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Reading up on Ford muscle car history

Ford Midsize Muscle – Fairlane, Torino & Ranchero – V8 Dynamite

Published: June 19, 2016, 10:30 PM
Updated: June 23, 2016, 9:19 PM

Ford Gran Torino King Cobra prototype

Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino - Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino

Muscle car aficionados will have to catch up on their reading, with the release of Ford Midsize Muscle – Fairlane, Torino & Ranchero – V8 Dynamite by Veloce Publishing.

Compiled and written by Marc Cranswick (who has also penned anthologies of Porsche’s front-engined sports cars, BMW’s 5 Series Production cars and tuner specials, and American Motors’ products), the book details how Ford rode the wave of popularity in muscle cars through its involvement in drag racing throughout the 1960s.

1958 Ford Ranchero (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Detectandpreserve) - 1958 Ford Ranchero (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Detectandpreserve)

It details the evolution of the family car (in particular the Ford Fairlane) with offshoots such as the coupe utility crossover Ranchero, and onward through the ever-increasing engine displacements of Detroit’s golden era, that saw the rise in popularity of large two-door sedans such as the Gran Torino, and into near luxury cars such as the LTD.

The history is visually detailed with over 200 never-before-published photographs, in a continuous timeline from 1950 through 1980. It is the first book to cover the Ranchero, which sent Chevrolet scrambling to create its El Camino (two years after the introduction of Ranchero).

It relives the dragstrip battles between Ford and Mopar (Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge) and the stock car battles among Detroit’s Big 3, and details the rise and fall of the muscle car. It also delves deeply into Ford’s powertrain history and company’s challenge through a tumultuous time in the auto industry.

Ford Midsize Muscle Fairlane Torino Ranchero V8 Dynamite

Among the many customized and concept vehicles featured are the Gran Torino that became as much of star in the TV series Starsky & Hutch as the human actors, and the Gran Torino King Cobra prototype that bore a striking resemblance (in looks, if not in stature) to one of the sportier coupes of the time, the Nissan 240.

Ford Midsize Muscle – Fairlane, Torino & Ranchero – V8 Dynamite is available from the publishers for £30 ($55.81 Canadian) or $45 US, though Amazon.ca has a pre-order special for $49.03 (cover price $59).