• Equipped with air-conditioning and wire wheels
• Versatile and very stylish dual-purpose car/truck hybrid
• Very well-preserved and presented, quality older restoration
• Landmark example from the first model year
292 cid OHV V-8 engine, single two-barrel carburetor, 212 HP, automatic transmission, independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 118”
Introduced to North America for 1957 and built on the full-size passenger car platform, Ford’s versatile new Ranchero car/pickup hybrid vehicle was in fact based on a long-running concept originated by Ford of Australia during the 1930s. Designated after the noun "Ranchero" denoting the legendary landowners of California during the 19th Century, the Ranchero’s basic concept was rooted in the Australian Utility or “Ute.” During the early 20th Century, Australian banks were reportedly more inclined to grant loan requests to ranchers for the purchase of hardworking farm trucks rather than passenger cars.
According to legend, a highly motivated rancher’s wife, who had quite enough of riding in the farm truck, directly petitioned Ford of Australia to build a vehicle that could haul feed and small livestock, yet carry the family in car-like comfort to town for shopping trips or church on Sundays. The letter moved along through several departments, and finally reached the Design Department, staffed by one person – a young Lewis Bandt. Quickly, Bandt sketched a vehicle based on Ford’s passenger car platform that combined a roadster-type passenger compartment with a cargo bed at the rear, with additional internal bracing for strength. The resulting Utility, or “Ute”, was an immediate success, and while the roadster model only carried on through 1938, the coupe variant continued until 1958, when it was eventually replaced by the American-designed Ranchero.
Interestingly, Ford product planners had a difficult time trying to figure out how to market the new Ranchero to American buyers when it was launched in 1957. Since they were not yet certain who their precise target market was, early Ranchero ads were quite simplistic. A 1957 advertisement describes the vehicle as “More than a car! More than a truck!” Consistent with the traditional roots of the new Ford’s name, the graphics of the launch advertisement displayed a Ranchero along with a group of cowboys on mounted horseback admiring the striking new vehicle.
From 1957 through 1959, the Ranchero shared the same platform as the full-size Ford Fairlane and featured all the same powertrain combinations, paint finishes, luxurious passenger amenities, and interior color and trim options. The Ranchero was offered in two trim levels including a standard model and a custom, dressed up with body side moldings and more elaborate interiors. Confirming its versatility and broad appeal, the Ranchero soon inspired the launch of the competing El Camino, Chevrolet’s “me too” car-based pickup, which arrived for 1959.
As offered from a highly selective and knowledgeable owner and collector, this first-year 1957 Ford Ranchero is a highly striking, very well-preserved and well-presented example that continues to benefit from a high quality older restoration. Abundant power is delivered by a robust 212-horsepower, 292 cubic-inch “Y-Block” V-8 engine breathing through an economical two-barrel carburetor, and mated to a highly desirable automatic transmission. In addition to its outstanding overall presence, the Ranchero features a very good paint finish and equally impressive brightwork including bumper guards, a “V-bar” grille accent, dual mirrors, tinted windows, power steering, and welcomed passenger amenities including air-conditioning and a cassette stereo head unit. The Ranchero’s engine bay features a high level of detailing and the interior remains inviting, notwithstanding some limited seat wear on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Very clean, correct, and lightly used, this 1957 Ford Ranchero rides on a set of wire wheels mounting period style whitewall tires and stands as a truly wonderful first-year example of the first-generation Ranchero. Clearly one of the best vehicles of its kind anywhere, this 1957 Ford Custom Ranchero is a great example of Ford Motor Company’s legendary leadership and innovation during the 1950s.
1957 Ford Ranchero