By Dave Turner
“The Personal Pickup” – Ford Ranchero 1972-1979
Having been based on Ford’s Torino since 1968, when that car got a substantial re-design for 1972, the Ranchero followed suit, coming on a four inch longer wheelbase than before and adopting the front end of the new top-line Gran Torino. Coverage of the various previous Rancheros from 1957 to 1971 were included in the appropriate car articles in Model Auto Review – going back to 1989 and at intervals since.
In keeping with the application of the top line Gran Torino’s styling, the 1972 Ranchero was regarded as suitable to have all manner of luxurious variants and options available. The base level Ranchero 500 was quite luxurious while the Ranchero GT (Gran Torino) was aimed squarely at the performance market with twin hood air-scoops, bold side striping and a variety of high performance engines. Super luxury top level was the Ranchero Squire featuring translucent wood-tone panelling on the sides and tailgate together with a plush interior.
New five mph front bumpers and associated modified grille and lights came with the 1973 Gran Torinos and the Ranchero was similarly treated. Model choices remained the same as in 1972. 1973 was the best year for Ranchero sales throughout its history.
Yet another front end facelift came in 1974, once again echoing the new front of that year’s Gran Torino but this remained unchanged for the next two seasons, the three variants, Ranchero 500; Ranchero GT; and Ranchero Squire continuing as before.
As the Gran Torino morphed into the LTD11 for 1977, the Ranchero duly got the new front end but otherwise looked similar to the preceding version. Quad headlights were now stacked in pairs rather than side by side while the front fenders came to sharp corners that accommodated indicator and parking lights.The Ranchero served out its last three years of production relatively unchanged from this point. The line up continued with the same three levels of finish as before.
Unfortunately the model situation leaves a bit to be desired as far as these Rancheros are concerned. Apart from couple of the ’72 examples there seems to have been nothing – an opportunity for makers looking for untouched subjects.
Both the 1972 models depict the GT version, the Hot Wheels offering has been out since 2009 and at least 7 variations have appeared some of which are approaching being realistic models, spoiled mainly by significantly oversize wheels. The other model leaves little to be desired as far as a superb model is concerned. From Neo it features the optional black design on the hood, the optional extra instruments on the dash, the distinctive GT side flash and the non-standard Magnum 500 wheels.
Ford Ranchero 1972-1979
|Mattel||Thailand||2009||N6960||1972 Ranchero GT||77mm||1:70||diecast|
|Neo/American Excellence||China||2012||44855||1972 Ranchero GT||130mm||1:42||Resin|
Illustrations Ford Ranchero 1972-1979
1&2 Mattel Hot Wheels 1:70 diecast from Thailand: N6960 1972 Ranchero GT spoiled by big wheels.
3&4 Neo 1:42 resin from China: 44855, 1972 Ranchero GT
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