Project Ranchero

The latest project car in the TGR Garage is the this car is owned by TGR Contributor Akatsuka Hitoshi better known as Toshi. The story below is by Toshi.

1963 Ford Ranchero “Barn Finder” Going to Resto.
I Always wanted a 1963 Ranchero it was the first year for a V8 and the last year of this bodystyle. 
I’m an automotive photographer and editor that contributes to magazines in the USA and in my native Japan. Back in 2006, Carroll Shelby give me these Cobra License Plate frames and I have been looking for the right car to put them on ever since. Back in 1962 Dean Moon and Carroll Shelby put a 260ci V8 in am AC Ace to make the Cobra, So when I found this Ranchero with a factory 260ci I figured it was the perfect car to wear these license plate frames. 

I call it my Cobra Pickup. I plan on making it into a hi-po style, lightweight performance truck, these V8 utes are popular and more common in Australia. 


I found the Ranchero in Buena Park, just off from Euclid Ave. and the 91 FWY. It was tucked away in the back yard with several other collectable cars and trucks. Including a 1966 A-Code Mustang Fastback, and a 1956 Ford F-100 Pickup. We made a deal and I drove it home.

The car runs good and drives ok, the brakes are in need of an adjustment. Thankfully the old two speed has been replaced by a C4 automatic making it useable on Southern California's freeways. While it drives nice I keep thinking about putting a manual transmission in, there is just something about a muscle car with a 4 speed, but I will likely keep it auto. The factory 260 is long gone, and in it's place is a 1972 302, rebuilt and running strong the added horsepower gives the little truck some extra punch.

Biggest Issue of restoration this Ranchero is the bodywork and paint. and paint. There are several patches of rust I need to replace and if you know the Falcon/Ranchero it is in all the usual spots. Door edges, bottom of the fenders, rear quarter panels, lower bed floor.  

In the next installment I will walk you through some of our repairs.