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Michael Schnur's ’65 Ranchero

Handling And Compactness With Truck Functionality

Photography by Matt King

Ron Zarella, president of GM North America, speaks of “the absolute customer need for functional vehicles.” Remember the days when cars didn’t need to be classified under meaningless monikers? Today, inside nearly every automaker, over piles of stale donuts and gallons of corporate coffee, marketing teams brainstorm trendsetting rides that combine sedan sportiness with truck utility. Tell us, please, what’s so cutting-edge about “crossover” vehicles?

Been there, done that. Take Mike Schnur’s ’65 Ranchero. After totaling his ’64 Falcon Sprint, Mike decided he needed a truck. But a good ol’ boy pickup can cramp a young guy’s style. The obvious compromise was Ford’s Ranchero, which looked awfully similar to his Falcon except for that big bed out back. See, it’s got the sprightly handling and compactness of a sedan, but the bed adds truck functionality for parts hauling.

“But it’s 37 years old.” OK, it doesn’t have umpteen cupholders like Pontiac’s Aztek, and you won’t find a pop-out tent on the tailgate, either. Nobody cared about that stuff in 1965, and self-respecting Car Craft readers can do without the fluff, too. Mike’s Ranchero does, however, get 23 miles to every tank of premium unleaded thanks to the ’93 Cobra driveline. It’s as comfortable as it is quick, thanks to a modernized air-conditioning system and interior. And let’s not forget the utilitarian bed out back. Let’s hope Bob Lutz inspires a unanimous push for cars like this in the near future—our salvation from an Aztek empire. And please, Bob, don’t call it a crossover vehicle.

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