Here’s what we love about the 1957 Ford Ranchero

Ford has been on a mission to provide commercial vehicles since 1903. Over 119 years of operation, we have seen many models roll off Ford’s assembly lines and gain popularity. But all the while, the top American brand has become perhaps the most popular for its pickup trucks, especially over the past couple of years.

In fact, Ford has ditched all of its cars except the honored Mustang in favor of pickup trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles. This decision mainly came from customer demand for more versatile and compact SUVs. But things were very different in the 1950s, for example. Seventy years ago people were looking for car-based utility vehicles, and naturally Ford provided them.

The 1957 Ford Ranchero blended the functionality of the pickup truck with the practicality and style of the car. It was sold in many copies and was a great success at the time. Today, the 1957 Ford Ranchero is a legend of unique body styling and performance that we always love to see at auction.

What makes the 1957 Ford Ranchero so special? Find out all about it in our brief overview of Ranchero styling and specs. We also provide a price guide for anyone who wants to add to the classic car collection with that unique Ford utility vehicle.

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The rich history of the 1957 Ford Ranchero

The 1957 Ford Ranchero.
By: Flickr

Ford produced a fair share of vehicles before the Ranchero. The Ford Model T and Model A pickup trucks had a unique shape. They had a truck box behind a car body that served its purpose but looked awkwardly put together. The first utility coupe appeared in 1934 when Ford designer Lew Brant integrated the truck bed into the coupe to look more like a pick-up but also serve as a car.

It wasn’t until the post-war years that this design really came to life. The 1957 Ford Ranchero was the first such vehicle, blending sedan looks with pickup truck utility in the most seamless design. This is precisely what made the Ranchero incredibly popular, so Ford must have produced a total of 508,355 units between 1957 and 1979 (when the Ranchero was replaced by newer models and discontinued).

RELATED: Here’s What Made The 1971 Ford Ranchero Special

The new exotic body of the 50s

The 1957 Ford Ranchero.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

The 1957 Ford Ranchero arrived as a utility coupe adapted from a station wagon platform with the cabin and cargo area integrated into the body. It was made from a full-size platform of Ford cars (or more precisely, the sedan and the station wagon). For 1957, this was all new.

The unique hybrid blend of a station wagon chassis, touring car cabin and cargo bed was offered in two versions in 1957. The first was a standard Ford Ranchero model intended to satisfy the needs of buyers of vans. It was named the standard. The second, or Custom, has been updated, offering more accessories for those who needed the premium look of a car but didn’t want to give up the extra cargo space.

The Standard and Custom included the same engine options. Standard was the 3.7-litre straight-six, but customers could also opt for the 4.8-litre V8 and the 5.8-litre V8, the latter being the most powerful.

The small but capable and spacious 1957 Ford Ranchero

The 1957 Ford Ranchero.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

Although it was the smallest utility vehicle in Ford’s lineup at the time, the Ranchero offered quite a bit of headroom in the truck bed. Both versions also contributed to the growing popularity (as well as the three engine options). So customers could not only enjoy the unique styling, but also the extra cargo space and solid performance of the 1957 Ford Ranchero compact.

The standard trim didn’t have many exterior and interior color options, but came at an affordable price. Customers could add extra money to get additional features such as dual sun visors, horn ring, custom door panels, etc.

On the other hand, Custom had metallic trim that framed the rear window and the edges of the bed. It also sported several interior colors and attractive patterns. You can even opt for the two-tone styling and add luxury features that would make your Ranchero a real car-like pickup truck.

Can you find the Ranchero today and at what price?

The 1957 Ford Ranchero.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

The 1957 Ford Ranchero is still available for sale, thanks to mass production at the time. However, prices vary greatly depending on the state. Perfectly preserved models that don’t require your mechanical skills after purchase are over $20,000.

On the other hand, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 for Rancheros in average condition. These may require more than one trip to the mechanic or a little extra elbow grease on your part.

Of course, if you’re up for a solid build-from-scratch project, you can find the 1957 Ford Ranchero for just $1,000. These deteriorated models will take a lot of work, but they can be polished to perfection, that’s for sure.

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