It Doesn’t Sit In The Garage As A Conversation Piece Notice anything different? The headlamps are from a ’47 Ford, the Blue Oval is recessed, and the turn signals are now located behind the reworked grille. By Henry De Los Santos Photography: Wes Allison While we’ll admit that there’s something special about an unmolested supercar like a Shelby or an original Yenko, we shake our heads over those who’ll spend endless months producing a ground-up resto on something most of us would consider a winter beater. They’ll spend more money on small trim pieces than most are willing to shell out for an entire parts car. They’ll scavenge through swap meets for hours on end. They’ll make a futile attempt to simulate the factory scribbling on the underbelly of their cars. Oh yeah, never say “repop” around them. But however exhilarating this may be for the serious concours fan, we tend to favor those who stray from the norm and take the initiative to create their own version of the ultimate ride. The Gallants made the ash wood bed and stainless strips, extended the wheelwells by 3 inches, and fabricated a tube frame underneath to support the additional weight. Meet Merle and Mickey Gallant of Brainerd, Minnesota, and their ultra-trick ’58 Ford Ranchero. As with most projects, the work escalated well beyond a simple rebuild, but this one went even further and entered the realm of art. Everything—and we mean everything—has been gone through. The frontend was exchanged for a torsion bar suspension pilfered out of a wrecked ’87 Plymouth Gran Fury squad car. The body had more than a minor massaging with its frenched taillamps, late-model ’Vette door handles, ’47 Ford headlamps, and the recessed Blue Oval above the grille. Residing between the fenderwells is a rare 0.030-over 427ci center oiler. Although the original 427 heads have been replaced with a set of ported FE 390s to drop the compression to a much friendlier 10:1, the motor is mostly stock with an Edelbrock F427 manifold and a 750 carb. Even more interesting is the rare 427ci center-oiler big-block that now provides the propulsion. The brutal FE motor pumps out well over 400 hp and was originally destined for big-bodied Fords in NASCAR competition. Of course, this ’58 will never get a chance to stretch its legs at Talladega, but we like the fact it’s motoring down the interstates rather than resting in the garage as a conversation piece. The interior motif is sheer comfort and functionality. The plush leather seats are out of a ’96 Thunderbird, Moon gauges keep all vitals in check, and the Vintage Air system provides a break from the scorching summer heat. As for the unique center console, it took an entire winter to build and was created out of flat stock and exhaust-pipe U-bends.