Ford last produced the Ranchero in 1979, which coincidentally was the same year they introduced their large-car Panther platform. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom Crown Vic is a super freaky melange of the two, but does its price make it worth picking up?
Yesterday's 1968 Volvo 122 Wagon may have been named - in its home market at least - after a very long river, but you all made short work of dunning it with a 54% Crack Pipe loss, despite the perception that everyone wanted to give the Swede a big hug or buy it a brewski and some lingonberry pie.
Today's contender is less cuddly, but perhaps possesses even more awesomeness than that classic wagon. If you've spent any time here on Jalopnik, then you know that Chevy's El Camino is like catnip for most of us, causing paroxysms of tail-wagging joy whenever anything ‘mino-related comes around. Chevy's car-truck mashup may get all the love, but truth be told it was Ford's take on the truckar - the Ranchero - that came first. That's right, Ford dropped the Ranchero bomb in ‘57, while Chevy's bat-finned El Camino didn't arrive until ‘59.
Today, they're both deader than Schwarzenegger's chances of ever being a Shriver-diver again, and even if Ford or Chevy wanted to resurrect one off an American-built base, there aren't any body on frame cars left anymore upon which to do so. . .
Or is there?
Ford's Panther platform debuted under the newly resized LTD-Crown Victoria brand leader back in 1979. Ever since then it has underpinned damn near every taxi and police cruiser you might have been fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to ride in the back of. The Panther also provides the base for the Lincoln Town Car, its perimeter frame making that the choice du jour for limoization. It was that body on frame structure that apparently made this 1992 Crown Victoria (or Victory, in the ad) the perfect recipient for a lone ranger pickup bed in the creation of something for which the factory precedent iresides 32 years in the past.
We've had aftermarket Rancheros here before, but that lastDurango was based of the uni-
bomber body Fairmont Futura. This one is hella-lots bigger and far more bad-assier. Why, you might ask? Well, first off, this one sports the 4.6 modular V8 under its vast mesa of a hood. In contrast the Durango had an 88-hp six. The truncated interior of the earlier car was awash in beige, both in style and hue, while this one is bordello red and a sea of grippy faux mousefur. Finally, that Durango, being based on a coupe, had doors that fit proportionally to the rest of the car, and the whole thing possessed an amazingly balanced appearance. The ‘92 Crown Vic didn't come as a coupe - there being little demand for two-door taxis - and hence this custom utilizes the short front doors of the full four door car. Does that make egress difficult? Schlitz no! It does provide plenty of room for the donated short bed and an extended cab interior however so you won't be banging your head against the back window every time you belch. You know what I'm talking about.
The rest of the interior - dash, door panels, Pep Boys transmission tunnel cup holders - are just like in your Grandma's, only Granny couldn't cart home an entire meth lab in the back of hers. Of course with the featherweight modular V8 and an aluminum hood, you might have to be careful about loading it up too much lest you start popping impromptu wheelies. Keeping that tendency under control is the transmission which should be Ford's AOD 4-speed. Those slushers are pretty common across Ford's rear-drivers. In fact, the whole 190-bhp (210 with dual exhaust) drivetrain should be fairly robust, as proven by nearly every cop who has ever rolled code three to the donut shop in one.
The change from sedan to WTF? looks professionally done, at least from the grainy Craigslist pictures, although whatever that is hanging over the gunwalls on the bed looks kind of flappy. Embedded in place of the taillamps, the Ranger tailgate looks, if not at home, then at least comfortable ensconced at the Holiday Inn. It's hard to say whether it's fully integrated back there, or could be lifted out and replaced with - oh say the rear cab from a Bronco II. Popemobile, FTW!
Converting a vehicle from one function to another is never cheap or easy - at least if you want the resultant job to be done better than just half-assed. In the case of this Crown Vichero, the execution appears fully-assed, even if the motivation behind doing so seems less so. Despite the obvious man-hours (or monkey-hours, no reason in being speciesist here) that have gone into this car-truck, the seller is asking a seemingly non-investment grade $2,750. Considering you're getting both a Crown Vic and a Ranger, that doesn't seem to bad. Or does it? What's your take on that price, does it crown this custom Vic as a Nice Price? Or, is that amount that you just couldn't get in bed with?
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