Big-Block Horse Hauler: 1970 Ford Ranchero GT

By Mitchell Gildea

Though I am a dyed-in-the-wool GM and Mopar guy, I’ve always had a soft spot for Rancheros, especially 1970 and 1971 models. With Mustang prices reaching record prices (especially in big-block form) and Ford Torinos, Mercury Cougars and Mercury muscle cars skyrocketing in value, the Ranchero can be a smart and affordable collector-automotive buy. This 1970 Ranchero is not only a GT model, it also features a big-block 429. Find it here on eBay in Wells, Nevada, with a Buy-It-Now price of $10,500.

Like the intermediate Torino it was based off of, the Ranchero was redesigned for 1970, gaining a boxy body style and a new, shallow-pointed grille and front end with smooth, somewhat more curvaceous lines influenced by coke bottle styling. According to the included Marti Report, this Ranchero is optioned with the GT option package, and is one of 3,905 built as such; of those 3,905 GTs, 362 came with the 429 4-V big-block; 296 of those were backed by the C6 three-speed automatic; 19 of them were painted Dark Ivy Green Metallic; 7 of those had black vinyl bench seats; 4 of them had a black vinyl top; 2 of them had hidden headlamps; of the two, one came with power front disc brakes: this Ranchero GT presented here. Originally bought new in Sonora, California, the original owner bought the Ranchero GT to haul show horses to shows; eventually, the Ranchero was relegated to farm work. The seller does not mention when he bought the Ranchero, but does mention that he had stored it for several years. Other than the rotted-out bed, the rest of the Ranchero is in good shape, albeit missing a few parts and in need of total restoration. I think the Ranchero would look sharp restored with a yellow GT laser stripe and rolling on a set of 15X7 Magnum 500 wheels with Ford center caps and lug nuts wrapped in either a set of Goodyear Polyglas F70-15 tires or a set of Firestone Wide Oval FR70-15 raised-white-letter bias-look radial tires.

Though a 220 horsepower two-barrel 302 Windsor V8 was standard, as previously mentioned this Ranchero GT is fitted with the optional N-Code 429 4-V Thunder-Jet V8. Rated at 360 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, the 429 Thunder-Jet features 10.5:1 compression (compared to the 429 CJ and SCJ’s 11.3:1 compression) and is topped by an Autolite 605 CFM four-barrel carburetor. As previously mentioned, the 429 Thunder-Jet in this Ranchero GT is backed by the C6 three-speed automatic the engine is said to have previously run, but the transmission was inoperable according to the seller and the engine is believed to missing its oil pump. I would fix the transmission, source a correct oil pump, get the engine running again, and detail the engine and drivetrain, leaving it unrestored.

Looking over the interior of this car, the vinyl bench seat appears to have been removed, as does the gauges and door panels, though one of the door panels is inside the car currently. The owner mentions some rust where the seats are supposed to be mounted, but does not see any rust in the torque boxes. I dig the manual windows and three-spoke Rim Blow wheel, but I would remove and store the Philco AM radio and swap in a 1970 Ford AM/FM radio. Overall, this Ranchero GT will need a full-blown restoration, but considering that it is a one-of-one, I would take the risk and restore it to the concours condition it deserves. The seller also has a 1971 Ranchero in orange if this Ranchero is too rough or too expensive. What are your thoughts on this one-of-one Ford Ranchero GT?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I’ve always liked this year Ranchero, they made a nice cap that works well with the design. http://cdn.ipernity.com/134/30/15/35253015.0a378cba.640.jpg?r2
    All these car pickups suffered from lack of covered space inside, and the camper top solves that. Problem for me, is you’d think the 429 was the standard engine, after all, it was 1970, and big blocks ruled. I’d much rather have the 302 or even a 6. These car pickups fell out of favor pretty quick, because they did neither car or truck duties well. Nice find, lose the motor.

    6+
    • Barry Klotz

      Howard, Once had 1970 CUSTOM 500 Police Special . The 429 was awesome. So I think you should give it a little better rate.Thanks B.

      6+
    • Kevin

      23 years of production is falling out of favor pretty quick? And what exactly does “falling out of favor” mean? I had a 74 that carried out both duties quite well.

      2+
  2. D

    I would put it in the stable with my 71 SS454 El Camino. I have always liked both models, it GM a bit more.

    0
  3. Miguel

    The prices of Rancheros haven’t taken off yet.

    It seems like a lot of money for a car in this condition.

    What is it worth if it was done up really nice?

    It looks like everything needs to be done.

    Another thing, does the 429 develop enough vacuum to operate the headlight doors correctly?

    1+
    • philthyphil

      no

      2+
  4. Jay M

    Mitchell,
    A concours resto would include a complete teardown/documentation/rebuild of the driveline, too.
    This car deserves a proper restoration, unfortunately made more difficult as it appears someone started then stopped before.
    Ever try to “adjust” a rear quarter that some amateur installed?
    Or repair “new” bodywork on a car that was damaged but not straightened?
    Ask me how I know…

    2+
  5. Oil Slick

    What’s with all the hate? You get TWO Rancheros for 10 grand. The 429 is an awesome motor and the other has a Cleveland man…

    Chill

    6+
  6. cidevco Member
    1+
  7. angliagt

    I love those with the laser stripe.
    OTOH – These things are HUGE! Makes you
    feel like a Midget when sitting in one.

    0
  8. Kevin

    All GTs had concealed headlights, it was part of the package

    0
    • Ed

      Kevin, I had a 70 GT fastback and also had a 70 GT convert and neither Torino came with hideaways. Was an option as per Marti report.

      2+
  9. Freida Kirkland

    My husband was kind of doing a restoration with our youngest, but it died out long before he passed, the boy just wasn’t interested…can anyone give me an idea about this ’77 he’d been chroming the engine out in? I just don’t know anything about it except that he used to start it once a week and it was loud and bubbley sounding ☺ I’m fighting constantly with the critters trying to keep them out while I try to decide what to do with this beauty! I know the floor pans are rusted through and I’m sure there are other things, but somehow it got used to store junk and I can’t see everything about it right now? Have NO idea what engine/tranny etc…that it has, but I’m sure it runs – any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

    0
  10. Wayne

    I had a ’71 with a 5.0 (carbureted) and an AOD. What a great highway cruiser! It had the right amount of the hated word “patina” paint. And I received many jealous approval comments on the car.
    The wife hated the car (No A/C) so I sold it. I later got rid of her after 39 years. I should have kept the car!

    2+

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