I gotta admit, I fell off my chair when I saw the result of this auction for a 1980 Ford F-250 over at Bring A Trailer the other day. $97,000! This must be some sort of record for an original condition, unmodified pickup truck.
Other than its absurdly low mileage and commensurate condition (although the bed is somewhat scratched up), there is little special about this particular 1980 F-250 with a standard cab. Options are pretty much limited to the 5.8L V8, 3-speed automatic transmission, a tachometer, and an AM Radio. Indeed, the auction listing has to resort to mentioning features such as a coat hook and the glove box in order to pad out the copy. Still, this is how most pickups used to be sold, and how some buyers swear they would still equip their trucks today (although no one actually does).
I can’t help but compare this F-250 to the matched pair of new 1979 Lincolns that went up for auction last month, and that I wrote about last week. Both Lincolns failed to meet reserve, with the Mark V getting bid up to $33,000, and the Continental reaching just $27,000.
Only one model year separates those two Lincolns from this F-250, but clearly an ocean separates them in terms of desirability. Granted, the two Lincolns represented the tail end of the malaise/brougham epoch, while the F-250 represents the dawn of the seventh-generation F-150 Ford pickup trucks, the first all-new Ford pickup since 1965.
I must confess that I too have a soft spot for this generation of Ford trucks: My dad owned a roofing company back in the ’80s, and he owned a small fleet of Ford pickups (one even in this exact color combo), so this auction brings back a lot of memories: The 3/4 length molded door panels, the window cranks with exposed screw heads, the glovebox made of fiberboard, the dashboard that screams “CUSTOM” and the long line of warning lights and knockout blanks across the top of the dashboard all send me back to an earlier time.
So is this auction an outlier, or does it represent a larger shift in the collector market from cars to trucks? With the ongoing shift of the new vehicle market from cars to light trucks, it seems inevitable that the collector car market would follow suit. Still, given the choice between an F-250 and one of the 1979 Lincolns, I would take the Lincoln in a heartbeat, but then I may not be completely unbiased.