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Ford Ranchero, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $39,900.
Equipped with the extremely rare 352 cubic inch Interceptor Special V8, this is the car to own if you’re a 1959 Ford fan.
In 1957, Ford introduced the Ranchero, which they claimed was “More than a car, more than a truck!” By 1959, Chevy had joined the party with the El Camino, but Ford was already way ahead of them by basing the Ranchero on the same 118-inch wheelbase as the rest of their full-sized cars, giving the 1959 Ranchero a longer, more useful bed than the earlier models. More than a station wagon with the roof cut off, the 1959 Ranchero used unique body panels behind the doors, and was only available in up-level Custom trim, which made them much more glamorous than their base-level ancestors just two years earlier. Only 14,169 Rancheros were built in 1959, making them some of the most sought-after Fords of the era.
This particular 1959 Ranchero Custom is a highly original car showing just over 61,000 miles on the odometer. Equipped with the extremely rare top-of-the-line 352 cubic inch Interceptor Special V8, it is the Ranchero to own if you’re a 1959 Ford fan. An original California black plate car, it remains in excellent condition throughout, top and bottom, with a high degree of originality. There’s absolutely no rust or body damage, no replacement panels, no welded-in patches, just OEM Ford steel throughout that has always been exceptionally well maintained. The relatively recent Torch Red paint is brilliant, with a great shine that shows well with not notable chips, scratches, or other flaws. Fit and finish is probably nicer than it was when it was new, and those long quarter panels remain arrow-straight. With the upscale Custom stainless trim, it is quite stylish without being excessive, and it carries several unique accessories like the ultra-rare factory-installed fender skirts, bed rails, and dual spotlights.
The chrome and trim appear to be original, and the condition is certainly commensurate with a life of clean living in California. The bumpers remain bright and clear, the unique grille made of star-shaped stamped stainless steel is excellent. The argent headlamp surrounds show only a light dusting of corrosion, but this might be easily remedied with a little polishing compound. In back, the massive taillights are excellent, the Ranchero “longhorn” ornament is near perfect, and the Ranchero script on the flanks is crisp and bright. Only the spotlights show any notable wear, with age-related fading on the chrome and some light buffing marks from someone trying perhaps too aggressively to bring back the shine.
Ford wasn’t skimping on interiors, even on the working class Ranchero, and this one received a code 46 red and white setup with a wide bench seat. Finished using correct factory patterns and materials, the Ranchero’s cockpit is almost indistinguishable from the top-of-the-line Fairlane or Galaxie from behind the wheel. Plush carpets make it feel more expensive than it was, and the handsome tri-tone door panels were clearly inspired by the lovely pieces found in the Thunderbird convertibles. The dash and instrument panel appear to be completely original, with all the gauges operating as they should and as I said, the 61,661 miles showing on the odometer are believed to be authentic. This car also includes power steering, power brakes, an AM radio, clock (sadly not functioning), and a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission with standard column shifter. Seat belts have been added in the name of safety and there’s a brand new tire on a restored steel wheel stashed behind the passenger seat.
The Ranchero was available with any engine available in a standard Ford, but very few buyers opted for the top-of-the-line 352 cubic inch Interceptor Special V8, which made a nice, round 300 horsepower in 1959. With just 61,000 miles, the engine has never been apart and runs as smoothly and easily as it did when it was new. There are no bad sounds from inside, and thanks to a recent dual exhaust system, it has a wonderful high-performance rumble to it that sounds like every one of those 300 horses is ready to party. The engine bay is nicely preserved and unrestored, with correct finishes throughout, including the Ford Blue paint on the engine itself, which is likely original. It shows signs of regular and conscientious maintenance throughout its life, and could be easily detailed for show without a lot of effort, given the quality of the original materials. It fires up quickly and easily, idles easily, and pulls hard out on the open road—acceleration is surprising for a vehicle of this vintage, although given its relatively light weight it shouldn’t be a mystery why it’s so quick. The transmission shifts as it should, and the 9-inch rear is full of highway friendly 2.91 gears, making this an ideal long-distance cruiser that you can drive to any car show anywhere in the country. Despite heavy-duty springs (the Ranchero was actually rated to carry 50 pounds more than the half-ton F100 pickup), the ride is comfortable with no rattles or vibrations on the road. The chassis shows a lot of recent work, including fresh brakes (including new hard lines), new shock absorbers, and a restored gas tank. Handsome whitewall radials have been fitted to the original 14-inch steel rims with full wheel covers.
In 1960, the Ranchero would be redesigned and land on the compact Falcon chassis, and would never again be part of the full-sized Ford lineup. Extremely popular with 1959 Ford fans, the Ranchero is a hot collectable, particularly with the ultra-rare 352 cubic inch V8. This one is fully sorted and presents beautifully, a car that you can drive regularly and still show proudly at any event in the country. And when you show up at Home Depot on a Saturday afternoon, everyone will have pickup envy. Somehow, I suspect that’s just what Ford had in mind.
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Engine:352 cubic inch ohv v8
Location:Warrensville Heights, Ohio