(first posted 10/14/2012) When I first saw this truck, I wanted to reach out, pick it up and give it a good run around the sandbox, just like I used to do with a certain battered old Tonka truck. Nowadays, of course, I can imagine even more uses for it.
Here’s what I’m talking about: Almost a dead ringer for the Ford, right down to the Seafoam Green color. Did Ford pay Tonka, or vice-versa?
The one that came with our first house in Iowa City was more like this. (Why do folks take pictures of things and cut off their parts?) It might have been even rustier; Midwestern winters are rough on these trucks, never mind the kids.
In contrast, Oregon’s gentle rains magically wash away all those rust-forming microbes. (viruses?) OK, this truck looks a bit too nice to be original.
This 1960 model represents the last year of the 1957-1960 generation.
A closer look at this ’57 F-100 short bed will tell you that under the skin, these F-series shared a lot more of the previous generation than Ford might like to admit: their new bodies sat atop the essentially identical 110 and 118″ wheelbase chassis of the 1953-1956 generation.
The rather set-back front axle is as much a giveaway as its other proportions. What’s more, these trucks still had high-riding cabs, a situation that would change with the all-new 1961 F-series, whose architecture produced the lowest trucks ever. And since then, it’s been all uphill–literally.
Since this is a hard-working and hard-riding 3/4-ton F-250, a four-speed with a granny low is obligatory. No problem hauling Bobcats and backhoes with this.
That emblem tells us this is a six-cylinder version, in this case the 223 cu in workhorse that chuffed out 139 (gross) horsepower at a mere 3,600 rpm. This motor had a fine rep, as did its successors, the 240/300 cu in sixes. Old Henry would be spinning in his grave, given his absolute loathing of inline sixes. If that doesn’t prove how eccentric the man was, what does?
Had it made Henry proud by sporting a V8 emblem, a husky, 186-hp Y-block 292 would be motivating huge loads of sand, soldiers and Indians through the most challenging terrain possible within a 6′ x 6′ foot sandbox. And it never got stuck. No wonder four-wheel drive was so uncommon back then.
Ours (“mine” being a relative term when you had four siblings and a hundred cousins) was red and white, with a wrecker crane on the back. Used for towing a Wyandotte Van Lines trailer (post Ford Cabover) down the sidewalk with kittens in the back. The load ran like heck when the back door was opened, this being clearly a pre-PETA era. That Tonka truck is probably still in a pile of toys at Grandma’s, those things were truly indestructible. Dad’s full-sized model was a ’56, also sea foam green, with the six but three-on-the tree. Just about as indestructible-wish that one was in Grandma’s garage now!
I have always wanted to restore a ’60 Ford pickup and have the Tonka decal duplicated full size on its doors. “Tonka – Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. Mound, Minn. .”
Earlier Tonkas were ’53 -’56 Fords. I had those, too.
My older brother had a Tonka dump truck…a dead ringer for the 1956 Ford, including the wrap-around windshield. My own was a 1960-era…a tow truck, if I remember.
Tonka surely had some kind of agreement with Ford…but, who paid who?
Tonka was headquartered in Mound, MN (very nice little town, right on Lake Minnetonka), but they never had anything to do with 3M that I know of.
I was just quoting the label on the truck doors. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. was on the top of the oval.
I have 2 1960 Ford F-250s for sale if interested they are located in Woonsocket, SD. Both trucks would make one really nice truck
I lusted after a 1955 Tonka dump truck-red cab with a green dump body. If I had let my parents know that I wanted one, it would have shown up under the Christmas tree. It’s amazing how Spartan pickups from this era were. Contrast to the disco trucks you mostly see today with list prices of over $50,000. I know that you can get a Ford-Chevy-GMC “work truck” for less than $20,000, but you have to go to the fracking fields to see those.
I like the spartan ones better. I buy my pickups used, and the good ones are hard to find. People who buy spartan are also keepers. A late model, low mileage spartan truck in good shape is a rare bird. I currently have a 2004 Silverado K-1500 WT. Equipped exactly as I would have ordered it, with 4.8, locking diff, tow, and plow packages, it was a real find in October ’06 with only 33k on it. Even so, it has a/c, and stereo, and full plastic(!) interior – even a headliner! Pretty cushy compared to my grandparents’ ’56 F-250. Or my own ’67 K-20.
A ’04 Silverado CK1500 with a factory plow package? I seem to recall GM does not recommend installing a snow plow on the ’99-’06 1/2 tons. Only 3/4 ton and up. This also applies to the ’07-up current model. Of course you can equip with an after-market set up, but it will void the warranty.
Also, the “W/T” designation was only for the C/K1500 base models from ’90-’98 (GMT-700’s). Base models from ’99-’06 are referred to as simply “Silverado”, without the “LS” or “LT” upgrade designation. Since ’99 2WD is “CC”, 4WD is “CK”.
Yes, it has a factory plow package. You’re right that the W/T does not appear on the truck, but it is GM’s designation on the window sticker, and in brochures, for the standard model without trim upgrades.
I recently acquired a 2004 GMC Sierra K1500 that has a plow package along with the 5.3 V8 and towing packages. The truck has never had a plow on it, but the plow package includes HD front suspension, HD alternator and pre-wired provisions for roof-top lights.
the 1988-98 trucks were GMT-400’s not 700s.
You are correct, SIR!
I had one of those red/green dumps, along with the matching aerial crane – and my parents wouldn’t let me take it outside and play with it in the dirt! Horrible then, grateful five years ago when I sold it. It’s amazing what mint toys like that will go for.
So what did you get for it?
About $500.00 if my memory is still good.
According to my CPI Inflation Calculator (http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl) a price of $50,000 today is the equivalent of $6424 in 1960. That was more than those trucks of that era sold; but not so out of line compared with a top-end luxury Cadillac.
And that’s what those things are, today: Luxury transportation. The truck frame and format is only posturing: “Me strong like bull!” Different era, different ways of self-promotion.
In the long-dead era of 1960, luxury was being ABLE to have SOMEONE ELSE haul the trash to the dump. With a luxury car, you were above that…you were about leisure and playing and sunning yourself with the top down.
Back then, the truck was for the gardener; for the junk man; for the guy who couldn’t afford a car separate from his work truck. Poor man’s wheels. No status at all.
It’s interesting to note then in Argentina, the Argentinian 1960 F-100 was also sold with an extended cab, long before Dodge and Ford introduced it here in 1972 and 1973.
In Brazil, another Ford trucks oddity is they made the basic 1956 body until 1962
Then, in 1962 in Brazil, they introduced the 1960 body included a extended cab and I heard the basic body was made until 1972! http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifhp97/6509381253/
Not sure about the Argentinian version, but in Brazil the crew-cab was a conversion. Since the sales volume of these crew-cab versions was quite low, Ford would rather concentrate on the regular-cab and subcontract third-parties to perform the conversion.
I remember a pinkish-red one. The internet says it was a Nylint. My best friend down the street had one when we were kids. It was my favorite toy truck ever.
Here’s my example, an old Siku:
The anti-gravity model, I presume.
Yeah, not sure what happened there.
So what’s the tow rating for the f250?
Good grief I had one of those as a kid and a red Jeep Gladiator pickup.
Did kids in OZ…even people out there…know what a Gladiator even WAS?
I’m serious. I was over in Aussieland a couple of months in 1995; and I saw exactly ONE SJ Jeep Wagoneer. Even though they had a plant there to build them from CKD kits…I guess they didn’t really make much of an impact out that way.
They were around in small numbers (mainly 4 door Cherokees) but very few in use now due to fuel prices at 10mpg
I had a white Tonka model, but my grandfather had a real orange one. It was owned by the construction company that he worked for, he used it to get from home in Lynn to western MA where the company was working to finish the Mass Turnpike (back in the early ’60’s). I remember enjoying rides in it a lot.
I’m confused. If F-100 designates a 1,000-pound load capacity, wouldn’t a 3/4-ton be an F-150? That would make the F-250 a 1 1/4 ton truck.
Nice. One kid on my road had one. I had the tow truck Jeep and the Stump Jumper. Last I saw the Tonka Ford it was rusting away under a tree in the yard.
A (real) old pickup project is on my short list, maybe in 8-ish years when the kids are off to college.
Looking at that slammed fake-patina lowered pickup, I must say I hate it when that happens to a truck.
My Dad had a 1958 Ford like this. I always liked it. As I recall he had two major problems with it. It came with some kind of economy 6 cyl engine that was worn out and had to be rebuilt by 25,000 miles. He also often told of how he went around a corner fast which put some load on the front wheel steering set up and the center link bent like a pretzel from the load. Fixed under warranty. A classic truck look for a truck, on par with the Chevies of the era, those where the days when a truck looked like it could do some work.
Very nice Truck, pics and article. Thanks
My 63 factory stake bed with the ole 223.
Also have a 61 dumpbed under reconstruction.
I got a late 50s/early 60s Ford Tonka truck as a Christmas present one year. Mine was a dark green stake truck with white removable stake sides. That truck probably lasted as well as the real thing….until my Mom parked her 49 Plymouth on top of it.
I also got to drive a classmate’s 59 Ford F-100 in the early 70s, amazingly (?) it looked identical to the truck pictured here. That truck had a 6 cylinder and 3 speed, column mounted shifter. A very basic truck. My biggest recollection is that it was definitely different from the handful of cars I had driven up til then. You felt like you were perched unusual high when behind the wheel, like perhaps the cab/seat was raised just to get the cab’s occupants high in relation to the load in the box.
One of the most beautiful trucks ever, in my opinion, and I find this color very nice too.
My grandpa had a F100 (brazilian), red/white, probably a ’61, and basically the same cab design.
Can new trucks ever get that cool again?
I have no justification for it, but I’d love to have one of these not-too-big trucks in the garage. I guess this photo is a ’59, Paul–but it’s a reminder of what slipped past inspection sometimes:
I have some experience with these trucks. Not the Tonkas, they came out when I was a little old to be playing with them. I wouldn’t mind having one now, though.
My family owned a grain elevator when I was young and I worked there as a teenager. When I first got my license in 1964 the company pickup was a ’58 F100 in that same green as the one shown. All the guys that worked there called it The Green Hornet. It was pretty rusty from hauling fertilizer but it’s V8 engine ran pretty good. I learned how to drive a stick shift in it and burned the clutch out once showing off to my friends and brother when I tried to see how fast I could drive from one town to another. Dad later sold it and bought a ’60 GMC pickup. That was the first time I had ever seen a V6.
Ten years later I bought a ( also rusty) ’59 short bed F100 with a 6 and stick and painted the turquoise similar to the Tonka above.I treated it better, and it was a pretty good truck for a beater.
Wow! What a good looking truck! These old trucks will spark so many comments and conversations at the store or gas station. People just love, and relate to old trucks. I loved the looks of my old ’66 F250 Camper Special. On the other hand, driving an old truck isn’t that much fun, especially as a Daily Driver.
With good kingpins, some lube once in a while & stock-size tires, these drive nicely, so niceley that bias-ply tires even help to steer sometimes.
You’d be hard pressed to find such colors on today’s big tough guy trucks. Just not manly enough. It kind of reminds me of a friend of my uncles that everyone called Ace. He wore a Rabbit fur coat. He worked outdoors all winter so it was not a fashion statement. What’s the connection? These trucks were tough enough to be painted mint green, Robins egg blue, or yellow and still look tough. Ace was 6’9″ and weighed about 310. It took a lot of rabbits to make his fur coat. No one made fun of his fur coat. You’d have to be out of your mind to even think about making fun of his fur coat.
I had a Nylint which was based on a ’73-80 Chevy C10 (but with Jeep Honcho-styled side decals!). It was originally black but got repainted blue to match my dad’s ’79 GMC Sierra.
I am seriously in love with that pickup.
A truck that looks exactly like this one is in my neighborhood, except it’s got that big old butch V8 in it. Guy that owns it worked with me in the 1990s. Crazy, huh.