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Rockin' Rancheros!

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#1 Tom Geiger

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

It's come up a few times recently. I just love the '61 Ranchero kit.  Round 2 announced it's coming back as a race support vehicle that has a 6 in it.  I'm hoping they actually follow through the right way! Time will tell.  This is an old tool going back to 1961.  The original release was curbside and that's my favorite version. Chassis is one piece with an engine showing underneath, and a single exhaust.  Later on, probably early 1970s, the hood got opened and the V8 from the original '66 Chevy Impala kit got stuck into it.  That's how all the releases have been since.  Also, the original version had a two part tail light, with a red lens. The 1970s release onward just has a chrome one that you need to paint red. 


In 1962, AMT didn't follow through by updating the kit to that year, but turned it into a customizing kit. This was the vogue of the times and most of the kits were probably built this way.  I've collected a lot of those old relics as folk art.  I find interesting examples and preserve them as best I can. With most it just involves cleaning them up, polishing and adding missing parts like spot lights and lenses. I try not to 'improve' them, I want the flavor of the era to be there.  So here's some of the collection...




Here's a very mild custom, using what looks like a Comet grill.  I actually bought this one sight unseen from someones mail order list (prior to the Internet) and it was described as a rebuilder. I was pleased to get it and it's been in my case ever since.  The primer buggy behind it is a 1960 Ranchero that I built from a really beat up kids toy. All the emblems etc were shaved off so I went with the primer, ready for paint theme. I had the 1960 grill from a totalled promo.




One of my favorites. It was built very nicely using the kit's custom parts. Probably an adult build since the putty work is very nice for the era. 




Here's a neat pair. The red one uses the same front and rear treatment as the purple car above. I hadn't seen one with the convertible treatment before, so I grabbed it. The green one is fun because it doesn't use parts from the customizing kit.




Here's a face only a mother could love. This one uses the kit's nose, but adds the custom piece from the Falcon kit in the center.  Bizarre! 




Here's the kit's custom rear that a lot of my cars used.Tail lights do vary!




And here's one I restored. I received this from a friend, literally in a brown lunch bag. It was all apart and someone removed the several coats of paint by scraping it off. The body was broken in several pieces and was missing the A pillars.  Somehow we both looked at it and decided it deserved to be restored!   The original builder reshaped the wheel wells and shortened the back, then added the custom rear. It's not exactly perfect, but charming in it's own way.




Here's the rear view. 




And how do we keep those unruly customs in line?  The Covington Police. I built those one from an original Craftsman kit, again played to death and needing a ton of work. Police accessories and decals courtesy of Johan.


I hope you've enjoyed seeing my little collection.

#2 cobraman


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:44 AM

Some pretty cool customs you have there.

#3 Nitro Neil

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:30 AM

Neat stuff Tom.

#4 Gluhead


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

That's a rad little collection, Tom. They're all cool in their own way, but that pink one makes me think of the Dream Rod. I've been rolling ideas around in my head based on an Elkie that I'll now have to consider for the Ranch. Thanks for posting these.

#5 Tom Geiger

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

Thanks to all who posted!   I collect these old customs since they are the folk art of our youth and they make me smile!  When I look at them I can imagine the stories they could tell if they could talk!  Who built them?  Were they ever in a hobby shop contest? How did they survive all these years intact? What happened to the original builder?  And, can I reunite one with it's original builder someday?  They've survived 50 years and I hope they're safe in my display case for another 50!


And since you guys were so nice,  I'll do a Valiant post next!

#6 Dirty Gringo

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:43 PM

I love this thread those old rancheros are awesome.  Ine of my favorite past times is browsing ebay for vintage builds I just love ones older than me.  Thanks for sharing the family photos with us

#7 Edsel-Dan


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:51 AM

I have 2 of those Craftsman kits. An Original 62 Styline issue built I got recently,

and an "El Ranchero Grande" Issue I have had since New.Still have that box too!


My Styline kit has that center grill section.


I need to get pictures of them.


I might have one of the last issue left.. Will not use the engine or wheels/tires in it.

#8 slusher


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:55 AM

Nice collection...

#9 rmvw guy

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:14 AM

Nice variety of Rancheros, thanks for sharing them with us.  :)

#10 Eshaver


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:47 AM

What a wonderful walk back through time Tom ! I had several of those kits in the Styline days myself . Thankfully, one survived a Flood we endured here in 1973 . I made it into a Sedan Delivery .