Project Pickup: 1968 Ford Ranchero 500

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From 1957 to 1979, the Ranchero was a staple in the Ford lineup. Technically a coupe utility, it was often referred to as a “gentleman’s pickup” because it was based on a car platform, not a truck. This fourth-generation Ranchero is from 1968 and needs work (especially body and paint), though it does run and drive. A tip from Gunter Kramer, this pickup is in Olathe, Kansas and the workhorse is available here on craigslist for $4,800.

The Ranchero would go through several transformations over the years. It began as a full-size pickup in 1957 based on a 2-door station wagon. From 1960-65, it shifted to a Falcon compact platform and finally settled down as an intermediate in 1966, based on the Fairlane/Torino. It would be popular enough to stick around for 23 years, seeing a production of more than a half-million units during that time. Its only direct competitor would be the Chevy El Camino which debuted two years later (1959).

Three trim levels of the truck were available in 1968, the Ranchero, Ranchero 500, and Ranchero GT. The seller’s pickup is the mid-level 500, which accounted for 10,000 copies that year. It’s powered by a 289 cubic inch V8 with an automatic transmission, but no mention is made if either is original to the Ford. The tranny has been converted to a floor shift, but the column shifter is still around. Dual exhaust has been added, so it sounds as good as it runs.

Efforts will need to be focused on getting the body and paint in order. The floors and fenders have both rust and filler from prior efforts to eradicate corrosion. We’re told the floors have some amateur patches but should suffice. The interior may need attention (it’s hard to tell) and the seats are not original, with buckets lifted from a 1980s Thunderbird being in place. And the seller says the Ranchero has some electrical issues but doesn’t elaborate as to what those problems may be. The truck will need restoring, but at least the cost of acquisition isn’t in another stratosphere.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    I wonder why anyone would move that shifter
    too the floor?

    Like 6
    • John

      I’m thinking to make it a lil more sporty, To go along with the T-BIRD bucket seats.

      Like 3
    • CCFisher

      Because there were holes in the floor already, so they said, “why not?”

      Like 6
  2. Troy

    Well I was interested until the picture where they moved the shifter to the floor

    Like 3
    • Lowell Peterson

      I guess patching the floor and connecting linkage is incomprehendable for some our our fellow…’enthusiasts?’ Looks to be a drive it while you fix it proposition for an amateur or first time old car guy or gal. And $4800 ask? C’mon fellas! Geez!

      Like 5
      • John R. LaShell

        I totally agree with you Lowell, Dont like on the floor, Move it back to the colume.. Not a big deal. Geez..

        Like 1
  3. Randall Bates

    I would be happy to own this. I always use the truck I have because I have a small ranch but it is a very long way to anywhere substantial and the first 20 miles out are dirt roads. Truck goes to town for stuff but my wife’s car goes on all the long runs. I would love having car inside with truck bed on back to haul straw, hay and alfalfa among other stuff. Little rust doesn’t scare me but electric can be a headache at times depending on what it is. Got me thinking… thanks 👍

    Like 1
  4. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    The rot is more concern than the floor shifter, but surprisingly, bed rails below look great.
    This is not a GT which would carry more desirability and it has the small V8. All in all not many exist today. Even less in the GT.
    I bought my ’68 GT 390 from the original owner’s family. It is rust free and has the quite uncommonly seen black vinyl roof. It has the black cloth bench seat and column shift auto. Red in color and black dash, black carpet. It will never leave my small group of collector cars, even tho I get asked to sell all the time. The body never saw any rust ever and bed is dent free.
    This blue one appears it may have been originally white…. it would look great with a nice new white paint finish applied and black reversed ‘C’ stripe. But please if any buy this, don’t put a raised hood scoop in the middle; that option only arrived on the nearly identical ’69 and forward.

    Like 2
  5. karl

    Just to be nit picky , the 66 Ranchero was still a Falcon, in 67 it was a Fairlane.

    Like 3
    • Steve

      The 66 Ranchero was a Fairlane from the firewall back, with a Falcon nose (hideous tail lights). It was in 67 that the Ranchero went Fairlane bumper to bumper. ~Fairlane Fanatic.

      Like 1
    • John R. LaShell

      Moot point, As this is a ’68.. Just sayin.

      Like 0
  6. Heartbreaker AL

    Being a Ranchero/ElCamino nut I think this car is probably going to be sold before this comment is even printed. If I didn’t have so many projects now I would take it.

    Like 1

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