1972 Ford Ranchero - Dark Horse

Growing up next to a stockcar track and in a workshop full of V8s it was just a matter of time before Damien would end up building something V8 powered. After spending a few years on the four bangers it was time for a V8 and he wanted either an El Camino or a Ranchero.

Owners : Damien de Waal

Damien found the Ranchero in Hermanus. It initially looked decent however when he decided to jack the car up the jack just broke through the floor and the car stayed exactly where it was. It was all just fiberglass under the car as all the steel had rusted away. Damien was lucky enough to find a replacement body that had no rust on it whatsoever from an area in the Karoo.

The body had been stripped and been standing for 20 years in a workshop. The body was prepped and sprayed and then they started rebuilding all the donor parts. They had to rebuild or replace almost every panel on the car. They then smoothed down the entire body. All the unnecessary things were removed like locks, front indicators in the fenders and all the beading.

Even the fuel filler was removed. To change the look, Damien added a 1974 Ford Fairlane nose. Damien wanted a clean and smooth look that is why he settled on using black on black.

Thanks to Eugenio and Mark from Titan Customs – the blackest black known to man – a Titan Custom Mix.

Ralph from Motown supplied the motor which is a 351 Cleveland 2v rotating assembly. With some help from Melvin Strydom the motor was completely rebuilt with some seriously impressive parts – KNN filter and lid, 750 Holley, Edelbrock Performer RPM, alu valve covers, Edelbrock Roller rockers, stud and guide plate conversion, comp cam, stainless valve seats, Ferrera stainless valves, Comp cam double springs, pushrods, retainers and valve locks, Comp cam 292h cam, ARP head, rod, crank bolts, ARP dress-up bolt kit, Clevite bearings, Felpro gaskets and MSD Pro Billet all running through a C4 gearbox with a shift kit installed which runs all the way back into a BorgWarner diff. Damien says “Excuse the old dizzy, the MSD Pro Billet blew a week before the shoot and with such short notice we had to fit an old points dizzy but the new one is already on its way”.

The suspension was cleaned up and upgraded to coilover springs in the front and new leaf springs on the back. Braking is a standard set of 1972 Mustang discs. One thing that makes this Ranchero stand out are the wheels. They are blacked-out American Racing 20 inch with 8J in the front and 9J at the rear. They are running on 225 front and a nice wide 265 at the rear. The interior is mainly original not counting the Grant classic 3-spoke steering wheel, rev counter mounted to the dash and a proper shifter. The bench seat is the original seat with cutouts for harnesses.

All the black upholstery was done by Rowan at RA Motor Trimmers. Hands down this is one of the best Rancheros I have ever seen and to me the photographs do not do it the justice it richly deserves. Well done Damien. Damien’s next project is a 1968 Pontiac Grande Parisienne and we cannot wait to see the end result. Damien would like to thank everyone who has had so much patience with him during the build over the past few years.

So many people were involved and they know who they are. Lots of late nights were spent in the garage with Jared Rudolph and Gary “Filthy”Wilkins who both have a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested in this vehicle.

Also many thanks to Ralph and Terence from Motown who kept him motivated with regards to sourcing the parts and then supplying them. Without Ralph Damien insists that this project would still be a pipe dream.

Eugenio and Mark from Titan Customs who are very professional and their workmanship unlike any other he has come across in the industry.

When asked if this was his dream car, Damien said “No it is not however, I do love the end result and basically it is about building something into your dream car”.