Monday, May 15, 2017

RONCHERO for '78!

R O N C H E R O 
The following car/truck is located on one of the nicest blocks in Brooklyn, as it should be! High on the lofty ridge overlooking the Narrows at the mouth of the NY Harbor rests this beast:
This is a 1978 Ford Ranchero 500 in two-tone Polar White over Dark Jade Metallic. You could easily enjoy a quick lunch sitting on the ledge between the headlights and the bumper. Oh and of course the name of this rig is RONCHERO!
This thing's got a pretty bleak expression on its face with the skin problems and smoky eye. None of that takes away from the outlandish styling with its jutting fender edges, stacked square headlights, and that mammoth, park bench like bumper. This is the last generation for the Ranchero and the 2nd to last year ever. A common misconception is that Ford made the Ranchero as a response to the Chevy El Camino. The Ranchero was introduced in 1957, predating the El Camino by 2 years.
Notice how some of the skin remains. Roncheros typically molt over a span of several days.
This thing just looks like it fell out of Mervyn's winter catalogue from '78. The white is so grubby that it's taking away from what is an attractive color combo. There were optional spoke wheels from the factory but these are not them. That cap mounted to the bed is awesome with its multiple tinted windows.
Beneath that gargantuan hood lies a neutered 302, 351, or 400 V8 good for almost no horsepower.
There were 3 trim levels of Ranchero in '78. The highest end was the GT which included massive decal stripes along the bottom and top of the body. In the middle was the Squire which had faux woodgrain available as well as a vinyl roof. This, the 500, is the base model. The Two-tone was an option that was only available for the 500.
Rust has eaten some pretty substantial holes through the tailgate. At first glance the rear of the Ranchero looks identical to the Country Squire station wagons. This tailgate with it's bumped-out section is unique, as are the taillights.
Whether you call it a cap, topper, or camper top the fiberglass bed cover on this ride is great. You know somebody has slept in the back of this thing at least once.
The shape of the cap is super unique and obviously made for a Ranchero. The swooping body line from the bed to the roof ensures that only made to fit caps will work.
Looks like some black tape is holding the chrome trim to the tops of the windows. I love this aggressive two-tone design and the trapezoidal window shape.
This has the optional Flight Bench interior in Jade vinyl. Everything else looks pretty standard with the ex option of the 8-track stereo still in the dash!
Through the trees you can see the water and Staten Island in the distance. Ronchero is one of many hoopties I found roosting along this stretch of Shore Road in Bay Ridge.
Ford explored the possibility of a smaller pickup truck/car combo based on the Fairmont. It was called the Durango and they built between 80-220 of them for sale between '79 and '82. I think they look cool and it's too bad they didn't release them in bigger numbers. Since they elected to phase out the Durango before it even started in earnest the 1979 Ranchero was the last Ford of this type.
From this angle this is pretty much a paint job away from looking really good.
I love this weirdo ride because it is a compendium of automotive footnotes all rolled into one. Crazy, jutting front end with those stacked square headlights, Malaise Era styling in excess, luxury car/truck combo, period piece cap, and awesome two-tone paint all make for a hilarious rig. I've really come around as these were my idea of a vehicle gone horribly wrong. Now I realize there's nothing like it on the road. Would I roll Ronchero? You bet your hat I would!

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