Ranchero, El Camino, Duster ....


Old 03-18-03, 08:21 AM
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Question Ranchero, El Camino, Duster ....

My neighbor's kid is in 7th grade and he is doing a term paper on the "Muscle Cars" of the 60s and 70s. The town library has very good information and the local dealerships even dusted off some old manuals for him, but there are some questions that you may be able to help him with:

1) The Ford Ranchero I believe started out based on a Falcon and later was based on the Fairlane. Did it ever go to the Torino?
2) Was the Chevrolet El Camino always based on a Chevelle? What about the GMC El Diablo?
3) Plymouth had the Duster. What did Dodge call their version?
4) Which Pontiac was the 1st to put the tachometer out on the hood; GTO, Firebird or The Judge?
5) What did the "GTO" in Pontiac GTO stand for?

That's all for now - maybe he'll have more questions later. Thanks!
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Old 03-18-03, 09:09 AM
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1) The Ranchero was eventually based on the LTD II/Torino platform. The Ranchero stops in 1979 to my recollection.

2) El Camino through 1988, GMC Sprint from 1971 to 1977, and then Caballero from 1978 to 1987. Diablo was a trim package on the GMC Caballero to my knowledge. Yes the El Camino was always on the "A" and "G" body platform.

3) The Dodge version of the Duster was called a Demon.

4) The Judge IS a GTO (a very desirable one). I believe the Goat got the hood tach first. The 'Bird starts in 1967, so if the Goat had it before then, it would have been the first.

5) GTO=Gran Turismo Ormegato (spelling??). It means "Indy 500" in Italian. It stands for that type of race in Italian. John DeLorean was the brainchild of this car back in the day at Pontiac.

The Muscle car era "ends" at about 1974 with the demise of the Super Duty Trans Am. However, makers like Pontiac kept the torch glowing long into the dark years of the late 70's---actually increasing horsepower in the wake of EPA regulations and DOE fuel economy standards .
Old 03-18-03, 02:29 PM
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The Ranchero started in 1957 based on the full size Ford

Old 03-18-03, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for your help!! You made a student very happy!!
Old 03-18-03, 06:15 PM
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I have seen the Ranchero badges on falcons as early as 55, maybe earlier.

Some 70's darts had the duster shape. The darts either came in the box style, or the duster shape---may have been called the dart-demon?

Also, I am sure you know this, but a "muscle car" is NOT typically classified as a 60's/70's v8 2 door vehicle.

the "older" classifications for a muscle car meant it had a BIG BLOCK. A 65 mustang was never considered a muscle car, nor was a 350 camero. The mustangs introduction into muscle car status was in 67, to compete with chevy's introduction of the BB camaro. Likewise, in 67, dodge redesigned the dart to handle a big block.

In a twist, it might be fun to mention newer muscle cars. "todays" definition of a modern muscle car is typically a 2 door v8 model. Newer Mustangs and Camaro's are the definition of modern muscle, as well as the Newer GTO should be classified as that. On the other end--the very sophisticated vette is often considered a sports car, while I am not sure whether to call the viper a muscle car, sports car, super car, or whatever.

Have fun...sounds like a great report
Old 03-18-03, 06:27 PM
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On the GTO.. the last word... (spelling excluded) was "Omellegato"

"DEMON" was a trim package on the "DART": Plymouth Duster, Dodge Dart
Old 03-18-03, 09:14 PM
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There were also two Darts . There was the Duster twin which was the Dart/Demon model.

There was also the 4 door model---sometimes it was tagged with Dart Swinger. Plymouth called this a Scamp. I believe it was originally on the Valiant line. In fact, in some cases, the parts literature may refer to it as Valiant (proper) when in reality, they mean one of the other models. The Valiant was seen as the base/root model.

The parts books also call the Imperial, or New Yorker "Chrysler" models in the parts literature. It is assumed to be fullsize Chrysler when this is so (typically, depending on the year, there were not many Chrysler branded models).

In essence there are not many Chrysler bodies in those early years---and everything is typically a "smaller" or "bigger" version of the other. LOL.
Old 03-19-03, 02:32 AM
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First year for Falcon was 1960. Did you mean 1965?

Old 03-19-03, 05:52 AM
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Question Couple more questions ....

Thanks for all the help so far! The kid's Muscle Car term paper for his US History class is nearly finished and thanks to all your help I think it's going to be a real good one. (His teacher's wife drives a 60s Plymouth Satellite).

Couple more questions to help him out:

1) Approximatley what years, from when to when, did Plymouth produce the Barracuda?
2) Dodge had the Challenger. Did Plymouth have a similar model?
3) What does MOPAR stand for?
4) About when did vinyl tops start appearing on roofs? How about T-Tops?
5) Some old brochures he got from local dealers have photos of muscle cars where the tires have white raised lettering, and some have "red walls" instead of white wall tires. About when did this start showing up?
6) A dealer rep told the kid that the raised lettering was very popular in racing, a sponsorship thing, and it carried over to production cars. He said there was even a war between Hoosier Tire and Good Year and Uniroyal over the size of the lettering. We can't find anything about this "war" searching the web. Any thruth to it?

Thanks again for all your help!

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