The Ford Ranchero was a strange but ultimately wonderful beast. Ford America would like to claim it came up with the ‘coupe utility’ vehicle, but it didn’t. And nor did Ford Australia, as pub talk would have you believe. It was actually Hudson and then Studebaker, which both offered a front car/rear truck vehicle in the 1930s. However, it was Ford Australia that truly popularised the idea. History tells us the birth of this unusual vehicle format was the need of farmers. They wanted a car to take the sheep to market through the week, but one nice enough to take the wife to church on Sundays. How much truth lies in that remains to be seen, but whatever the reason, the origins came from Oz.
Ford America would be the one to give the coupe utility style and attitude, and in doing so, it would give companies like Chevrolet the impetus to create the El Camino. On U.S soil though, the Ranchero was first, rolling out of showrooms in 1957. Look at it head on, and it was a /57 Ford, look at it from the side, it was a pick up. Inside, if the buyer spent a few dollars, it would play host to all the trim and toys of the car. Nothing was held back. It was a new, fresh take on the pick up. It meant buyers who needed the space and practicality of a pick up could have it, but without needing to drive a basic, agricultural vehicle.
The Ranchero went through a number of changes, in line with the evolution of the car model it would eventually be based on. By the time we get to ‘67, as per the car listed here, we’re looking at a one-year model. Not only that, but by this stage the Ranchero was leaning heavily into the car. As such, there is an abundance of chrome and Fairlane badging. There was also more in the way of performance, so as to keep up with the El Camino. As such, the car here is fitted with the full fat, 390cui V8. It is, to all intents and purposes, a hot road that hauls!
The most obvious thing you notice about this Ranchero, apart from the fact it’s awesome, is the position of the steering wheel. Unlike most every other Ranchero, this one is right hand-drive. This is a huge boon, as driving a left-hooker in the UK can be frustrating at times, given the impact it has on visibility. We mention this in the History section because the steering wheel’s location relates to the car’s past, namely a life in Australia before being shipped to the UK.
This is obviously a great thing, as it means the Ranchero hasn't had much in the way of adverse weather to deal with over the course of its life, and as such, is remarkably solid. And nor has the UK climate had a chance to hurt the Ranchero - it’s only been here since 2016.
The current owners bought the car with high hopes of using it as a promotional vehicle for their business. Certainly, this is something the eye-catching Ranchero would take to with aplomb. However, due to the impact of Covid, to spend money on a promotional vehicle isn’t the right move, and as such, it’s being offered for sale.
The Ranchero has had minimal use with its current owner, though that hasn’t stopped them from dishing out the new parts. As such, there is a new fuel tank, new brakes all round as well as refurbished callipers up front and new cylinders out back. A new tow ball has been fitted, as have new towing electrics. The gear selector has also been overhauled, making shifting through the three-speed auto ‘box is now a breeze.
Having been in the Uk for such a short period, there is very little in the way of paperwork with the vehicle. There is of course a V5, and some invoices for the works mentioned above, but that’s about it. However, as we’re about to explore, the condition of this vehicle speaks for itself, and in far more depth than any paperwork could.
This is not a new vehicle, nor is it a mint one. It may well have the chrome and badges from its sedan brother, but the reality is that this is a commercial vehicle and it’s clearly one that has worked hard its whole life. It’s not a wreck though, far from it. Instead, it’s got the kind of patina that you can’t fake. The bodywork tells a story of quick paint, the odd bump and bang and of the gentle kiss of surface rust here and there. It tells the story of a journey, of a car that has been used and enjoyed.
There is surface rust to be found on some panels, the paint on the sides is flaking in places, and there is the odd ripple in the chrome-work where it’s come into contact with something. But there is nothing egregious or structurally detrimental. It’s a solid car, the door shut with a pleasing clunk and neither has dropped on the hinges. The bonnet opens freely, and the rear tailgate still drops down by using the original handle and is supported by the original check straps. The bed is awash with dings and scrapes, but one would expect this from a pick up, it’s a working vehicle. And besides, if it’s a bit too much for the eye, there is a nice tonneau cover included.
There is ZERO sign of any structural corrosion. The sills are rock solid, with no bubbling or evidence of repair. The doors, the wings, the front and rear valances all tell the same story. The chrome bumpers are in excellent condition and would respond well to a bit of Brasso. The front end dressing is all present and correct and free from any major damage. It’s all very… honest.
You see people taking straight, solid trucks and spending thousands on them to make them look like this one. And even then, it looks forced. This Ranchero doesn’t though, because it’s honest, genuinely earned patina and wear. And it doesn’t lie. This is a vehicle that wears its years and in purpose so beautifully. If you bought this and painted it, it would be a crime!
To use the old motoring adage, it’s a nice place to be. The seats have been protected by covers (though we were unable to remove them, as they’re fitted), the carpet looks to be a recent addition, the dash is bright and everything functions and the headlining is taught and free from rips, damage or heavy staining. The door internals are in good order, with no serious damage, though the cards do show some signs of age, especially on the chrome sections. However, the Fairlane 500XL badges are still present and correct. Aside from the door cards, the painted areas have some light surface corrosion, as do the B pillars where they reach up to the roof. There is also the addition of an aftermarket, but period air-conditioning unit. Admittedly, this will need some specialist attention before it blows ice cold air again, but it's a cool thing to have fitted. There is even a plaque under the bonnet detailing the fitting of the kit.
The right hand-drive conversion seems to have been done exceptionally well. In fact, there is little evidence of how it’s been done. The dash looks proper, not cut about. The padded section on top of the dash, covered in black vinyl, hasn’t fallen victim to the heat and is still in excellent order. The clocks and switchgear are all correctly located, as are the pedals, including the parking brake pedal. It’s a proper, well thought out conversion. The only giveaway is the position of the gear shifter, which is still setup for left hand-drive use, though it just means you can’t see the selector as clearly, though with twin buttons, it’s still perfectly usable.
The only detractor to be found is, probably, the steering wheel, which seems to be from a later Ford Falcon (possibly). The same too can be said for the stalks on the column. You would definitely want to change these for something a bit more period.
Fitted with a 390cui V8, this is the most ‘hot rod’ specification the ‘67 Ranchero was available in. Mated to a three-speed automatic transmission, the engine fires up without hesitation, thanks in no small part to the MSD electronic ignition system including upgraded MSD coil. Other upgrades include a chrome pancake air filter and an Edelbrock intake manifold. We are to understand that the carburettor is standard. There is also a set of Cobra valve covers fitted.
The engine sounds healthy and pulls strongly, with the gearbox working as it should, including kickdown. There are no untoward knocks of bangs, nor any run-on when the engine is shut off. The exhaust has no blowing or noise, and the engine revs cleanly and freely with no excessive smoke. The engine bay is a place of function, rather than form. It’s a busy space, but everything seems to work, though it is a little on the grubby side. Not helped by the fact the 390 seems to have an oil leak, we suspect a valve cover gasket has failed, though as there is an abundance of oil, further investigation would be needed. We’re told it leaves no oil on the floor though, nor does it need topping up often.
On the road, it’s obviously no race car, but the vendor tells us it’s reliable, it pulls cleanly and thanks to the brake overhaul at all four corners, it now stops without question and pulls up straight and true. The suspension is of a gentle persuasion, and as such there is a bit of roll if you press on through the bends, but again, it’s not a race car. It is actually rather well composed for a pick up. And that V8 is capable of some 300bhp, meaning this Ranchero will pick up its heels and run should you ask it.
It’s just cool, that’s the bottom line. It’s got a rumbling V8 that is a treat for the ears, it’s a pick up, so is hugely useful, and it’s got that gorgeous, genuine, hard-earned patina that people fight over. It’s comfy inside, it’s a breeze to drive, especially as it’s a right-hooker and the mechanicals themselves are simple to maintain. Furthermore, they’re simple to upgrade, too. Should you choose to go down the route of more power. 400bhp is easily doable.
This is a tough old vehicle, too. It’s always been in use, and it has the battle scars to show it. But in earning those scars, it has earned the right to keep working. If you need a pick up, but you want something a bit cooler, a bit off the beaten path, this is it. Why? Because it is still a usable, rough and ready vehicle. It won’t cry if you throw a load of junk in the back. It won’t have a hissy if it gets dirty. It’ll just plod on, working and doing its thing.
For us, we see this as being a shop truck for a garage or classic car restorer. Something that can embody the spirit of the business, but not to such a level that it becomes too fragile and unusable. Imagine picking up a customers project car with a trailer on the back of this, or dropping off an engine with it. If that doesn’t get people talking, we don’t know what will. This is the best advertising you can get!
Important: Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
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