We're coming to Auto Fair this morning! The Ranchero is done and like most projects, the hardest part is looking at the finished car and asking "Do I REALLY want to sell this car???"
No, I really don't. Its a great, rust-free example of a pretty rare car/truck, and they sure aren't making any more like it (except in Australia, and they won't bring those here). If I didn't have a pickup I could maybe make a case for keeping it, but its time to make some room in the garage for a new project. I'm hoping the next owner will get to drive it more than I've had time to.
Like most projects, we ended up doing more than we intended... new bumpers, new tires, some new suspension parts and the repairs I detailed in earlier blogs. But its been a fun project, and its a really cool little car to drive.
There's just one thing missing... somehow, our Ranchero has lost its grille emblem!
Fortunately, one of America's biggest vendors of Ford restoration parts, Dennis Carpenter, has his factory and showroom located just north of the speedway on US29. And even better, they have the best price I could find on a new 1965 grille emblem! So I'll pick one up on the way to the track and install it there.
So come on over to Car Corral spot CC-2129 on the frontstretch of the oval and have a look.
Okay, we're almost ready for our assault on Food Lion Auto Fair tomorrow. Sunscreen, passes, map of the layout, comfortable shoes, shopping list. I need to get some new webbing for my tie-downs, and I'm usually looking for neat old signs and license plates... Auto Fair is always a great place to find used parts and pieces.
Our 1965 Ranchero is just about ready to go, and we now know that it will be in Car Corral space 2129. That's along the frontstretch wall of the superspeedway, between start/finish and turn 4.
When we pulled it out of the garage after a long slumber, it started right up but had a carburetor leak. So we shipped the Autolite 1100 carb to Recarbco in Calif. Noah Burt and company not only rebuild carbs, but every one gets tested on a running engine before they ship it back. It looks and works just like brand new.
Noah said the carb had some debris in it that suggested crap in the gas tank. I know that tank is NLA (no longer available), so I didnt want to mess with it. We hauled the Ranchero to Ken Nicks at Eclectic Rods and Restoration in Jonesville. Ken pulled the tank, acid etched the inside, flushed the lines and changed the filters. The fuel system is all clean and good to go.
While checking the car over, they noted three of the four drum brake adjusters were rusty and frozen. Off they came for refurbishing, and now everything works as it should. You can see Ken is in a hurry to get everything done!
Almost done. Marvin reworked and painted an old scrape behind the driver's door, and painted the spare wheel to match the four wheels on the car. The carpet looked a little shabby, so I called Stock Interiors in Seneca, SC, and they shipped a new molded carpet in just two working days.
There's only one more thing we need... and I can pick it up on the way to the speedway Thursday, I'll tell you about it tomorrow.
I sure hope you are enjoying getting ready for this weekend's Food Lion Auto Fair. We don't use our '65 Falcon Ranchero for hauling parts now that we have a full-size pickup. So as cute as it is and as fun to drive as its always been, we are bringing the Ranchero to the car corral to sell, or may run it over the auction block this weekend at AutoFair.
Ford first made a Ranchero in 1957 by taking a two door station wagon and lopping off most of the roof and adding a pickup bed. They correctly reasoned that many people wanted the utility of a pickup without the ride and handling of a, well... a truck! By 1959, Chevy had joined the game with their ElCamino.
In 1960, Ford debuted the compact Falcon and the Ranchero moved to its lighter, smaller body. The early (1960-63) Falcons look much like a worn bar of soap but folks love them. Tim Suddard, publisher of a great magazine, "Classic Motorsports", recently sold his 1963 V8 Ranchero for over $20,000!
In 1964, Ford squared up the lines of the Falcon and added a "sweep spear" down the side. This style was used for two years, and our car is pretty much the way it rolled off the assembly line in September 1965.
The exterior is medium blue poly and the interior color is called "palamino", which sounds much better than "tan". This was a base model Ranchero, so it has a bench seat, crank windows, and no chrome trim down the side.
It still has its original 200 cubic inch, 120 hp inline 6-cylinder engine. The 3 speed manual transmission has a column shifter, and it drives through a 3.50:1 limited slip rear end. No power steering needed as its quite a light car by today's standards, and it has drum brakes all around and new 13" tires.
Its a great little car, always turns heads and gets a lot of interest from folks who dont remember the Ranchero and think its a one-of-a-kind custom.
Tomorrow I'll detail some of the things we've repaired or replaced as part of the get-ready process. Then look for the Ranchero in the car corral out on the 1.5 mile oval near the start finish line, or in the staging lanes for the auction, and I'll look foward to seeing you this weekend.