1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero / The Compact Pickup

The vehicle featured in this article is a 1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero.

The Ford Falcon Ranchero was a perfect fit for anyone who used their vehicle for personal transportation and also used it to carry moderate loads. Today, the Ford Falcon Ranchero is considered a low cost gem from the past and has a good sized following. Attend auto shows and you'll likely run across some fine restorations. The Falcon Ranchero is a Ford classic.

ford falcon ranchero specs

1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero

Ford's Falcon Ranchero

From the years 1957 to 1979 the Ford Motor Company built the Ranchero model. From 1960 through 1966 the Ford Motor Company produced the" Falcon Ranchero". This new Ranchero model was now known as the Falcon Ranchero. This Ranchero was much smaller than in previous years and was now based on the compact Falcon platform. The smaller platform was the result of the severe recession during the late 1950's. Unlike a pickup truck, the Ranchero was adapted from a station wagon platform that integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body.

While the Ford Falcon Ranchero was smaller than it's competitor, the Chevrolet El Camino, the Ranchero had a payload of 800 lbs which was 100 lbs more than the El Camino. The Falcon Ranchero's cargo space was 6-foot long, 4½-foot wide, and 15½ inch deep pickup box that provided a total of 31½ cubic feet of usable space.

1963 ford falcon ranchero

Front end view of the 63 Falcon Ranchero

The first Falcon Rancheros in 1960 had only a straight six engine. It would be 1963 that the V-8 would be an option. In 1960 the straight six was a 144 cubic inch engine. In 1961 the six was upgraded to 170 cubic inches.

Design Changes 

For the 1962 model year the Ford Falcon Ranchero received a new design. This included bolder bars in the metal grill work and a dummy scoop bulge in the hood. Moving ahead to 1963 the Ranchero received a new grille design along with an option for a 260 cubic inch V-8 engine. For the years 1964 through 1966, design changes to the Falcon Ranchero mirrored the changes made to the Ford Falcon automobile. The 1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero was constructed for maximum strength with minimum weight.

An important note about the Ranchero model is that during it's 23 years in production the pickup was designed off of five different Ford automobiles, the Ford Falcon being one. All Ford Ranchero designs were patterned after selected Ford automobiles. Prior to 1960 the Ranchero was based off of the Ford Fairlane.

The Falcon design for the Ranchero beginning in 1960 made the vehicle a compact pickup. This of course was a major change from the Fairlane Ranchero's full size dimensions.

1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1963 Falcon Ranchero was produced with a 170 cubic inch straight six engine along with the option of a 260 cubic inch V-8. This small block V-8 delivered 164 horsepower.

The transmissions offered was either a four speed manual or a Fordomatic automatic. The first Falcon Ranchero in 1960 offered only a three speed manual.

Power steering was offered with the V-8 only.

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falcon ranchero v-8

1963 Falcon Ranchero 260 cubic inch V-8

1963 options also included bucket seats and a deluxe trim package. Some of the custom Rancheros have sharp two-tone paint schemes.

In order to accommodate the six foot long cargo bed in the Ranchero, the Ranchero's length was eight inches longer than that of the Ford Falcon automobile.

Sales started strong for the compact Falcon Ranchero. During it's first 1960 model year, Ford Motor Company sold over 21,000 Rancheros out of half a million Falcon automobiles. A total of 508,355 Ford Rancheros  were produced during the model's production run from 1957 through 1979.

The new car price for the 1963 Falcon Ranchero averaged $1,950. A total of 18.500 Rancheros were built for the 1963 model year.

The Ford Falcon Ranchero Collector Vehicles

The Ford Falcon Ranchero is a very popular collector vehicle. The truck itself is quite unique in as much as it is a compact sized pickup that in 1960 replaced a full sized Ranchero. The collector popularity of this vehicle has been growing and some refer to it as the little known muscle truck.

falcon ranchero dashboard

Interior and dashboard view of the 63 Falcon Ranchero

As of this writing, asking prices for 1963 Ford Falcon Rancheros that are fully restored and in showroom condition may be found in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. Non restored Falcon Rancheros in running condition may be found in the $5,000 to $10,000 range depending on condition.

First year Falcon Rancheros (1960) with the three speed manual transmissions and the smaller straight six engine are current;y priced from about $8,000 to $17,000 depending on condition and degree of restoration.

For those wanting to restore a Falcon Ranchero, parts are considered relatively easy to find and there are ample support clubs. The Falcon Club of America is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Falcon and Falcon Ranchero automobiles built by the Ford Motor Company from 1960 to 1970. Another is the Ford Ranchero Owners and Fans Club.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

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