Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 17, 2013
Photos By: Drew Phillips

Normally, you wouldn't directly relate a Ford Ranchero to a Boss Mustang, but pair a Boss 302 owner who regularly road races with a deal on a Ranchero that was too good to pass up and what you get is the racy, Boss-inspired parts truck you see here.

The owner of the eye-searing Sunrise Orange Mist Ranchero is Bruce Schureman of Valencia, California, and he has been "racing and restoring cars forever." Having previously owned a couple of original Boss 302 Mustangs, and currently road racing an Ed Hinchcliff number 41 Boss 302 replica, Bruce is no stranger to high-performance vehicles. In fact it was his racing exploits that led to the discovery of the Ranchero.

"I have an old motorhome and trailer that I store in Castaic, California, and the Ranchero had been stored there for 12-13 years," Bruce recalled. While the Ranchero had a broken rear window and was withering away in a dirt lot, the body was pretty good on it.

"I happened to be up there picking up my race rig and saw that the Ranchero was pushed up front for sale. No one bid on it, so I picked it up for $100."

As if the price wasn't a good score, Bruce found out that the car was originally equipped with a four-speed transmission and optional tachometer. Bruce thought it would be a good first build for his son, Joey, but having attended numerous open track events with his father, Joey had his eyes on a '66 Mustang coupe instead. It might seem that the Ranchero was dead in the water at this point, but it wasn't long before another purpose was found.

As it turns out, Bruce is a service manager with Galpin Motors overseeing the Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Lotus brands, Galpin Classic Auto Service, and the maintenance of the Galpin auto collection. One day it came up at work that Galpin wanted to build a car for the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas. Bruce offered up the Ranchero and told them about his plan. He then had an illustration of the concept worked up and the project was a go.

Some SEMA show projects start a year in advance and others begin much later and closer to the event. No matter when a SEMA project starts, it usually comes down to the last few weeks before the event where things really start happening. Bruce and his team had just eight weeks total to build the Ranchero and get it to Vegas for the show.

Bruce brought the Ranchero to work where he, Manny Gonzales, and Ray Petrossian (two of Bruce's techs at Galpin) all got to work stripping the car down to the bare bones. It went out to the sand blaster to reveal all of the ugly details, of which there were few. Stripped and naked, the Ranchero started getting its first modification—the Shelby-style R model front apron.

Since a stock Shelby piece wasn't going to stretch all the way across the big Ranchero, Bruce used two of them and cut and spliced them together to achieve the desired width. It took a couple of tries to get the look right, but the result is quite racy and unique. Likewise, the front grille needed to be stretched as well, and the center was cut out and replaced with a custom mesh—headlight brackets had to be fabricated since the factory pieces were axed. The staff at Ford Auto Body (Van Nuys, California) made sure the new front end was finished properly.

Next, Bruce dropped the car off to Maeco Motorsports in Northridge, California, where the staff regularly preps classic cars for vintage racing events. The Maeco staff installed a four-point rollcage, fabricated the custom hood with integrated Shelby G.T. 500 hoodscoop, and performed a reverse fender flare at each corner that allows the use of massive 315-series tires all around—a big car needs big rubber if it's going to stick around a corner.