Junkyard Find: 1961 Ford Falcon Ranchero
As anyone who follows this series knows, Detroit sedans from the 1946– 1975 era still show up in cheap self– service junkyards all the time ( really, I photograph several every month). What might not be as well-known, however, is the frequency with which classic cartrucks ( or truckcars, if you prefer) end up in such yards.Here’s an early Falcon Ranchero that worked hard for many decades after its New Car(truck) Scent faded away, photographed in a Denver yard just a few days ago.
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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Ranchero GT Brougham

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.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Ranchero

Ah, the Malaise Era! Engines making one horsepower per three cubic inches. Broughams, Landaus, and molded-in fake stitching on petroleum-distillate Simu-Vinyl™ upholstery. And, of course, a pseudo-pickup based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. 1977-79 Rancheros still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, and that’s where I saw this green-on-green-on-green-on-some-more-green ’79 last fall.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Ranchero

Ah, the Malaise Era. Some cars are just poster children for the 1973-1983 period of diminished expectations, sclerotic automaker bureaucracy, tape stripes, and the ascendancy of focus-group marketers. Take, for example, the 1977-1979 Ranchero, during which Ford decided to use the massive Thunderbird platform as the basis for their popular cartruck. It should have been a commercial disaster, but in fact it sold quite well.

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Tastefully Modified Texas Ranchero Packs Cadillac Power, Towing Package

When you’re looking at a basket-case Ford Ranchero, a Cadillac 500-cubic-inch V8 plus TH400 transmission, an ancient Mercedes-Benz hood, and a yard full of random scrap metal, do you feel optimistic? The builder of this fine machine certainly did!

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: Triple '67 El Caminos and Reclusive '56 Nomad

I have a growing cache of Eugene El Caminos, and was going to break them out soon enough. But taking a stroll around San Mateo, I ran into three ’67s within a few blocks of each other, so let’s caminar down that long and fertile el camino of Chevy’s popular ute pickup, with this particularly popular year. And what’s that lurking in the garage? Let’s take a closer look:

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  • 2ACL In addition to having two decades of wear and tear, several of these old Hondas & Acuras (namely the V6s) also have transmission design defects that would likely send them to the crusher if they manifested. I wonder how many of these recalls are still open because they're attached to cars in some state of inoperability.
  • SCE to AUX I did my own research; recalls are for chumps.
  • Kwik_Shift I don't like the sloping rear.I guess it would look too Volvo otherwise?
  • Kwik_Shift I NEVER answer calls (unless its of high importance). That is why I always suggest using email or text instead.
  • Wjtinfwb We had one of these LTD wagons in the daily rental fleet I worked while in College. It had been returned early from the lease customer and dumped into daily rental duty to milk a few more dollars out of it before it went to auction. As a lease/rental car, it's maintenance had been... eh, spotty at best. But one Friday night I needed a big car to take some friends down to the coast for dinner. The LTD was available so I grabbed the keys. Loaded with 3 couples and a cooler full of beer and wine, we set of on the 60 mile drive to the coast. The HOT light came on about halfway but there was no service station open on the drive down US 319. So we kept driving. Parked at the restaurant, food and many beers and wine ensued, we poured back into the LTD and headed back to campus. The HOT light popped on 20 miles in, so we kept driving. Dropped the wagon back at the rental lot, the V6 dieseling to a clanky end. Monday came, I figured the Ford was toast so avoided it but returned from lunch to find an associate had rented it again. Surprised it even started, I figured a rescue call was soon to be requested. Nothing. Two days later it was returned, the lady returning it said the HOT light came on, but she kept driving as everything seemed fine but she noticed a really bad smell. I drove it around back, popped the hood and started checking fluids; radiator, dry as a bone. crankcase, no oil on the dipstick. Even the transmission and power steering fluids were MIA. I filled the radiator with tap water, poured 3 quarts of 30 weight Quaker State in to the filler and slammed the hood. Eventually, the thermostat was replaced as the cause of the overheating but the LTD kept running until I got fired for wrecking a Fairmont. Tough car...