428 Cobra Jet! 1969 Ford Ranchero GT

The fourth-generation Ford Ranchero GT with the R-Code 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet V8 was a rare truck when new. With an automatic transmission, production may have been as little as 100 units. This pickup seems to be in that group, but it lost it’s 428 some time ago and a small-block 302 resides there now. The vehicle has been parked for more than seven years, so it will be up to the buyer to get it going again. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the aging hauler is available here on eBay where the opening bid of $8,500 has yet to be made. Our thanks to Elliott Espinosa for sending this tip our way!

Ford’s Ranchero nameplate began in the late 1950s as a “gentleman’s pickup.” Then the badge was transferred to the new Ford Falcon compact platform in the early 1960s. And finally, it became a mid-sized pick-up later in the 1960s. The Fairlane/Torino series was redesigned in 1968 and the Ranchero was included. Total Ranchero production for 1969 would total 18,809 units of which 2,385 would be the sporty Ranchero GT. The R-Code 428 CJ was reserved for the GT and the seller tells us less than 200 of them were built with either a 4-speed or automatic.

As the story goes, this ’69 GT was owned by a friend of the seller for more than 40 years. He parked it in a carport more than seven years ago and there it sat until recently. Unfortunately, the 365 hp engine that made the pickup special was replaced by a grocery-getter 302 motor with an automatic shift. The seller has not attempted to start it but the fuel was drained some time ago which was a smart move. It was pushed around by hand for the various photos that are provided.

The seller’s images appear to be “before and after” shots. The ones with the gold center Daytona wire rims were put on to roll it around and then replaced with the chrome wheels that will go with the deal. The after shots tend to reflect a truck that was given a wash and wax job which may or may not have been a good idea. The body and bed look decent except for some small dents and dings and the seller says there is no rust to be found. Under the hood, the shock towers were cut, someone’s short-cut way of getting at the spark plugs on the bulky 428.

Getting at the passenger compartment will require going in through the passenger side as the driver’s side door is stuck and the door panel there is missing. The rest of the interior looks to have been redone and looks okay although the carpeting is worn. While the seller tells us the vinyl top is fine, there is some material lifting around the windshield. The reported mileage is 22,245, but it’s quite likely there could be a “1” in front of that number. This ’69 Ranchero GT would be more valuable if the Cobra Jet were still in place. With a small block instead, its average resale value is estimated at just under $10,000, according to Hagerty.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    If the seller is hoping to get close to their opening bid they need to include the VIN and Marti report. Without either if those, it’s a generic non-running $3,500, at best, Ranchero well past its prime.

    Steve R

    Like 16
    • Robert Lopez

      That thing is worthless without the original engine, maybe worth $1500 at best.

      Like 4
  2. Blackbeard

    This car was assembled in Kansas City, MO
    In 1969. It is code 49 which we have now learned is a 2 door bucket seat model (500 XL-GT)
    Engine-R code 428 Cobra Jet..335-365HP
    #205985 as the serial number….

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      Thanks, I missed that.

      Steve R

      Like 2
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      It’s a shame the original 428 is gone and apparently, so are the original bucket seats. That hack job on the shock towers is another mess to be put right. I don’t see $8,500 for this sad example, maybe $3k or $4k at best. Unless someone has a 428 lying around, this Ranchero has limited appeal as-is.

      Like 6
  3. Derek

    What’s with the cut-away strut towers?

    Like 9
    • Daniel wright

      Rust, impact damage, twisted frame? You pick one…

      Like 5
    • piston poney

      people cut the struts out on a big block ford to get the spark plugs easier, thats why on a dodge there are openings in the finder wells you can screw out and get to the plugs easier.

      Like 7
      • gaspumpchas

        by removing the shock towers like this, you have compromised the strength and integrity
        of the unibody. Shame, even with a smaller mill and a 4 speed you could have some fun here.
        Good luck and happy motoring.
        Cheers
        GPC

        Like 7
      • JOHN Member

        Plugs on the 390/428 engines in the Fairlane body cars were not too difficult to change. Changing plugs on the Mustang/Cougar, that’s another story entirely! I’ve never seen shock towers cut like that before.

        Like 6
  4. Dave

    Well we all have to really like a car to take on a restoration of anything this size. In the case the best of what it was is long gone. It’s not worth much as is.

    Like 7
  5. Sam Shive

    Once again. Someone wanting BIG Money for a car that is NO Longer what it started as.

    Like 15
    • Steve R

      The VIN says otherwise.

      A buddy spent the last two years looking for a 69 Cobra, you very rarely see Torino GT’s or Cobras with their original 428’s, that’s also the case with Mustangs and Cougars. Serious buyers have figured that out, they will discount NOM cars, but not dismiss them. That’s the way it works with almost every muscle car, if it’s origins can be verified, they still have value above a base model in similar condition, that’s not going to change.

      Steve R

      Like 8
  6. Cadmanls Member

    What a shame, no longer a 428 ranchero and those shock towers oh my! Had to be hacked for headers my only guess and wrong ones at that. Too bad.

    Like 7
  7. gaspumpchas

    I’ve seen some buggered up shock towers but these take the cake. On a unibody like this the shock towers are stout because they are part of the load bearing uni structure. Lots of work to fix. good luck and happy motoring,
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 12
  8. markp

    The proper way to change the plugs on a 428 in a car like that is to disconnect the motor mounts and jack the engine up, not butcher the shock towers.

    Like 12
  9. Motorcityman Member

    I bought and sold 2 Rancheros in the last year.
    This one is a $3 or $4,000 one at best.

    Like 9
  10. Cav427

    Unless there is the original 428 block in the bed, this will never be a numbers matching vehicle. Repair, restore, modify then drive. Coyote or 427 anyone?

    Like 5
  11. cold340t

    Hmmmm, back in the late 80’s one of these was stolen in SF. By some crack heads in North Oakland. It was orange too. They pulled the engine/trans out with a fork lift. Body was recovered but, not not eng/trans. Loved hearing about the arrest. For ruining such a rare car/truck.
    This one would be so cool if it had it’s 428. the 302 not so much.

    Like 3
  12. Rustytech Member

    I’ve never seen that much metal removed from the shock towers to access spark plugs. I’d be concerned about structural stability.

    Like 4
  13. Erik

    Quit using Haggerty values. They are based upon “agreed values” between insured and insurer not based upon true condition or market values.

    Like 9
  14. Gary Rhodes

    It deserves to be saved. This will be a $60,000.00 car in a few years. Definitely needs shock towers, source from another western car, it’s very doable. Back in the early 80’s I knew a guy that had one with the Drag Pack, 4speed, warmed over motor, it was very fast. He put concrete in the tailgate and in front of the rear tires for traction.

    Like 2
  15. James427

    It’s not just the rare and expensive 428 that has to be considered here. There is also the unobtanium ram air and air cleaner set up, the cobra jet heads, the cobra jet exhaust manifolds, intake, carb, pvc tubes, engine mounts, bellhousing, 4spd and a lot more. There is probably $20,000 missing between those hacked shock towers.

    Like 5
  16. JBD

    Prime candidate for a Flaming River suspension/ Coyote motor Restomod conversion. A lot of work is required to get back to original.

  17. Howie Mueler

    Why put 428 in the title when it no longer has one?

    Like 2
  18. Patrick Lambert

    WOW!!!! What a hack job on those shock towers. There is no excuse for that hackery!!!

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