Muscle Truck: 1969 Ford Ranchero R-Code 428 CJ

The Ranchero had a lengthy run at Ford, from 1957-79. It was something of a “gentleman’s pickup” with the functionality of a truck but the comfort of an automobile. More than a half million of these vehicles were produced in 23 years, so there certainly was a market – enough of a market for Chevy to get into the fray with its El Camino. The seller has two nearly-matching 1969 Rancheros to let go together – and one of them has a 428 Cobra Jet, not a common option for the pickup. The pair can be found in Pueblo, Colorado and are available together here on Facebook Marketplace for $10,000.

When Ford brought out the Ranchero, it was adapted from their 2-door station wagon platform that built the cab and cargo bed into the body. It would be based on all sorts of platforms over the years, including full-sized, compacts and intermediates. The fourth generation of the Ranchero would surface for 1968-69, this time as a by-product of the Fairlane/Torino line-up. In 1969, you could choose from the standard Ranchero, the Ranchero 500 (trimmed like the Fairlane 500) and the Ranchero GT which was akin to the Torino GT. Of all the engine choices that buyers had, one of them was the R-Code Cobra Jet 428 V-8. We’re not able to verify how many Ranchero’s had this powerplant, but we think they weren’t plentiful. Afterall, folks bought the Ranchero for some light-duty hauling, not to run the quarter mile at the local drag strip.

Ranchero production was soft in 1969 compared to other years. Ford built 18,800 of them that year. Since we don’t see evidence that this pair is either the 500 or GT, we’ll assume they were both standard Rancheros, making them two out of 5,200 units. The focus of the seller’s posting is the one 1969 Ranchero that the seller says was an R-Code from the factory. However, the original engine is long gone, having been replaced by another 428 from a 1969 Mustang Mach 1. However, it’s been broken down (apparently for a rebuild) and it will leave with the buyer in boxes. It’s mated to a heavy-duty C6 automatic transmission. Both vehicles are rollers if you can get the tires to hold air. For a breakdown on Ranchero production, you can go to the Ranchero forum.

It’s hard to tell the main truck from the parts truck that comes with the deal because they’re the same year and color. However, one of them has a rough hood with a scoop on it and 428 emblems, so that’s got to be the primary truck. We’re wondering if the scoop came off the Mach 1 the engine came out of because it doesn’t seem to match at all. The main truck looks to have some rear end issues given the way it sits, but the parts truck has more rust from what we can tell. We don’t get photos of the interiors of either truck, so we’re going out on a limb and suggest you might end up with one good truck out of two.

The seller says he’s over-run with projects, so there is no time to finish this one, too. While the engine is the big draw here, the seller says he’s willing to sell everything without the motor. Hagerty suggests that a Ranchero in fair condition is worth $4,000, but what would you have to pay as a premium to get a 428? And what’s the parts truck worth as a bonus?


  1. Walker

    As the day trucks are built to haul , this one was built to haul ass!

    Like 6
  2. Stangalang

    Even a slightly built 428 would have a problem getting traction in this..but think of the tire smoke that would be generated! Sounds like major fun to me

    Like 10
    • Turbo

      Cal tracs will make it hook like a 4 bar setup

      Like 1
  3. gaspumpchas

    If it was closer i’d grab ’em, look pretty good from here in the rust belt. I’d slide a 4 speed behind the 428. Good luck and stay safe!

    Like 4
  4. chrlsful

    the guys did great today – 10 outa 12 vehicles in the front page! This one?:

    as said way too light for that motor but…those were the daze.
    Carry around a chunk like the 1st gen Econoline (was it a 120# weight in the back?)? My pref – some kinda zf 5 speed transaxel…

    Gimmie the 2nd gen (falcon) or the 3rd (w/the stacked hdlghts) and leave all others for some 1 else…

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