NATHAN DOBRENZ'S1972 Ford Ranchero500

Nathan Dobrenz's 1972 Ford Ranchero 500
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1972 Ford Ranchero




Vehicle Summary

I bought this 72 Ranchero because I wanted to build a fast car free from Californian's strict smog laws. I blew it up racing twice. This car might turn into a Drag/Drift Truck.

Horsepower525 HP
Torque530 LB-FT
Curb Weight4100 LB
Engine Size7.0 L
Transmission TypeC6 3 Speed
Top Speed130 MPH
Zero to Sixty7.9 Seconds
MPG (City/Highway)8/13 MPG

The Story

1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I picked up this 1972 Ranchero down the street from my house in May of 2014. At that time I wanted to start a El Camino build that I didn't need to worry about Smog regulations. 

When I was browsing Craigslist. myself and my grandfather looked at about 3 El Caminos and 2 Rancheros. This 72 was always sitting in the street and I saw it when ever I went to work. I bought it after a test drive for about $3000.
 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? When I first got the car. I did basic stuff like a oil change, spark plugs, ect. after a few months I realized the motor was not in the best shape. It was a Ford 400, no huge aftermarket support and it didn't make to much power. 

I decided to address the tires, suspension, and chassis wiring before I did the drivetrain. I had a mechanic rewire the whole car with a Painless Kit, I got the brakes done, new shocks. and JUST when I was going to think about restoring the 400, it blew up. the distributor gear annihilated it self and took some internals with it. 

At that point I went Big block. I had only one rule. keep it all Ford in the base stuff. Engine Block, transmission, ect. I got in contact with a Big block Ford engine builder out of Colorado named Carl. together we decided on a simple 500hp 429 build and the rest is history.

 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? The Engine. At the time I ordered the engine, I was able to get a Full assembled, tested and broken in long block Ford 429 for $7200 Shipped. I coundn't find any small black fords that could make that kind of power for that price. 

Since I went with a builder who ONLY deals with the 385 series Fords. I was able to get some work done on the heads by him to get more out DOVE cast heads that saved me thousands on aluminum heads. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? After I got the Big Block, most of the parts I was able to find on Rockauto, Summit or Jegs without issue. But the hardest part was the headers. not to many people make headers for this combination. 

I was able to find a company called Ford Powertrain Applications. and they made a bolt in header that fit no issue after I spaced out the motor mounts. took me 5 months of hunting and installing other headers that get that stage done. 4. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? The biggest challenge was trying to stay on budget and taking my time. over that last few months I have been ordering alot of parts so I can get the Ranchero ready for a all Ford car show in April. Otherwise I am fortunate to have friends and coworkers that know their way around cars so I wasn't alone in the build. 5. What are you planning next? After the April car show. I am going to have 3.73 gears and Posi installed and take it out to the drag strip to see if it can beat my WS6 in the 1/4 mile. After racing it I'll get new seats, rollcage, and mess with the suspension to see if it can slide. 

after all that paint. the color is still in the works, but I am thinking Haze Grey like the USS Missouri. The reason is that alot of my friends call the Ranchero a boat, so it might has well be a battleship!

Comments (4)
14 here now

[]Chris Dirkschneider

Very cool! Are you going to use the stock drivetrain or go for a resto-mod swap?

[]Nathan Dobrenz

The original engine blew up. Currently it has a mild built Ford 429. the transmission and rear end was original the car, just rebuilt.

The best way I can describe the drive train is era correct parts upgraded with modern parts and knowledge.

Eventually I wouldn't mind swapping in a stick or a more powerful motor. Only rule is that the Drive train stay Ford only (Engine, Trans and rear end) either old or new Ford.

[]Chris Dirkschneider

Very cool! It's good to see people try to keep manufacturer specific, not that I don't like LS swaps, it's just that they are becoming so popular it's not really as impressive anymore.

[]Nathan Dobrenz

Yeah I agree. one of my reasons was sound. for LS motors you can literally find almost every possible set up on YouTube. one of the things I cant wait is to hear the motor for the first time. because I literally can't find any comparable Ford 429 on YouTube to compare sounds

Nathan Dobrenz444 days ago

Post by Nathan Dobrenz...

Nathan Dobrenz569 days ago

Post by Nathan Dobrenz...

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