Cool “RanchBird” custom. Fresh build with rebuilt 351W V8, automatic transmission, and lots of options including A/C, bucket seats, and gauges. Runs and drives great, very clean bodywork, ready to haul and have fun!
Following a fairly comprehensive makeover, this handsome Ranchero is priced all out of proportion to the level of work that was done. Starting with a straight, clean car that’s still wearing all its original sheetmetal, an equally clean Thunderbird front clip was installed to give it a unique look. And the nice thing is that it bolted right on like it was designed that way. Even the headlights work properly! The paint is a correct Ranchero color called—uninspiringly—Cream, but it works rather well when you add the upscale T-Bird nose. Proper gold decals were added on the B-pillar and bed sides, nailing the ‘70s look perfectly. Finish work is good throughout, with decent factory-style gaps, doors that close solidly, and a hood that sits flush, which probably wasn’t easy to do. The bed doesn’t appear to have ever worked for a living and has been finished with a color-matched bedliner so it won’t mind a trip to the home store or garden center now and then. They even added “Thunderbird” emblems on the quarters and tailgate to enhance the illusion. Factory chrome bumpers finish it off.
The same Thunderbird donated its bucket seats and console, which—of course—bolted right into place in the Ranchero’s cockpit. The upholstery is all brand new and includes a subtle ostrich skin look on the seat inserts that gives it an upscale vibe. It’s also loaded with options, including factory A/C, full gauges including tachometer, remote mirrors, and an AM/FM/cassette radio that was cutting-edge tech in 1977. There’s also a new dash pad, fresh headliner, and a bit of burled walnut on the dash and more on the floor mats, which isn’t particularly convincing, but somehow it all works. There’s a bit of storage behind the seats in case you don’t want to leave your gear in the bed and from behind the wheel it doesn’t feel at all truck-like.
The engine is a freshly rebuilt 351 cubic inch Windsor V8, which was on the options list in 1977 and is a great choice today given the vast aftermarket that serves the 5.0 Mustang. This one is rebuilt to largely stock specs, so it’s smooth and torquey, fed by a Holley 4-barrel carburetor and lit by the original Ford ignition system. All the A/C equipment has been overhauled, the engine is painted proper Ford Blue, there’s a giant radiator up front, and the alternator is new, too. A correct aluminum air cleaner gives it an OEM look and it exhales through stock manifolds. Look carefully and you’ll see that almost everything under the hood is new or restored, from the core support to the inner fenders to the wiring and plumbing. There was A LOT of money spent here.
Ford’s reliable C4 3-speed automatic is the right choice here, and it was rebuilt at the same time as the engine. The undercarriage is largely original and in very good condition with stock suspension, a correct exhaust system with dual catalysts and a new muffler, and power front disc brakes. The floors are clean save for a small area around one of the driver’s seat bolts but it appears to have been repaired some time ago. A 9-inch rear end was standard equipment on full-sized Fords and this car features rather tall 3.00 gears so it’s a comfortable highway cruiser. Coil springs in back are one of the benefits of the LTD platform, giving the Ranchero great ride quality, augmented by new shocks all around. There’s also a fresh gas tank hanging out back. Polished Torque Thrust wheels look great on the vintage truck/car and carry brand new 215/75/15 blackwall radials.
Extras include a few boxes of spare parts, touch-up paint, interior parts, and more.
This is one of the nicest Rancheros we’ve seen, and we love the RanchBird look. Someone spent a huge amount of cash on the build, ensuring that all the details work properly, so it feels very OEM. With a bit of practicality to go with it, the Ranchero remains a great way to have fun in an old car and this one certainly stands out in a crowd. And it’s still eminently affordable. Call today!
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