BoxheadTim Reader
Sept. 13, 2009 4:39 p.m.

Currently browsing the bay of beerlooms for a potential DD replacement. I don't really need a proper DD as most of my mileage is on bikes (commuting into London by car is worse than commuting in the Bay Area), but I'd need something that I can put more than two people in in reasonable comfort and have space in the back for all the usual E36 M3 you tend to lug around.

Currently this role is filled by a Golf/Rabbit TDI station wagon that I've developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with. And then I find this here on ebay:

I like 60s and some 70s American cars and do like the looks of this thing. I guess I better find out just how big it is because it looks like a parking headache in the making, but still, the temptation remains.

Any comments?

warpedredneck New Reader
Sept. 13, 2009 4:50 p.m.

i had a 78 gt w/351 windsor c6 combo, was a great car/truck hard on fuel? whatcha want to know?

cwh Dork
Sept. 13, 2009 4:53 p.m.

Well, at over 7,000.00USD, that is a very steep price. But, it would be very unique in your area. At 12-14MPG, I doubt that you would be driving it much. Basically a bullet proof engine and tranny, very low mileage for the year. My advise is to go see it, drive it, see if it tickles your sensibilities. Looks like the present owner has had it for advertising, not cruising.

jrw1621 HalfDork
Sept. 13, 2009 4:57 p.m.

In the US, I would expect that vehicle to get about 11 miles per gallon. I arrived at this number from the rating of a 1984 Ford F-150 pickup truck with the same 5.8L engine found on You did not mention the year of your TDI but in 2002 a US version VW Golf TDI was rated at 38 miles per gallon. By this comparison, the Ford will use nearly 70% more fuel than your TDI. That becomes an expensive daily driver.

A Ranchero is cool and even in the US ones in great shape are hard to find. In the UK I would expect that they are ultra rare to find.
Even here in the US, where gas is under $3 per gallon, I would consider this too much of a hog for a daily driver.

As for actual dimensions, this link will give you some:
I find interesting on the link that it claims to have a 26 gallon gas tank. What will that cost you to fill up.

BoxheadTim Reader
Sept. 13, 2009 5:49 p.m.

Well, the fuel consumption of the Golf doesn't really play that much of a role here - I'm probably doing about 3k-4k/year in that car as opposed to 20k on motorbikes and another 4k-5k in the two cars that are actually in "my garage". One tankful lasts me 6 weeks or longer.

26 gallons, assuming they're US gallons, will cost roughly £110 to fill up - that's about $180 . Every 300 miles. Oops.

The price is actually pretty good if it's a decent car. American cars are stupidly expensive over here in most cases unless it's either a complete shed or something like a Mustang II that nobody in their right mind would buy. There are several exceptions (90s Camaros and Fox-bodies) but in general prices of these in Europe are not comparable to prices in the US and are much higher.

I guess I'll get in touch with the guy and see if I can have a look at it next weekend (or if he's sold it by now). After all, I might not like it once I find out how badly it deals with the narrow country roads over here.

The other problem might be finding someone who can fit a tow bar to it - it'll make an awesome tow rig... Size is a bit of a consideration but it doesn't appear to be much bigger than the Audi A8 I had for a little while last year - it's about a foot longer and as long as it's not much wider I should be able to park it out on the road without blocking the road.

cwh Dork
Sept. 13, 2009 6:45 p.m.

I think that would be called a "Yank Tank".

jrw1621 HalfDork
Sept. 13, 2009 6:49 p.m.

In its day, this chassis was known as a mid-size car in comparison to the full size of the day which would be a Cadillac or a full size pickup truck. It's width should be similar to a 60's/70's Camaro/Mustang.

aussiesmg SuperDork
Sept. 13, 2009 6:57 p.m.

I have a rough 72 which I will be running in the baberally, I am no expert but am learning quickly.

You will have pointless ignition, is it a 2 or 4 barrel carb, is it a Cleveland or Windsor engine, these make a big difference on fuel.

Does it have the full gauges, 9" with LSD, C4 or C6 trans?

Is it dual exhaust, is engine modified?

Rust, bed especially around the wheel arches on the inner fenders. also the bed floor and the cabin floor behind the seats including the storage compartment.

Does it have AC and PS, PS is essential, this is a big heavy (4000lb plus) car with big overhangs.

Spare and jack are behind passenger seat.

Pretty solid and basic cars overall, mine is rough so I know where the worst of the rust is.

Good forum, and there are English Rancheros on there

One point, Ford Australia still makes a Falcon car based pick up, so the ad has one flaw at least

CrackMonkey HalfDork
Sept. 14, 2009 8:10 a.m.

Having driven in the UK, I think you are nutso for even considering a tank like this.

With that said...

Do it! Do it! Do it!

stuart in mn SuperDork
Sept. 14, 2009 8:41 a.m.
aussiesmg wrote: You will have pointless ignition, is it a 2 or 4 barrel carb, is it a Cleveland or Windsor engine, these make a big difference on fuel.

The eBay ad says it has a 351M, which was evolved from the Cleveland engine:

integraguy HalfDork
Sept. 14, 2009 11:28 a.m.

If you are seriously considering a vehicle like this, take a look at Chevy El Caminos. The styling isn't quite as OTT as a Ranchero, but a '78 E-C is LESS of a tank (1st year of the "down-sized" GM "intermediates") and while they aren't bulletproof, the engine choices include a few V6s. Try to find one with the Buick V6 (3800) or a 305 or 350 Chevy V8. Another plus? It is at least as likely, if not MORE likely to find an E-C with a manual transmission.

Tim Baxter Online Editor
Sept. 14, 2009 11:32 a.m.

Between the fuel costs and the size, I think you're nuts. There are other, smaller truckcars out there (like the EC integraguy mentioned) that will be much easier to live with. If you're going to do something like that Ranchero, you might as well go whole hog and get yourself a full-size US pickup. Not much bigger, really, and likely to have better mpg.

Woody SuperDork
Sept. 14, 2009 12:14 p.m.

My first minibike was delivered to me in a Ranchero, so I've had a soft spot for them ever since.

BoxheadTim Reader
Sept. 14, 2009 3:48 p.m.

Well, in the end I decided against it, mainly due to the size and the fact that I couldn't park it on the road (insurance requirement). I have very tolerant neighbours - heck, one of them has three Minis and is wrenching on his stuff about as much as I work on my bikes and cars - but I doubt that they'd appreciate if I blocked off most of the garages with one vehicle.

Yes, it's been mentioned before that I might not quite right in the head .

Full-size truck is out for the same reason. I was actually looking at a couple of adverts as there are a bunch of Ex-USAAF GMC diesels around but it's the same problem with the combination of size (ruling out using my normal parking slot for it) and the specialist insurance "suggesting" that I really don't want to park one on the road.

Time to go back to looking for silly European-sized stuff.

cwh Dork
Sept. 14, 2009 5:11 p.m.

Scary- sanity prevails.

jrw1621 HalfDork
Sept. 14, 2009 5:42 p.m.

Well, not complete sanity. We will know if he is considered normal around here if he has a new vehicle that he wants in a few days/weeks/fortnight.

BoxheadTim Reader
Sept. 27, 2009 1:32 p.m.

Does "bought" count as "wants"?

Drove this home earlier today. It's a 2002 Alfa 156 Sportswagon - 2L TwinSpark engine (the one based on the Fiat block, not the old twincam TS that you got in a 75/Milano). Mostly OK, needs a little work - a wheel bearing is suspect, the thermostat appears to have departed for pastures new and the aircon needs looking at - but it comes with full service history and it was quite cheap. Well, the seller hadn't realised that none of their pictures were showing on ebay so it was only me and another bidder. And I had viewed the car .

It's not as practical as the Golf (the trunk is quite small, which was my reason for going for the rarer station wagon version, at least I can fold down the seats on that) but it's infinitely more fun to drive.

jrw1621 Dork
Sept. 27, 2009 1:56 p.m.

Not since the '80's have you been able to buy a new Alfa in The States. Edit: Alfa pulled out of the US officially in 1995

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