Classic Cars

Unique of the Week: 1972 Ford Ranchero GT

Ford's Ranchero was on the market for over 20 years. By the time it was discontinued it had become a land yacht.

We’ve been longtime fans of the old Chevrolet El Camino but automotive history proves that Ford beat GM in building and introducing a compact ute to the North American market. The Ford Ranchero, like the El Camino, combined the utility of a pickup truck with a large coupe body style. While not to everyone's taste, it offered plenty of practical conveniences for owners who didn’t necessarily want a pickup but that wanted some useful loading space.

First launched in 1957, two years ahead of the El Camino, the first-gen Ranchero was based on Ford’s then-new full-size car platform that also underpinned the Custom sedan, but that Ford sold through its truck division. A bare bones base version was geared towards farmers while the more upscale Custom spec received trimmings from the Fairlane lineup such as two-tone paint and stainless-steel body side moldings. Interestingly, both of these early Ranchero trim levels could be had with any engine in the Ford lineup, including the big 5.8-liter V8. A smaller second-gen Ranchero appeared in 1960, based off Ford’s immensely popular Falcon.

It came with a range of engines that included inline-sixes as well as V8s. By the late Sixties, Ford had merged the Fairlane and Falcon platforms into one and the Ranchero became even larger, as did its engine options. This was the time of real muscle so Ford offered a variety of V8s, ranging from 4.7- to 7.0-liters. And unlike the first-gen farmer’s Ranchero, Ford didn’t hold back in offering this latest version with plenty of modern luxuries such as a/c, bucket seats, front power disc brakes and a vinyl top. The Ranchero was once again redesigned for 1970 which saw it move to a somewhat boxier body, just like its Torino cousin.

It was only on the market for two model years before Ford ditched the angular look, giving the Ranchero an even more squared off design, as well as moving it to a body-on-frame construction. A V8 range remained as did the Cobra Jet-powered GT. By 1977, however, the Torino was discontinued, leaving the Ranchero without a platform. So until 1979, Ford built the Ranchero on the Thunderbird’s platform. Yes, it was quite the land yacht but that’s how the story of the Ford Ranchero ended. This particular 1972 Ranchero GT that’s up for sale on eBay is in absolutely remarkable condition with just 57,000 miles on its odometer.

Power comes from a 6.6-liter V8 mated to its original C-6 automatic transmission. It received a major overhaul in the early Nineties including a dual stage repaint in its original Medium Brown Poly Metallic with correct orange and black GT striping. The interior is also all original with the exception of the seat covers and carpeting. As of writing it has a top bid of $10,000 but the reserve has yet to be met.

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