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Watch As We Rescue & Revive a Nearly New 1969 Ford Ranchero GT After 29 Years of Storage

© Hot Rod Network Staff

From Hot Rod Network

The subject of storage is a deep one, indeed. Here at the family compound you might see muscular classics out to pasture. Let's call those cars "pasturized." Over yonder is a weathered old barn. Its roof went away years ago, so the barn cars all have "barnacles." Around here, premium indoor storage involves shipping containers. Sure, they're hot 'n' cold with the seasons, but a tight container can be fairly safely used as a portable garage. A not-so-tight container, however, can become the tomb of doom.

Long, long ago, back in 1969, Uncle Gary Bauman drove a new 1969 Ranchero GT off the showroom floor of Riverside, California's Warren Anderson Ford. It was pretty much loaded. A 390, a four-barrel, a floor-shifted C6, and bucket seats to boot. As his company vehicle, the shiny new Ranchero propelled Uncle Gary to and from work at the old family business, Bauman's Auto Wrecking. It was never used for parts deliveries. Nobody else ever drove it, and I'm pretty sure it never hauled anything in its bed. Now, it's been a long time, but I'm rather proud to possess a 20/20 long-term memory. Amongst other details, the one I recall most vividly is the Ranchero's new-car smell.

We are all familiar with the story of the one that got away. This will not be a rehashed version of that. Uncle Gary still has the low-mileage 1969 Ranchero GT. It hasn't felt the sunshine in many, many years. In fact, it's been stored away in one of those shipping containers. Knowing its secret whereabouts, and knowing Uncle Gary wouldn't mind, I sort of got to thinking that you readers might enjoy a peek inside that container. Little did I know that slippin' in for pictures would lead to a grisly discovery.

Out of sight and out of mind, the near-new/old Ranchero had languished in that old shipping container long enough that the container had settled into the ground. One door would still open, just enough to allow someone of average build like me to slip inside. Through the dank darkness it sort of looked as though both left tires had deflated, causing the left-rear bumper corner to contact the container wall. Although I couldn't clearly see the Ranchero, I could clearly smell it. The stench of mildew had replaced the new-car smell I remembered from childhood.

Clues at this crime scene suggest that the container's roof sprung a leak. Sadly, that leak went undetected for years. Cold winter rain came in. Hot summer sun came out—and the container's precious contents sustained a series of summer-long steam baths. We can be certain that condition has taken a toll on Uncle Gary's Ranchero. We won't know the extent of the damage until we get it out. We won't get it out until we get the container doors opened. And we won't get the container doors opened without a lift from a friend with a heavy-duty hydraulic wrecker.

We will have to work for this, but we will get the Ranchero out into the sunlight for a better look. No doubt it will need a complete, professional detail job, but its mechanical needs might be tougher to assess. Pending Uncle Gary's approval, I'll personally see this rescue through—with a little help, as needed, from friends.

For the first phase of the job at hand, let's begin with a mechanical evaluation by "Guardrail" Willie Martin, third-generation owner/operator of Riverside, California's Ed Martin Garage. Following Martin's inspection, shop manager/parts guru Mike Ferguson will provide us with an estimate. Then, providing it's practical, let's get this Ranchero


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Autos News: Watch As We Rescue & Revive a Nearly New 1969 Ford Ranchero GT After 29 Years of Storage
Watch As We Rescue & Revive a Nearly New 1969 Ford Ranchero GT After 29 Years of Storage
Autos News
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