The Ranchero was a big hit with both consumers and automotive critics but is not as popular with collectors as the El Camino, so it is still possible to find a fairly affordable project car. The Nite was Ford’s first attempt at putting a performance special edition pickup out on the streets and while it wasn’t a huge success, it led them to create the Lightning (we talked about this one earlier) a few years later.
The Ranchero is based on a two-door station wagon platform and was marketed as a light pickup that could haul a fair amount of cargo while being easy to operate and drive, like a car. There is not enough space here to cover the various engines and features that were incorporated into the Ranchero over the years, but a few engine choices consisted of a 250 cubic-inch six-cylinder and a variety of V8 power plants that ranged from a standard 302 to a 428 cu-in. (7.0 L) Cobra Jet.
It has 113-cc intake ports, 2.25-inch intake valves and 1.88-inch exhaust valves, a massive 1150cfm carb (yes, a carb), a solid-roller cam with 0.714 inches of lift, 12:1 compression, and it requires 110 octane fuel. Here’s GM’s succinct English translation of those stats:
The alternative is to either rebuild an old engine yourself, have an engine builder do it for you, or buy a custom-made engine directly from an engine builder. Each of these options has a fair share of hurdles, and often it’s cheaper to order a crate engine than it is to go those other ways.
The Nissan Quest does have the saving grace of being equipped with a fuel efficient engine for the class. The most recent models are all powered by a 3.5L V6 that is capable of 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque while delivering 22 mpg on the highway.
In addition to their beauty, they were pretty powerful for their day. In 1954, Ford dropped in an overhead valve V-8 that put out 130 horsepower. By 1956, it was up to almost 180. In addition, 1953 was the first year that an automatic transmission was put into a Ford pickup.
They’re even saying it will beat the old ZR1’s Nurburgring lap by a full 20 seconds. And if the current GM Performance Catalog is any indicator, in a few short years you’ll be able to stuff either one of those engines into your grandma’s old woody wagon. What a time to be alive
The Model T lineup was produced from 1908 to 1927 and is famous for being the first truly affordable car. It was an absolute game changer and over 15 million Model T’s were produced. The Model T Runabout Pickup was introduced in 1925 and while it only managed to put out 20 horsepower, the box trunk helped change how cargo was delivered and helped set the standard for future pickups.