CC Outtakes: Two Ford C-Series Trucks Still Hard at Work

(first posted 4/28/2017)    CC’s full write-up (by Ian Williams) on these trucks is titled “The Almost-Immortal Ford C-Series“.  And to prove the point, I’ve shot two of them recently within a few blocks of my house. This one is in the service of a tree service.

These were once everywhere, starting in 1957. And they had a mighty long run without any substantial changes, all the way to 1990. I can’t think of another American truck that was built so long with such few exterior changes, the only one of significance was the reversion from quad headlights to its original duals. I’m not sure of the years, but one of you undoubtedly will.

I’m not going to say that I ever thought it was a particularly handsome truck, and its odd vent behind the front door makes it look like it was cobbled together, although that’s not really the case. Is it a ram-air intake for the engine?

Its big brother, the H-Series did look rather cobbled up, but that was often the case back then. The H-Series wasn’t nearly as popular, and had a much shorter life, as it was replaced by the more purposeful W-Series COE in 1966.

I could not see into the little gap between the cab and the truck body, so I took a risk and stuck my iphone in there and took a shot. Bingo! It came out well enough to confirm the obvious: there’s an FE V8 in there, as was the case in an overwhelming majority of these, (update: it’s a “385” series V8, of the 370-429-460 family. Most likely this is a 370, as used on medium duty trucks to replace the FE. This is obviously a late-series version, or possibly it was re-engined)..although there were a number of other choices, ranging from six cylinder gas engines, the Y=Block V8s in the early years, the Super-Duty V8s, as well as a smattering of diesel choices. But it seems like FE versions were the happy medium, so to speak, and undoubtedly, the ones still at work have them as they can be kept going a lot easier than the other alternatives.

Looks like the ubiquitous 5 speed and 2 speed axle combo. How familiar the sound of a hard-working truck FE is to me, having driven number of them back in the day.

No, they weren’t there to cut down that magnificent big old cedar back there. Actually, it’s probably not all that old; maybe 40 years or so. These, like all trees, grow crazy fast in our climate here. The biggest mistake folks make in the landscaping is not being able to visualize how big (and how fast) their trees will become.

Late last summer, just about two blocks from where I spotted the red truck, there was this one at a roofing job. Perfect truck for the job, as the shorter wheelbase and overall length makes it more maneuverable in residential settings.

This one is a bit older, I’m guessing, from the dashboard. This appears to be a more original dash design, while the red one has what appears to be a newer, more industrial design. This one does like a bit 60s.

Nothing’s immortal, but these do get close to it. At least so far.