1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero

From 25 years in two salvage yards in Moriarty and Albuquerque, NM to class winner at the 2006 Falcon Club of America National Convention in Indianapolis, IN; '64-'65 Ranchero Daily Drivers. Born as a 170 c.i. inline six cylinder with three-on-the-tree, now a 200 c.i. inline six with a toploader 4-speed and the frame and suspension components of a 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350. It corners like it's on rails.

2nd Generation Falcons

2nd Generation Falcons
The 1964 - 1965 Ford Falcon chassis, one of the first American uni-bodies based on the 1960 Thunderbird and Falcon, was given by Robert McNamara to Lee Iacocca to make the '64½ & '65 Mustangs. Lee gave it to Carroll Shelby who turned it into the 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 with a 289 V-8, 4-speed toploader, Galaxy 500 9" rear end, and half a dozen frame and suspension mods.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's in PA

This thing is bad ass, I built it to be driven hard and put away wet, every day, all day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tried to sell it...

I tried to sell it for months, on craigslist and eBay, $8,000, 7, 6, 5, nobody was interested, not one call, except from an internet scammer with an agent. I have receipts for about $23,000, documented back to purchase in 2001. I saved the original newspaper ad.

I gave it to my ex, keep it in the family, she can give it back to son when she's done with it.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Took the head to a machine shop

I pulled the head, took it to a machine shop, put it back on. Started up on first try, purrs.

                                                   All Stage 8 fasteners on the header.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Uh oh, better get Maaco

OEM Ford paint code D, Ocean Turquoise Metallic, the color it came out of the factory with.

New hood emblem

Stripped and clear coated metal milk crates. One I had, the other came from eBay.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sixth iteration of cockpit

Removed two-switch panel below dash. Moved washer button to new Ford replacement wiper/washer  switch, which had been a toggle switch. Moved fan switch to where washer switch used to be. Mounted manual cut-out control, a locking choke cable, above fan switch.

The manual cut-out replacing burnt out electric motor of a linear actuator, which are sold in 10 unit minimum order.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Fifth iteration of cockpit.

Added new windshield washer pump switch, put a power port in the OEM lighter hole on the dash, added fire extinguisher, removed non-functioning radio, added UE Bluetooth speaker with windshield camera mount, and iPhone with Lifeproof case and windshield mount, added CB radio and new antenna coax.
 4-layers of Wheelskin steering wheel covers.

A white fire extinguisher, not nitrous. Powered iPhone set up for time lapse video and iTunes on wireless speaker.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


It looked like this from 2001 to 2005, except I changed the mirrors to stock and removed the aftermarket bed rails.

In 2005, my parents were coming for Thanksgiving, so was everyone else, an impromptu family reunion. Dad called to ask if the Ranchero still looked like that. Well, he threatened not to come for the reunion with that POS parked in front of a house he would be visiting for an extended stay. 

I stripped every piece of chrome off, did a great deal of taping around the engine bay, and took it to Maaco for a relatively cheap paint job, in the OEM color code D, Ford Blue, which is identical to Turquoise Metallic. He asked if I wanted clear coat for another grand? No thank you, just paint it and in a few years I'll have a nice patina faded pastel Ford Blue.

At Maaco


Maaco did a fine job, with a minor exception. They were stumped about what to do with the rusted out roof. Someone with money would find a donor and cut roofs off. I suggested they Rock Guard it, the stuff they put on heavy duty off-road vehicles' rocker panels. It is the same consistency of stucco.

 Duke City Plating had a process to chrome aluminum by first coating it in copper. 
I chromed the entire front and the bed rails.

Nice and shiny, we didn't notice the lack of clear coat, until years later, when we discovered that Maaco had accidentally clear coated one door before they realized it was a no clear coat order. Instead of fixing the error, they figured, correctly, the customer will never notice, until it's too late to do anything about it, other than re-paint it, which I doubt I will ever do. 

And here we are, a nice faded patina on the whole car except for the shiny clear coated door.
We did go back to Maaco just for fun and there is nothing any shop in Denver can do about it and doubtful the original shop will do anything this late, plus, there is no way I am driving to Albuquerque in it. It will be a rat-ranchero with a shiny door.

Changed out CB antenna coax

The coax and antenna were 20 years old. Could not get a decent SWR reading. Got new coax and I already had the Browning antenna from the MDX


SWR reading of 1.0, perfect.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Header gasket blew...

A piece of it came off on number 6, and was leaking badly. Since it had to come off, I decided to change the header bolts to header studs, a decision that would yield unintended consequences and make the installation job significantly more difficult.

The alternator has to be moved; the starter, cross member, and pitman arm totally removed.

I put all the studs on, only to discover there is no way the header will fit over them because of clearance issues. The shock tower severely impedes movement of the header.

The studs were all removed, except one at each end, top of number 1 and bottom number 6, to be able to wrestle the header back in position. The remaining studs had to be screwed on through the header flange and the gasket, a royal pita getting the studs started and screwed in.

Once the header is installed and torqued down, everything else falls back in place. I took my time, 4 days, but total work time was about 12 hours.

Done. New gasket, 10 of 11 studs and one bolt. Top number 5 has clearance issues. Update 05/16, all Stage 8 header fasteners.

First things

I had been looking for a Ranchero for about 10 years. In 1992 I drove by a round body Ranchero for sale at a used lot on my way home from work for months. The day I decided to buy it was a day late.

In 2000 I happened to see an ad in the Journal for this one at Chavez Salvage Yard in the South Valley. It was a huge rust heap in the back. A tree was starting to grow through the engine bay. It was covered in carpeting, rusting out the roof and hood. He wanted $500 and I got it for $450 with free delivery. This thing had not been turned over in 25 years. 10 years in a Moriarty junk yard and 15 years here.

Mr. Chavez brought it over on a flatbed. It did not run for the lack of a one inch piece of carb linkage. When my neighbor saw it he offered me $500 to haul it away. It was reducing property values.

I found the linkage piece in a Mustang salvage yard. As I was leaving the shop, I noticed a Mustang six with a 6 to 1 header and an Offenhauser tri-power intake. I asked if the header would fit on mine? Yup, bolt on, and the beginning of the madness.

I gave it a tune up and tried to drive it without thinking about the condition of the gas tank. It occurred to me when I was digging out rust from the carb reservoir. I drove it around for several weeks breaking down regularly.
rebuilt carb twice
dipped gas tank
added gauge cluster
new brake pads, master cylinder, 2 brake cylinders
Clifford 6 to 1 header, a gleaming work of art in the middle of a garbage heap
wrapped the steering wheel in four layers of Wheelskins leather
spent hundreds of hours with a drill mounted wire brush removing surface rust and it pretty much looks the same

I drove it for almost 2 years before I got serious about copying the suspension modifications made by Carroll Shelby when he developed the '65 Mustang 350 GT, which happens to be the same chassis as the '64 & '65 Ford Falcons, actually 2 sub-frames and unibody.

About 2 years in, I took the motor to a machine shop. Professionally rebuilt. They could not believe I had been driving it considering the extensive list of broken parts.

It had a three on the tree that worked fine except it is hard for me to reach 2nd, way up there. I rebuilt the seat and raised it several inches, no help. The only way I could alleviate it was to put the shifter on the floor, but there is no linkage for the factory three speed. Had to get a Dagenham 4-speed, on eBay, installed it myself. It lasted about 8 months.
Got another one. That one went in real easy. It started to go south several months later. That's when I found David Kee (hand-built toploader 4-speed) changed to a new 200 inline 6 from the 170, to get the bell housing, to get the tranny. This drive train with the suspension mods...nirvana!

I used to take it out on South 14 early Sunday mornings and race up and down the mountain. Usually I did not see anyone but one day, coming down, I ran up on a Mini Cooper. We played race. He could not lose me, let me pass and could not keep up.

It was my daily driver. I parked the Caddy. After I put on the sway bars it was far and away the most fun car I have owned.

In 2006 I went on the road for two years and gave the Ranchero to my son.

Update: I moved to Denver and son gave me the Ranchero back and it's my daily driver again. Of course, I started pouring money at it, taking it to the next level, and what a difference!

Modifications and add-ons

200 ci inline 6, previously a 170
Electric cooling fan replacing belt driven fan
Aluminum radiator replacing steel radiator
Petronix electronic ignition replacing points
Accel coil and cables
Weber 38/38 carb, a 2 bbl replacing 1 bbl standard
Classic Inlines cold air induction
Clifford 6 to 1 tuned header replacing the factory cast iron manifold ( part discontinued, replaced with 6 to 2 header)
David Kee toploader 4-speed replacing factory 3 speed
Hurst Competition Plus shifter
2 1/2" galvanized exhaust pipe
Street-pro electric cut-out
Dynomax muffler
P-S-T polygraphite performance front end
Stam-Bar anti sway bars F & R
Front crossmember
Monte Carlo bar
Sub-frame connectors
Traction Master traction bars
Poly-Tech control arms, bushings
1375 lb rated leaf springs
Dynomat lined interior
Dearborn carpet kit
1965 Mustang instrument cluster
Shelby inspired Auto Meter clock and tach
Stewart Warner 2 5/8" gauge cluster
10 disc CD changer, AM/FM/Tape
CB radio
front and rear receiver hitches
re-chrome grill, headlight rings, bed rail
Added windshield washers and period correct washer fluid bag