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Nicole's Other Features
A complete vehicle overhaul goes further than chassis and engine work. Here are some additional must-see upgrades Rick made to his Ranchero.

Rick designed his interior with Kent's Upholstery in Beech Grove, Indiana performing the work.
To match the paint, these 2002 Thunderbird all leather seats with teal inserts were scored on Ebay.

Even though Rick had ran into a few hang-ups with body and paint guys, the final result was topnotch.
Rick made these bass tubes for improved stereo sound. Hey Rick, get your hand off the bass knob and shift into third!

Here's a killer mod. Fellow FCA (Falcon Club of America) member Steve Roullier inspired Rick to create a circulating cab exhaust system. A lexan rear window, two 3" shower drains, two bilge blowers, and vent tubing from a boat supply house made it possible.
Curry 9-Inch Nodular 3rd member with a Moser pinion support and a Mark Williams knock-off billet yoke. 31-spline spool.

Rick used a master cylinder from an '89 Ranger and a slave cylinder from Wilwood for the top loader.

Question and Answer with Rick Devito
FordMuscle took a few minutes with Rick to get some insight on his build- up and other topics indirectly related to the hobby.

Q: What specifically drew you to the square-bodied 1964 and 1965 Falcon and Ranchero?

A: The 64/65 body style is my favorite. I sat in my garage many nights looking at my Ranchero dreaming up my final look. The more I stared at it, the more I fell in love with the body lines. They just don't make works of art like that anymore. As my interest in Falcons increased, I delved deeper into round bodies and the late models. I researched part compatibility,
changes that Ford had made through the years, and really became quite a Falcon fanatic.

Q: What are the inherent challenges and limitations in restoring and
modifying 1964 and 1965 Rancheros?

A: In my case, doing a modified restoration, the challenges and limitations seemed to be endless. One modification affected or required another. I can say that there really were no limitations to what I wanted to achieve, except for funds for each step in the restoration. After purchasing everything for the rear suspension I realized it was going to be a long process. But, I set short term goals and accomplished them. This is where I really began to get satisfaction in the project.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence in the hobby and what keeps you going when a modification or entire project goes awry?

A: I would have to say a friend of mine, Jeff Thomas. Whenever I was stuck or couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, he always helped me by talking things out and finding my direction again. Many times he made me say the things that needed to be said to work it out. But he definitely was there to make sense of it.

Q: What can you attribute your mechanical ability to? When did you realize that you weren't like everybody else and had an interest and skills in working with your hands?

A: Problem solving is what I really enjoy, so working on cars was always part of my life. Growing up I always jumped in both feet first into something I had no idea about. Once it was all said and done, I usually came out victorious. That is when I became interested. Small doses of accomplishment go a long way.

Q: How does your family view your dedication to the hobby and building
Nicole over the past 7 years? Are they involved?

A: My Dad thinks I'm nuts. On the other hand, my wife is just about as crazy for these things as I am! She truly holds a love and respect for the old cars and is not in it because I am. I bought her a 64 Ranchero one year for Christmas, and she was ecstatic! She drove it a couple of years, and wanted to know when we were going to start restoring hers? I said, "As soon as your done driving it!" She made her mind up last year in the Fall that it was her last car show. Next, she informed me that she wanted my guidance but not my help totally disassembling her Ranchero. She completely gutted the Ranchero with only my assistance pulling the motor and tranny out. My kids are great about helping with projects. They're thinking they might get Nicole one day. Maybe one day, but not today!

Q: What do you consider your strongest ability in the garage?

A: To get stages of my project completed, and ready for the parts or components I'm waiting on. Getting motivated sometimes is rough, because I start looking everything I have left to do, and it gets overwhelming.

Q: What automotive restoration and modification skill do you wish you were better at?

A: I have tried and tried, but I can't do bodywork and paint very well. I'm sure if I set my mind to it, I could figure it out. There is quite a bit to be learned in that realm of restoration. Hats off to the guys that do it well.

Q: If there were no more 1964-1966 Falcons and Rancheros left to work on, what model would you turn to?

A: Since Falcons were produced from 1960 - 1970-1/2, there are many that still need lots of TLC. I could restore Falcons until the day I die and still not get them all. If there were no more Falcons, I would have to say the 1966 Fairlane would be my choice of Ford.

Q: What is the greatest intangible benefit of the hobby for you?

A: Pride of what I have accomplished and the car show circle of friends that I grown to love like family. The closeness and quality time it has brought to me and my Family. I feel so bad for the few out there that have to fight to achieve and feel this sense of accomplishment in their lives. I thank God I have been blessed with the love and support of my friends and family. Don't get me wrong, there's been some really rough times throughout this restoration, like going without new shoes.

Q: What was your first car?

A: My first car was 1978 Vega GT. I bought it for $300. I had big plans for that thing. I would lay in bed dreaming of all the cool custom stuff I was going to do to it. Never stop dreaming I say. What I have done with this Ranchero is proof. If I can do it then you can too. Break it down and don't always look at the big picture, it can be discouraging at times. Short term goals are reachable and rewarding.

Q: Any concluding remarks on your Ranchero build?

A: Building a Street Machine is the most exciting and rewarding
achievement a car lover can experience. Although I have found it takes a lot of money and time, it’s well worth the effort. One thing this Ranchero has taught me is that, “Success is a Journey, not a Destination.


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