1968 Ford Ranchero
The Ford Ranchero doesn’t appear like a typical muscle car would, despite the powerful lineup of engines available for it, but that’s precisely what Ford strived for at the time. This full-size intermediate/compact car resembles a vehicle that came from overseas, and there’s a reason for that: it was adapted from the 1960 US Falcon, which was originally produced for markets in South Africa and Argentina However, the basic “pickup truck” like design was made decades before, when an Australian designer that worked for Ford came up with the first ever sketch for a utility coupe. The 1968 Ford Ranchero was in the making for over a decade, and this model was in production for 11 more years, until 1979.
What made the 1968 Ford Ranchero different from its previous year models was the all-new interior and a modified exterior. The vehicle looked more rectangular, with a straight grille and the four circular headlights placed vertically on each side. The four-pod instrument cluster was borrowed from on-going and previous Ford Torino and Ford Fairlane cars; it held, in separate “pods,” the following: the speedometer, the turning signals, warning lights, engine temperature, and other gauges.
Upgraded models of the 1968 Ford Ranchero even had a tachometer and a clock. 1968 legislation resulted in the Ranchero having side-marker lamps; another new mandate was seatbelt laws, so a seatbelt warning light appears every time you start the vehicle, which wasn’t seen in the previous years. The highest-end engine was a 390 6.4L V8, and both the automatic as well as the manual transmissions were 3-speed, which made the 1968 Ford Ranchero less of a muscle car and more of a compact vehicle.
Additional options for the 1968 Ranchero included:
- Bucket seats
- AC system
- Optional wheels
- Center console
- Power disc brakes (front)
- Vinyl top
The GT version of the 1968 Ford Ranchero came with a standard hood scoop, which was optional on lower-end models.
By 1971, Ford upgraded their lineup of engines for the Ranchero, introducing a 429 7L V8 for those seeking extra performance. Year 1976 topped even that, with a 460 7.5L V8, and an optional 4-speed manual transmission instead of the old 3-speed. Although the Ford Ranchero is no longer made for the American muscle car market, Australia makes this vehicle to this day.
Branded under the Holden name, it thrives overseas, despite the fact that GM decided to not go through with the newest 2010 Pontiac G8 ST model for re-introduction America.