Nightmare Road Trip With '68 Ranchero

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Ever have fantasies of hitting the open road with a buddy in one of your favorite classic pickup trucks of all time? Well, that's what Hot Rod Magazine dudes David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan had in mind when they started this little video road trip, but things quickly go wrong. 

No problem, though. As anyone knows who's done any kind of long-distance travel with an elderly vehicle, you have to have a Plan B. And in this case, it doesn't hurt to have a Plan C or D as well. 

Check out this youtube link to see how much pleasure and pain you can have on the same road trip.


looked like alot of fun

that freeze plug keep messing up and broken window.

It's been so long since I owned a f.o.r.d. that I forgot about the joys of owning one.

Cool old car er truck. All the problems they had were related to the fact that they put a new drivetrain in it, fired it up and hit the road. How hard is it to install a block heater? (Must be tough if you are from California. LOL). A couple of frost plugs later? They must of expected problems, that is a part I've never felt I needed to have as a spare. Fan belts, always a good idea to have. Lost a rear axle bearing on a 44 year old car. Okay. The window broke, not to wise to head to Alaska in the winter with a loose window.
Funny story.
Anyone notice that the chase vehicle was a Toyota SUV? I'll throw a bone to Oxi ;)
I'm surprised that no-one mentioned the fact that they towed a '55 Chevy with it. I'll throw that bone out to bob and company. LOL.

I drove old Mopars from the time I was 16 in the late 1980's until the early 2000's,when I bought a new Ram 1500 as I grew tired of people coming up to me non stop and saying nice car,wanna sell and the final thing that ticked me off,some clown wanted to steal my car,they tried a few times on 3 different old Mopars I kept as daily drivers as they were lower mileage 1 owner full documentation,not a 500,000 mile car sold as a 30,000 mile car due to the 5 digit odometer was easy to do)I own a 68 Charger 440 R/T,68 440 tnt Chrysler 300 2 drh/t ,70 Chrysler 300 440 tnt 2dr h/t and a 73 440 Charger Rallye was great as lead ended it was an unleaded car still a low 14 1/4 for all stock 8:1comp detuned smogger 440,far cry from the 12 second beasts of 71 and older but hey it ran on 87 regular averaged 16 mpg city hwy 75-85 mph with 3.23 rear gears ! ,and several other Mopars I fixed up/sold over the years..they tried but I always disable my car so the thief cant start it,only tow it away...just broken glass,messed up wires under dash,real clowns..

As for reliability I drove allover the U.S/Canada with my 68 Charger and a 70 Chrysler 300 I had and never had a problem with them.I drive 80 miles round trip to and from work,plus more on weekends with burnouts,rolling burnouts for those that dont know old big block Chrysler cars do it from 20 mph floor it and the rear tires spin/smoke without the brake ,thats why they have slow recorded times for performance all were done smoking the tires and then recorded times were way off..

Anyways,only problems were only had 1 brake line had a pinhole leak made it home,wiper motor failed once and on higher/unknown mileage cars I had to do axle bearings after about 30,000 mile of travel,something I just did on my buddies babied 1 owner 50,000 mile 05 Tundra !!Also a few motor mounts as I was a savage on my Mopars,used to chain them up with 500 ft lbs of torque it really twists...especially the late 90's motor mounts are made cheaper because they are made in china.also had to weld the alternator bracket on my 440 Charger,it cracked due to the twisting of constant full throttle daily driving (12.20 1/4 with m/t street legal slicks still not 100% traction)

Only tow I needed in 400,000 miles of classic car travel was when I blew the driveshaft flooring/spinning my 68 Chrysler 300 through an intersection,so it needed a tow,I had a spare at home,jacked it up,10 minutes later the car was on the road again,mind you 20 miles from home at that point and $75 dollar tow !

If you buy an old car,you should give it a full tune up,points or change it to electronic ignition or carry spare points with you if you go far.Change the axle bearings,brushes on the alternator,check redo wiring good idea if its original,if the engine/trans is in good working order you should have no problems,as good if not better than a new car ! I fixed many friends/family members newer cars of all makes import/domestic and they have more problems than old cars ! Unless you are clueless and buy an old car with 700,000 miles and mickey moused together,theyn you aked for it ! Do a compression check i bought countless old cars running on 6 cyl though its a V-8 ! Because lack of leaded gasoline running unleaded destroys the engine and the car still runs but lacks power it should have.Some guy had a 383 Road Runner and swore the motor was 100%,though had blow by and it ran mid 15's at the track..I could even hear a very slight engine noise only a expert can hear,most pass it off as normal but that means your engine is done in simple terms..I told him,told him he insisted it was the way they were...anyways he finally gave in did a compression check (10 min job) and 2 cyl were 75-80 !!

Another thing old cars when you listen under the hood you just hear the engine,no ticking no knocking just rumbling sound,new cars tick,knock when cold,and the electric fans click on/off like crazy...Plus the gov cant track you in a old car,no black box so if you crash the onus is on the cop to do old school work,not upload your cars computer !!

Time to burn some rubber !!

Oh yes this could have been a fun, fun story. What went wrong, probably the two loose nuts behind the steering wheel. New motor, new tranny, new brakes, should have checked out all bearings when working on under carriage. What about shocks, ball joints, and tie rod ends? And was there new tires and wheels? That old truck should have been able to go to Alaska, and back two or thee times, with out major problems. Just poor mechanical work, and poor mechanical work on the road.

There are lots of very good honest hard working mechanics out that that could have made that look easy. but probably would not be entertaining.

Next time try an old pickup, check out the under carriage, run compression check on motor, check out trans., maybe a new carburetor, and ignition system, and put her on the roads. Oh yes new tires and brakes, just for safety factors.
Should be a fun, fun trip.

That reminds me of my Ford that I sold a few years ago when I bought my Tundra. I used to joke that my Ford had left me stranded in every single Rocky Mountain state--which is close to true.

My brother moved from Texas to Alaska last winter--he shipped his Dodge 4x4 pickup and drove his Subaru... .

Hey @xs291 was you 68 Charger like the dark green one in the Bullet movie? That and the Mustang were cool cars. I believe that Charger had a 440 in it. It was the only year Charger that had round taillights.

I kind of miss the Rancheros and El Caminos. They were neat. Thanks Mark for the story

Some Ranchero's and ElCamino's were also imported into Australia a bit like taking "Coal to Newcastle" or "Sand to Daytona". The US Versions had considerably less payload than the Australian originals.

Thanks Robert for the pics. The front end of the Ranchero is different than the US but the El Camino is dead on.

@Jeff as well and I nearly forgot. Jim Hunter won his class in the Baja 1000(same class?) in a Ford Falcon ute.

The ElCamino is a US ElCamino, the other is a Holden Ute. Utes or Coupe Utilities orginated in Australia in 1934. The ElCamino and Ranchero were US versions of Coupe Utilities.
A 1950 Holden Ute.

Thanks again for the other pictures Robert. The El Caminos are very much sought after by collectors here in the States. Compact trucks like the S-10, Ranger, and Dakota pretty much ended these trucks popularity here but they were pretty popular in the early to mid 70s and in the 60s. I always liked them and would have liked to have one but now I am satisfied with what I have. These Utes appear to still have a following in your country, Australia, and maybe GM will decide to market a El Camino again using the Holden like they were planning to do for Pontiac. I think there would be a lot of interest here.

@Jeff, a lot of Uhmming and Aaahing over the years by GM US in bringing the Holden Ute over. They are worried about how it would be received as it is not a traditional "truck" and the Australian dollar is now higher than the US. Ford US has not even bothered about thinking of exports of Falcons, Utes or Ford Territory's, although the later has well and truly outsold the Explorer when they had it here.
Still you can dream: A Holden Maloo, one of these set a faster time the the Aston Martin DR9 around the "Top Gear" test track in England.
Earlier slightly customized version

Current Model,0.jpg

Thanks Robert, that is sharp. I even like the color.

although the later has well and truly outsold the Explorer when they had it here.

typical ford.......sitting on the side of the road with the hood up.

@mack jones - you missed the part where they towed a '55 Chevy.

Just because the video doesn't mention it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. The Ranchero had two new sets of wheels and tires, a new manual steering conversion, with new tie rods, ball joints, and bearings, and new bearings in the 9-inch as well. All of that is in the article in HOT ROD magazine. The block heater failed because it wasn't meant to go in an aftermarket block with such thick cylinder walls. The first two casting plugs that were pulled revealed that the water jacket wasn't deep enough to seat the plug and the third one just barely worked, obviously not well enough.

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