Tyler Clarke’s 1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero
Article and photos by Tyler Clarke, compiled by Al Aiello
Tyler Clarke is a member of the Sonoma County Falcons and has some unique cars. This one is a 1964 Ford Falcon PROPANED POWERED RANCHERO. Tyler has is quite the Mechanic and Fabricator, and his excellent work is evident in this unique Ranchero. Below is in his own words are the story of his Ranchero:
I purchased my 1964 Ranchero back in 2008 from a man in Sacramento, California. I bought it for $850 and it included a rebuilt (built by the owner and his father) 260 V8, and a 2 speed Ford-O-Matic transmission. Although I knew better then to install this “home rebuilt” engine, I did it anyway, and regretted it immediately. The 2 speed transmission was just not cutting it, and the engine had low power, blow-by, low oil pressure, and would not run under 1,000 RPM. Once the idle was adjusted up high enough to run in gear, letting off the brake with out any throttle applied would get you goin’ a nice 15+ mph.
The next drivetrain set-up was a 302 engine out of a Granada donor car, and a 3 speed C4 transmission. That set up lasted about 20,000 miles, until it decided it had had enough of my abuse and developed a pretty bad rod knock.
At this point the car needed to go through its next major phase which was paint/ body work/ interior and glass/ trim.
While continuing to be my daily driver, I did all the metal and body work, which included a good amount of rust repair, panel replacement, and lots of block sanding.
I then rented a spray booth and painted the car on a nice, mild, 112 degree day. A few times sweat dripping from my forehead nearly ruined my paint job as I was applying clear to the hood. After many, many, hours wet sanding/cutting/ and buffing, I finalized the paint to where I liked it. All the glass was tinted out of the car, and I then installed it all after installing the new headliner. During this time I also reupholstered my bench seat, and repainted the dash and doors with semi-gloss black out of a spray gun.
Wheels/tires were installed after doing the new disk brakes and powder coating of rear drums.
At this point the car was looking pretty nice, but didn’t have a nice engine to go along with it. Knowing that I was going to be running on propane fuel instead of gas, I built a mildly pumped up 302 V8 to run solely on propane. Propane has a lower BTU content than gasoline and as a result, to get good power from a propane engine you must bump up the compression, which is why dual fuel (gas/propane) set-ups never work the best because you are stuck with gas-safe compression ratios and will never be able to run at full potential on propane. Propane is a much cleaner burning fuel, and what better vehicle to drive around in, than a clean burning alternative fuel Ranchero! Propane currently runs $2.75/gallon in California, but as summer progresses forward it drops down to about $2.59/ gal, and getting 2 mpg better than when I was running my gas-burning 302 makes me pretty happy too!
Once the engine was built and ready to go in the car, I mated it up to an AOD transmission with a stage 2 shift kit to give me very firm positive shifts and a 4.11 posi in the rear. Custom mandrel bent exhaust was then installed as well as dual Flowmasters, and an X-pipe and stainless tips dumping out right after the rear tire. Autometer gauges were then installed under the dash, and the Air/Fuel ratio monitor helps to let me know how the engine is running and to keep A/F ratios at a safe level.
I really love to drive the car as one of my daily drivers and it’s nice to hear the compliments that it gets, and seeing people’s expressions when they learn that a car can run on propane instead of gas.
AND NOW FOR SOME SPECS:
-11.3 : 1 compression ratio with domed pistons
-Ported Victor Jr air gap intake
-Doug’s ceramic coated Tri-y headers
-Edelbrock Performer Aluminum heads
-AOD overdrive transmission with stage 2 shift kit
-4.11 8” posi rear end
-38 Gallon propane tank sunk down into bedfloor onto custom mounts
-CSRP front slotted disk brakes, Custom rear drum brakes with Ultra soft, top of the line brake shoes, to really get the car to stop nicely with -Manual brakes.
-Lowered 620 front coil springs
-Reverse eye 5 leaf springs with additional lowering
-Auto meter wide band A/F ratio gauge & mechanical water temp/ oil pressure
-Grant steering wheel and all black carpet/dash/ bench seat with fully dynamited floors
-Custom Hot hues electric blue
-Vintage 45 16×7 wheels with yokohama S-drive tires
-All Glass is tinted including front windshield, side mirror delete, and shaved emblems.
-Custom 2.5” mandrel bent exhaust with 50 series Flowmaster and custom X-pipe
you can check out MORE ABOUT TYLER at Tyler’s Performance Website.