The Rancho® Brand: The First 60 Years
Clarence Shook launches the family-owned Rancho Jeep Supply in the Los Angeles region. Inspired by the off-road challenges of the Southwest desert, the company sells new and used Jeep parts and accessories while engineering custom 4WD vehicles for enthusiasts. Clarence also starts the first off-road organization: The Chuckwalla Jeep Club.
Clarence invents the Rancho Overdrive (patented in early 1960s), an option for Jeep owners, to increase the overall speed of the vehicle past the limitations of the stock transmission. The earliest racers take to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, for the infancy of Baja racing, attracting teams and manufacturers while forcing the evolution of suspension components even farther.
Clarence invents conversion kits to put V8 engines in Jeeps. Clarence invents high performance brakes for Jeeps running larger engines. Clarence converts helicopter tires and makes larger wheels by hand, creating some of the first high performance tires and wheel packages for larger engine packages.
Clarence engineers the “Trailblazer,” a first-of-its kind, off-road vehicle with independent suspension, disc brakes and a Corvair engine. GM decides to purchase this vehicle design in 1962, later introducing the design as the Blazer.
Clarence starts the second off-road organization, The Jeeping Jeepers, fueled by the enthusiasm of the off-road community. Together, Basil Smith and Clarence design roll bars and safety belts to make Jeeps safer.
Rancho Jeep Supply continues to fulfill the demand for off-road and Jeep-specific parts and is so successful that its line grows to include suspension accessories for Ford F-100 pickups, Scouts and Broncos. To feed the thriving off-road market, the Rancho line again expands and produces its first aftermarket catalog. The catalog – which ships around the world – features suspension systems and accessories plus many other Jeep products.
Clarence improves on the 4-cylinder Jeep design with a V6 conversion kit, making it more off-road worthy. Jeep later integrates this innovation into the OE model.
Clarence nearly passes away and decides to hand the reins of the company to his sons, Gene and Keith.
1970s – 1980s
Under Gene and Keith’s leadership, Rancho manufactures the most complete line of performance suspension systems and products in the aftermarket.
Clarence passes away, leaving the Rancho legacy to Gene and Keith. Rancho launches what will become its best-selling shock absorber: the RS5000™ shock.
Tenneco Automotive purchases the Rancho brand. Tenneco is one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and marketers of clean air and ride performance products and systems for automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment markets and the aftermarket.
The Rancho product line expands to include the first five-way adjustable shock absorber, allowing off-road enthusiasts to adjust the level of compression and rebound damping to suit their riding preferences.
The Rancho product line launches the RSX shock absorber, the industry’s first “intelligent” shock. Featuring patented Rancho “Reflex” technology, which senses and adjusts for road conditions, the RSX delivers a comfortable, controlled ride.
Rancho engineers take adjustable shock technology to the next level with the RS9000™ shock absorber. This popular shock is later replaced by the revolutionary RS9000™X nine-position shock.
To provide performance enthusiasts with the ultimate in adjustability, the Rancho brand expands to include the “RCX” remote damping control unit, which allows the driver to adjust damping in the cab and “on the fly.”
The Rancho brand wins the 2004 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Best New Product award for its 2005 F-250/F-350 Super Duty suspension system.
The Rancho brand celebrates its golden anniversary by winning another Best New Off-Road product at the SEMA Show for the Rancho Hummer H3 suspension system. The Rancho system allows Hummer H3 owners to upgrade to a maximum 37-inch tire and features Rancho ReaLIFT torsion bar relocation technology that eliminates the need to relocate the factory torsion bar cross member.
Rancho quickLIFT™ wins the Best New Off-Road Product award at the 2006 SEMA Show. These Rancho fixed-seat coil-overs replace OE spring-seat shock absorbers and can be installed in under two hours. No cutting, welding or drilling is necessary for installation.
The company also adds RockGEAR™ off-road protection products to its line, quickly expanded this popular line of off-road accessories to a wide variety of Jeep models.
Building upon Rancho’s popular shock absorber line, the company rolls out the massive RS9000™XL shock series. The RS9000XL’s enormous shock body makes it the ideal shock absorber for recreational enthusiasts as well as those enthusiasts hauling large equipment like boats, campers and ATVs.
Expanding on its award-winning quickLIFT technology, Rancho engineers develop and release the quickLIFT™ Loaded suspension assembly. Each Rancho quickLIFT Loaded now includes an application-specific coil spring and upper mounting plate.
2011 – 2013
Rancho brand introduces the RS7000®MT monotube shock line. The RS7000MT monotube series was developed and tested to withstand the stresses of modern off-road vehicles. The shocks offer exceptional response to overheating on rough roads or trails. The new shocks help deliver fast, precise response required by many late-model vehicles. This shock line was quickly expanded to include RS7000MT monotube struts and RS7000MT monotube steering stabilizers.
Rancho engineers continue to develop suspension systems with unique engineering benefits for a variety of truck, SUV and Jeep platforms.
In 2013, the Rancho 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 suspension systems passed the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 126 – Electronic Stability Control Systems (FMVSS-126) test. The systems were engineered to accommodate the varying steering knuckle materials used by GMC. The truck that passed the FMVSS-126 test included the new six-in. height Rancho suspension system, rear Rancho® RS7000MT (RS7297) shocks and front OE struts with spacers.
Rancho engineers have designed a new RS5000X shock series – built from the brand’s best-selling RS5000 shock design first introduced in 1985 – to answer the global ride profile demands for today’s lifted trucks and sport utility vehicles. The new RS5000X shocks will combine a new, unique valve technology that allows for increased control and consistent ride profile inside a larger shock body.
Planned for 2015
Rancho engineers continue to design suspension systems for new vehicles, including the 2015 Ford F-150. These systems will be FMVSS-126 tested and include Rancho-exclusive design and construction details. The Rancho brand also will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015.