While a Mustang is a pony car, it won't bring home enough hay bales to feed a real pony. That is, unless it's today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe frankenstang, but is this one's price too much hay?
Lots of praise yesterday for the audacity of hope that was the ferocious VW flat four-powered Fiat, but not much of it was for the price. In the end, its 185 horses couldn't outgun a 67% Crack Pipe loss, despite its demitasse size and caffeinated kick.
Mustang's have traditionally only come in three body styles- notchback, fastback and convertible. Some of the fastbacks had their trunk openings truncated to make way for the dining room table-sized back glass, while others - in order to provide greater versatility - carved a huge hatch opening back there. Going one further in the utility quotient is today's '68 Mustang that's on its way to becoming the full Ranchero.
Dubbed the Ranchstang by its seller, this former coupe has been heavily modified from the doors back. The interior now stops just aft of the two front seats, and a vertical back window provides a view of what is now a Ranchero-like pickup bed where the back seats and the trunk used to reside. Despite how that sounds in description, the execution isn't too terrible. The kick in the fender line draws back to an extended, but otherwise stock looking rear end, with both the Mustang's tail lamps and bumper still in place. That means that there's no flip-down tailgate, so the lift-over height might finally give you the upper body sculpting that the past 10 years of membership at 24-Hr Fitness has not. Also, you should note that the fuel filler on the first-gen ‘Stang is in between the tail lights, so anything sliding around in the bed is conceivably a candidate for cleaving the fill tube and sending you to the big corral in the sky in a fiery foom.
Lest you think that this car means one less rare Shelby or other valuable edition on the road, the specs are pretty mundane. While this was the first year that the 302 V8 was made available in the 'Stang, a pop of the Ranchstang's (rank stank?) hood reveals not that at least 195-horse motor, but the 200-cid six instead. Mated to that 120-bhp economy anchor is Ford's tried and true C4 automatic, which, in combination with the six, makes for the drivetrain equivalent of a fat guy sleeping in a hammock. In spite of it being a bit of a secretary's special, this 'Stang has managed to cover nearly 130,000 miles, if the ad is to be believed.
Regardless of that underwhelming under-hood experience, the interior (at least the up-front part) is full of all the bling the Mustang could bring back in the day. Double eyebrows top the body-colored knee-crusher dashboard and ahead of that is a two-spoke steering wheel that's only a hair thinner than the horn ring on its bottom edge. From the limited shot in the ad, it at least appears complete, although the vinyl wrapper on that steering wheel looks like Satan's small intestine, so you may want to mask-up before you cut that bad boy off.
You'll also need to install the door windows, which may be an issue because it looks like what used to be the C is now the B-pillar, requiring some custom glass cutting. Or, you could just enjoy all the fresh air.
And it'd cost you $7,200 to enjoy both that fresh air as well as the ownership of this unique and vastly more utilitarian than stock Mustang. That would be a lot to pay for a romp at the Mustang Ranch, but is it too much for a Ranchero Mustang?
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