15 December 2014

Car Stuff: Random Sighting #33

Today's pictures come to us courtesy of my friend in Kentucky, who also spotted the Willys I featured back in September. His lunchtime walks take him past an auto repair shop that frequently has old and interesting vehicles parked outside.

Last year I featured a 1980s Chevy El Camino that belongs to a friend of a friend. The only competitor the El Camino ever had here was the Ford Ranchero, so now I've covered an entire vehicle category, the so-called car-trucks.
Ford stopped building the Ranchero in 1979, while General Motors kept making El Caminos (and a GMC version, the Caballero) until 1987. I still see El Caminos around here, but I can't remember the last time I saw a Ranchero outside of a car show, so this one is interesting because of their relative scarcity, even if it isn't in great condition.
This one is from the final 1977-79 generation, and as you can see was burdened with rather unattractive styling. I don't remember ever seeing one with these wide side moldings even when they were new, though I did find one other photo online that suggests they are factory trim pieces. Rancheros could also be ordered with wood side trim like the station wagons of the period; this was briefly offered on El Caminos during the mid-'70s (naturally).
Because these were built on the same platform as other Ford and Mercury cars, the front clips are interchangeable, and I have seen Rancheros wearing the front end of a Mercury Cougar or Ford Thunderbird from the 1977-79 model years. The Thunderbird clip is especially interesting as it had hidden headlights, but either one is an improvement.

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