Ford Ranchero 1968-1971

1968 saw the Fairlane line supplemented by the new Torino and the Ranchero followed suit, becoming the largest model since the full-sized 1959. Overall, the new Ranchero was not only bigger, but more angular than before with its more upright grille and the loss of the 1967 model's unique stacked headlights. The interior was all new as well, sharing the Torino/Fairlane's distinctive four-pod instrument cluster. Though the four round pods gave the illusion of an engine-turned dash, they instead featured warning lights for coolant temperature in the left pod and charging system and oil pressure in the pod third from the left. In upscale models, the large clock in the right pod was supplanted by a tachometer. A seat belt warning light was a new feature as well, lighting briefly in the far left pod whenever the engine was started. The model line also featured wraparound front side marker lamps which doubled as parking lights and rear side reflectors, mandated by US law for the 1968 model year and still in force today. The rear side reflectors are of particular note since the new law mandated that the markers were to light up when the headlights were switched on. Because of production issues, Ford was granted a waiver on the Fairlane/Torino/Ranchero as well as on the Mustang. The Mustang complied with the law in the all-new 1969 version; the Fairlane/Torino/Ranchero followed suit by the 1970 model year. Three trim levels were offered: The base Ranchero, the Ranchero 500 and the top-of-the line Ranchero GT. Engine choices began with the 250 cubic inch I-6 and ran to several V8 choices including the standard 302 with two-barrel carburetor, the new-for-1968 [[351 Cleveland] and the FE-based 390. The powerful 428 Cobra Jet, another FE derivative and the largest engine offered in the Ranchero to date, was a mid-year option. Like the Torino/Fairlane, the Ranchero could be had with virtually all of the same options as its cousins including air conditioning, bucket seats, AM/FM radio, optional wheels, front disc brakes, hood scoop (standard on GT) and even a vinyl top. The 1969 Ranchero saw slight cosmetic changes. Changes across the model line were in the flatter grille less the horizontal crossbar and Ford crest, relocation of GT grille badging from the crest to the lower right corner of the grille as viewed from the front, a change from black-faced instruments to silver and a new steering wheel with slimmer spokes similar to that across the Ford product line unlike the wheel with its broader "safety pad" used in the 1968 intermediates and compacts. The only change unique to the Ranchero was the relocation of the "Ranchero" script from the rear quarter panels to the front fenders.

Original Condition Preparing for Paint Paint/Finished

A little-known and extremely rare offering in 1969 was the Rio Grande. Available on special order, this was essentially a GT in the so-called "Grabber" colors of "Wimbledon White", "Poppy Red" or "Calypso Coral," partially blacked-out hood with scoop, side stripes, bed rails, vinyl top and unique "Ford Ranchero Rio Grande" wheel centers. As a result, Rancheros so equipped received Ford's "SPECIAL PERFORMANCE VEHICLE" identification on the data plate regardless of engine choice. These vehicles may be identified by the aforementioned designation as well as a blank space where the trim code would normally be found. Production figures are unclear, but may have been around 900 total units.

Interesting Ranchero Links