Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Ranchero GT Brougham

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Since we haven’t seen a Ford product in this series since this Fox Granada four months ago, and we just saw three GM cars in succession, I decided this week would be the turn of a once-plush Ranchero GT Brougham, now fallen on hard times in a San Jose self-service wrecking yard.

One of the hallmarks of the Malaise Era was the use of big, wild graphics and interior gingerbread on the kinds of vehicles that had powerful engines just a few years earlier. This Ranchero has some great stripes and dramatic-looking GT emblems.

It was already well into hooptie territory when it got into its career-ending wreck.

This cartruck is from the Ranchero’s final generation, which was based in the midsize 1977-1979 LTD II. GM kept making El Caminos and Caballeros until 1987, while Chrysler made front-wheel-drive Rampages and Scamps for the 1982 through 1984 model years. We’ve seen discarded 1978 and 1979 Rancheros so far in the Junkyard Find series, and it’s nice to have the complete set now.

Try to imagine this Ranchero a quarter-century ago, full of Raider Nation revelers beer-bonging Meister Brau, chain-eating Rel’s gas-station burritos, and vomiting a partially digested mixture of both onto the asphalt of the Oakland Coliseum North Lot.

Or go back another 15 years, and imagine the optimism of the original purchaser of this fine luxury truck, with its Brougham badges and in-your-face graphics.

The 1977 Ranchero GT came with a 351 Modified engine, rated at 148 horsepower. That’s about 26 horsepower per liter, which compares not-so-favorably with the 107 horsepower per liter of the 3.5-liter Ecoboost in the 2017 F-150.

The upholstery did a good job surviving the California sun.

I couldn’t find any 1977-79 Ranchero TV ads online, so we’ll watch the one for the version with no truck bed. Isn’t it you in an LTD II?

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
3 of 32 comments
  • Maineac61 Maineac61 on Feb 17, 2019

    I saw one of these with a T-Bird nose and it was cool as hell looking.. I'd kick it up a notch and put a Lincoln Mark 5 nose on it along with the 460 posi rear end and 4 wheel disc brakes...

  • Heather s Heather s on Sep 04, 2022

    Anyone need a engine for this? I have a 351 for you. I have that car you can have the entire car lots of parts. Runs great body not so good

  • Lou_BC Too much money.
  • Lou_BC "The Cannonball Run" "The Gumball Rally""Corvette Summer""Duel""Gone in 60 Seconds"
  • Wjtinfwb I really don't care about charging stations, EVs, their drivers or the issues that seem to plague them and the ownership experience. My use case requires much better range and fueling options than what EVs offer, at least current state. If an EV works for you, great. It doesn't work for me and that's OK as well. hat I object to however, is the Government involvement in a personal use decision and trying to force a technology into widespread adoption when it and its support network is clearly not ready. I also object to Federal dollars, gleaned from the taxpayers being used to subsidize this nascent technology and most importantly, I object to the gaslighting by the Administration that tries to convince consumers that range isn't an issue. Recharging isn't an issue. Cold weather isn't an issue. Fires aren't an issue. The ownership experience disappointment is validated by the poor resale value of EV's and the McKinsey report that states that 50% of EV owners plan to switch back to a gas powered vehicle. I don't have the disposable income to make a 40k mistake and take a beating on getting rid of it. But again, if it works for you, that's what matters. Cheers.
  • MKizzy The top executives of many of the Fortune 500 companies support GOP candidates with their votes and donations while happily filling their corporate coffers with Progressive dollars. Unlike Musk however, they're smart enough to at least try to keep it to themselves. Perhaps Musk's political openness combined with his seemingly declining interest in Tesla is a sign he'll abandon Tesla by the end of the decade.
  • Jpolicke I don't know of any gas stations with a single pump.