20. Ford Ranchero
By the late ’50s, pickup trucks were an established car class with numerous models from several major manufacturers. Trucks were mechanically similar to each other with straight-six engines and those newly introduced V8s. Also, most had a ladder-type chassis and a live axle in the back. Always at the forefront of the market, Ford realized that there was a niche for smaller, more car-like trucks. They would attract customers who needed a used vehicle, but who didn’t haul heavy loads or need the ruggedness of a regular truck. The solution was simple: turn a full-size passenger car into a small pickup truck by chopping the body and adding a truck bed.
Ford introduced the Ranchero in 1957. It was an immediate hit featuring Ford passenger car styling and appointments, along with a payload like those full-size F-Series trucks. With the Ranchero, Ford customers could enjoy the drivability of a regular sedan with the usability of a proper pickup. And that was something the market had never seen before. Ford even offered a long list of optional extras. Customers could get a big V8 engine, a two-color exterior, a radio and seatbelts. Ford offered the Ranchero until 1979 in seven generations.