The last of the Ford Rancheros are losing their market

Ford’s Ranchero debuted for 1957 with fantastic finned styling and proved that the coupe utility was a practical and quite often attractive alternative to a traditional compact pickup, something that Americans had forgotten but Australians had known since the 1930s.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/30/ford-ranchero-losing-their-market

Always wondered why vehicles like this aren’t made anymore, post Subaru Baja. I mean, they could load it up with apps and cupholders just fine. Put that self-parking junk on it, and it would be a nice alternative to the huge, cheesy “pick-ups” of today. I guess you can’t fit mud tires and “roll coal” in them though, which would lose the country music fan-base demographic and soccer moms.

The Ranchero was always based on other Ford vehicles; they started out being based on the main Ford station wagon, switched to the Falcon a few years later, and kept that sort of thing up. Being able to use the same platform for multiple vehicles was the only thing that made this feasible. I’m not sure how well trying to turn a Mustang into a Ranchero would work economically, and that’s the only car Ford still makes.

The styling ain’t bad? It’s awful! Compare a trim '71 to a '76. A hard-core Ford guy like me bought a new '78 El Camino because the '78 Ranchero was such an eyesore! Likewise, the '74-77 El Caminos are dogs because of the horrid front end that accentuates the bloated bodywork.
The Fed 5MPH bumper requirement in '74 really was the final nail in the “Malaise” era. Poorly built, poorly designed, poor performance, and ugly park bench bumpers define the era- and why most American cars from then aren’t desirable.

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The Ranchero lost it’s way in the ‘64 model year, IMHO.

As a side note, Left Hand Utes, out of Denver, is converting/legalizing Holden and Ford Utes from Australia. And Smyth Performance is building Ute kits for several platforms-Dodge Charger, VW Jetta, Audi A3, Subaru Sti, and, most recently, the first gen New Beetle.

I’m a Ford guy but still have to say those cars are ugly. They were ugly then and they still are so strike one against them selling. Can’t find young buyers for them? Duh, and it will only get worse over the next 10+ years for many others besides them. That is strike two and there will be no need for strike three.

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Younger buyers are not attracted to mid 70’s thru 90’s cars, trucks and sports cars…terrible gas mileage, marginal safety equipment and bulbous styling…the dwindling value of the 60’s and early 70’s muscle cars should be expected as that market has been overheated for years…today’s muscle is much faster, safer, gets better gas mileage and needs little maintenance…the collectible car market is dwindling in values and declining in buyers…a trend that will continue…

In California there is one thing that hampers the popularity of the late Rancheros and their contemporaries. Vehicles produced after 1975 are subject to Smog regulations that impede modifications. The post 1975 vehicles find it more difficult as they age to find replacement emission control devices. I have had a couple of Rancheros and still have a 1965 Falcon Ranchero; v-8 originally 4 speed/ manual valve body C4. I have no desire to part with it. The mechanicals are cheap as they are almost all interchangeable with Mustangs of the same years. for that reason maintenance is well supported. The 1966 (Falcon front clip)and 1967 Fairlane as well as the '68 and '69 Torino versions appear regularly. The models through the early seventies also often seen in California. Another strike against the Rancheros is being used for work, many were driven into the ground, the same reason that station wagons are not a regularly noticed.

Hate to sound negative but I’ve been a genuine car guy since before Hagerty was a name. I’ve built as many cars or more than most. And to say that Hagerty has the power to mark the actual value on a car almost makes me laugh. I have at this time two cars that are insured thru Hagerty and I’m glad that they are, but I don’t really believe that Hagerty has the power to say what they are worth. I live in Oklahoma, Mid America. The majority of the car people I know buy a car on what they think it’s worth to them and what it’s valued to the general public. Not to an insurance company. I’m building a 62 Ranchero and almost everyone that sees it tries to buy it for an impressive amount, regardless of what someone else says it’s worth. Just my opinion as a true car guy. Not trying to insult anyone or anything. A car is worth what it’s worth.

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No way that the 1965 Ranchero lost its way. Hello? First year for the 289 with only the 64 and 65 body style. Looks a lot like the Comet Caliente, but way better looking than the earlier Falcon models. And, with that engine in that small frame they were VERY fast.
Just sayin…

The Wonderful World of the automobile ended for me in the 70’s when the government decided it knew more about the automobile then the manufactures did.
Sure the new cars have all the bells and whistles, but do you have the expertise and all the special equipment to keep them running on your own?
Just the cost of a new computer will make your wallet quiver.
Soon according to all the hype the only vehicles that will be produced are SUV’s and Pickup Trucks.
Now won’t that just be exciting.
Yes, that’s what Ford has announced.
No more sedans, except maybe a 4 door Mustang and that will just about end my appreciation for the american iron.
Enter the Europeans to pick up the slack and dominate the markets.
Guess I will just keep the old 69 Pontiac and the 67 Mustang and when I can no longer get parts I can at least go out to the garage, uncover them and admire the beauty of what American cars use to look like.
And neither one of them is plastic dominated.

I agree that the 70’s American Ranchero’s were plain ugly as were the muscle cars of the 70’s (Mustang, Corvette to name a couple) we here in South Africa were lucky to have the Australian Ford Falcon Ute’s which were called Ranchero here in SA. Two shapes were build one from 1970-1972 and then from 1973 to about 1978/9.

here we got a 1973 GT500 429 4 speed car that i just pick up and im not a ford guy but sure like it when came up on it and sad for the one who sold it thy had no clue what it was but am looking for input on it ? its no longer has 429 but a 460 in place of it.

This my project I slammed it looks bitchin.

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@fochoajr81- I dig that! Must be a fun cruiser.