The Ranchero is a little confounding. Design wise it’s like the love child of a station wagon and a pick-up truck and yet it’s really cool. Add in that fact that the 68-69 GT model boasted a big boy engine and the Ranchero earns its spot on this blog.
Let’s start under the hood. The Ranchero had several engines options beginning with the standard 250 cubic inch l6 and ending with the monster 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet V8. The Cobra Jet was the largest engine offered in the Ranchero to-date and pumped out a ridiculous 335 horse power during chassis dyno testing and a true output of 410 on models with unrestricted cold air induction.
The design changes were slight in ’69; a flatter three-piece grille less the horizontal crossbar and Ford crest, relocation of GT grille badging from the crest to the lower right corner of the grille. There were plenty of bells and whistles offered such as bucket seats, air-conditioning and a vinyl top.
If you are looking for a rare Ranchero muscle car restoration project you might want to look for the Rio Grande model. Only available on special order the Rio Grande was a GT in the special color themes of wimbledon white, poppy red or calypso coral. Production figures aren’t exact, but there may have been less than 1000 of these on the road.
The L88 was so badass that Chevy tried to hide it from the general public. They didn’t promote it and gave it a generic tag number because they didn’t want the Average Joe behind the wheel of a stripped down racing monster capable of 171 mph at Le Mans.
Naturally something this spectacular doesn’t stay off the public radar for long. The L88 is an american muscle car legend. Originally sold for $6500 a fully restored, all original L88 can sell for deep into the 6-figures. Yes, that much!
This racing machine boasts a 427 V8 and featured aluminum intake heads, an 850 CFM dual-feed Holley carburetor, transistor ignition and 12:1 compression. In addition, the L88 package included an aluminum radiator, heavy duty brakes, suspension, and the Muncie M-22 “rock crusher” transmission. It was so powerful it came with a warning sticker on center console that emphasized that only racing fuel was adequate for the big valves and radical timing. Running on racing fuel with the exhaust removed the L88 was capable of over 600 horsepower. And even at pure stock settings it ripped out 550-570 bhp during chassis dyno testing.
There were only 216 L88 models produced in three years. It didn’t have airconditioning a radio or any other creature comforts. As mentioned the L88 was meant for the track, not the road. But, damn it looks nice on the road.
Photo Credit: topmusclecars.blogspot.com
Knicknamed the Scrambler this unconventional muscle car had a compact body and big boy engine that gave it enough kick to put down many of the bigger classics. AMC made the regretable choice to release the SC/Rambler with a paint job that made it look like a 4th of July decoration, but as a restoration project that won’t matter. Get creative!
Intended as a halo car to get enthusiasts attention only 1512 SC/Ramblers came off the assembly line. Because of the scarcity of orginal parts clone cars have become a popular rebuilt alternative, but accurate clones are difficult to pull off.
Under the hood this bright little guy boasts a 390 V-8 that kicks out 315hp during chassis dyno testing. And it was a beast in the quarter-mile ripping off times that previously had been the exclusive territory of Hemis and Cobra Jets.
The scooped hood, the euro-style side mirrors, the Hurst SC/Rambler badges and the blacked-out, badge-less grille and rear trim all came only on the SC/Rambler, but all can be difficult/costly restoration parts to replace. In general AMC parts have become more difficult in recent years because their cars have become a popular altenative to the more expensive classics.
This may not be the easiest project to get just right, but if you do you’ll have a unique ride and absolute screamer.