I came across this most excellent specimen of 1970’s Ford engineering recently and had to share it. I won’t regale you with all the details of Ford trucks of the 70’s as I assume many of you are quite familiar with them. They are still nearly ubiquitous on our roads here in the US.
What makes this one particularly desirable in my eyes is the drive train set up. It is the fairly rare combination of four wheel drive, three quarter ton, 300 six cylinder engine, and four speed transmission. And in mostly original, nice shape.
Anybody who has driven a similar truck equipped with a 390 will know that the 300 six is far more thrifty on fuel. It was no powerhouse but it provided good usable low end torque for its mileage figures, was highly reliable, and dead simple.
The retired owners travel from campground to campground across Oregon working as camp hosts, and they value this old truck’s thriftiness.
What better eye candy than unadulterated old truck porn?
Looks like it’s had a new manifold added recently
1976-1978 trucks had the headlight surround shaped like the 1979 with square lights but with a round light in them. And 1978 got the 79′ style egg crate plastic grill as well.
Dual fuel tanks too! The tailgate might not be original.
All in all a good truck for “honey-do’s”, hauling sod, hunting, and general work. Doing simple truck jobs like that in today’s giant complex trucks costs more than I have the money for. Once you factor in the price of diesel to fuel, your 700 ft lb torque-monster, the payments and the insurance on that $40,000 rig, you might find the cost of several trips could have bought this whole truck.
Mighty fine unit.
One a MAN could be sated with.
I dunno’ about the namby pamby rice rocket rejects huddled within their gated communities safely ensconced from today’s socio-economic realities.
Needless to say, you’re preaching to the choir here. The 300 is essentially identical to the 240 I have, except a much longer stroke, which gives it legendary grunt. It has a very enthusiastic following, and even lots of potential for increasing its power, including a high-flow aluminum head.
I don’t know if you followed drag racing years ago, but when Jack Roush was racing with Wayne Gapp back in the early-mid 70’s, they had a Pro-Stock Ford Maverick that ran a 300 six. They modified some 351C heads (basically cut off on chamber from each side and welded them together) to make a cross flow head for the 300.
I remember reading about it back then, but I don’t recall how the car did in competition. That was back in the day of ‘Grumpy’ Jenkins and his domination of that piece of the sport. The Maverick itself was interesting, it was the longer wheelbase 4 door which would help with traction at the launch, in combination with the lighter 300 six should have made a pretty formidable race car. But apparently not. IIRC, the next year Gapp and Roush went to a V8 Pinto, like all of the other Ford racers.
I didn’t take the time to research the heads you were referencing in your post, but I wonder if they’re a development of the Gapp and Roush heads.
Yes, I’ve read about that, and seen pictures. This is a totally new head, and actually not a cross-flow, but it still flows very well:
There are thousands and thousands of these still at work here in coastal south Georgia. Some are well preserved like this one, and from the looks of some others, you can leave one in the river for a year or two, pull it out and it will still run. But seriously, the ratio of old Ford pickups to Chevys around here is something like three or four to one. Not sure if Ford trucks just outsold Chevy that much in this area, of if the Fords really are that much more durable.
Very odd since the ratio is almost exactly opposite here. The GM trucks are everywhere but the Fords are a rare sight.
Growing up in the Northeast, I remeber the Chevy trucks rusted at a furious rate which had some effect on survivor numbers, although I think there was a regional preference since I see more Fords in the PNW despite the lower rust out rate.
The 300 six was such a good motor it is still in production for many industrial applications such as airport machinery and stationary engines for pumps and the like.
The last truck I spent any time with was a 2000 (I think) F1-150 with 300 six, fuel injection and five speed manual. The truck had all the toys by this point (a/c, power everything) and it was a mighty fine nice unit to drive. Much better than anything on the road today in my opinion.
Not many of these around here now as salt and Air Care has taken care of most of them.
The newest it could have been was 1996, which was the final year of the “traditional” Ford pickup, traditonal meaning the styling, the Twin-I-Beam suspension and the 300 Six and pushrod V8s.
I love pretty much the entire run of Ford trucks up to the late 90s. But the 73-79 trucks were my favorites.
There’s a local guy that has a 1993ish F150 short bed with the 4.9/5-speed and a Holset HE351 from a Cummins blowing into it’s mouth. I’ve only caught up to him once at a car show and he was just packing up to leave. I got a quick look under the hood and then was treated to that sweet song of the turbo as he pulled out of the lot.
I loved how when Ford switched from cubic inches to liters for measurement, the 300-6 became a 4.9 while the 302-8 became the 5.0. In truth, they should both have been 4.9s. But the V8 had to be bigger, I guess.
“What better eye candy than unadulterated old truck porn?”
You got it; that’s just what it is. Sadly, a truck like that, an old Ford, isn’t versatile enough, or roomy enough inside, or economical enough in compensation, to justify it for me. But for all of that, I like, I like!
I’ve always loved the simplicity of the big sixes; and Ford had a winner with the 300. My first van, a used 1974 Econoline, had that…terrific motor for a work vehicle. Torquey, quiet, relatively economical, and damn near indestructible.
Great find. Hope the owners know they have a real jewel.
I had a ’76 with the 300 and a 3-on-the-tree. The transmission and engine were great, but I did have to have the steering column itself rebuilt to get back the proper shift quality.
This was a great truck. Never left me stranded, ran like a top, had plenty of grunt (though it was just a half-ton and would have been about as light as you could get one) and was even comfortable. I remember the cab being roomy, and simple but efficient. I liked the key being down low on the dash to the right of the steering wheel. And the 3-on-the-tree made it easy to seat 3 and not have your hand in someone’s crotch.
Cool old truck , A mate of mune ran one of these for many years 300 6 4 speed he pulled a caravan all over Oz with it, Jakes ute was Aussie built with a galvanised cab so unless somebody wrecked it after he sold its still out there.
Love my (last of the areo bodystyle) 2004 F150 Heritage. Standard cab, rubber floor, crank windows, bench seat, 4.6V8 and automatic. 2wd, Arizona Desert Tan, with an aftermarket flatbed. Fairly simple for such a modern rig and I hope to still be using it for yard work 30 years from now.
My uncle has one of those late 70s F250s, a 4×4 with a 460V8 and a practically non-existant exahust system. He only uses it to pull one of his hog tailers. The engine drowns out the squeels of the swine.
I have a brother in law who is a farmer. When he was younger, he had a black 78 or 79 F250 4X4 automatic. He liked to participate in mud bogs in those days. His truck started with a 351, I believe. Then he bought a P.O.S. 1970 Lincoln which had but a single virtue – the rebuilt premium gas 460. He stuck it in his F250 and that thing sure had some torque. However, it would also drink gasoline like nothing else. He eventually replaced it with an 86 F250 diesel.
“The engine drowns out the squeels of the swine”
That is a truly frightening statement!
I have the ’69 F-100 (240, automatic) I and my sons learned to drive in and recently had to put it out to pasture (actually the back of the machine shed until I decide what to do with it). Replaced it with a ’95 F-150 (300, auto, 4X4).
I can tell you why the truck above has a new manifold (a one-piece intake/exhaust)… They blow gaskets like there’s no tomorrow! Let it go to long blowing exhaust, and your manifold gets pitted and will never seal well again, even with a new gasket.
That’s about the only weak point of the engine. My 240 has over 300,000 on it – been overhauled twice.
Had one just like that except with a tool box setup on the back. Ex phone company truck. Hate to think of it because it makes me want to beat my son. That’s pretty dangerous now because he is past 30 and bigger than me but he wasn’t when he tore up my truck. Oh… well.., just remember the truck. It sure was fun for a long time.
I owned a 93 F150 with a 302 back when gas was cheap. My father bought a similar vintage F-150 with the 300. Both were automatics, both had about the same power.
Lot of these old F-series still running around over here, one just around the corner from me for starters. As useful as they ever were if you don’t mind feeding them.
Nice post Mike. I had a 58 Ford F100 with the inline 6, and a 90 F150 with the 300 that I bought brand new. You can’t kill those engines. I see a mid 70’s Ford pickup in my near future. Good fix for my impending mid life crisis, cheaper than a sports car or a young blond. At least that’s how I’ll sell it to my wife.
My Dad had one of these. His was a 1978 F-150 Ranger XLT. Black with red interior. 4×4, 351 Cleveland and auto trans. We felt really special with it because it had factory AC. Dad bought it in ’82 and kept it till ’87, till someone talked him into selling it. It was a pretty good truck for the most part. I know he liked it, and I didn’t mind it, but I REALLY liked the 1986 Cutlass Supreme Brougham he replaced it with…
Reminds of my trusty old 1990 Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup sitting idle in my parents’ backyard. Hard plastic door panels. Roll-up windows. 4.3 liter V6 with primitive throttle-body injection. Just a simple, honest truck. Oddly enough, my 2002 Ford F250 in XL-level trim is the same way.
Mine was stolen ide love to have this truck back grew up in it. Was my grandfathers.