In 1957, Ford Motor Company introduced the Ranchero, classified as a utility coupe and proclaimed to be “More than a car! More than a truck!” Based on a new, full-size platform, the Ranchero had an open, reinforced bed, unique rear window, and integrated cab and cargo box. It was offered with two trim levels: a basic model marketed to traditional pickup buyers such as farmers; and the Custom model which sported many of the popular Fairlane’s options and accessories. These included stainless steel bodyside mouldings, two -tone paint, and even a stylized longhorn symbol on the tailgate.
The Ranchero was a big hit with the buying public. It drove and rode like a car, but could haul loads like a pickup. Engine options were either a 223-cubic-inch 6 cylinder, 292-cubic-inch 2 barrel, or a 312-cubic-inch 4 barrel Thunderbird Special. Ford’s new vehicle was so successful that General Motors created the Chevrolet El Camino to compete with the Ranchero, starting with the 1959 model year.
Image Credits: Barrett-Jackson Auction Company; americanmusclecarmuseum.com; wheelsage.org; Ford Motor Company