1957 Ford Ranchero Is a Classy Old School Cruiser

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Ford Ranchero

Americans once went bonkers for car/truck hybrids. And this Ford Ranchero was the one that started it all!

While Australians can’t get enough of their ‘utes, the idea of a car-based pickup is distinctly American. There was a long period of time when folks who desired the utility of a truck without the size had plenty of options to choose from. Which, of course, included the Ford Ranchero. When Ford first rolled out the coupe utility way back in 1957, little did anyone know what a resounding success it would become.

Ford Ranchero

Ford sold over a half-million Rancheros from 1957 to 1979, even though the model changed dramatically over that time period. Folks just couldn’t get enough of the niche vehicle Ford called “More Than A Car! More Than A Truck!” Turns out, plenty of people liked the idea of something sporting the utility of a light duty pickup and the driving characteristics of a car. It was such a revelation that Chevy was forced to follow suit with the El Camino in 1959.

Ford Ranchero

If you’re looking for a stellar example of an early Ford Ranchero, you won’t find many better than this 1957 we spotted over at Leake Auctions. The mild custom is symbolic of something you might’ve seen in the old days of hot rodding. Tasteful, classy add-ons abound, including a louvered hood, spotlights, and mag wheels. The drivetrain is equally strong, consisting of a 351 Cleveland, C6 transmission, and 9-inch rear end.

Ford Ranchero

It’s a shining example of the days before compact pickups took over. A time when car/truck hybrids seized the imagination of Americans who weren’t fully committed to the idea of owning a big truck. We may never see anything like the Ford Ranchero again. But we’d welcome this beauty in our garage any day!

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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