Sometimes I just don’t know what to say. Now is one of those times, because I’m staring at a Craigslist ad for a $1,500 machine that is, as far as I can tell, the work of a mad scientist. Who else would choose to install a Ford Ranchero onto a tall F-Series truck chassis by stacking two Ranchero faces on top of one another? It’s baffling!
Right now I’m in Germany worrying about my diesel Chrysler Voyager’s paperwork. Are all the parts I’m using going to be approved by Germany’s inspection officials? If I accidentally install 215-section tires instead of 205, how screwed am I? What if my van has a lift kit on it (I think it does); will TÜV measure the ride height and flunk me if I’m not close to stock? (I’ve seen inspectors literally measure cars’ ride heights).
Meanwhile, stateside, you can buy this homebrew shitbox:
Clearly, America remains the wild west of automobile culture, and I, for one, hope that never changes, even if it means cars on the roads aren’t as safe or clean as they could be.
What you’re looking at here is a 1974 Ford Ranchero, which normally looks like this:
Someone morphed that ute with a 1974 Ford F-250, a pickup truck equipped with Dana 60 axles, four-wheel drive, and tons of ground clearance. Hence the Craigslist title “1974 Ranchero High Boy 4x4 429 Auto.”
That title gives away the 429 V8 under the hood mated to a presumably three-speed automatic. This is interesting since I’m not sure that either the ’74 Ranchero or the F-250 offered that motor.
I called the seller, Steve, and he told me these High Boy conversions were actually quite common back in the day, and that his friend had a Lincoln Continental mounted to a High Boy chassis. He said a third-party outfitter built this stacked Ranchero using a “brand new body on a brand new chassis” back in 1974.
It’s a fascinating machine, and though it’s got a spun rod bearing, it does come with a fresh crankshaft for that V8, so the $1,500 price tag actually seems reasonable, though Steve told me this machine has been sold. Apparently he fielded interest from New Zealand, Australia, and various parts of Europe—this is pretty surprising to me, I have to say.
It appears the large side skirts have been added to hide the big frame and suspension bits that would otherwise be prominent if one simply sat a single Ranchero on a High Boy frame and didn’t want the powertrain protruding into the body or out of the hood up front, to fill that gap is just another Ranchero face.
It is truly amazing that this exists, and is legal to drive on American roadways. I hope that never changes.