was of course ’69 or ’70), but four short years later, the malaise was in full effect. I wonder whether early emissions-control devices really were that crude, or if the big three just cobbled up half-assed solutions?
I’d say a little of both. Modifying the existing engines with drastically reduced compression ratios and retarded ignition timing cleans-up the exhaust, but kills both power and fuel economy.
Negative-No 4 barrel ever on a 400, and single exhaust on every one, regardless of model.
It is unfortunate the change from gross to net horsepower ratings happened at the same time as the emission controls.
A question I haven’t been able to find an answer to is just how much notice did the manufacturers have that emissions regulations were coming? From what I have been able to see it was the Clean Air Act of 1970?
Good point about the gross/net power ratings change confounding any comparisons.
I believe there was an earlier round of emissions requirements that came into effect in 1968. I don’t know about other engines, but that was what prompted Chrysler to change their big block heads from a closed-chamber design to the open chambers (e.g. 906 heads) to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, and I believe that’s also the year when it became mandatory to plumb the crankcase breather into the air intake instead of open atmosphere.
Closed Crank Case breathing cam in 1963 .
It used to be you could order up the ” Road Draft Tube ” for GM’s well into the 1970’s as it was a good seller for high mileage engines that fouled spark plugs…
Just ask for onhe to suit a 1962 model .
One more Used Car Lot trick .
Around this time California models had cat’s and 49 states did not. There were often lower HP ratings on California versions. Different tune specs with more retarded timing and AIR pumps, EGR etc. were also culprits sometimes. This example looks to have had really good care and I wouldn’t doubt the mileage is correct.
That may be, although since the numbers match the ones roger628 has for the 400 in the Torino vs. the 400 in the LTD, it’s possible that Paul’s book just included both since they weren’t sure which version of this engine the Ranchero used. Ford apparently used slightly different configurations for the same engines across different car lines all the time back in the ’70s. Here’s just one example of many:
’79 302/2bbl VIN Code F
LTD II/T-Bird: 133HP@3400rpm
I think the 127k miles is most likely accurate too; paint has to be original, only slight wear in the interior, still has its wheel covers and trim rings… probably a car that was garaged most of it’s life and not driven all that much (~3k/year if the odometer + 100,000 is correct).
In 1976, the horsepower rating for the 400 was up to 180 with 336 ft. pounds of torque.
Could it be (in part) due to a more (or less) restrictive exhaust in the different body?
My barber has one just like this, I’m not sure of the year. It’s not his daily driver, an early 2000’s 5 series is. His hobby is fixing up old houses, so the Ranchero is actually pressed into use regularly as he is constantly painting, wallpapering, replacing tile,etc.
He’s a great barber and reasonably priced, but if you met him you would see he clearly misses the 70’s.
I think you’re missing an important use case for these vehicles, Paul.
On any job site, you’d find one Ranchero or El Camino among all the F100s and C-10s. And that was the boss’s car. It had enough utility that it could be used to haul a few tool or some materials in a pinch, but it also conveyed that its owner didn’t need to get his hands dirty any more. The driver probably wore a blazer, too, even if he was dressed in blue jeans, as another signal that he had a different role & status than the guys dressed in coveralls or flannel shirts.
That was true of our next-door neighbor the building contractor, in any case.
Back in the day I knew a couple of contractors who fit that bill perfectly down to the blazer and blue jeans. One was a Ford man but was “forced” to buy one of the last El Caminos since his Ranchero was “too old” to project the right image. However they fit his needs perfectly. Able to go pickup the things that they needed on the job site right then, w/o pulling one of the workers away from his job, but with a car like ride and comfort. The behind the seat area was perfect for carrying the tubes with the blueprints in them.
And nowadays he’d just drive an F-150 because the ride is decidedly less truck-like than it used to be.
Yeah, but a King Ranch F-150. Or maybe a Yukon Denali.
I still feel like this would be the type of guy who’d drive one back in the day.
I had a 1971 El Camino in high school. My mother insisted that my younger sister had to ride in the passenger seat, not in back. I had to take her to school first then go back to pick up my girlfriend at her house then back to the high school parking lot. That was a hassle that I endured only for one semester.
I replaced the Elkay with a 2-wd Blazer. The cargo area in both served the same purpose: hauling ice chests to the beach. The ice chests served as (dangerous) extra seating in the Blazer. I never really carried anything else in either “truck.”
In about 1967 we got a new neighbor. I was still in elementary school but already really aware of what was in the driveways in the neighborhood.
The lady was a “cowgirl.” This was Texas after all. She drove a 1960 El Camino which was often parked in the driveway with a saddle and other tack, and an occasional hay bale, in the back. She kept a horse at a stable a few miles away.
She seemed to be the actual embodiment of the image the ad men were aiming for in the advertisements of the day. BTW, she was very good at rope tricks (lassoing, etc.) too. She would stand in back of the El Camino and entertain the kids on the block.
She was a real sweetheart and a true southern gentlewoman who died too soon from cancer in 1973.
Great story about your cowgirl neighbor. I can just see her now, standing in the back of her El Camino, roping all the little kids!
One of those would serve me perfectly – while I have needs for a pickup, I don’t need a huge one. Just enough to haul one motorcycle in the bed, take the household garbage to the dump, periodic dirty-ish runs to Home Depot (I don’t like hauling messy loads in the minivan, because it is our RV and we live it in on weekends), and hitch up the occasional trailer (usually once a year).
I’d prefer a ute to a small pickup (when you can find one) because of the ride height, interior comfort, etc. When I traded my ’96 S-10 in on my current ’03 Ranger, I was more than a little disappointed that they’d jacked the frame an additional 4″ off the ground (its 2WD – I don’t need 4×4), leaving it harder to get in, more cramped inside – all so it would look like a big, mean 4×4. Bah.
The biggest problem I have with these, is lack of 4WD. These BOF rigs could have easily taken F100 running gear. But by the mid ’70’s Ford was broke, thanks to Hank the Duce’s love for hookers and race victorys . I probably would have done the same thing; hell, who wouldn’t. But I have seen a few of these converted to four wheel drive, and I must admit they are pretty cool
At the time, you could get a halfcab bronco. That would be the complimentary opposite to this: Car that can do truck stuff vs bobtail 4×4 that can do truck stuff.
I owned a Scrambler in college. One of the absolute BEST all around vehicles Ive ever owned. Even with a smaller bed than a ‘regular’ mini truck, I could haul as much or more than my buddys’ S-10 and Nissan trucks, I had gobs of torque from the AMC 6, a decent sized cab that fit my 6’1 220 lb (at that time) frame, plenty of storage behind the seats and of course the most unstoppable 4×4 setup available.
Surely the chassis would need significant modification to take a solid axle up front and the associated suspension. This was done by a guy in Tasmania who sold the Holden Overlander conversion (www.truckjungle.com/2012/09/08/aussie-classic-holden-overlander-4×4/) This did give a proper-SUV ride height though.
More recently Holden did a 4×4 or more correctly AWD version of the Commodore including a standard ride height version, including in pickups with standard or crew cab. RHD only though!
I was yawning over this car – then I saw that interior, and now I want it. Sadly, it is too far away and I have already filled the slot in my household allotted for a 2 seat vehicle. In sort of a CC-effect prequel, my daughter just snapped a picture and sent it to me of a 68 or 69 Ranchero. Aren’t Rancheros of any given year seen at the ratio of 1 for every 15 El Caminos?
Indeed, just spotted this fellow in Red Hook, Brooklyn the other day.
Twin headlights, no laguna grille, I like it! No 350 badge though, this one is / was at risk of carrying a 6 banger under the hood.
Well that sure is an interesting looking house in the lead photo, I think I like it despite the lack of a front porch and the convenience store next to it. What part of town did you find this nice looking Ranchero?
That street is one that cuts through the blocks at an angle, so the house has a v-shaped front yard rather than front and side yards.
Nice Ranchero…even for a guy like me who’s never owned a post-1968 Ford product.
Definitely a nice-looking house, though it would benefit from relocation of those two satellite dishes, and from returning the front porch back to an actual porch (you can tell it was walled in to a room at some point). The clipped corners on all the gables are a nice character touch.
Doesn’t appear to be on the best lot though due to that odd angle.
Good point, the front porch has been walled in.
One of the professors at the university where I worked had a really nice green ’72 Ranchero GT that was in the final stages of a restoration. And I suppose she fit the image – no kids, and wanted something with both style and utility. 351 under the hood, and the distinctive “mouth” grille that wouldn’t survive the ’73 bumper regulations. I feel that grille design was one of the signature features of this car (the other probably being the scalloped rear fenders) and it just never looked quite right with the big bumpers and restyled nose.
Nonetheless, this is a nice one featured. I wonder if that seat upholstery is original – those orange accents are quite nice! Interior is in great shape for 40 years too. He obviously didn’t get any takers at 5500, but at 3500-4000, he might find a new home for the Ranchero.
I’ve owned and enjoyed two Rancheros, a ’73 and ’79; as close as I could come to having a pick up truck.
The ’79 had the same interior & dashboard of that year’s Thunderbird with complete instrumentation, “flight bench” individual bench seats with fold down arm rests, every power option Ford had on the T-birds that year. It rode smoothly and quietly, UNLIKE the F-150 my brother cussed out on a regular basis. The station wagon capacity sized Air Conditioning was always a match (and then some!) for the awful, bone soaking Heat & Humidity that permeates New Orleans too much of the year.
As Paul noted in this article, mine did very little bed hauling. A few bags of garden fill, some shrubbery, a new living room recliner was about all the bed was used for.
ANOTHER vehicle I wish I had never sold!
Didn’t know that the LTD II-based Rancheros had the T-bird interior. Of course it’s a simple swap to go ahead and complete the transformation into a full Ranchobird – the T-bird’s front sheetmetal bolts right up.
Of course this means the ’77-’79 Cougar sheetmetal also bolts up, which gives you this:
A used/truck wholesale lot had a ’77 Ranchero with the same year Thunderbird front fenders and nose (with the hidden headlights) that caught my eye repeatedly; made for a quite classy looking car/truck.
Unfortunately, the cheap lipstick red re-spray paint job, the already quite beat up white interior and sky high (in 1989) firm, unshakeable price of 5K ran me off the lot.
The General Lee paint job pushes it across the line from odd to bizarre.
It’s Uncle Jesse’s truck.
If the cross country transportation costs weren’t SO dayum expensive; I’d be tempted to take a chance on this one, sight unseen!
I had a ’74 Ranchero GT in that same bronze/brown but with a somewhat less-fancy tan interior. Kinda wish I hadn’t sold it…
The seats and door panels on this Ranchero resemble the interior of my college roommate’s ’73 Torino that had the LDO (Luxury Décor Option) package.
Didn’t know it was available on the Ranchero; but as this truck was Torino based, it makes sense that it would be.
Pity this truck doesn’t have the “Performance Instrument Cluster” with the large (same size as the speedometer) tachometer, amperes and oil pressure gauge set up. That instrument panel was a very classy set up, rivaling the dashboard of the same year Grand Prix.
This is the first Ranchero seats/door panels that I have seen like this (and I have checked out a farkin’ LOT of Rancheros over the years!!)
My Dad was always hauling junk around but he had always been a station wagon guy. He bought this old 59 Camino with a 283, 3 on the floor, and a great set of glasspack duals. The first time he hauled some big box he did’t tie it down ( there weren’t any tie down points) it slid back and flipped over and out the shallow bedside. That kind of ticked him off so it was sold and replaced by a nice 55 Bel Air sedan. In ’75 he bought his last new vehicle a Chevy 1/2 ton stepside. Boy were those things popular. Of course his sported campershell thus converting it into an erstaz wagon. It became the stereo typical old man’s truck. Getting more and more run down over the years and it was always partially loaded with junk and tools he needed for his rental property. Easier to leave that stuff in the back. I thought about getting a Ranchero but my wife didn’t like her mental image, always driven by some twenty something guy with long hair and no shirt on. I’ve got a long bed F150 now and I haul quite a bit of stuff around in it. I prefer to drive one of my other cars if I not hauling anything big.
Oh, IF only I could still be a “…twenty something guy with long hair and no shirt on..” driving a Ranchero!
I’m 30 years and 30 pounds past that point in my life.
More like no hair and long shirt here! 🙂
I love the idea of a rwd V8 powered car/truck hybrid. The El Camino got it right, since Chevy played up the muscle car end of it. These Fords are kind of the personal luxury pickups, and that seems to have limited the appeal.
I really, REALLY wish that Dodge would’ve had a ute variant on the LX platform. I bought my Rumble Bee since its a pickup with some muscle car stank rubbed off on it (I want a Challenger but need a truck sometimes) so its a good meld of the two. But ideally, the Magnum R/T with a generous single cab and about a 5 foot bed would be perfect. Gimme a 5.7 Hemi and 6spd manual trans. If only….
Seeing as the Chrysler 300 will be the only rwd car (well apart from the Hyundai Genesis that isn’t being sold with a V8 down here) you never know! I won’t be holding my breath though. They are keeping a 300 SRT for our market, but I don’t think the Hellcat is on the cards.
Of course the ’75 Business Coupe was great for the “live-alone-and-like-its”, like me.
Ha! I should have known you’d be on this.
When we moved here, I found some old newspapers in the basement, from the 40s and 50s. One had a real estate ad, for a tiny little cottage. The ad said “Perfect for the Bachelorette Gal”. It’s stuck with me ever since.
Wow. That’s funny… “Bachelorette Gal” is the name of my next album. Or Novel.
That copy, “live-alone-and-like-its” must have been worried to death by the copy editors of the ’49 Ford brochure in an attempt to invert the negative connotations attached to the curmudgeon or “unlucky-in-lover- who didn’t cohabitate, and get them to buy a Ford.
I googled “bachelorette gal” and found this handy guide showing how how different her pad is from mine. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to grab a cocktail from my custom bar, and relax on my awesome couch… where I will think about cars… cars that might make me more appealing to the bachelorette gal.
I love both the Ranchero and El Camino. Yet another cool type of vehicle that has disappeared.
This is a really nice period piece .
I’m no Ford Man but it’s nice with the 1970’s colors .
I too haul lightly and gently but I don’t want an El Camino , it’d just get stolen here in La Land .
I did have a few ’57 ~ ’59 Rancheros , good little rigs in spite of 27 turns lock to lock on the steering wheel .
I’ve lusted aft those ’47 ~ ’54 Dodge & Plymouth Business Coupes since the 1960’s but FlatHeads just don’t cut it in real life .
The whole coupe utility genre has always puzzled me. They just seem so unpractical and odd. But I guess you can say that about so many vehicles of today that are creating segments no one ever needed.
It depends on how you look at it. The Ranchero/El Camino were cool vehicles because they were unusual, and looked good. I also love the “business” coupes of the old days. To me practical is not the most important consideration in a vehicle, and one of the chief complaints I have with today’s vehicles. Practical is all they are. That is why I consider them appliances. They do the job they were designed to do, but with no personality, style, or anything they even remotely evokes passion. Small four door sedans, four door SUVs, crew cab pickups, and mini vans just don’t do it for me. The Ranchero/El Camino come from a time when we still had station wagons and personal luxury coupes
I am considering buying a PT Cruiser or HHR. They may be bland, but they do have some semblance of style, they are practical, but can also be customized a bit to give them some individuality. The style is old, but everything underneath is modern, including IMO a few undesirable things. But given the options I have for a transportation vehicle these days, those two stand out.
“I am considering buying a PT Cruiser or HHR. They may be bland, but they do have some semblance of style,”
Nothing ‘bland’ about either of those, if you get one optioned out right. Cant say much about the HHR….the panel van and SS models are neat. I had a 5spd PT Cruiser GT. Great car, useful, looked cool, handled tight and goes like stink! Don’t get a normally aspirated version. Boost is your friend, and they can be hot-rodded easily.
Unless I’m mistaken, didn’t they offer these in a similar paint scheme, but in green? Light green, with a darker green for the accents?
Most likely. Certainly the Torino, and the reverse was also true, dark green with light green trim.
Not too long ago I saw a story, maybe on 60 Minutes, where the side bar was that an elderly bait shop owner drove his ’70s Ranchero to his fishing hole regularly. Typical car guy, I recall the car, but not the main subject of the story. The hose-it-out bed is perfect for fishing equipment and a swilling Ford 400 is not an issue if you are only driving a few thousand miles a year. The savings on taxes and insurance alone (in my state, anyway) more than make up for sins at the pump.
Anyway, every car is perfect for somebody, you just hope the more unusual cars and people find each other so they can save one another.
Here is my ’72 Ranchero 500 (base model). Looks like the same color. Code is 5H and for ’72 it was called “ginger metallic”.
I am the 2nd owner of the car – since 1997. Engine is 351 Cleveland two bbl. It is still straight stock and nothing has been restored. Due to changes in bumper requirements, the ’72 nose is unique to that year alone so among Rancheros it has a special niche.
The bed is quite useful and has well four integrated tie down pockets in each corner (unlike contemporary GM versions). I have used the bed for my motorcycle, for multiple bicycles, for Christmas trees, for garage storage cabinets, for big leather easy chairs and for taking yard waste to the city recycling place. Quite a useful extra vehicle.
I find it satisfying to own a Ranchero – not an El Camino. Very few people any more know the word “Ranchero” and many claim to not know Ford ever made such a vehicle. While the El Camino seems to be quite common still, a Ranchero is a rare sight in my town. So, I Iove having it.
That year’s a handsome vehicle, Constellaton. Drive her in good health!
The small bumpers really look great compared to the ’75. Nice example. The low lift height is another plus.
The question of whether people hauled loads with Ranchero/ElCaminos can be applied to pretty much every segment of car serving a dual purpose, like sport sedans , is Nürburgring chassis tuning really taken advantage of by most of their owners?
One thing the Ranchero proves is just how blanded society is now in the name of practicality, safe choices, and resale.
Called a coupe utility out this way, basicly an outback sports car mullet optional bullbar compulsory.
There is a (very small) niche in-between the wagon and the pickup that the caruck with a cap fills perfectly… dog hauler. Love old wagons but don’t want dogs tearing up/shedding/puking on a nice original interior. Love old pickups but don’t need a full sized hauler and the oxcart ride that goes along with it. Enter a capped Ranchero with astro-turf in the bed so said pooches don’t slide around. Cap has sliding side windows so they can poke their heads out and the rear window between the cab & bed is also a slider so AC can cool the bed. The beasties are in Brougham Squire heaven and so am I. Power windows, driver seat, floaty boaty ride and Waylon on the 8 track is all this slow moving outlaw needs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGQwmbg3AaI
I seem to like the Chevrolet El Camino more than the Ranchero. My favorite versions of the El Camino are the 1968-72 along with the 1978-87. I still see a ton of final generation El Caminos on the road here in Bakersfield CA. Most of them 1982-87 models with the quad headlight front end.
While I am a Ford guy, I too, really like the ’78 up metric Malibu El Caminos. And if they are wearing GMC badges, bonus points!
I know there were several comments about the paint and upholstery on this car. To clear it up, the paint and the upholstery are factory correct for a Ranchero GT. This same upholstery was also used in the 1974-75 Gran Torino Sport. A tell-tale for a Ranchero GT is the unique emblem in the grille (basically a 1973-75 Gran Torino Sport Emblem).
This car looks original and in great shape. For that price it would be a good buy.
I attached a copy of the 1975 Ranchero brochure showing the GT paint scheme in blue.
I love the woodgrain Ranchero in that ad, but with the wheels and RWL tires from the GT. My woodgrain Pinto wagon originally came with the 5 slotted Appliance wheels, and RWL Goodyear Polyglas GT tires in A70-13 size. Still has the original spare.
It’s always bothered me that this generation of Ranchero has so ridiculously much sheet metal ahead of the cowl that the driver is actually sitting just behind the front-to-rear centerline of the vehicle. I realize that is probably true of other vehicles of the long hood, short deck era, but the Ranchero is far from a short deck vehicle — look at all that rear overhang.
Fords were really bad about it, there’s about 3 feet from the radiator to the front bumper that’s not present on anything other than a Mopar product, and even those aren’t as ridiculous as the Fords were.
My 77 Chevelle which would be a contemporary of this, has only about 15″ of overhang from the radiator to the front of the front bumper.
The Ranchero (and El Camino) were as much style vehicles as they were anything else. Look at the Lincoln Mark V. A huge car with about as much room inside as a compact car. But they looked good, and I would be proud to drive one.
Hyundai Santa Cruz, meet your worse nightmare: modernized Ford Ranchero:
I was just thinking. If pick up owners who don’t haul stuff should get ragged on, shouldn’t people who don’t fill every seat in their cars be tarred with the same brush?
The smallest car you can buy has 4 seats. And unfortunately 4 doors as well. I would be a pickup owner if I could afford the gas. But it would be a standard cab pickup. It’s the crew cab trucks with one person in them that I’ve been complaining about. Mostly because I see that 99% of the time. Why not get a standard cab for half the price, and get better gas mileage? And despite all the rational reasons I can think of for not getting a crew cab, being a vintage car guy, I think they are just plain ugly.
I often thought I might want one of these to haul my motorcycle to the mountains what with the low load height and all. Ya know, a car like ride for the 7 hour journey but the utility to haul the bike!
I live in Phoenix, AZ, one of the hottest inhabited places on earth. 120 degrees in the summer. I have a dual sport bike, and I ride it locally in the desert in the winter. Much too hot to ride in the summer. My solution was a hitch on the Malibu, and a “trailer in a bag” a very small single rail bike trailer that you can literally take apart and put in the trunk. I haul the bike up in the mountains in the summer (about 200 miles), in air conditioned comfort, where it is in the mid to high 70s in the summer, ride it all day, then load it up and haul it back. I keep the trailer taken apart in my storage shed.
I’ve been putting Suzuki Bandit in my GMC Sierra because riding from FL to NC in summer is not appealing to me at all. It works out fine, but a lower load height would be much better… and I’m always looking for an excuse to get another classic type vehicle!
Paul, supporting your theory, in the pilot of Barnaby Jones, Barnaby has retired to his horse ranch when he’s called in to solve his successor son’s murder. We all remember his LTD coupe, but in the pilot, he drove a Ranchero.
I still remember that LTD coupe. And Cannon drove a Mark IV (when it wasn’t in the shop)
I had a co-worker who was sort of a Ranchero fanatic back in the late 70’s. He had an early one, and a ’72, I think, and one almost identical to the one in the title shot for this article. The only thing I see different was his had a single bronzish color interior. He bought it for $500 when the owner brought it in for a smog test and it failed. All it needed was a tune up, but the owner said, “Make me an offer!”, and $500, plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor, and a couple of hours tiem, it was running as well as a ’75 460 could be expected to run. He bought several cars cheap when they came in with a minor issue that finally pushed the owner over the edge. His best deal was when he bought a late 60’s Buick, I don’t remember what model it was, but it had a bad vacuum modulator and the owner just wanted it gone, and he sold it for $150. A new modulator, and it was sold later that day for $700 to some old guy “I had one just like this one!”.
My Dad drove one the same color in the 70s creamsickle dropped in the mud is right.
These cars were quite popular in the 1970’s in Denmark due to our weird import tax and annual tax system on cars like these.
I had one also. Great ride, but it ran on propane gas, not gasoline, which was a problem on rainy days.
The latest Collectible Auto has some unfamiliar styling renditions from GM in the’50s. Just after abandoning the true business coupe in ’54, Chevy was considering a replacement for the corporate-perk end of the business market. They were calling it an Executive Coupe. Note the hardtop, and also note the indecision about wheel wells.
Here’s my 2011, XR6 Turbo Ford Falcon Ute, way more comfortable, faster and enjoyable to drive than the dual cab Japanese 4×4’s that are now so popular in Australia. The Ram 1500 is selling here now but has no direct competition, you don’t see many around though, usually on the building sites I work on there’ll be a Toyota Hilux or two a Ford Ranger and a VW Amorak, a Ford Transit and maybe one Holden or Falcon Ute: They’re getting on in age though, I’ll be trading mine in for one of the final models from 2016 this year, but in 5 to 6 years time I’m gonna in a quandary. Maybe I buy two or three other of those final 2016 Falcon Utes, and store them until needed to see me through to retirement.
Was there a GMC version of the El Camino?
Yes, it was called the Caballero.
Yes there was. In the 1970s it was called the GMC Sprint. Later changed to Caballero, which means gentleman in Spanish. We built these in our Fremont plant. The only difference were the badges and the horn button. Quite a few came through on Friday nights with the wrong badges in place. Anybody remember the Royal Knight? It was a Camino model.
I can’t believe that I didn’t comment on this the first time around. It must have been before I signed on.
I owed a ’73 Ranchero in the early 1980’s. Actually I bought it in 1979. It was a little rough, so I gave it a little TLC. I traded a ’68 GMC 3/4 ton pickup for it. I really loved that Ranchero. I was also married with two kids and owned my own house, three cars, and business. I guess I don’t fit the description but then I wasn’t the original owner, either.
I replaced it in 1983 with a better equipped ’75 El Camino. It’s first owner was the owner of a large local concrete contracting company.
My idea has always been that the first owners of these trucks was often times the owner of a business. That is, before the fancy pickups we have today, they were the boss’s truck.
We did have a local veterinarian who did a lot of livestock work who always drove a Ranchero or El Camino.