1957 was the first year for the Ford Ranchero. Chevrolet followed with the similar El Camino in 1959. The full-sized Ranchero was made from ‘57 to ‘59 and then the smaller Falcon-based Ranchero in the early 60’s, followed by mid-sized Ranchero’s through the ‘70’s.
Under the hood is the original Thunderbird 312 cubic inch V8 engine. This engine and the T-bird finned aluminum valve covers were available options in 1957. The 3-speed manual transmission originally shifted from the steering column. The overdrive will work in both 2nd and 3rd gear, making it possible to get 18 mpg on the highway.
The flip-up fiberglass pickup bed cover, is an original aftermarket item from the late fifties installed by the dealer or owner. The cover’s boat rails and unique spring lifts are features from that era. The Ranchero’s chrome and stainless are all original and unrestored except for the mirrors. The “V-bar” raised bumper over the grille is a rare 1957 Ford option.
Most of the restoration work was done in 1998 by Martha’s cousins and their friends in Easton, Minnesota. In the summer of 2002 we drove it from the Midwest to our home in the Finger Lakes, NY.
This ‘57 Ranchero was purchased in Cupertino, California in 1995 from the Mareotte-Stagen family who were the original owners. It was mostly complete and rust-free, but otherwise in poor condition. It had been used in the family’s car repair business, which still existed on DeAnza Blvd. just down the street from Apple Computer at Infinite Loop. Back in 1957 Cupertino was mostly cherry and plum orchards, not the center of the Silicon Valley computer industry as it is today.
A '57 Ford Ranchero in original condition is quite rare anywhere. Those sold on the East coast rusted badly and few survive. We were lucky to find this one.