Ford Fairlane Ranchero – Conception 1957 to 1959
Both Model “T” and Model “A” Ford’s were designed by simply placing a shortened passenger compartment and a truck box onto the frame of a sedan. The Ranchero body style is based on that same principle; the Ford Co put the front of a sedan passenger compartment, chopped just behind the front seat, onto the frame of a two door station wagon. This created a very innovative and versatile automobile; you could use it to take the kids to school and then the pigs to the market on weekdays while on weekends it worked equally well to drive to church on Sunday or to race as a stock car; whichever one suites your fancy. This is also a great looking ride and it is like driving a car as far as handling and visibility are concerned but the rear has the convenient storage area of a pick-up. The Ranchero is also light weight and a perfect design to build into a formidable muscle car that will accept cargo easily and has a larger weight capacity than the F-100 pick-up. Furthermore Ford international took up the plan and offered these similar vehicles through most of their subsidiary’s worldwide with both Argentina and Australian Fords also producing their own very successful versions of the Ranchero.
Between 1957 and 1975 a utility coupe called the Ranchero is produce with most models based on the mid-sized Ford body platform but there were also some units manufacture during the years of production on the full size as well as a compact platform. The design fills an untapped niche in the market place and is well received by the buying public. The largest stock power option is a one barrel holly carburetor on top of a 272 cu in flat-head V8 putting out 190 hp bolted to a three speed standard transmission with a column mounted shift lever.
In1956 Ford first unveiled the two doored Fairlane Ranchero line, in production, but to be available in showrooms for the 1957 model year. This is more than a sedan and more than a pick-up truck, marketed in two trim levels; a Spartan version for a work vehicle and a bit more uptown version for a daily driver called the custom. All of the units in this line-up could have the stainless steel body moldings and both versions sport the unique rear window, while the Custom version is available with most of the options available for the conventional fairlane sedan including the two tone paint. The custom displays the badging of the Fairlane together with the Ranchero symbols and sports a longhorn logo on the tailgate.
Ranchero for 1958 is about the same as the first year although there is some new sheet steel in front and the car now has a four headlight set up.
In 1959 the custom Ranchero is the only offer and although on the same original 118 inch wheel base it has a longer storage bed at 7 foot now and the windshield is 25% larger than in ‘58. The paint options number 26 and on the inside, the seats are covered with a woven vinyl and the spare tire is mounted behind the seat.