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Hooniverse to Ruin Race Another ’62 Ranchero in LeMons

Tim Odell March 3, 2016 Los Huevos Rancheros 16 Comments

1962 ranchero lemons car

After our ’62 Ranchero became an object lesson for my dad’s physics class, a number of people approached us at the track offering to sell us Falcons or Rancheros. Most attractive among them was LeMons sometimes-staffer and generally awesome car guy Dick McClure‘s Ranchero (note the LeMons sticker on his Quail-attending car). The car inspected, a deal was struck and a trailer was rented.

Click through for what we’re planning this time…

So, the details: it’s a ’62, made at what’s currently the Great Mall of Milpitas, formerly Ford’s San Jose production plant (same as our previous Ranchero and my Falcon). Originally equipped with a 170ci straight six and manual transmission, it now sports a 260ci V8 and 2-speed automatic. The running gear’s been converted to 5-lug V8 parts, but there’s no driveshaft, so it won’t be moving under its own power for a bit here. The biggest time suck of the first car’s build was replacing completely rusted out floors. These will need patches, but nothing on the scale of the previous car for sure.

1962 ranchero interior (14)1962 ranchero interior (15)

So, what’s the plan? As much as this will pain adherents to the Church of 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, we’re not planning on running that 260 for now. In its place will be a straight six, but not the the same straight six as last time. Well, similar: a 250ci in place of the former 200. Why stick with this terrible family of motors? Well, the 250 has a 50 more cubes, a broader torque curve and the same bellhousing bolt pattern as a 302. While a lack of power hurt us in previous races, our three speed transmission hurt worse. We could hang with traffic until that 2-3 upshift, then all joy disappeared. Next race: four speed! (possibly the four speed out of my Falcon if I feel like upgrading to a five-speed).

ford 250 straight 6

On the chassis side, we’ll be stripping all the lightly used steering and suspension bits off Crunchero and bolting them up here. One notable steering upgrade: we’ll be installing a steering box without the “spear of death” steering shaft pointed directly at the driver. Hopefully it’s obvious why. That’ll require a bit of creativity on the steering column side. In other safety-related news, it’s a toss-up whether we’ll cut two roofs off and do a cage swap, or just send it back to Evil Genius for a new one.

I haven’t quite given up on the idea of the Crunchero coming back to life at some point, but for now I’d rather not put that much body work (and probability of failure) between us and hitting the track. Oddly enough, it’s The Missus who’s most interested in running a Two-chero team. I can’t not take advantage of that level of enabling, right?

Our first steps will be sawzalling or otherwise extracting the good bits from the Crunchero and literally decrapifying the pair of 250s we picked up, along with the new Ranchero’s interior. After that, it’s just a matter of bolting all the good stuff up, right?

  • dukeisduke

    Just don’t let Glucker jeepjeff drive it!

    /sorry about that first mistake

  • Stick with the Fordomatic and you’ll never again need to worry about third gear.

    • dukeisduke

      Yeah, what third gear? :-/

  • Dwight Anderson

    If you’re interested, I could send you a link to my Ranchero build thread showing a T5 and a Ford 8.8 swap.

    • dukeisduke

      Ooooh… Detroit True-Trac LSD? I put one in my ’95 F-150 with 8.8 rear (after factory pinion bearings went at 92k), and I loved it. Quiet operation, and no friction modifier needed.

      • Dwight Anderson

        No, the axle I got happened to come with a brand new Ford Traction lok, we’ll see how I like it.

    • Don’t really need a T5 for the race car (as we’re not gonna be in overdrive on the track).

      Why the 8.8, out of curiosity? Unless you’re doing drag launches or have a really stonking motor, the 8″ should hold up fine. All three cars have 8″s: Crunchero 3.55:1 open, Falcon is 3.25:1 TruTrac, NewChero is unknown.

      • Dwight Anderson

        As far as I know, the 8″ options are slightly wider than the early Falcon’s. The trick to the 8.8 is to get a 4WD Explorer axle, have 3″ cut off the long side, and put another short side axle in. Wheel mount width is 56.5″, which is the same as original. This let me put 225/45-15 all around with a 4.25 backspace. Also, if you get a ’97 or newer, you get disc brakes. Plus 31 spline axles. Mine is a 3.27, but I’m running a 4 cylinder T5 with granny gears. The overdrive is nice for street driving. Google Ford Ranchero autocross, you’ll find my build thread.

        • Ah, yeah. Our 8″ is 2-3″ wider than original, but we just pounded out the fenders to make space. We run 205/50 R15s.

          Haven’t found that our small rear drums are holding us back in any way.

          • Dwight Anderson

            If I pound on the fenders, all the putty will fall off. Also, since I’m just autocrossing, there’s no one in the way when I brake late into a corner, so more brakes (and more tire) is always better.

  • I like it, but I like mine a Lada more.

  • neight428

    I can only imagine an undertaking like this would start better after filling a large dumpster with PB Blaster and submerging the subject. Good luck.

  • Fuhrman16

    Is that a genuine mag wheel on the front of that? Also, while the 250 does use the same bell housing pattern as the V8, you can’t use a V8 flywheel. You’ll need one with a neutral balance.

    • Yup, which is why I made sure to get the flywheel with one of them.

      The wheels are unilug, at least 2 different brands. Will do some research yo see if they’re priceless hotrod history or junk.

  • outback_ute

    When they used to run 250s in speedway cars etc here before the crossflow heads came out they would cut the log manifold off and make a new manifold to run triple carbs.

    Make sure you have ventilated discs at least, later Mustang bits will probably work. Agree on the 4 speed rather than 5, more budget friendly too.





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