Like so many of you, Amy’s and my Falcon journey began many years ago. A lad of 18, my daily driver was a 1966 Pontiac Tempest with a 326 v8. Along came the 1974 oil embargo with gas prices rocketing to over $0.50 a gallon. It took $12 to fill the 24-gallon tank, yeks. (Yes, I did run it dry a few times.) Fuel costs were a bit much for this high school student and part time mushroom farm worker. My future wife’s brother returned from the military where he was an aviation mechanic. He had a good reputation as a car flipper. The current project was a 64 Ranchero. It was about 75% ready to put on the market. He would let me have it for $900 as-is and mentor me with the remaining 25% of the restore. The deal was contingent on selling the Tempest for $900 first. Keep in mind, I picked up the Tempest two years prior for $300 and “learned” a lot about how not to maintain a car. To my surprise, after several classified ads, the Tempest found a new home for 900 bucks.
That 64 Ranchero with it’s 170ci six was my daily driver through college and five years of real working life. Those were rough years for our tough four wheeled friend. Two vehicles were totaled that had the nerve to run into it. After the second crash, a quick trip to the “junk” yard was necessary. We returned with a fender, door and tailgate to correct the damage from both events. I think we paid less than $50 for all three. Solid 1964 body metal was still out there in the early 80s. The first “encounter” should have required a tailgate and bumper, but both were still functional and my schedule was full. Actually, it was another 30 years before the rear half of the gate was replaced. The bumper is to this day a little wrinkled.
Okay, it is now 1985. Our companion has been with us 11 years and could use some real TLC. Will give it some garage time while I replace the floor. I was getting tired of having to towel down after hitting large puddles. Amy would not even drive the poor thing. Well, like most projects that can be delayed, a month or two turned into years. The engine seized, but the floor was finished. Our old buddy still remained low on the priority list, below a new daughter, a growing career, house repairs, daily drivers, … . Somewhere around 1997/98 I fond myself in need of another commuting car. Rather than find a decent used car, why not let another brother in-law replace the engine with a 302ci and whatever it takes to pass state inspection. He had the skills and time, me not so much of either. We agreed upon a budget and a three to five-month time frame. Somewhere in the range of two to three years later, the 302 was in place along with a nice custom exhaust. No longer in need of a daily driver, the Ranchero did not see any road time for another 15 years. Although, there were regular runs down the driveway to keep the engine from seizing, again.
Along comes 2015. My daughter is on her own, I am working from home in an exhausting career. My employer is starting to force some of the work from home folks back into the office. You guessed it, a commuting vehicle is needed. Considered brining the Ranchero up to respectable daily driver condition, but did not think there was enough time. As you can tell, my car project track record is not so hot. Ah, why not give it a go anyhow. Started looking for parts and came across a recently restored 64 Ranchero out in Ohio. The pictures looked great so I called the seller. We settled on $10k, same as the budget for my old Ranchero restoration. A friend of the seller trailered it to our place. Dropped it off, counted his money and took off before a test drive it. It did start up nice and unload from the trailer sounding great. I was not concerned about not being able to test drive it on the road. Everything looked as good as or better than the pictures. We figured anyone that put that much effort into the visual stuff and motor, would not sell a pig with lipstick. The thing was so nice, even if it did have issues, we were willing to work them out. Once the registration was transferred, we took a test drive. Wow, was that a scary ride. The steering was so loose that it was hard to stay between the lines. The lateral shift was about a foot in either direction. It was about this time we joined the Falcon club. Many nights and weekends later Amy and I completed a full steering restoration. Club members were more than happy to offer the benefit of their experience. As of 2019, the Ohio Ranchero is still on the road.
When we purchased the second Ranchero, we had to come up with names for the twins. Cannot just say Ranchero any longer. Back before we were married (1979) Amy put a small sticker of Casper the Friendly Ghost on the dash below the radio. I did not think much of the sticker on my shinny black dash, but did not want to cause a ruckus. To this day, the sticker remains on the dash. So, the “old” 64 Ranchero goes by the name of Casper. We call the “new” 64 Ranchero Speedy. Not because it is fast, although it kinda is. In addition to some nice pinstriping, a hand painted image of the cartoon charter Speedy Gonzalez was placed on the upper right side of the tailgate by the previous owner. Like cartoons, Ford Falcons help us remember and preserve the good old days.
May 1993 -> May 2021
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|2021-10-23||Mason Dixon Fall Picnic||1964 Ranchero (Speedy)|
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|2021-08-08||Das Awscht Fescht||64 Ranchero (Speedy)|
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|2021-06-19||AACA Museum Cruise In||driver|