Are you planning to purchase Ford’s version of the El Camino and you are looking to find out more about this model? Well, if this is the case, then you should not worry because we are going to learn all about Ford’s model, the generations, and also the comparison between the two.
- Chevy El Camino
- Why Is It So Legendary?
- Ford’s Version
- El Camino vs Ranchero
Doing your own research before you make a purchase is always a good thing. We are not saying this just like that because some of the models out there carry more sentiment than others. This is why some of the El Camino models are undervalued than others, even though they might be a lot newer.
And that is the case with Ford’s version of the El Camino as well. Ford also created a model to compete with the El Camino from Chevy, as well as with the GMC Sprint that would later become the GMC Caballero. And this model is a much cheaper alternative to the El Camino. But more on that, we are going to elaborate later on.
First, we are going to learn what is the Chevy El Camino for the ones that are not into cars and want to learn more about the model. Then we will cover the legendary status of the El Camino.
Once we clear that out of our way, we will focus on Ford’s version of the El Camino and learn more about the model and its specs and we will compare the two. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is The Chevy El Camino
Now before we dive into Ford’s version of the El Camino, let’s take a look at the El Camino itself and understand more about its core concepts. There are a lot of readers who are not familiar with the model, so this would be a nice introduction to the topic when it comes to the El Camino.
So, what is the El Camino? Well, the El Camino is something known as a utility coupe.
A lot of people purchase these cars for utilitarian purposes rather than for commuting or showing off. People have farms and they need light-duty vehicles to move stuff around and purchase supplies. It’s made a comeback of sorts with mini trucks like the new Ford Maverick.
So, this concept of utility coupes began in the 1920s when people started to adapt standard models into pickups. And then Ford Australia created the first coupe utility in 1932. Then Holden, which was GM’s subsidiary in Australia also followed, as well as other carmakers such as Studebaker.
What is worth noting was that Ford’s version of the El Camino was introduced before the El Camino itself. Ford’s model was introduced in 1957, while the El Camino was released in 1959.
The El Camino first generation was basically a two-seater Chevy Brookwood. The Brookwood was the full-size station wagon that Chevy sold at the time. And they simply chopped off the roof and created a truck bed.
A lot of people will also compare the first-generation El Camino with the Impala. And for a good reason, they were based on the same platform. But the El Camino platform was specifically reinforced for the heavy-duty application for which this model was intended to serve.
But what about Ford’s version of the El Camino? More about that in a bit.
Why Is The El Camino So Legendary
So, we learned more about the El Camino and understood that this is a utility coupe intended for farm use. Now let’s take a look at why the El Camino is so legendary before we discuss Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Why the El Camino is regarded as a true legend in the car community? Well, if you didn’t know, utility coupes are highly regarded as muscle cars as well.
Especially during the golden age of the muscle car era of the late 60s and early 70s. These vehicles were greatly inexpensive and carried a lot of power. And implemented a rear-wheel-drive powertrain.
This basically checks all of the boxes when it comes to the question of what is a muscle car. So, only with a few mods like a 4-barrel carburetor and aftermarket camshaft, you can really upgrade these things to the next level and make them produce a ton of power.
Also, there were high-performance models of the Chevrolet El Camino even from the factory, like the SS396. And the high-performance model of Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Not to mention that the pop culture references the El Camino quite often. There is even a movie called El Camino that follows the story of Breaking Bad.
Also, there are countless other references to this car in movies. And most people even if they see Ford’s version of the El Camino, they think that this is an El Camino, which is not quite a correct assumption.
And more about the model that is Ford’s version of the El Camino, we are going to elaborate in the following chapters in great detail. So, you definitely don’t want to miss that.
What Is Ford’s Version Of The El Camino
Now let’s dive into Ford’s version of the El Camino. What is the Ford alternative to this legendary model?
Well, the alternative to the El Camino made by Ford is the Ford Ranchero. This model was introduced in 1957, two years before the El Camino. So, we can say that Chevy followed this trend and created the El Camino based on Ford’s success.
This was a very common time when GM would copy Ford. Ford was very successful back then and was a true trendsetter. So, during these years GM also created the Camaro based on the Ford Mustang’s success as well.
Nevertheless, the first generation of the Ranchero was based on the 1957 Ford platform. There were a ton of models that were based on this platform. And the Ranchero was one of them.
What is worth noting is that this was a full-size platform, the largest size of cars on the road actually.
The first 1957 front end was greatly inspired by the Ford Custom, while the following 1958 and 1959 followed the design lines of the Ford Thunderbird. Which is quite a timeless design in our book.
At the rear, unlike the sedan and station wagon contemporaries, the Ranchero implemented a truck bed (it’s one of the few cars with truck beds ever made) in which you could store items and move them around your farm or get groceries for your family.
And overall, the Ranchero did well in the 1950s in terms of design lines. These pieces are rather timeless. But what about the other generations of Ford’s version of the El Camino? More on that, next.
Ford Ranchero Generations
Now let’s discuss the generations of Ford’s version of the El Camino. In the previous chapter, we covered only the first generation of the model. But we didn’t discuss the following generations.
What is worth noting is that there is a total of seven generations of the Ranchero. The production started in 1957 and ended in 1979 with the last seventh generation. In the following chapters, we are going to cover all of the next six generations of the model and learn their main differences. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Second Generation (1960 – 1965)
Now let’s take a look at the second generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino. This generation of the Ranchero was released in 1960 and was produced until 1965. In fact, this was the generation that stuck the most on the market with 5 model years.
This model was smaller than the first generation with a wheelbase of 109.9 inches and an overall length of 189 inches. The second generation was based on the compact Ford Falcon.
A big role in this downsizing played the economic recession in the late 50s. So, Ford thought that people would see more use for a more practical and economic vehicle than a full-size model.
And this new model was named, the Falcon Ranchero. The model featured a variety of different engines. Starting from the smallest 2.4L Triftpower engine that produced 90hp and up to a 4.7L 289cu Ford Windsor engine.
This model of Ford’s version of the El Camino also packed different types of transmissions. 3-speed and 4-speed manuals. As well as a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic and a 3-speed C4 automatic.
What was new in this generation, more specifically of the 1965 model, was the first use of alternators for creating power that replaced the old generators. Now let’s move on to the next generation.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Third Generation (1966 – 1967)
The third generation of the Ranchero debuted in 1966 and was produced until 1967. So, this model only lasted for two model years. Which was quite normal at the time. The carmaking industry back in the day worked 24/7 and the market was full of new models every one or two years.
Nevertheless, this new model was based on the Ford Fairlane. So, the whole front clip of the car was basically transplanted from the Ford Fairlane. And this model looked much better than the previous generation, with the dual-stacked front headlamps and the big chrome grille. It had a real presence on the road.
This new generation increased in size quite significantly and Ford’s version of the El Camino again became a proper full-size car. So, this meant that the new generation of the Ranchero will use more powerful engines.
The engine options included two inline-6 engines ranging from 170cu to 200cu. And also two V8 engines with 289cu and 390cu. There were also three transmissions available. Two manual transmissions. One 3-speed and one 4-speed. And one 3-speed manual transmission.
There were a few trims to choose from. Namely, the Ranchero 500, 500XL, GT, and GTA. Also, there was the first implementation of a dual-chambered brake master cylinder.
Which made sure that a complete brake failure is never possible. And the Ranchero also featured other safety improvements. Now let’s move to the next generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Fourth Generation (1968 – 1969)
Now let’s move to the fourth generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino and this is another very shortlived generation of the model. This model also lasted for two years, more precisely 1968 and 1969.
This model unlike the previous generation ditched the dual-stacked headlamps and implemented dual horizontal headlamps like most of the contemporary models back in the day. So, Ford decided not to experiment and do what others were doing at the time in terms of design.
Also, this model grew considerably more in size and had a wheelbase of 113 inches in total. What is interesting to note is that this new generation was also based on the Fairlane and the Ford Torino. So, the whole front clip was again borrowed from the Fairlane model.
What is interesting to note about this generation is that implemented a lot of new features. Namely, warning lights for the battery, oil pressure, turn signal indicators, and coolant temperature indicators. And also, some better-equipped models even included a tachometer.
For this generation was also a variety of engines to choose from. The least powerful was the 250cu inline-6 engine and the most powerful was the 428cu V8 Cobra Jet that created 335hp. The standard engine was the 351cu V8 Windsor.
Remember that we discussed the case when these vehicles became true muscle cars? Well, this is the time when that happened. So, the Ranchero during these years had the same performance as the Ford Torino, and even the Shelby GT500KR where this engine was included.
There were also a few different trim levels like the GT, the 500, as well as the special version for 1969 called the Rio Grande.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Fifth Generation (1970 – 1971)
The next generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino was introduced in 1970. This model also lasted for two years, 1970 and 1971. Unlike the El Camino that lasted from 1968 to 1972, Ford wanted to refresh its model lineup more often. So, the 1970 year included a complete restyle of the model.
This was basically a completely new car that ditched the Fairlane lines and implemented a more modern front-end design that was rather aggressive. This way of styling was so-called “coke bottle styling” with curvaceous lines. The front clip as well as the platform was shared with the Ford Torino.
There was a variety of engines to choose from. The smallest engine was the 250cu inline-6 engine. Then there were the 302, 351, and 429cu V8 engines. As you probably know, this was the peak of the muscle car era, so the 429 was probably one of the hottest engines at the time.
What is interesting about the 429 Cobra Jet is that it included all the goodies that muscle cars got. Including the shaker hood. And another cool feature of this model was the hideaway headlamps just like on the Dodge Charger for the 1968 and 1969 model years.
There was also a special trim called the Country Squire that included some wood grain finish on the sides. Some people love it while some hate it. But those were the times back then. Now let’s move on to the next generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Sixth Generation (1972 – 1976)
The sixth generation of the Ranchero, also known as Ford’s version of the El Camino was introduced in 1972 and was produced until 1976. This makes this model, the second longest production model of the Ranchero with 4 years in total.
This new generation was based on the Ford Torino. These two models basically shared the same front clip, as well as some of the interior components between them.
What is interesting to note is that these cars in 1972 onward became a lot larger and heavier. This was basically the year when the American auto industry moved toward creating bulkier models.
There were three models in total from this generation. The standard 500, the Squire with woodgrain panels, and the top-of-the-line GT model.
In terms of engines, it is worth noting that there were seven of them in total. Ford kept the old engines, including the powerful 429 Cobra Jet. But also added the Ford 460 engine (check its specs here) that was used in other Ford and Lincoln models.
The 460 is basically a powerful elephant. It does not create a lot of power. But it can pull like nothing else. In terms of transmissions, there were two of them. A 4-speed manual and a 3-speed automatic. Now let’s move on to the next model of the Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: Ford Ranchero Seventh Generation (1977 – 1979)
The last seventh generation of Ford’s version of the El Camino was introduced in 1977 (one of the most iconic 70’s Ford cars) and was produced until its discontinuation in 1979. So, these three production years were the last of the Ranchero and after that, there are no Ranchero models.
This generation was based on the Ford LTD II and featured rectangular headlamps and a rectangular grille. It basically shared the whole front clip with the LTD II and came at the time which was called the malaise era or the boring era of cars.
This was the time when the gas crisis and smog regulations came and engines were basically tuned down in order to save fuel and pollute less.
There were only low displacement engines included. Namely, the 302cu, 351cu, and 400cu V8 engines. There was no more 460cu and the 429 Cobra Jet.
So, in 1979, Ford decided to kill the Ranchero and replace it with the Ford Ranger pickup truck. Which was a mid-size truck and a far more capable machine overall in terms of practicality and towing.
El Camino VS Ranchero
Now let’s discuss our last topic for today besides the Ford’s version of the El Camino and this is the eternal duel Camino vs Ranchero, which is better?
Well, there are not a lot of cars like the El Camino and the Ranchero is practically its only competitor. And frankly, when choosing between the two it can be rather hard.
Both of them have similar performance. They both come in similar sizes and also include similar engines. So, it is a matter of taste for which car to go.
If you are a Chevy guy, then go for the El Camino, if you are more into Fords, go for the Ranchero. Both of these models are fairly cheaper, especially the malaise-era models. And we think with a big block upgrade, you can make these things true hot rods.
Ford’s Version Of The El Camino: In Conclusion…
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to Ford’s version of the El Camino. First, we learned more about the El Camino and its legendary status in the car community.
Then we covered Ford’s version of the El Camino, also known as the Ranchero. We covered all seven generations of this model and learned more about the main features.
FAQs On Ford’s Version Of The El Camino
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Does El Camino Mean
El Camino is a phrase in Spanish. This phrase basically means ‘the road’. Chevy used this phrase since it sounded really well. They were basically looking for an alternative name for their car that was similar Ford’s ‘Ranchero’. Which was the main competitor of the El Camino.
Who Made The El Camino
The El Camino was a model made by Chevy. And Chevy as you probably know is a General Motors model. The El Camino was created as a response to Ford’s creating the Ranchero model in 1957. So, the El Camino was released by Chevy in 1959 and became more popular than the Ranchero.
What Year Did The El Camino Come Out
The El Camino was released in 1959. This model came as a response to the Ranchero model that was introduced by Ford in 1957.
Is An El Camino A Truck Or A Car
Basically, the front clip of the El Camino is a car and the rear end is a truck but the frame in general is a car since the ladder frame was borrowed from the Impala. The automotive industry has a special term for these vehicles. And this term is ‘coupe utility vehicle’.
Who Made The Ranchero
The Ranchero was introduced by Ford in 1957. And at the time this model had no real competition But soon after, in 1959, the Chevy El Camino would be introduced.
Is Ford Bringing Back The Ranchero
The chances for this are rather slim. But Ford recently introduced the Maverick. So, this is the model that you would probably want to check out if you want something similar.