1957 Ranchero Double Feature
We’ll kick off this 1957 Ranchero Double Feature with, well, a ’57 Ranchero. First up is this beautiful example owned by Don Nordboe of Council Bluffs, IA.
By Don Nordboe
I purchased this ’57 in early 2002 at an estate auction in Elmwood, Nebraska. This was a fairly plain Ranchero; it originally had a 292 V8 engine with standard shift transmission and no power steering, but it did have a radio and a clock. A good friend of mine saw the auction listing, and he and I went to see what was there, all the time expecting it to be rusted away, since it was already 45 years old. Well, to our surprise, it was in great shape body-wise, with just a little rocker panel rust and light surface rust in the bed and on the fenders.
Over the next few years, I visited numerous salvage yards and found various missing parts and accessories from many wrecked and hulking parts cars living there. I’ll always have fond memories of the many days and hours spent walking through all those yards.
Four years have slipped by and the Ranchero is now finished and more beautiful than ever! Totally restored with a ’59 Y-Block 292 engine with performance cam and solid lifters. Unleaded valve conversion, and a made for the ’57 T-bird 312 four-barrel carburetor. Police Interceptor special size dry air cleaner and all the options have been added. The factory air conditioning system came from Easy Jack’s Salvage in Junction City, KS, along with the 292 pulleys, brackets, Bendix Westinghouse compressor and power steering.
Shopping on eBay brought me the matching control head under the dash done in a black and silver vinyl with lots of chrome trim from Rolla, MS. Fleet Line Truck Restorations of Carter Lake, IA, did the beautiful Mandarin Orange and White paint job and all the trim pieces. Upholstery came custom matched from S&S of Portland, OR, and was installed by me and my wonderful friends.
My ’57 now has absolutely every option available as new, including a padded dash from Just Dashes in California and Deluxe 9 tube Town & Country seek and scan radio. My Ranchero pictured here stands alone and speaks for itself of the great pride and quality workmanship built into the American automobile of the 1950s. The restoration was completed in September 2006.
Next up in our 1957 Ranchero Double Feature
Richard Leasure of Missouri City, Texas, gives us the rundown on this looker:
By Richard Leasure
I purchased this car in September of ’94. It has been in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, for the past six years, undergoing a complete restoration at Richards Restorations. Bob Richards disassembled the entire car, sandblasted the frame, rebuilt the front end, and then painted everything underneath black. Bob then had the body acid dipped and mounted on a rotisserie. He repaired numerous rusted out areas, fabricating a lot of sheetmetal that was not available elsewhere. Then the body (still on the rotisserie), along with the doors, fenders, and hood was taken to Chet’s Custom Paint in Greenville, PA. Chet and his son hung new quarters, removed dents, primed and block sanded – getting ready for paint. The Ranchero was then treated to numerous coats of fire engine red, turning it into a completely straight, better-than-new body.
The Ranchero body and all painted parts were then returned to Bob Richardson’s shop to begin reassembly. The bumpers, grille, and all moldings had all been out being re-chromed. Bob enlisted the help of his son Jim, and another friend, Jim Morohovich, to basically put everything back together. They also did all the wiring, installed the new gauges, and installed the interior. In other words, put the entire Ranchero back in business!
The engine (a 312 cube Y-Block) was completely rebuilt with an aluminum intake and a Holley 4-barrel. A stainless exhaust system was then added. The tranny is a T-5 unit with a Hurst shifter, rear end is a 9-inch closed unit. We added the custom rod gauges to keep tabs on everything.
The car has factory A/C, factory Town & Country AM radio, factory Sure Swift power brakes, and factory power steering. The complete rotisserie resto was finally completed in October of ’06.
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