1957 Ford Custom 300 Series Ranchero

The new and versatile Ford Ranchero car/pickup hybrid vehicle was introduced to North America for 1957 and built on the full-size passenger car platform. Although a newer concept to the U.S., it was actually a long-running concept originated by Ford of Australia during the 1930s. The basic concept rooted in the Australian Utility or 'Ute' was, according to legend, created after a highly motivated rancher's wife, who was tired 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 eventually made its way tot he Design Department, staffed by one individual - a young Lewis Bandt. Intrigued, Bandt penned a vehicle based on Ford's passenger car platform that combined a cargo bed at the rear with a roadster-type passenger compartment, with additional internal bracing to increase strength and rigidity. The Utility (Ute) that followed was very popular, and the roadster model continued through 1938, while the coupe version continued until 1958, when it was eventually replaced by the American-designed Ranchero. The noun 'Ranchero' was selected for the landowners (ranchers) of California and Australia of the 19th Century.

The mid-1950s saw the creation of America's sports car - the Corvette and the creation of a new market segment. Ford responded with its Thunderbird a few years later, and although it was intended to compete with the Corvette, it created its own market segment in the process - the luxury sports car market. The 1960s would see the creation of another segment called the 'Pony Car.' When it was launched in 1957, the Ranchero charted new ground, and it's precise demographic was unclear. So period advertisements played it safe and remained simplistic, simply described as 'More than a car! More than a truck!' Graphics of the launch advertisement displayed a Ranchero along with a group of cowboys on mounted horseback admiring the versatile new vehicle.

The Ranchero was built atop the same full-size platform as the Ford Fairlane from 1957 through 1959 and equipped with all the same powertrains, amenities, options, and colors. Two trim levels were initially offered including a Standard and Custom model. The Custom's added more elaborate interiors and additional body side moldings.

Ford introduced the Ranchero at the National Automobile Show in New York on December 8th of 1957. Styling features included bright metal used on the grille, windshield, bumpers vent wing moldings and back window. Power was from a 223 cubic-inch, overhead-valve six-cylinder engine with a Holley one-barrel carburetor, 8.6:1 compression, and delivering 144 horsepower at 4,200 RPM. The standard transmission was a three-speed manual, with a Ford_O-Matic or Overdrive optional. The Custom Ranchero came standard with a 272 cubic-inch, OHV V8 with 190 horsepower at 4,500 RPM. The wheelbase measured 116 inches and had an overall length of 202 inches. Power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, Heavy-Duty Super-Filter air cleaner, seat belts, whitewall tires, tinted safety glass, outside rearview mirrors, and MagicAire system were a few of the options. An air conditioning system was available for cars equipped with the V8 engine. The interiors were either tan-and-brown woven plastic with a tan vinyl bolster or blue vinyl with white bolster. Four combinations of upholstery were offered on the Custom trim level, with white vinyl facings and bolsters. The list included tan-and-brown, or white-and-blue woven plastic, all-green, or all-red vinyl.

Following the introduction of the Ranchero, Chevrolet responded by introducing the El Camino for 1959, their 'me too' car-based pickup. Production of the Ford Ranchero continued through 1979 with total production reached 508,355 units.


by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2020

Related Reading : Ford Custom Series (and Custom 300) History

The intermediate trim level Customline Series became the Custom series in 1957 and moved further down-market, and becoming Fords base trim level. They included chrome window moldings, one sun visor, and no horn - there was a horn button. The Custom Series was offered with either a six or eight-cylinder engine with the Custom 300 Models being the top of the line trim for the Custom short-wheelbase....
Continue Reading >>

Related Reading : Ford Customline History

The Ford Customline was produced from 1952 through 1956. It was a model placed between the Mainline and the Crestline and was available with either a six or eight-cylinder engine. The three-speed manual gearbox was standard with the automatic unit offered as optional equipment.....
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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Ford Custom 300 Series Ranchero vehicle information

Ranchero

The first Ford Ranchero was introduced in December 1956, three months after; the rest of the new 1957 Ford line-up. Part car, part truck, the ingeniously designed Ranchero was based on the two -door Ford Ranch Wagon station wagon. With an integral ca....[continue reading]

1957 Ford Custom 300 Series Ranchero vehicle information

Ranchero

Chassis Num: C7KF174433

When Ford introduced the new-for-1953 F-100, the public responded and gave the Blue Oval company an edge over Chevrolet. When Chevrolet introduced their Task Force series two years later, the crown went back to the Bowtie company. To help Ford regain....[continue reading]

1957 Ford Custom 300 Series Ranchero vehicle information

Ranchero

Chassis Num: C7RF198534

This Ford Custom Rancher features Fairlane-style chrome 'checkmark' side trim, additional chrome trim, an expanded choice of color options (in this case in two-tone Starmist Blue and Colonial White) and a deluxe steering wheel. Under the hood is an e....[continue reading]

Ranchero
 
Ranchero
Chassis #: C7KF174433 
Ranchero
Chassis #: C7RF198534 


Concepts by Ford



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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Ford
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)1,476,031
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,338,790
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)1,439,370
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)1,450,953
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)987,945
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)1,676,449
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)1,408,478
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)1,451,157
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)1,165,942
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)1,247,542
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)671,733

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