Ford Ranchero Seventh Generation
|1977 to 1979|
|Assembly||Lorain, Ohio, United States|
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Ford LTD II Mercury Cougar|
|Engine||351 cu in (5.8 L) V8|
|Length||220.1 in (5,591 mm)|
With the Torino ending production after 1977, the Ranchero needed a new platform. This was found in the somewhat unlikely guise of the Ford Thunderbird personal luxury coupe, which was undergoing a reincarnation that year also, and sharing features with that year's Ford LTD II mid-size car. The same three models available since 1968 were still offered and the Ranchero could be ordered in quite luxurious form. Engines fitted went up to the big block 400 cu in (6.6 L). Production ceased in 1979 with, among the traditional choices, a commemorative "1979½" model. Although the LTD II was not produced for many model years, this body style with stacked rectangular headlamps is among the most popular among collectors.
Cars were getting smaller and increasing government restrictions, and requirements on a car-based pickup truck made such a vehicle less and less attractive from a manufacturing standpoint. Meanwhile, purpose-designed light trucks had to meet much less stringent requirements for emissions and fuel economy. Ford saw the way the market was going and decided small light trucks were the wave of the future, beginning with the Mazda-built Courier pickup. This vehicle would be a "stepping stone" during which time Ford would develop their homegrown replacement, the Ranger.