The Ford Ranchero was produced by Ford between 1957 and 1979. The 1957 Ranchero was adapted from a two-door station wagon called Ranch Wagon. It was introduced in December, 1956 and sold as a truck through Ford’s truck division. Basic trim models were marketed to regular truck buyers like farmers, but options and accessories available on Fairlanes made it a very civilized vehicle. It had a 50 pound higher cargo capacity than the standard F-Series pickup, so it wasn’t just a pretty face. Original ads proclaimed it as “More Than A Car! More Than A Truck!” The Ranchero was a hit, and a total of 508,355 units were produced during the model's production run. It did so well that in 1959 Chevrolet responded with their own version called the El Camino. One unique feature of the Ranchero was that it was always patterned after a selected Ford car line. In the 23 years of production, the Ranchero car line changed 5 times with numerous body style changes.
Dearborn Classics, Eckler’s first acquisition of a primarily Ford restoration company, began out of one man’s love for the Ford Ranchero. Trevor Burge was an avid surfer, and felt the Ranchero was the ideal vehicle for him. The biggest problem he faced was a good supply of parts for the ones he owned. He began reproducing quality restoration parts, his company took off, and the rest is history.
1957 - The Ranchero was introduced in December 1956, three months after the traditional September model year start-up and was marketed as "More Than A Car! More Than A Truck!" It had 50 pounds more cargo capacity than a half-ton F-Series pickup. It took Chevrolet two years to respond with the 1959 El Camino.
1960 - In 1960, the Ranchero became much smaller, based on Ford's compact Falcon, specifically the two-door sedan delivery variant likely due to the popularity of small, economical cars like the Volkswagen Beetle..
1966 - The 1966 Ranchero was a one-year model, when Falcon and Fairlane were redeveloped on the same basic platform, one which did not include the sedan delivery, as 1965 marked the final year of sedan delivery production. Instead, the 1966 Ranchero used Falcon front sheet metal, trim, and interior accents on a modified station wagon platform..
1967 - The 1967 Ranchero, based on the post-'66 Falcon/Fairlane chassis, used the basic 1966 Ranchero body with Fairlane trim, front sheet metal, and interior treatments instead of Falcon. It was marketed as the Fairlane Ranchero..
1977-1979 - With the Torino ending production after 1976, the 1977 Ranchero was restyled in line with the Ford LTD II mid-sized car line which replaced the Torino using the same platform. As the decade ended, Ford decided small light trucks were the wave of the future and marketed a Mazda-built Courier pickup as a replacement..
Mullet - The Ford Ranchero and the Chevrolet El Camino have both been likened to the Mullet hairstyle: All business in the front, and a party in the back!