Buyers of the 1970 Ford Ranchero could have their car-pickup in a variety of flavors, from mild to muscle-car wild. And they all came in a handy midsize package.
Ford had continued the Ranchero on the compact Falcon platform through 1965. For 1966, it moved Ranchero to the midsize Fairlane body and chassis, but retained the Falcon's front clip.
The 1970 Ford Ranchero Squire featured simulated wood siding and could be optioned with as many creature comforts as most midsize cars.
By 1967, Ranchero was a full-fledged Fairlane spinoff, and it soon sidled over to Fairlane's upscale Torino family. These Rancheros were quite popular, and continued in production until 1980.
One of the best versions was the 1970 Ford Ranchero. It was available in four models based on the Torino, and all had Torino's radically sloped, 57-degree windshield.
The 1970 Ford Ranchero Squire was a luxury pickup version of the popular Torino Squire station wagon. The 1970 Ford Ranchero GT was aimed at the sporty crowd and had a wide laser-color stripe on body sides and tailgate. The Ford Ranchero 500 was plainer and proved the best-selling model. Anchoring the line was the base Ford Ranchero.
All versions of the 1970 Ford Ranchero, except the base model, could be dressed up with optional hidden headlamps. The Squire was particularly striking, its dummy wood paneling flowing smoothly from nose to tail, with a graceful dip where the Torino's body lines curved at mid-fuselage.
The 1970 Ford Ranchero Squire, 500, and base models were fitted with a 155-bhp six-cylinder engine, or mild V-8s. The 1970 Ford Ranchero GT came standard with a 220-bhp 302 V-8.
Optional, depending on model, were two 351-cid "Cleveland" engines with 250 or 300 bhp, and three huge 429s, right up to the 370-bhp Cobra Jet. That muscle car motor had 11.3:1 compression ratio, Motorcraft four-barrel carburetor, and available Ram Air induction and "shaker" hood scoop.
Riding the long, 117-inch wheelbase chassis, decked out with sport-scoop hood, locking hood pins, eggcrate grille, and GT badges, this was the ultimate performance Ford Ranchero. All the more so with such options as a tachometer, four-speed gearbox, power front disc brakes, and high-back bucket seats.
Model-year production for the 1970 Ford Ranchero was 21,640, made up of 3,905 GTs, 3,943 Squires, 8,976 500s, and 4,816 base models.
Collectible Pluses of the 1970 Ford Ranchero
High performance (Ranchero GT)
Lots of options
Decent supply of vehicles to choose from
Collectible Minuses of the 1970 Ford Ranchero
Mild collector interest
Hard to find, GTs especially