A recent focal point of the heritage of drag racing has been the support equipment that racers utilized to get their cars from track to track. The 1960 Ford Ranchero offered here is one of the most famous support vehicles from the pre-muscle era, formerly owned by the famed George Montgomery
The Dayton, Ohio-based Montgomery became famous in the sport of NHRA drag racing during the 1950s; after high school he worked for Delco and did speed-style upgrades to his own cars and others as a hobby. While a homebuilt ‘34 Ford with a blown Cadillac mill was his first claim to fame, a 1933 Willys coupe purchased from a junkyard in 1959 for $100 put the name of “Ohio George” on the map. Wally Parks had just moved NHRA’s big Nationals to Detroit that summer, and Montgomery’s just-finished “Caddy-Willys” coupe won its class, A/Gas, and then the overall Little Eliminator title. He returned to the famed Detroit Dragway for the 1960 running of the event and achieved both feats again!
In 1960, Ford had just redesigned the Ranchero to be based on the new Falcon subcompact. To promote this sport-type pick-up, Ford, through its Autolite Parts division, agreed to award a new Ranchero, hand-lettered with NHRA and Autolite logos, to the victor of Little Eliminator that year. When Montgomery won it along with his second crown, this was the one of the largest prizes NHRA had awarded to date. After being used in advertising and promotions following his consecutive year titles, Montgomery brought the Corinthian White machine back to Dayton and kept it as a prized possession for several decades, using it as a start-up push vehicle for his racing efforts. The fortunate new owner will only be the third in the car’s nearly 50-year history.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Est. 84 bhp, 144 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 109.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel