Michigan Barn Find: 1968 Ford Ranchero GT

With Barn Finds celebrating its 10th birthday, the inevitable question is whether there will ever be an end to the amazing classic cars that people will unearth in sheds and barns around the country, or indeed, around the world. My personal belief is that these cars will still be appearing for many decades to come. As our society begins to turn its attention towards zero-emission vehicles, it will become more important than ever to find these classics and preserve them for future generations to admire and appreciate. That’s what makes cars like this 1968 Ford Ranchero GT so special. It has been unearthed in a Michigan barn, and it appears to be remarkably well preserved. The owner has decided to move the vehicle on to someone who can appreciate this beauty. Located in Haslett, Michigan, you will find the GT listed for sale here on craigslist. You could park this classic in your garage by handing the owner $10,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Mike P for referring the Ranchero to us.

Once the owner pulled back the cover and rolled the Candy Apple Red Ranchero into the light of day, a remarkably well-preserved vehicle was revealed. It spent its early life in the Arizona/Nevada region of the country, which will have helped its cause. It arrived in Michigan in 1989 and has been kept in a barn ever since. It has never seen snow, and all of these factors have helped slow the progress of the dreaded tin worm. The owner says that the GT has very little rust, but he doesn’t elaborate further on this claim. There’s nothing worth mentioning visible in the supplied photos, which suggests that the floors might need some work. The paint isn’t perfect, but if the buyer wants to retain the car as an unmolested survivor, it could be left untouched. However, someone has replaced the hood for unknown reasons, and this will need to be painted to match the rest of the Ranchero. The panels are straight, the trim and chrome are respectable for a driver-grade classic, and there are no issues with the tinted glass. The Ranchero rolls on its correct GT wheels, and there are no apparent problems with those.

One of the significant advantages of these light pickups like the Ranchero and the El Camino is that they tend to be lighter than the vehicles from which they were derived. That means that they can offer some excellent “bang for your buck” for performance enthusiasts. That should be the case with this GT, which features a 390ci V8, a C6 automatic transmission, a 9″ rear end, power steering, and power brakes. That 390 should be producing 314hp, which is enough to send the Ranchero down the ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds. That’s a pretty respectable figure for a vehicle that Ford conceived as a commercial vehicle to be used by farmers and builders. This Ranchero runs and drives, but it hasn’t seen active service since it arrived in Michigan. That means that it will require a thorough inspection before it could be considered roadworthy. Still, the performance potential that it offers should make it worth the effort.

The Ranchero springs a surprise when we look inside because the interior is pretty presentable. The upholstered surfaces are free from rips and tears, while the dash and pad show no evidence of cracks or splits. There are mats over the original carpet, but even if this is worn and stained, the buyer should be able to locate a new set for under $250. The two most significant flaws are the badly cracked wheel and the missing bezel from around the bottom of the shifter. I believe that the wheel has deteriorated beyond the point of no return, so the buyer will need to spend around $220 on a replacement. The bezel is a cheap one, with reproduction items available for approximately $50. With those few items addressed, this interior would present well for a driver-grade classic.

The owner says that Ford didn’t build the Ranchero in significant numbers and that only around 200 were the GT version with a 390 under the hood. That figure gels closely with the figures that I’ve seen, making this car a bit of a rarity. It deserves to be preserved in the face of the changes that we will undoubtedly see in the automotive industry in the coming years. That way, it will be there so that future generations can gain an insight into the sorts of cars that have been a part of our daily lives and which they had the misfortune not to experience. Every aspect of our history deserves preservation, and this Ranchero GT is no exception.

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Comments

  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have not driven a Ranchero, but I have an El Camino. They can be fun vehicles and I’m sure this one could also. I would use this one as a grocery getter or parts hauler, and for that I’m sure it’s well suited.

    Like 4
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Having owned a ’70 Ranchero GT, I’d love to have another and the ’68-’69 body style is my favorite. The price seems fair for a big block and it’s nicely equipped with buckets, power brakes and A/C. Assuming the rust is minimal and it doesn’t need a ton of mechanical work, this could be a good buy. Personally, I’d remove the tonneau cover as I don’t care for them. This little pickup seems to be complete with all the Ranchero specific trim present and I do like the GT wheels, a nice change from the over-abundant Magnum 500s. Love to have this one, it’s got the potential to be great candidate for a fairly straight forward restoration.

    Like 6
  3. HC

    This is a fair price for a GT Ranchero. The big block 390 along with power brakes and possibly front discs doesnt hurt at all. Would be easy enough to add AC and repaint. Hoping rust would be minimal as claimed to be. Great find!

    Like 6
  4. Terry J

    One could get by with semi gloss black paint on the hood and (dare I say it?) a matching black bedliner and pretend it was all done on purpose rather than covering a primered replacement hood. Then drive it. Had a pal that had a 390 GTA of that year back in the day, and it was a hot car. :-) Terry J

    Like 3
  5. Kevin

    I like this truck, I’m sure it will not have a problem finding a new home.

  6. Ted Mathis

    Ten Grand for a 68 El Camino SS? Yes.

    Ten Grand for a 68 Ranchero GT? Nope.

    Like 2
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      As far as I’m concerned, it’s the other way around.

      Like 16
  7. John

    Had a ’72 Ranchero with the 351C, 2V intake & C4 trans, 2.75 rear end. Put out a whopping 163hp. I got smoked at a light by a Suzuki Swift…

    Like 2
  8. Andy B

    How ironic. At a job site today, and came across its sibling. However, the one I came across is in horrible shape. No interior, no glass, the rear end has rotted thru so the body is actually on the ground! Not a single straight panel to be found…

    Yes, I’ve got pictures, if anyone’s interested…

    Like 1
  9. jimbo

    missing the center console. That isnt cheap but not the end of the world. The 390 s code GT engine is 325 hp. It looks like the old hood may have bent like most do without care. The c-stripes are missing and looking at the paint and aftermarket tonneau cover Im sure its been repanted. Still very nice but not 10k nice.

    • jimbo

      The front bumpers wrong too.

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