Storage Lot Classic: 1965 Ford F-250 “Ranger” Short Bed – Too Good To Be True

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(first posted 7/7/2013)     It was the red 1963.5 Falcon Futura coupe that caught my eye, thinking it might be a Sprint (it’s not). But as I walked past this 1965 Ford pickup blocking my shots, I realized that I’d come across something quite a bit rarer than even a Sprint 260. As it turns out, way too rare.

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This presents itself as a 1965 F-250 Ranger, a special interior package available only in 1965 and 1966 that included bucket seats from the Mustang, and a console too. I did a brief post on the Ranger package a while back, but didn’t expect to find one. But as soon as I saw it was an F-250, my suspicions were at least aroused a bit, as one just wouldn’t likely expect that many Ranger packages were ordered with the bucking-bronco ride these trucks inevitably have unless they’ve got at least a half ton or so in the back to calm down their gnarly springs.

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And when I tumbled to the fact that this was a short-bed Sweptline truck, I really began to have my doubts. I was 99% certain that the F-250 wasn’t even available in the shorter wheelbase versions. Hmmm..

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The cab interior certainly looked like a genuine Ranger, but then it doesn’t take much to cobble one up from a junkyard. The seats are from a Mustang, and the console from a Falcon Sprint or Comet S-22.

When I got home, I confirmed that the F-250 was a long-wheelbase only affair. And the tip-off is obvious, if you go back a picture:  there’s another ’63 Falcon sedan with its rear end in the air minus its rear axle. And there’s also the fact that I’ve seen a number of special-interest Fords in this lot. Axle changing is practiced here.

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Someone has done a bit of mix-and-match, swapping in the full-floating eight-bolt pattern rear axle and front hubs from an F-250 donor. And given that, I’d be willing to bet the Ranger interior isn’t original either.

Dodge Palamino 1964

Ford’s Ranger wasn’t the first pickup with bucket seats. Not surprisingly, it was Dodge that led the way, with its 1964 Sweptline Palamino Custom Sports Special, which even sported racing stripes along with the bucket seat from a Dart GT. Under the hood was a slant six, 318 polysphere V8, or either a 413 (early versions) or 426 wedge RB V8, with 360 or 365 hp. Good luck finding one of those.