Top American Muscle Cars of All Time
49. 1973 Ford Ranchero 500
image courtesy of Ford Muscle Forums
It’s a truck! It’s a car! It’s a Ranchero! In 1972, the Ranchero had already been around for a few while, but Ford went all out for a new look. Out went the smooth, sleek and contoured curves of previous model year and in came the rugged and squared off monster with serious power. Most prominent was a wide semi-oval grille appearing to be a jet intake and a new body-on-frame design. Three models were still available; the new Squire with simulated woodgrain paneling along the sides, the sporty GT, and the now-standard 500.
Engine choices remained essentially similar, ranging from pedestrian to bone jarring power.
Unfortunately, most of them were debilitated by lower compression ratios to better adhere to new emissions standards. Such was the fate of many muscle cars. The Cleveland engine could still be obtained in tuned Cobra Jet form through 1974. A four-speed manual transmission was available on Cobra Jet-powered GT models. The 1973 Ranchero also had a redesigned front end to meet new federal standards for frontal impact protection. Aside from slight cosmetic differences, the Ranchero remained basically the same until the its final year, 1976. The inspiration for the El Camino would be a staple muscle car for decades. It doesn’t get much cooler than the Ranchero.
Engine: 351 Cobra Jet V-8 – Quarter mile time: 14.5 seconds –
0-60 mph time: 6.5 seconds