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Ford GT with a Bed: 1978 Ranchero GT

1978 Ford Ranchero GT

As we’ve discussed before at Barn Finds, the Ranchero is a rather unusual hybrid between a truck and a car. I really wasn’t aware of a “GT” model before, and I would have expected a 351 under the hood, not a big block! This nice looking vehicle is located in Omaha, Nebraska and is offered here on craigslist for $2,450. The vehicle was pulled out of ten years of storage about a year ago and is said to run well, but it needs help stopping.

1978 Ford Ranchero GT Interior

The interior is in gorgeous condition, as you can see. These last Rancheros were based on the comparable year Thunderbird, which explains the luxury inside. According to the seller, the car has a 460 V8, but as best as I can tell the largest engine fitted this year was a 400—maybe a Barn Finds reader knows more? This seems pretty inexpensive to me; what do you think?


  1. randy

    That is a great price, if it were only one state away, instead of 2, I’d be on it. Good hunting guys and gals!!

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  2. randy

    The Ranchero was built off of the full size station wagon, not the T-bird I don’t not believe.
    The Ranchero was always the wagon with the rear cover chopped off, Rancheros used the wagons tail lights etc.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Randy, I think in most cases you are right, but for these couple of years I found several references of it being off the Thunderbird platform. That being said, the internet can certainly be wrong!

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  3. jim s

    that looks like a good deal to me. do the PI and make the offer. nice enough to be a driver but rough enough that you would not mine using it as a light duty work truck. i wonder why it has not already sold. great find

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  4. Tom S.

    I love it. This thing takes me back to 1978 just like an episode of “The Love Boat”. And there is something of a resemblance to an ocean liner, don’t you think? I also think the CL ad has about the best disclaimer that I’ve seen in ages: “We’ll be honest, the pictures make it look better than it is…but it just isn’t too bad either. Don’t assume anything. Call, ask questions or come by and take a look.” Nice.

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  5. Fred

    My dad was a Ranchero guy and had the ’57, ’63, ’69 and ’78. His was red and white. It was obviously an LTD II which was a slightly stripped down T bird, not a full sized Ford.

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  6. Rick

    With a 460 it is probably a special order ” heavy duty towing package ” with a 9.75″ rear end and massive 11.75″ rear brake drums.
    78 Rancheros are LTD wagons , only the vary first years of Rancheros were T-Birds , GT had the extra luxury’s like AM-FM stereo and air-conditioning .
    The nice thing about Rancheros with 460s you don’t even need to bend over to change the plugs there right there above the fender wells.
    From what I see he is selling it way too cheep he could triple the price and still be a good deal unless there is some thing very wrong with it like missing the hole right side.

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  7. Leon

    Do Rancheros ride more comfortable than El Caminos ?

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  8. krash

    my aunt’s late 70’s Mercury Cougar (which she bought new) finally tanked after all these years…she’s eighty three and walks everywhere (not because she has to, but because she wants to.).
    Perhaps this Ranchero could fill in as her replacement ride…

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  9. Charles

    The 78 Ranchero was built on the LTD II wagon platform, not the T-Bird. The LTD II was the midsized Ford car for 1978 that replaced the previous Torino, however it becomes a little confusing since Ford also downsized the full size LTD in 1978. There was a newly downsized version of the Full size Country Squire wagon in 1978 that was almost the same size, but is a totally different car. The LTD II did share much of it’s underpinnings with the T-Bird and the Cougar, however the T-Bird only came as a coupe. The LTD II and Cougar were available as a four door and in a wagon body. The Ranchero for 1978 is based on the wagon chassis of this mid-sized car.

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  10. Charles
  11. Charles
  12. Charles


    This is the full sized LTD wagon before the model was downsized.

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  13. Mike D

    the seller states it looks worse in person than in the pics, but the interior and box look surprisingly good . the 460 MAY HAVE BEEN a special order, cuz, I don’t recall anything larger than a 351 in the LTD II If I owned it, it would NEVER be used as a truck the 460 would no doubt move it right along, but, also, not be able to pass a gas station w/o stopping in

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  14. WST

    Its sold. (I bought it.)

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Nice, please keep us updated WST!

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    • randy

      Congrats, saved me the trouble!!

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    • jim s

      great news. what are you going to do with it, use it for? does it have a 460? yes please keep us updated with text and photos. just checked and seller still has listing up.

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  15. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Back when I was attending college had access to my Uncle’s early 70’s Ranchero. Believe it had a 351 in it.
    Styling was the as the Torino with round headlights. Car was dark blue with factory decal/accent kit. Well appointed with options, that included a tonneau for the cargo bed.
    There was a reason I liked putting the cover over the bed, probably drove my uncle nuts but it kept the cool quotient intact. Why? The bed was almost non-existent due to corrosion.
    Loved that vehicle but didn’t know how to weld at the time and being a nice guy he wouldn’t have sold it to me for my own good, he was right.
    Never thought any of the later ones looked right with the rectangular lights and that included GM’s version in the ElCamino, which my Uncle later purchased to replace the Ford. Being a Ford man that was a big deal.
    Love the 460 variant. Would guess this was offered by Ford through options as they always seemed to sneak a way to get one in, just like GM. No doubt the VIN code could tell you the real story.

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  16. Charles

    I believe that the 460 was an option for the Ranchero, but not on the LTD II. On earlier years the 460 was available in the Gran Torino. The 460 was the staple engine for police package full size LTD’s in those years.

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  17. Pedro 8

    Hola a todos…como veis os hablo en español (España) el ranchero GT del 78 a acabado conmigo, pasando por Alemania me lo vendió Armind Nicolei. El coche es una bestia y en un mes aproximadamente pasara por plancha y pintura para dejarlo perfecto …os mandaré fotos!!

    Courtesy of Google Translate:
    Hello everyone … as you see I speak in Spanish (Spain) the rancher GT of 78 to finished with me, through Germany I sold Armind Nicolei. The car is a beast and in about a month will go through iron and paint to make it perfect … I will send pictures!

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