Curbside Classic: 1975 Ford Ranchero – The Personal Business Coupe

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(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.

Dodge 1949 Wayfarer_Coupe_For_Sale_resize

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.

Locomotive center cab

The result being the automotive design equivalent of this. But at least the loco can go either direction.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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What a cheerful interior; no dull and drab pickup brown or gray here. A zingy dingy Creamsicle motif. The seventies were so special.

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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.


Related reading:

CC 1969 Ford Ranchero – The Anti-Paternity-mobile

CC 1957 Ford Ranchero – The First respectable Truck

CC 1977-1979 Ford Ranchero – No Curbside Love For This