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Black Plate Driver: 1958 Ford Ranchero


Classics with black license plates are desirable because it means they have been in California for a long time. That doesn’t ensure anything, but there’s a good chance there’s less rust than cars from other parts of the country. That’s the hope with this cool old Ranchero. It’s been resprayed and reupholstered, but looks like a very nice driver quality rig. The best part though is that this is an H-code Ranchero and that means that there was once a 300 horsepower Interceptor V8 under the hood! It’s located in Anderson, California and is listed here on eBay without reserve!


I said there was once an Interceptor engine under the hood because someone has yanked it out and dropped a 351 in there. That’s a shame, but I bet it’s still a lot of fun to drive. Everything looks clean and it’s sounds like it’s ready to be enjoyed. Although an original car would be nice, this is the kind of classic you can drive regularly and make minor modifications without feeling bad.


Things are clean inside too, but the velor fabric covering the seats is not original. That could easily be corrected with an upholstery kit, but then again, this is probably the perfect material to have in a classic you plan on driving regularly. Without air conditioning, vinyl can get a little steamy in the summer. This stuff would be less sticky in the summer and warmer in the winter.


So, it’s not exactly original, but it looks perfect as a driver. It has a few modifications that make daily use more pleasant and the old respray means you don’t have to feel as bad about the inevitable parking lot ding. This is a versatile classic too. The pickup bed means you can haul small loads or the dog around without any drama. All in all, this is one rad Ranchero!


  1. Steven C

    This thing is rad. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  2. JW454

    The advertiser doesn’t mention the brake upgrade to later model dual master cylinder with power assist. One can only wonder if they chose to convert to discs up front. That would would make this a much safer daily driver too.

  3. PaulG

    Had a ’58, Red & White w/ a matching interior.
    Mostly stock, V-8 and a 4 speed.
    Previous owns installed 63 or 64 Galaxie buckets & console. Looked 100% stock.

  4. rdc

    I like it. Not sure totally why.However, I like the 57s better.

  5. Chebby

    A chromed single exhaust always looks kinda stupid, but otherwise nicely done.

  6. Brian

    I think the black plates actually started in 1963.

    • brakeservo

      Either ’62 or ’63 but in any case many “black plates” are FAKED!! People have been known to repaint the Blue and even White plates to look like black plates, but for the passenger car plates is easy to know what’s authentic and what’s fake. The actual black plates begin with three letters and end with three numbers. The blue blates initially had three letters and then three numbers so if you see a ‘black’ plate in that format, it’s been repainted. I don’t know about the ‘commercial’ plates as shown on this car though.

      • Otto Nobedder

        Black plates can be assigned to any car in CA as long as that number/letter sequence is not in use on another color plate. In fact, black Vanity plates are now available from DMV

  7. Prowler

    Thumbs up..good looking truck

  8. Mike Williams

    the H code was almost identical to the Edsel’s 361/303 hp engine. Looks like it has a 351 Cleveland in it now and if it’s the 4v it isn’t no slouch.

  9. Steve

    Nice little truck, I’d drive that bad boy. I looked up several pics of ’58 Rancheros and wonder why some models feature little backup lights built into the fins. Curious, can someone explain this? Is this not a ’58?

    • z28th1s

      Steve, the picture in the link you posted looks like a ’59 Ranchero.

  10. Bill

    I too, prefer the 57 model, cleaner sheet metal, single round taillights, single headlights. The 361 engine was Lincoln based, not Ford.

    • nh911sc

      The 1958 361 is an FE engine. NOT a Lincoln.

      Like 1
  11. GOPAR

    This is obviously a ’57 Ranchero with a ’58 front clip. Still a nice ride, but it didn’t come from the factory like this, unless there’s some early ’58 models which came with a ’57 rear half until they used all the older body styles ’til they ran out of them…….NAH!!!

    • Old man

      The Vin number is H8RF118573
      H= V8 352/300hp (power option)
      8= 1958
      R= San Jose
      F= Ranchero

      Data Plate
      66B = Ranchero
      RE2 = Red / Colonial White ?
      Y= Colonial Sof Texured Vinyl and Red Whipcord or Red Sof-Texured Vinyl
      12M= December 12, 1957
      Trans Type??
      Rear Axle= 3.70:1

      I know I’m old but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. It probably is a duck.
      I’m a purist at heart but I appreciate mild customs.

      • Rocco Member

        Well, at least they replaced the 352 FE(351.8592) with the same bore and stroke 351 Cleveland & Windsor (351.8592). 4.000″ bore X 3.50 stroke. What a coincidence.

    • SoCal Car Guy

      1957 and 1968 Rancheros used the same doors, quarter panels, taillights and tailgates, with different holes punched for the side trim. The front clips (hoods, front fenders, grills, headlights and bumpers were unique to each model year but were interchangeable as a unit — i.e. you could put either a 1957 or 1958 front clip on either a 1957 or 1958 Ranchero, but the side trim on the doors and quarters did not match. 1957 and 1958 station wagons used different tailgates and tailights, that matched the passengfer cars of the same model year.

    • rich voss

      SoCalCarGuy answered this. I’m old so I knew that the back ends etc were the same for ’57 & ’58. Sharp car. I prefer the single headlight ’57s too, as others have mentioned, but wouldn’t “kick this one out of the garage” as it were. I’ll never forget the salesmen showing some “preferred” customers the operation of a ’57 Sunliner in the backlot of the dealership across the street from my house ! Amazing !

  12. Jay E.

    Wow, did this take me back to childhood. 5 kids in the back of a 58 Ranch wagon like this except Dad had the roof painted white to cool it down a bit. 390 with dual quads, quite the smoke screen when he was encouraged to “floor it daddy” by us kids.
    Thanks for the taillight info which (to my eyes) makes it look like a 58 front and a 57 rear.
    Sadly got sold in 68 for a VW bus. We hated that trade.

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