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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well it's time to start a build thread for the ranchero. The story behind the car goes like this. My older brother bought this car for my nephew for a senior project for school. He got it from a guy that worked at Posies shop in Hummelstown that used it for a driver. It supposedly had 38k original miles and was a nice clean, straight car. The 6 popper left a little to be desired, but the car drove well. Well the senior project never took off and one day I drove by and the car was sitting outside. Now I needed another car like a hole in the head, but I couldn't see letting it rot away. So home it came. Now, what to do with a '61 Ranchero? I looked at it from all angles. Thought about what parts I had around. Jacked it up high and sat it on blocks. And I thought "this would make one badass gasser!".

My dad raced an AC Cobra in the mid sixties and I have his old copies of Eastern Drag News. Like many others, I loved the gasser cars from that era. So since my dad passed away long ago, I thought I'd build a sorta tribute gasser of that general era with some of my own touches thrown in.

Well I started trying to round up pics of this build and quickly realized I didn't take many of the early fabrication. I had no fancy digital camera and just snuck out to the garage and worked whenever I could. So I'll post what pics I have as I go along and try to fill in the blanks with long-winded explanations instead.

This is the only pic I have of the ranchero in stock form. That's my nephew with the car. He's now an engineer, married with 2 beautiful kids. Time flies my friends!

Lon
 

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I love hearing the back story or history of a car, it really is a great place to start the story of a rebuild, restoration, or...a "gasserfication"! Cool body style, I look forward to seeing the progress pics. Cheers.
 

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Glad you're posting a build thread! It's fun for us, and will help keep you motivated to push forward! A nice record to look back on also, as you move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Craig and Vall!

Well I apparently am not very good at documenting some portions of the build. So a couple leaps forward will occur. I can answer any questions as I go. I bought a Speedway front suspension kit and it was very easy to install. I squared up the leaf springs after removing any stock brackets and stuff that were in the way. Then just welded the brackets in. I waited to weld the axle into final position until the rear end height was picked so I could set the caster. This part was the easiest part of the chassis build. I used the stock steering box after a thorough rebuild. Then I sat the rear of the car on jack stands and started trying to figure out the stance I wanted. I have a vision of exactly how the car should look. It's just a matter of taking it from mind to metal.
 

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Funny . . . when a small pick-up is done up in the "Gasser" style, it just kinda generally looks like it was built for off-road, doesn't it?

Definitely, something is lost in translation . . .
 

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So Lon, with that bad ass, mile high stance are you planning on having anything popping out of the hood? Also, any idea of what's going to get it down the road: Ford, Mopar or Chevy; and small block or big block. It's already looking mean, wicked and nasty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gary that is a very cool altered wheelbase Ranchero! It definitely looks fast. If it wasn't, that can be fixed!

Steve, The stance is high, but there is no engine in there yet. In gasser tradition, the crankshaft centerline is 24" from the ground. Right at the NHRA rules height. As far as engine plans go, stay tuned, you won't be disappointed.


Lon
 

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Lon, I gotta ask...what's that other piece of old iron in the background of your Ranchero? Yours or somebody else's? Nice looking fat/skinnys stacked up by it too. Must be something good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good eye Craig. That's a '47 Plymouth Business Coupe. Another project I have to finish, lol.

And to continue the Ranchero story. I fabricated some ladder bars for it. I used some S&W Racecars front and rear brackets as well as rod ends and built the rest from square tubing. I am using QA1 adjustable coil-over shocks. I fabbed up some solid brackets to duplicate the completed rear suspension at ride height and installed those in place of the coil-overs. The 9" rear I have had from my first car ('66 Mustang) sitting in the corner for 20 years. Guess I'm a hoarder. While this work was going on I had the block machined, ordered up the missing parts and started assembling the engine.

Lon
 

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I see some subframe connectors, and added braces out to the rockers? Did you add any extra metal up front to plate, or stiffen up the unibody rails? I guess you're leaving the existing inner fenders in place? I added 1"x3" box tubing to the bottom of my front unibody rails, tied to my subframe connectors, and then braced to the rockers. Also added tubing braces from firewall to front frame horns, but I removed the inner fenders, so needed extra bracing for the front, and the weight/power of the BBC in my '63 Falcon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Vall, I did fab up some through the floor subframe connectors. The bracing you see is my front ladder bar/trans crossmember mounts. They do help to brace the area where the original "frame", subframe connector/trans crossmember and ladder bar mounts meet. The new engine crossmember will help to stiffen the front rails as well. The plans are for an 8.50 cage, so the spring/shock towers will be gone. Gotta have somewhere for the headers to exit!

This pic shows the subframe connector from the interior side.

Lon
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Engine mounting time. Dummy block and a universal crossmember type engine mount. Welded it all up. Hopefully I got the driveline angles close. Since I had the best part of a SBC laying around, that's what's going in. TH400 trans as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Vall! I'm trying to slowly document the build here. A member here suggested I join and do a build thread. I started the build in, gasp, 2005. And I'm still not done, lol. It's been a long and twisting road. But I'm getting close. With the Falcon/Ranchero there is only one choice with fenderwell headers for a SBC with spreadport heads, custom built. It was not cheap, but the results were outstanding.
 

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I used Tri 5 BBC headers on my Falcon, which were extremely cost effective at $200 new. But it did create one issue. In order to get the headers sitting where I wanted them, I had to set the firewall back. Needed that for radiator clearance too, so not a totally bad thing.
 

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Very Cool Lon. nice work and love the Ranchero
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I used Tri 5 BBC headers on my Falcon, which were extremely cost effective at $200 new. But it did create one issue. In order to get the headers sitting where I wanted them, I had to set the firewall back. Needed that for radiator clearance too, so not a totally bad thing.
These cars are definitely short on room in the engine compartment. I can imagine a BBC took some "massaging" of metal to make it fit. Great idea on the headers. That's some money saved over custom stuff! I've been reading through your build. Very cool!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Very Cool Lon. nice work and love the Ranchero
Thanks Mario! I've read through your build. I love the unusual body styles and yours fits that! A friend is building one with a 2.3l turbo ford engine. The best thing that could happen to an MG is for it to be modified, lol.
 

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Lon, what's that other car the background of your Ranchero??? with those nice looking fat/skinnys stacked up by it too. I does look good! I will pull up a chair and enjoy.
 
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