There is a walking path in our development that I tend to avoid for most of the year. It runs through wooded areas in front of the houses and common areas. April through November every time I use it I am either the first or the tallest person to walk it. Spider webs. I don’t enjoy walking through spider webs. North Carolina has very industrious spider that are prolific web spinners. I am still ten years too young to be seen yelling and swinging walking stick in public.

I usually stay on the road.

On one of those rare occasions I used the path, I saw something off in the woods that piqued my curiosity. It looked like a car. Why would there be a car in the woods? There was a question that needed to be answered. I trespassed and wandered over to explore.

It wasn’t a car. Research informs me that it is a 1964 Falcon-based Ford Ranchero. Well, big parts of it:

1964 Ranchero body.

1964 Ranchero body.

Copied and pasted from Wikipedia:

The Ford Ranchero is a coupe utility that was produced by Ford between 1957 and 1979. Unlike a pickup truck, the Ranchero was adapted from a two-door station wagon platform that integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body. A total of 508,355 units were produced during the model’s production run. It was adapted from full-size, compact and intermediate automobiles sold by Ford for the North American market.

Most of this I knew. This I didn’t know:

The Ford Ranchero sold well enough to spawn a competitor from General Motors in 1959, the Chevrolet El Camino.

I always thought the El Camino came first.

I walked around and surveyed the derelict coupe utility. Some parts were missing:

Doors. Do you really need doors.

Doors. Do you really need doors?

Seats are overrated.

Seats are a crutch.

Steering wheel and gauges are there.

Steering wheel and gauges are there.

Grill is there but you would need head lights.

Grill is there but you would need head lights.

Meet the 144 cu. in. Thriftpower I6 (Straight 6).

Meet the 144 cu. in. Thriftpower I6 (Straight 6). Much of it.

Back end needs a bit of work.

Back end needs a bit of work.

In 1982, this car was permitted for St. Pauls, NC, around 120 south of its current location.

Expired, I presume.

Expired, I presume.

By 1984, it was being parked in Apex, NC, a suburb of the Raleigh-Durham area.

Driving a 20 year old Ranchero to high school.

Driving a 20-year-old Ranchero to high school?

How would your peers view you driving a 1964 Ranchero to high school in 1985? Was it old enough to be considered “retro” and cool? Was it parked in the far corner with the hope nobody would notice? Or in 1985, were you happy to have a car and lucky to be able to get a parking pass. Times change.

It is possible that this vehicle has been sitting here for up to 30 years. Looking at the caliper of the trees, it’s been here quite a while. What’s left of the body is in surprisingly good condition.

If one is a consumer of basic cable, one might think restoring this relic would be fun and profitable. In 24 minutes, this Ranchero can be returned to showroom pristine or converted to a pimped out chick/dude magnet.

I thought about restoring it for the rest of the walk. And decided against it. Here are the issues as I see them.

  1. I would need to use the VIN to locate the owner. Or if the owner cannot be located, I would need to get an abandoned vehicle title.
  2. Talk to the property owner to get permission to cut a few trees to get the Ranchero out or talk to my HOA and convince them that cutting down trees is a good thing.
  3. Rent a garage. I have a two-car garage but if I used it, I would have to park my car outside and tell my wife I bought it.
  4. Get it towed there.
  5. Locate parts for a 50-year-old Ford.
  6. And then there’s the engine.
  7. Wiring harnesses.
  8. Seat or seats.
  9. Wheels, tires and brakes.
  10. Bodywork.
  11. Paint.

And then when I’m all done six months to two years later, all I have is a 1964 Falcon-based Ford Ranchero. A ’64 Ranchero can be purchased for $7,000 to $21,000 depending on condition and gullibility. It doesn’t really make sense.

Much of what we do doesn’t make sense. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It means we need to understand why we do it. What we do doesn’t always make sense.

This is what a 1964 Ranchero looks like:

"1964 Ford Ranchero Pickup" by Sicnag - 1964 Ford Ranchero Pickup. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1964_Ford_Ranchero_Pickup.jpg#/media/File:1964_Ford_Ranchero_Pickup.jpg

“1964 Ford Ranchero Pickup” by Sicnag – 1964 Ford Ranchero Pickup. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1964_Ford_Ranchero_Pickup.jpg#/media/File:1964_Ford_Ranchero_Pickup.jpg

I’m not going to fetch and restore the Ranchero. If any of you are interested, I have a lead on the missing air cleaner:

Write or call for details.

Write or call for details.