Friday, March 03, 2017

they had some extremely odd ideas of what a sports car for the ranch ought to look like. 6 rifle sheaths? Seriously? I present, El Kineño

that Daktari front fender shooters seat is ridiculous, and a Buick Eight with a fold down windshield?

By George, they actually made one!

The first car to bear the King Ranch name (now an Ford truck high dollar trim level package) was a heavily modified 1946 Ford that sat on a lifted suspension, and could extricate itself with a P.T.O.-driven winch. Spare wheels hung off the back, and the fenders featured game forks and a gun well. It looked pretty much like what it was, though: A home-built attempt at building an SUV.

So, why was a Buick named after one ranch in Texas? The owner was a 7 term congressman, with connections that included Harley Earl, the ranch is bigger than Rhode Island, and it's the biggest ranch in Texas. Yeah, that is mighty big. It's in 6 counties.

A ranch is a piece of land in Texas that is owner operated, and raises livestock for profit.

King Ranch was founded 9 years after statehood by a New York jeweler’s apprentice who stowed away on a ship to Alabama, later becoming a pilot, and ended up making a fortune in the steamship business on the Rio Grande. But he bought land with the area’s only source of fresh water and coaxed an entire Mexican town (whose population included vaqueros) to move to Texas and work for him.

So, the inheritor of the ranch reached the design staff at Buick under the direction of Harley Earl, and his next ranch car was designed in a joint effort between Buick and the GM Styling Section.

 A Styling Section representative arrived at the ranch in 1949, and Kleberg took him out in the Ford. “He and the GM man took off across the mesquite, hog wallows and dry washes at 60 mph” read a seven-page article in Popular Science. “The visitor got his teeth jolted.” To get over sand dunes, Kleberg aired down the Ford’s tires, and reinflated them with a carbon monoxide fire extinguisher.

They made a 1949 Buick Roadmaster into an SUV. They increased the cooling system to 32 quarts, replaced the rear sheetmetal with 20 gauge, made the hood, doors and trunklid of aluminum, and cut out a fuctional air scoop behind the hood ornament.

It is still on the ranch, but now housed in the museum

update Oct 2018... it was brought to the Amelia Island Concours

PS, I beat these guys to the story by months


  1. The thing on the drivers side fender is a game holder.

  2. Yes, seriously... A 1949 Buick King Ranch...*&imgrc=_

    1. OMG... they actually made one. It's hideous

    2. wow, you just caused me to loose an hour, look at the time stamps! I found a lot of good stuff though!

    3. Glad to be of service!

  3. The gun racks make sense. Three for the driver, three for the passenger. Each side could have a big game caliber and a small game caliber weapon, plus a shotgun.

    1. Now that is the first explanation I can recall that makes sense!