1979 Ford Ranchero: The Classic American Beauty a 1979 Ford Ranchero 500
I love the looks of the 1979 Ford Ranchero so much, that this is the second one I have owned. She is large in stature and big boned. She has nearly 20 feet of length between her fine front chrome bumper and her lovely rear chrome bumper. She is a luxurious car and a full size truck at the same time. She is ready to go to the opera or the local farmer's market. Her color is Wimbledon white, with maroon interior and dual hand painted maroon pinstripes running from stem to stern as an accent, to set her apart from run of the mill pretenders. She's a classic American beauty, sitting on her raised white lettered Firestone 500 tires set off by original chrome wire hubcaps!
She is fitted with a big, comfortable, electric, adjustable, split bench seat. She can hold up to a trio, or transport a couple, in style, by folding down the ample arm rests to create two huge armchair like seats. Her gauges and controls are well located, easy to see and operate. She sports an AM/FM stereo radio with great sounds blasting through her multiple speakers. Fresh air and an open air feel can be attained by the press of a button to lower her electric windows. Her cab is climate controlled by available air conditioning or heat. Two remotely controlled sport mirrors are functional and add to her overall appearance. On the open road, you can sit back comfortably in her cabin with the stereo blasting, the A/C tweaked just right and the cruise control set on the legal limit as you melt away the miles.
The view from the driver’s seat is impressive as you look out over her massive hood that seems to go on forever. You feel safe in the bosom of this big car; very, very safe. Her vertical square headlights are different from most cars and a nice touch. She can bed down a bakers dozen of full plywood sheets and transport them between her fender wells laying flat. She has ample chrome and polished aluminum to outline and highlight the lines of her classic beauty. The air adjustable rear shocks enable you to change the aggressive stance of her big beautiful rear-end or adjust her payload capacity.
This big American beauty is just a little underpowered, as she was built during the first gas crunch of the late seventies. My previous Ranchero was a GT model, with a high performance engine--it was as powerful as it was good looking. However, this basic model is equipped with a detuned 302 cubic inch engine and a two barrel carburetor that barely makes 130 horsepower. One would think with a smaller engine, a two barrel carburetor teamed up to a C-4 transmission she would get decent gas mileage. But, alas, she has a healthy appetite and could only muster about 16 miles per gallon on her maiden voyage of about 300 highway miles in sunny flat Florida.
It could be that she may be a little tired with 118,000 miles showing on her odometer but, though ridden long and hard she has not been put away wet! There is anecdotal evidence from the previous owner and some physical signs that a new factory short block was installed about 15,000 miles ago. I will give her a good tune up, add dual exhausts so she can breathe easier and reduce her appetite to put a little more performance in her fine self.
If you ever get the chance, you should experience the ride and enjoy the character of one of these fine ladies but, don’t hesitate--as they are as rare as any fine bred beautiful woman and will disappear just as quickly into someone else's waiting arms.
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