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1968 Ford Ranchero - A Boss That Really Hauls
Found by coincidence and inspired by a racing history, this Ranchero is...
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.
After that round of modifications, the Ranchero found itself in the capable hands of Ford Auto Body, which made sure the panels were straight, smooth, and slathered in a vibrant Sunrise Orange Mist hue. While Ford Auto Body would get the car last to hang the sheet bolt on sheetmetal panels, Bruce and his team got to work installing the wiring, interior, drivetrain, and more.
When Bruce thought up the Boss theme, it wasn't just a stripe package. At the start of the project, he contacted Don Barrington of Barrington Engines (Van Nuys) for a suitable powerplant. As it turned out, Don had a 351C 4V that had been sitting for a few years. It was a dirt track engine that was built, more or less, to Boss 351 specs but with a bigger cam. Backing the Cleveland is a Top Loader that Bruce and his staff stuffed with high-end parts from David Kee Top Loader Transmissions Inc (San Antonio, Texas).
The suspension wasn't left alone either, as Maeco Motorsport's full floating leaf springs with Heim joints articulate the 9-inch rearend, while Total Control Products coilovers put the wheels to pavement at the front.
"We got the car back from paint about three weeks before the show," Bruce recalled." "We worked about 18 hours a day for seven straight days—there was a lot of Starbucks and Red Bull."
Arriving at the SEMA show with no time to spare, Bruce had only put about four miles on the Ranchero, which isn't a problem for a static show car. It became a problem when the Optima Batteries staff chose the car to take part in its annual Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. To participate in the event, you first have to drive in a parade around Vegas, then perform a scavenger hunt of sorts before driving out to the track in Pahrump, Nevada. After some minor issues, the Ranchero completed the driving tasks in time for the event the next day. The untested Ford managed to complete a few of the tests, but eventually Bruce had to opt out of the event.
Since then, the Ranchero has turned many a lap at Willow Springs, it's been to a number of shows, including the LA Auto Show, and Bruce told us he often uses it for parts runs at work.
"It's decent on street and it's on rails at the track," Bruce noted.
With the Herculean efforts of Manny Gonzales and Ray Petrossian, Bruce and Galpin Motors pulled off quite the build in such a short amount of time and in the process, proved that this really is a Boss that hauls, in more ways than one.
The DetailsBruce Schureman's '68 Ranchero
'70 351 Cleveland four-bolt-main block
Stock Ford crankshaft, heat-treated, polished and chamfered
Stock ford connecting rods, shot-peened, polished, resized for ARP hardware
Diamond forged aluminum pistons with Speed-Pro rings
Stock Ford 4V cast-iron cylinder heads, 2.190-inch intake/1.710-inch exhaust valves, Comp Cams springs and push rods, Ford Racing Performance Parts 1.73:1 roller rocker arms
Clay Smith mechanical flat-tappet camshaft, 292/292-degree duration, 0.570/0.570 valve lift
Stock Ford cast-iron intake manifold, port matched with plenum modified
Holley Ultra HP 750-cfm carburetor
Pertronix Flamethrower billet distributor
Engine built by Barrington Engines (Van Nuys, CA)
10.4:1 compression ratio
Ford Powertrain Application performance-coated long-tube headers
3-inch exhaust tubing with X-pipe by Gil's Muffler (Reseda, CA)
Dynomax Race Bullet resonators
Spin Tech mufflers
Ford Top Loader four-speed
Hurst Competition Plus shifter
McLeod Racing RXT twin-disc clutch with aluminum flywheel
Currie Enterprises 9-Inch
Front: Total Control Products coilover with VariShock dampers, Maeco Motorsports adjustable front antisway bar
Rear: Maeco Motorsports full-floating rear leaf spring system, Maier Panhard bar, VariShock adjustable dampers
Front: Wilwood disc, Superlite four-piston calipers, 13-inch rotors
Rear: Wilwood disc, Superlite four-piston calipers, 12-inch rotors
Front: American Racing VN427 Shelby, 17x9
Rear: American Racing VN427 Shelby, 17x9
Front: Nitto NT05, P315/35ZR17
Rear: Nitto NT05, P315/35ZR17
Auto Custom Carpet, custom rollbar, Procar Elite bucket seats, Simpson five- point harnesses, Lecarra Mark 3 Supreme steering wheel with Boss 351 horn button
PPG two-stage custom Sunrise Orange Mist paint by Galpin Auto Sports, Maeco Motorsports, and Ford Auto Body; custom-fabricated hood with functional ram-air ducting; modified Shelby R model front fascia; Trans Am-style fender reverse fender flares; custom aluminum tonneau cover with spoiler fabricated by Ray Petrossian