Smooth isnt a term thats used to describe most Rancheros. But Toms ute sure fits the bill. Shaving the door handles and mirrors and slathering the body with Ford Laser Red makes even the stodgy roofline look subtle. We also like the 63 grille swapped in place of the uglier 62 style. The FIVE LTR tag gives away the EFId 302 under hood, but its smoother than slapping a 5.0 emblem on the tailgate. Smooth isnt a term thats used to describe most Rancheros. But Toms The 5.0L was rebuilt to mostly stock specs after freeing it from a wrecked 86 Mustang. Tom cleaned up the heads with some porting and polishing, and freed up the exhaust with Motorsport headers and 21/4-inch Flowmaster mufflers. He guesses the mild combination is good for 250 hp, which must feel plenty quick in the light Ranchero chassis. And would you believe 28 mpg on the highway with 87-octane gas? The 5.0L was rebuilt to mostly stock specs after freeing it from a wrecked 86 Mustan As much as we love the look of 60s interiors, they just arent designed for comfortable long-distance driving. Tom puts around 10,000 miles on the Ranchero each year, so the Rancheros interior cant just look goodits got to feel good too. Check out the seats, which look much nicer sewn with J&Js custom upholstery than when they left a Toyota plant in 1991. The skin-scorching black vinyl is livable with a Vintage Air A/C system. The VDO gauges alert Tom to anything thats gone awry in the motor. The AM radio has been shelved for a Kenwood deck coupled with a 10-disc CD changer. But theres just enough chrome and 60s flair to keep it looking the part. As much as we love the look of 60s interiors, they just arent designed for com Its a project thats never finishedits just in different stages of completion. Thats how Tom McCool describes his smooth 62 Ranchero, but his words echo in the head of every car guy. Whether youre the go-fast guy who relentlessly tries to coax extra power from your mill, or the show-car guy who pulls your chassis apart for the second time to detail it again, your project is never truly finished. Toms Ranchero is on its third stage of restoration. Its been restored twice before, but with each successive resto, the car gets nicer and more functional. Thats because this car is a reflection of Toms car-crafting skills, and he keeps getting better and better at it. An original rust-free California refugee, the Ranchero was rescued from a car lot in 1984. The buildup commenced with easy low-buck projects because Tom didnt have the tools, time, money, or even a garage to devote to the car. When the purchase of a garage (and a house) gave Tom a place for an air compressor, paint gun, and sanding equipmenteverything he needed to paint a carthe Ranchero sported straight sheetmetal with a shiny coat of fresh white lacquer within a few months. But after the newness wore off, Tom knew he could paint better with practice. He built a bigger garage and honed his bodyworking skills by painting his friends cars. With the extra experience under his belt, he resprayed the Ranchero with a dazzling base/clear paint system in the same white hue. By that time, Toms kids were getting heavily into 80s 5.0L Mustangs, and convinced Dad to buy a wrecked 86 five-oh and swap the drivetrain into the Ranchero. They went through the motor and gave it a stock-type rebuild, and ported and polished the heads themselves. Meanwhile, Toms garage had evolved into a full-tilt paint shop complete with a fresh-air respirator system. He shaved, filled, and smoothed the Rancheros body, but his kids vetoed yet another white paint job and convinced him that Ford Laser Red was a better choice. Tom watched a video to learn the art of spraying candy-type paints, practiced some, and shot a flawless base/clear system on the Ranchero. Hes since installed a Mustang II front suspension and a Vintage Air A/C system on the car. Toms retired, so he and his wife Jan have driven it an average 10,000 miles per year since its completion. Dont count on a fourth resto anytime soonweve got a hunch that the third times the charm. Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!