March 1, 2004

There's a fuzzy line in the sand when it comes to reviving a vintage vehicle. On one side, you replace shocks, suspension bushings, freshen up the engine, maybe an exhaust upgrade, a new carpet set after a paint job, a cool set of hoops and skins and you're stylin'. Not a thing in the world wrong with that route, but if you've crossed over into obsessive-compulsive land, like Editor Ford did long ago, you're probably going to skip the middle ground and D.I.Y or have a resto-shop totally disassemble and refurbish every component of your baby. Such is the case with the '66 Ranchero that landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago. This car will definitely be a driver in every sense of the word, but we're going ballistic and doing a number on it for a slick "form meets function" attitude. Instead of a mirror-shiny belly, we're using a factory-style, semigloss black urethane over a near bullet-proof coat of stoneguard that sits on a fat layer of black epoxy. It'll be durable and look great from every angle. My favorite philosophy when doing a car is "no excuses," regardless of its intended use.

That's why media blasting the stripped body was an easy decision to make. If you're sitting on the fence about going to the bone on your project, check out the final results of our coal-blasted floors. Even though the 'Chero is cherry, the result of blasting both sides of what we thought were solid floors, is the near flintstonian pans that obviously need replaced. This sounds bad, but we were lucky to discover the problem before paint, insulation, carpet, underlay, and wiring were installed on top of the diseased metal. Yes, it means more work and money, but the end result is a totally solid unibody--"no excuses." An interesting media was used in the process--a mix of crushed coal and slag--that's much less expensive and more aggressive than glass beads, but without the friction and warping factor of sand. Read on as we go "full-on meatloaf" with the Ranchero.

127_0403_Z 1966_Ford_Ranchero Full_Rear_View127_0403_1Z 1966_Ford_Ranchero Passenger_Side_View
1 Here we're in the process of mounting the 'chero on ourWhirly-Jig. Mounting a vehicle on any body handler is careful work andmust be balanced properly. It took about three hours to get ours set up.
127_0403_2Z 1966_Ford_Ranchero Rusted_Underbody_View
2 A close inspection of our floors revealed some surface rust,solid framerails, and layers of undercoat. Body handlers aresurprisingly affordable and make working on the dusty side easier.