Featured is a beautiful restored 1957 Ford Ranchero.The Ranchero made it’s debut at the National Auto Show in New York. The inspiration for bringing the Ranchero to the U.S. market came from the success that Ford Australia had with the Ute. The Ute had the same car / truck design and had been sold in Australia for years.

1957 ford ranchero photos
1957 Ford Ranchero

The Ranchero model was produced by Ford continuously from 1957 to 1979. The Ford Ranchero was built on the automobile assembly line but marketed and sold through the Ford Truck Division.

While some may refer to the Ranchero as a pickup, it is actually classified as a coupe utility vehicle. The Ranchero offered the sleek looks of a sedan with the utility of a light duty pickup.

More Than a Car and More Than a Truck

Ford Motor Company was correct in its theory that a “half car-half truck” would be popular with buyers. Sales were excellent and buyers were interested in this new concept. The Ford Ranchero was a popular vehicle for people who wanted a car but needed a truck or you could say for those people who wanted a truck but needed a car.

This was similar to some degree for the concept of the 1939 Chevy Master Deluxe Coupe Pickup which in essence was a coupe utility vehicle. In fact, Ford itself produced the first F Model T and Model A pickup trucks from sedans by placing a truck box behind the body of a car behind the driver’s seat.

57 ranchero specificationsWhen the Ford Ranchero was introduced in 1957, one advertisement for the vehicle was as follows… “It’s more than a car! It’s more than a truck! Any way you look at it, the stunning new Ranchero is the slickest, sleekest pickup ever to pack a load. And what a load! The Ranchero carries more than half a ton — more than many standard pickups!”

In 1957 Ford took its full size Two Door Station Wagon chassis and put a car front end on it along with a pickup truck bed to the rear that could carry about 850 lbs. It may not have had the same hauling capacity as a half-ton Ford it certainly served the purpose it was created for. Rancheros were first available in two trim levels. The basic Ranchero had minimal trim and bright work. The Ranchero Custom was upscale and offered a higher level of interior fabric and trim including a full length stainless ‘sweep-spear’ along the sides with two-tone paint schemes available. Later during the first production year the Ranchero was platformed on the Fairlane with more upscale trim.

During it’s twenty-two year production run, the Ford Ranchero shared sheet metal and chassis with several Ford models including the Torino and LTD II until the model was discontinued in 1979.

Ford Ranchero Vs. Chevy El Camino

The Chevy El Camino introduced in 1959, two years after the Ranchero’s debut was Chevrolet’s answer to the popular Ranchero, The first El Camino was based on the Biscayne Station Wagon model. Chevy used advertising slogans such as “It’s magnifico!” “It’s terrifico!” “Good looks never carried as much weight!” Both vehicles shared southwest themed names.

Some say that Chevrolet was blindsided by Ford’s Ranchero much the same it was with Ford’s Mustang where the Camaro came out two model years later. With that being said when the Ranchero first came out some auto writers predicted that other automakers will copy Ford’s idea in principle.

1957 Ford Ranchero Specifications

The standard engine for the 1957 Ford Ranchero was a 223 cubic inch inline six delivering 144 HP. You could upgrade to a 272 cubic inch V-8 or a 292 cubic inch Thunderbird V-8. Horsepower was 190 and 212 respectively.

Available transmissions were a two speed automatic, three speed maual with overdrive or a three speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions include a 116.0 inch wheelbase, outside overall length 201.6 inches,

Estimated 1957 Ford Ranchero production was 27,000 vehicles. Other estimates place it lower at about 22,000 vehicles. Production numbers for the 1958 and 1959 model years are both estimated lower than 22,000. Numbers did increase beginning in 1960 with the second generation Ranchero. The 1960 Ranchero was based on the Falcon model and was noticeably smaller.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero

1957 Ford Fairlane Convertible

Reference material for this article includes..Ford Ranchero Muscle Portfolio 1957-1979 by R.M. Clarke..Ford Ranchero, 1957-1979 (Classic motorbooks photofacts) by William D. Siuru..Illustrated Ford Model T & Model A Buyer’s Guide by Paul G. McLaughlin.

1957 ford ranchero pics

The 1957 Ford Ranchero Collector Car

Enthusiasts and collectors alike appreciate the unique styling and utility of the Ford Ranchero, particularly these first-generation models (57-59)  which offered a blend of utilitarianism and unmistakable 1950s style.

Current asking and auction prices for these classic Rancheros will depend on the trim level, engine, degree and age of restoration, mileage and originality. Excellent examples of these 1957 Ford Rancheros are in a range from about $35,000 to $65,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)