Hope some one out here could give me the info i need . Have picked up a 79 Ranchero and the front sheetmetal is poor. Is the track and wheelbase the same on the 72 73 era rancheros? Much prefer the look of the earlier vehicle and if the dimensions are close then would put the other front on. Thanks in advance Pops
luv 'em lo and slo, but they gotta be able to go!! The Old Ford Man
>Hope some one out here could give me the info i need . Have
>picked up a 79 Ranchero and the front sheetmetal is poor. Is
>the track and wheelbase the same on the 72 73 era rancheros?
>Much prefer the look of the earlier vehicle and if the
>dimensions are close then would put the other front on.
>Thanks in advance Pops
Though I must caveat my comments by saying I have never done the mod you are thinking of, Rancheros from 1972 through 1979 are identical in body (and presumably frame) from the front door on back. I own a 1973 with a 1972 front clip (and engine swap - so a previous owner was real busy).
I have owned a 1972 (modded 73), a true 1972, and a 1979. I never really did like the square looking 77-79 Ranchero/LTDII front end - and there is too much plastic on it for my taste. Check around - you may not have to replace the whole front clip - perhaps only the very front. Others have put a Lincoln Continental or Thunderbird front end on.
There are only a few body parts that are interchangeable from '72 to a '79 Ranchero (A) tailgate (B) rear bumper (C) bed moldings (D) taillights (E) rear glass and moldings and I believe rear marker lights as well. The Ranchero had three different body styles in the '70's. (A) '70-'71 model years basd on the Ford Torino. (B) '72-'76 mdel years, also based on the Ford Torino. (C) '77-'79 model years which was based on the Ford LTD II. There are many, many parts that will interchange between the years '72-'79, but mostly interior, mechanical and electrical NOT body-wise. You may be physically able to install a '73 front clip but it will definitely look like $#!^ because the body lines WILL NOT line up. I hope this helps in any way.
How can a front clip from a '77-'79 Thunderbird fit EXACTLY onto a '72-'76 era Ranchero??? Alot of cutting, welding and bondo that's all there is to make it fit EXACTY. OKAY don't believe me, just go to wrecking yard or a parking lot if you are lucky enough to find both models and check out their respected body lines, their fender to door openings, the wheel well opening shape and YOU WILL find they DON'T MATCH. A front clip from a '77-'79 T-bird, LTD II and/or Ranchero have a rounded body from top to bottom except for the lower body crease (rocker-panel) area. Their wheel-well openings are flaired more than the '72-'76 Ranchero models. The '77-'79 fenders have a concentric curve for the fender to door opening, the '72-'76 models are curved but they are slightly pointed at the center body line crease that runs the length of the car from front to back, where as the '77-'79 fenders ARE NOT. Please don't take mine or anyone else's word for it, check it out yourself because it's YOUR money that you will be spending.
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 17-Jul-02 AT 06:49 PM (EST)]Todd is right - take my word for it
although the wheelbase & mechanicals may be the same, ford changed the sheetmetal on the full-size cars from the '76 models to the '77's. i have a '75 ranchero and a '77 cougar. they're different.
there is also another difference he didn't mention, probably because it doesn't really apply to this question - but since we're on the subject...
front clips from all '72-'76 rancheros & torinos are not 100% interchangable. they ARE if you change the whole front clip, but not if you just change part of it. the sheetmetal from the firewall back is the same though.
they LOOK the same, even comparing two cars parked side-by-side - the difference to look for is that the '72-'73 have a wider hood, and the front edge of it is more straight across. so a '72 ram-air hood will not bolt on a '74-'76
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