Light Truck Tuesday – 1965 Ford Ranchero

Based on the compact Falcon series, the second generation Ranchero debuted in 1960 to compete with vehicles like the Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pickup, and the pickup version of the VW Type 2 van. Though on the larger Chevelle platform, the El Camino returned to the market in 1964 and gave the Ranchero some additional competition, and if you were thinking outside the mainstream, you could also buy one of the early Datsun pickups, a Toyota Stout, or a Morris Minor pickup. With an 800-lb. load capacity, Rancheros couldn’t haul too much, but were useful for light duty, and most Falcon Rancheros were therefore sold with the 144ci or 170ci inline six. That didn’t keep owners from upgrading to match the higher 260 or 289 spec – check out this 1965 Ford Ranchero for sale for $3900 in Ukiah, CA.

1965 Ford Ranchero left front

The red paint looks a little flat in this picture, so let’s hope for the original finish instead of a bad respray. It looks like there’s some amount of oxidation on the roof, if that isn’t a reflection. In fact, the seller suggests new paint, so with any luck the idea of an honest truck that’s worked hard over the last 49 years is still preserved, and perhaps you can get away without a paint job. The badging suggests it was originally equipped with a 289, but the current engine is a 302. GT wheels, as seen on the 1968-69 Mustang and Torino GTs, make for a slightly more aggressive look.

1965 Ford Ranchero interior

And this is why it would do better without new paint – this red-on-red-on-red mid-century bordello interior gets the point across just fine. It’s nice to have cloth seats in a non-air-conditioned car, although the original seat pattern likely would have been something in vinyl – this looks like something from a vehicle 10 years newer. Moreover, as a utility vehicle, vinyl would have made more sense.

1965 Ford Ranchero engine

Here’s the 302, which is hooked up to an automatic transmission. There’s no word on whether it’s the two-speed Ford-O-Matic, the three-speed Cruise-O-Matic, or an aftermarket box from the same car that provided the engine. It’s clear that at some point an owner lavished some car on this car, with the Ranchero valve covers, chrome bits (including a chassis stiffening bar) under hood, and a 9″ Ford differential. The overall impression is of a tidy, but driven car. With driver Falcons well outside our usual price range, this looks to be a find.

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One Response to “Light Truck Tuesday – 1965 Ford Ranchero”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    I’m pretty sure these Falcon Rancheros can bear the weight of a cubed early 60’s Lincoln Continental and huge homicidal Chinese man without a problem because I saw one do just that in the movie “Goldfinger”

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