Mercury Marauder Powered 1958 Ford Ranchero

When it comes to utes, Chevrolet’s El Camino always seems to be the scene-stealer. Of course, Ford beat Chevrolet to the punch, two years earlier, with their Ranchero, and today’s find is a first-gen from 1958. Not featured often here on Barn Finds, this example is a nice discovery! It is located in Los Angeles, California and is available, here on craigslist for $12,500.

Introduced in both Standard and Custom trim levels for 1957, approximately 21K Rancheros rolled off of Ford’s assembly lines that year. For ’58, the styling remained similar to the previous year but things took a downturn as the volume halved to just 9,900 units – the “punk” 1958 economy was part of the problem for Ford and everyone else in the automotive biz. In spite of the Chevrolet El Camino’s 1959 model year introduction, Ranchero sales improved to 14K. Moving into 1960, the Ranchero relocated to the compact Falcon line and buyers responded positively, snapping up over 21K examples.

Power is identified as a “Mercury Marauder” engine and its two-barrel carburetor indicates that it’s a 240 gross HP 332 CI “FE” V8. There was a 352 CI engine available too, but research indicates that those 300 HP engines were four-barrel carburetor-equipped. Any clarity that can be provided regarding powertrain availability would be appreciated. Equipped with an automatic transmission, probably a Fordomatic three-speed unit, the seller provides no real description (it runs and drives) of this Ranchero’s operating prowess but claims that it can be driven home – I guess that depends on how far away home may be. It is mentioned that the carburetor has been rebuilt, the fuel pump replaced, and a new aluminum radiator has been installed but the brakes could use some help.

The exterior’s onyx finish looks great though the trim is a bit tarnished and the chrome-plating is thin. There is no obvious rot or crash damage but the seller mentions that the “inside rockers need a little metal as there is some rust“. It would be nice to know exactly what “a little metal” will entail. It is nice to see a vehicle like this Ranchero that has been left in stock form, right down to its wheel covers, there appear to be no modifications of any kind that have been applied. While the cargo bed belies the overall condition of this Ford, it appears solid, just used as intended, with a minimum of surface rust observable.

The interior features a reupholstered black vinyl bench seat with what looks like worn carpet, a tarnished instrument panel, and a replacement radio. All-in-all, it shows fine, it’s just reflecting its age in places. The dash itself looks OK too, but it’s difficult to tell if it’s a padded or standard steel-topped piece.

So, dare I say that this 1958 Ford Ranchero is a survivor? It looks like one to me, this is actually the best example of an original, non-modified Ranchero that I have uncovered, and being a less than-commonly found ’58 model adds to its allure. This Ford, as it sits, looks like it could be enjoyed as is (well, perhaps after some brake work), wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. BlondeUXB Member

    Rear styling reflects 1957.
    (1958 front clip ?)
    Perhaps someone more informed/knowledgeable than myself can clarify…

    Like 4
    • sir_mike

      In 1958 Ford used the 1957 rear.Smaller taillights then what the 1958 had.It is weird but factory built them that way.

      Like 15
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        You are correct sir! I did some research on a Ranchero website before I wrote the post and one of the standout items for the ’58 model was the use of the ’57’s rear end. There wasn’t any explanation given but cost savings, as Bob C. alludes to, was probably a driving factor.

        JO

        Like 6
  2. Will Fox

    In `58 Ford’s wagon tailgate would have worked just fine, and supplied some differentiation between the `57 and `58 models. Why they used the `57 tailgate is beyond me, except maybe they had left over sheet metal to use.

    Like 3
    • Bob C.

      I can only guess that the dual oval taillight setup would have been a lot more expensive and complex compared to the 57s.

      Like 4
  3. Uncle Kevin

    RE: 57 vs 58 tail light issue: I blame Obama!

    Like 17
  4. tiger66

    @Jim ODonnell: Mercury never used the 332. However in 1961 and ’62, they did use a 2-barrel version of the 352 good for 220 horsepower that they called the “Marauder 352.” That would explain the Mercury valve covers and the description of the engine in the listing. I think it was just a simple engine swap from a 352 Mercury donor car.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I was running with the assumption that it was a Ford 332 V8, which would be correct, but with Mercury valve covers but I guess an entire engine swap is more logical.

      Thx,

      JO

      Like 1
  5. geezerglide85

    Sedan deliveries were the same way, they also had ’57 tail lights not the oval ’58 wagon lights. Maybe Ford was using up leftover stock and these being just utility vehicles, style wasn’t a priority.

    Like 2
  6. Bill Descoteaux

    The Mercury Maurauder V8 is most likely a 390 out of a ’61 or later Merc, which would drop right in if the Ranchero originally had a 332 or 352. Before ’61, it would have been based on the MEL block and would have either been a 383 or 430, and may have needed different motor mounts.

    • Kirk C Hoffman

      I used to know where there was a ’59 Ranchero that was powered by a REAL Marauder engine, The 375 HP 430! It was FAST!

      Like 3
    • Ken

      Could have been a 410

  7. jeff

    Cool old car/truck for the price of a 100,000 mile econocar. It would be great as a hauler as long as the load wasn’t too heavy. Park it under your carport to keep the rain off of it. I hope somebody gets it to use and not to restore.

    Like 3

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