Bitchin’ Ranchero – Kenny Keith’s Twin Turbo ’64 Ford Ranchero
When is a Ford Ranchero not half truck, half car? If you guessed “business up front, party in back,” try again. Give up? It’s when a celebrity builder transforms an old hybrid hauler into half rocket ship, half reality TV star. Kenny Keith’s dazzling ’64 Ranchero is one such missile. Check out the details of this not-so-serene tangerine machine.
Kenny takes us back to the beginning. “In 2007, I got a call from Jeff Mullins, a fabricator based in Maryland, and he asked me if I was interested in adopting a stalled Ranchero project,” Kenny says. “I declined at first, because I had been through previous builds and was a tad burned out. Nonetheless, I saw the car and although it was rough, I liked it and before you know it, the Ranchero was mine. I hired Mullins Fabrication to build the chassis, roll cage and install the drivetrain in the car. From there the project slowed.”
For the next nine years, the Ranchero resided at body and machine shops in various states of assembly. “Around 2016,” Kenny continues, “I took a different direction and began searching for a builder to take the car to the next level. I was watching ‘Bitchin’ Rides’ and said to myself, ‘That’s the guy I want to finish my car.’ I tracked down Dave Kindig, we struck a deal, and the Ranchero ended up immortalized on two episodes of ‘Bitchin’ Rides’ in 2018.”
Today, the Ranchero rides on the Mullins chassis with a Mustang II front suspension, a four-link rear setup, and a 9-inch Ford rearend. Big Baer brakes are nestled behind 18- and 20-inch Billet Specialties wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson tires.
This foundation is the perfect address for a 600c.i. Ford V8 with two bed-mounted turbochargers. John Kaase handled the build and it’s said to be good for 1,400 horsepower (and beyond with the turbos tuned up), sending it to the rearend through a burly two-speed Powerglide.
The body is full of custom tweaks. Look closely and you’ll see a stretched cab, tucked rear window, and slanted b-pillars. Also, dig the molded in tailgate, nipped bumpers, and handmade front grille. The bright hue is AkzoNobel Sweet and Sour.
The guts were stitched by JS Upholstery and gently nudge mid-’60s Ford design cues up several clicks with carmel-colored leather over late-model Mustang seats and a custom console. Dakota Digital gauges and a Billet Specialties wheel highlight the dash.
Kenny loves the build and says there isn’t one darn thing he’d do differently. Thanks to Dave Kindig, Kenny has attained the ultimate in hot rod satisfaction, no riddles required.
Photos by John Jackson