Project Pickup: 1979 Ford Ranchero GT

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If you don’t need a real truck but you sometimes have to haul things: motorcycles, bags of mulch, bales of hay, etc. this 1979 Ford Ranchero GT might do the trick. This project pickup is listed on eBay with a buy it now price of $2,500 and it’s located in Red Oak, Texas.

The body on this Ranchero has a nice ppppppp… it has a great looking ppppppp.. dang, I can’t bring myself to say it. The faded and worn paint has a great look to it. If it’s just used as a work hauler it’s probably fine as is, but I would think that most people would want it to shine. The Ranchero GT was the “sporty” model, they also made the base Ranchero 500 and the posh Ranchero Squire. The Torino disappeared in 1976 and even though this would be the last gasp for the Ranchero, I for one am glad to see any car maker take a risk, otherwise we’d all be driving the same boring silver sedans.

I really like the graphics on the Ranchero GT and these American Racing wheels set off the look perfectly. Normally I’m a keep-things-original-spec guy but I like the look of these wheels on almost any vehicle. This seventh-generation Ranchero is based on the Ford LTD II, remember that one? I absolutely love the fact that Ford took a risk and made this generation and based it on the LTD II.

The interior is pretty rough and rugged here, it’ll need to have pert’near everything repaired or replaced. With Hagerty listing the #2 excellent value of a 1979 Ford Ranchero as being just over $12,000 it won’t take too long before that number is hit just with replacement parts, let alone the labor to put them in if a person weren’t able to do that him/herself. The bed looks pretty solid and you can see that there’s a 351 air cleaner back there…

.. And that 351 air cleaner goes here. This one would have had around 145 hp when new but the seller says it’s “very tired”. This could be a great first car for someone who is looking for an older vehicle to tinker with and have a comfortable car to drive yet still have room to haul around a couple of dirt bikes or an ATV. They aren’t as loved as the older Rancheros, but are any fans of these last Rancheros out there?

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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    It’s funny how I wouldn’t have given one of this generation of Rancheros a second look when they were new, but would consider owning one, today.

    Hope it goes to a good home.

    Like 1
  2. chad

    REALLY like the ’60-63 w/the 200/3.3 (’64/6 is OK too).
    Buddy hadda GMC. Remember the name of that1?
    (the che**y wuz “el camino”.)

    Like 0
    • Eric M.

      wasn’t it called the caballero?

      Like 0
      • Bill Owens BillOMember

        It depends on the year. It was called the GMC Sprint from 1971 to 1977; called the GMC Caballero from 1978 to 1987.

        Like 1

    The last year was 1977 – mine was built May 1977…got the Marti report trying to see if it was the last.

    Another correction – the LTDII could have been based on this platform as they had been running this body/frame for years – from the firewall back – just changing the front clip.

    Like 0
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Nice car, Lawrence! The LTD II-based Ranchero ran from 1977 to 1979. The last year for the Torino-based Ranchero was 1976.

      Like 1
    • Harold Wood

      I have A blue and White 79 just exactly like the one in your picture, at least thats what year the title to mine says so I can’t see how your 77 was the last year Unless there is something else you ment about it was the last year for yours.

      Like 1
  4. angliagt angliagtMember

    Before you buy it,make sure that it’ll fit in your garage.
    These things are big/long.

    Like 0
  5. DB

    They look great with Thunderbird front clip on them, too

    Like 0
  6. Classic Steel

    Amazing how US car makers never started remaking these for suburban folks!

    No worries Toyota and Nissan have it under control 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑

    Like 0
    • Concinnity

      Both Ford and GM made this type of car right up to 2017, when they ceased production. In Australia. So RHD only for the Ford, but LHD for the Holden/Chev was available.
      Ford even kept on calling it the Falcon, but not the Ranchero, just the ute. A 4.0 l DOHC v.v.t.i. straight six based on the old US Falcon/Mustang/Truck six or a current Ford Coyote V8 were the engine choices with the ZF six speed auto shared with BMW and JLR, or the 6 speed Tremec manual from the Mustang. This tech combined with a leafsprung live rear axle.

      Like 0
      • z28th1s

        The 6 speed manual in the ’11 and up Mustangs is a Getrag, not a Tremec.

        Like 1
      • CJ

        WOW! Looks great…… Would love to have one of these cool looking trucks! These were only available in Australia? Ford misses the boat so often due to bad decisions on belhalf of their leaders; like the Ranger when Ford ceased production after the 2012 edition…. Own a 2004 Ranger “Edge” a great vehicle, my second Ranger….. See them all over Houston as plumbing, “bug,” auto parts stores, delivery trucks…. BIG MISTAKE by FORD! They are scheduled to return in 2019 at an extremely high sales price, probably a minimum of $30K to get into a decent truck.

        Like 0
      • Concinnity

        Sold in Australia AND New Zealand. Thought the Commodore ute is more popular where I am in NZ. Maybe because it’s got IRS and a full unit body. If you’re looking for one to bring into the US, LHD ones were sold in the middle east as Chevrolet Lumina Utes, or you could do a little reassembly with a crashed Chev SS or Pontiac G8, or these guys will do it for you in Denver The GM product comes with the Chev 6.2 LS2 and six speed manual or auto. They have 50/50 weight distribution so they handle like a long Corvette. For a giggle, check this video out of a Holden SS Ute at the Nurburgring, lapping comfortably faster than ‘normal’ trucks.

        Like 0
  7. Steve

    Had one of these in the 90’s. Had the bumpers moved into the body and really helped the look…not so late 70’s. Traded for a 63 Ranchero.

    Like 0
  8. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    I was lucky enough to have owned a ’70 Ranchero GT with the 300 HP 351 Cleveland, FMX trans, posi rear with factory air. Arrest-me -red outside with the laser stripes, black buckets and interior with console. A real performer and with eye-catching looks.

    Never cared for the later Rancheros; too big, bulky looking and under-powered. This final version Ranchero is a tad gaudy and way too big for my taste. The older crowd will remember that for some reason, brown/yellow combos were pretty popular back in the late ’70s to early ’80s. Have no Idea why that was.

    Still, you can probably get this one on the cheap and turn it into a decent daily driver.

    Like 0
  9. ACZ

    Always been a fan of car based pickups, but El Caminos are my thing. Still, you have to love the Rancheros, too. The competition between them kept both alive. The first “crossover”. What made them redundant was S10 and Ranger. Those were just plain cheaper to manufacture. Bean-counters screwing things up one more time.

    Like 0

    Scott…thanks your correct – but how did my 1979 change to 1977 – twice ?

    Like 0
  11. Melvin Burwell

    Always liked these trucks. You don’t see as many as you see el caminos. Cheaper in price than the chevy too. Good buy for fixer upper.

    Like 0

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