(first posted 4/29/2012) The Ford C-Series truck was one of those vocational workhorses that labored in quiet obscurity for its entire service life. They were the vocational jack of all trades, finding work in refuse removal, construction, firefighting, food & beverage and parcel & freight delivery.
From the Model T on, Ford Motor Company has had a long and inglorious history of building a strong class-leading product, then proceeding to allow it to stagnate, as the competition passed it by. The Ford C-series was very much the Ranger pickup of medium duty commercial vehicles with a 33 year reign from 1957 until being retired in 1990. For longest heavy-duty truck production run, only the 39-year run of the Mack Model R can surpass it.
By the mid 60s, engine options covered the spectrum of Fords gas engines from the 300 CI straight 6, Y-Block 8s with the big block super duty 534 as the Big Kahuna of gasoline motors. The HD small block 8s came with stronger heads and valves to withstand the heavy use that many trucks receive.
On the compression ignition side of the house, Ford offered their own inline 4 and 6 motors, Cummins C and N series as well as a special order turbocharged 1160 V-8 Caterpillar. Later in the production run Cat would become the engine of choice for fire apparatus.
Transmission choices included a 5 speed manual combined with a 2 speed rear end, an 8 speed Roadranger as well as a 6 speed automatic. Spring rates and axle sizes also were variable. Marmon-Herrington 4 and 6 wheel drive conversions were available too. The total possible permutations of drivetrains is only slightly smaller than your choices at Starbucks.
The C-Series also had a whole family of badge-engineered doppelgangers. In Canada it was re-tagged Mercury along with the M-Series pickup. The tooling was designed and owned by Ford but manufacturing was outsourced to Budd; other truck OEMs used both the entire cab and portions thereof with approval. Mack used the Cab for their N Model, FWD and Walther used portions of the cab for their airport fire apparatus.
While the COE went extinct as a Class 8 tractor they remain popular in the middleweight categories. In a two axle configuration placing the load in front of the steer axle creates better weight distribution and allows for a larger cargo area and heavier payloads on a given wheelbase. Placing the driver at the front also has the fortunate side effect of giving the driver much smaller blind spots. The shorter wheelbase allows the equipment to squeeze into spots where the extra 4 to 6 feet of conventional truck with a hood could not fit.
When Ford announced they were discontinuing the C-Series many long time customers grumbled. The Cargo model that was slated to replace it was a flop, with the Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Hino (Toyota) grabbing most of the middleweight tilt cab market.
Today you can still find many C Series trucks still on the job. For a smaller roofer or landscaper they offer a lot of utility at a low price and like most vehicles of that era, are shade tree wrenching friendly. Outside of the Rust Belt they can be kept alive and working almost indefinitely.
Thanks for this tribute to the C-Series. It’s hard to describe how incredibly common these once were; it’s as if Ford had a monopoly on every garbage truck in the country. And I just saw one the other day, a garbage truck, still working.
This is rare among the commercial vehicles that get posted here… but I have actually rode in the cab of one of these.
My Dad’s boss (whose John Deere dealership happened to be located on the site of a former Ford dealership) had a habit of picking up vehicles at auctions and other sales that had little to do with his main business but if the vehicle was cheap enough he thought it would be handy to have around.
He had a Ford C-Series dump truck that was a pretty short unit, wheelbase appeared to be about the size of the one in the drawing above showing the mechanic accessing the engine. It was good for hauling a few tons of stone and the boss was always good about letting his employees borrow things.
When I was about 12 to 14 years old dad borrowed the dump truck to haul a few tons of stone for our driveway from the local quarry. I’m fairly certain that it was gas powered and I remember vinyl seats, no AC, and a stiff jerky clutch action (although dad never seems to be smooth with any clutch cept a sports car). Slow, ponderous, LOUD, and worked like a mule with nary a complaint. Somebody had sprayed the cab John Deere green and put “Henry Implement, Continental, OH” on the side so there would be no doubt to the ownership.
Hot day in July, helping dad keep up the maintenance on the property… pretty much describes my summers till I went off to college.
Great write-up. I love driving this one we are getting ready to give a lowered look with skirts.
As with so many segments of the automotive industry, it is difficult to understand why Ford would simply give up on a market it had a virtual monopoly. These trucks used to be everywhere and now they have been replaced by Hino and Isuzu.
Maybe someone who has a connection to Ford can find out. Sure would be interesting to know the reasoning.
Don’t forget International (back when they was known as International Harvester) who also got their cabover trucks until the late 1980s. They was common as well when they was used as beer trucks by Molson, O’Keefe and Labatt.
The international load star was their main claim to fame.
Loadstar was strictly a conventional though. There were a bunch of the Cargostar small COE’s around in the 80’s and into the 90’s, but they all seem to have disappeared now too. I think they were a direct competitor to the C-series Ford but never challenged it for market dominance.
Uh, who cares…the loadstar was king of that market. The Ford C600 was a king also but in a slightly different market that had a large overlap with the loadstar.
Years later the kings of that segment were, in my opinion…
The Sterling Bullet
the International City Star
It just amazes me how Ford frittered away their market share in heavy trucks. In applications such as Refuse, Concrete and Fire where the upfitting costs run 2-3X the cost of the underlying vehicle the customers want to purchase the same vehicle forever. My employer is on its 3rd decade of purchasing Pete 320 Front-loaders with Cummins power.
After decades of neglect they sold the truck business to Daimler in 1997 to chase the Crack Rock Profits of jumbo SUVs.
Sadly they are making the same mistakes again discontinuing the P71 Panthers when a mild refresh would have maintained 80%+ share of the Police Cruiser market for another decade.
I think the Panther could be modernised and kept on the market but the present model is definitely due for a major overhaul. An independent rear suspension, modern transmission and new engines top the list.
I have caught myself fantasizing about what the Crown Vic would be like with the Mustangs 3.7V6 and six speed auto. 30mpg would have been easy.
Give it a current V6 with a 6sp auto and mild hybrid system. I’d keep the rear axle though as its cheap and rugged. As long as the hard points for up-fitting are kept the same they could jack up the price $6-8k over the current model and still keep market share.
On a long trip I got 28 mpg out of my 2000 Crown Vic
Also, make it unibody like virtually every other car on the market. The replacement could share a lot of components with the Mustang platform and challenge the Chrysler LX cars.
Call it the Falcon.
Ford Australia has the tooling. They’re closing us down in 2016, so it’s theirs then. We’ve done all the hard stuff already…..
A water softener company here in so cal still operates a fleet of these. Rust holes in them, but still used everyday.
I actually had a discussion with a Ford truck sales rep. right after the C series was discontinued. There were a few reasons why it was dropped, first off the tooling used to build that cab was shot, and required a lot of hand work to weld together straight. The cab floor was originally designed primarily for V-8 gasoline engines, and by the late 80’s the C series was only available with diesel engines. The 2 diesels that were offered at the time, the Detroit 8.2L and Caterpillar 3208, were both V-8’s that fit under the cab. Problem was that both of those engines were no longer EPA/CARB compliant after 1991. All of the compliant mid-range diesels from that point on (Cummins B5.9, Cat 3116, and IH DT466) were all intercooled straight 6’s. The in-line 6 configuration along with all the associated plumbing of an intercooled diesel would not fit under the C series cab without a major re-engineering effort. In addition, the grille opening was not large enough. Considering the Cargo used the FOE cab already in use in Europe and South America it wasn’t a hard decision to make. Incidentally, the C series has also been eclipsed by the White/Volvo/Autocar Expediter, which was introduced in 1977 and continues to this day in slightly modernized form.
Nice work! These trucks are amazing, and I should do an article on the 73 Ford ex-phone company F-500 bucket truck my American Legion Post owns….
Have you started yet? 😉
These were a good, honest truck. They were designed in an age when driver comfort was an afterthought at best though. The best way to describe the noise and ride would be “an all-day explosion” in the words of one of our old time employees. They were tough, easy to maintain and repair and used parts and components that were easy to find. I don’t know for sure why Ford quit making them.
The replacement Cargo was indeed a flop, and deserved to be. Brazilian engines, quirky brake systems, wiring problems, expensive/impossible to source parts and so on.
The later ones were better but still a pain. In the fleet business, simple is good and the C-series was a winner. It is too bad Ford walked away from this market.
As some who has operated fleets, I couldn’t agree more: simple is best! However, gear heads will never grasp this concept.
A friend of mine owns a wash / detail business and has one of these as a wastewater collection truck. His has the Caterpillar engine.
I rode in it once. I felt like a pair of socks in a dryer.
For me there`s something unbelievable about this truck – gas engines. That`s almost impossible here in Europe. And gas engines can still be found in medium-duty Ford trucks – wow!
Gas engines were king back in the day espically in fire trucks as you can’t afford to not be able to turn the key and hammer the throttle something you just could do with the old diesels. Garbage trucks were often gas since they were a lot quieter they were less likely to wake customers. Th gas engine did have a short hiatus in the MD line but they were recently reintroduced due to popular demand due to their much lower overall cost. UPS and FedEx are going back to gas powered stepvans again, at least in my area, due to the overall lower cost. The minimal fuel savings are way more than eaten up by the much higher initial, maintenance and repair cost.
Gas is the way to go with anything less than five ton. The new diesels with their particulate burning systems use much more fuel than the older models and diesels are very sensitive to poor fuel quality.
I see in Canuckistan UPS going back to LPG for their step-vans. LPG sells for about $0.70 a litre in these parts, vs $1.40 for gas. Definitely worth it since LPG has much lower long term costs than even gasoline.
Here in the US Schwans runs Ford and GM big blocks converted to LPG.
From the early 90s until 2006 Diesel had the advantage on economy and longevity. With all the 2007+ stuff mandated for emissions compliance its easier to go back to a gas job for must duty cycles. For comparison the two 6.4 Ford Diesels we have at my work get ~60% of the fuel economy of the previous 7.3s and 6.0s and were utter hangar queens for the 1st year of their service lives with the DPFs constantly clogging.
There is a small cottage industry here converting small Isuzu trucks with blown-up diesel engines to V8’s on LPG, due to the cost of diesel rebuilds even without being direct injection & not having DPF.
You got to keep in mind that a lot of those left the factory with the good old SBC.
I beleive these were introduced in 1957, not 1965 (which matches with the 33-year production run mentioned).
I think that was a typo; I’ve fixed it. Thanks.
I rented a 24′ International COE in 1980 to schlep a bunch of stuff from Hayward, CA to the Mission District in San Fran. Had to go over the Bay Bridge. Scared the living crap out of me. It was a good thing that there were lap belts because that was the roughest riding vehicle I have ever driven. The key was letting yourself bounce up and down without affecting your loud pedal foot.
Ford did not intend to abandon the CF market the Cargo was supposed to continue to dominate the market. They did try to reenter the market with the old second place company International but that flopped too despite having many points where the were far superior to the Isuzu.
As a former multiple Chevy LUV owner, I can assure you no trucks are superior to Isuzu.
Especially W cabovers with factory installed Chevrolet passenger car engine and transmission?
Unknown model here our Ford trucks were all UK designed and faded away by the 80s when American trucks and heavy duty European trucks arrived. The last Fords we had were the Louieville models which have nearly disappeared from mainstream use now and the idea of petrol engines in trucks was dropped decades ago. Cab noise is something that been done away with in modern trucks and generally driver comfort has a much higher priority now than when I first drove professionally my current night ride is as quiet as my car and even though sitting directly above a 480hp diesel its vurtually in audible.
This could be why Ford finally abandonned this model as the cost of upgrading the truck to modern standards would have cost too much.
Not all UK designed, we did get the Louisville trucks in Australia at least if not NZ, before they sold those to Daimler. Did the US get the D-series or was that UK only? I don’t think I’ve seen a Ford C-series.
I agree with comments about the Cargo, I think the ones we had here had engines from the usual manufacturers but the trucks had a few problems.
The Cargo was an upgrade of the older D series but Ford and Nissan shared a truck at one point in the 6×4 category then they became Iveco/Ford
The D was never sold in North America. Cargos (Called the “CF” series here) for the US and Canada were originally sourced from Brazil and at the time (1986) it was described as the European Cargo cab mounted on a medium-duty (600-800 series) F-series chassis. Cargo production for North America was moved to the Louisville, KY plant in 1990 after C-series production ended.
During my brief stint as a volunteer fire fighter, we got a C series set up as an urban interface rig (think structure protection where hydrants don’t go). Gas engine, automatic, and 4 wheel drive. It didn’t help that the carb needed a rebuild from the ethanol in the fuel and that the rig was a shoehorn fit in our fire hall.
Not my favorite truck. I’d much prefer the M37 6 x 6. There’s an urban interface version of that beast which would be nice to use.
I guess Ford have a tendency to dominate a market then fail them entirely with a product succession that strayed far from what makes its predecessor successful. Now they’re doing it again with police vehicles.
I drove them going back as far as the early 70’s at Roadway. I swear the real reason their production continued as late as it did was because of Roadway (and many other LTL carriers). Without Roadway, the C-series would have died at least ten years earlier.
Ironically, Roadway did not get the last C-series built. I was told that the final C was built as a fire apparatus chassis.
Roadway considered the C the “gold standard” for city trucks. One of the straight trucks has been enshrined inthe Henry Ford museum.
The C-Model was indeed a long lived and much loved truck. I was told that Ford discontinued them, among other reasons, because the stamping dies were too worn for continued use and they didn’t want to replace them.
As a kid back in the ’60’s my best friend’s Dad had a bright yellow Ford C with a grain body that he hauled feed for his chicken hatchery/egg operation with. We made a couple runs with him, riding shotgun on the big wide bench.
In the early 90’s as a Roadway Express city P&D driver I came to really love the “tilt cabs” as they were called. I had run P&D for Advance United back in the ’70’s driving Internationals and Macks but the Ford C’s were my hands down favorite. I could put a C with a 28′ pup trailer into places where only straight trucks usually went, I could do a 180* in the middle of a narrow street and I loved both the ride and the great visibility. Few of the Roadway tractors had power steering but even so the C’s weren’t bad to handle. Some of those Fords were so worn you had to move the shifter back and forth in the nuetral gate a couple times between shifts. As a casual I didn’t have an assigned truck but would always ask the dispatcher for one of the Ford C’s. When they were all gone I would usually, much to the amazement of the dispatcher, request one of the IH tilt cabs (Mpls had two of them, 795 and 797) in preference to one of those big, clumsy road tractors they liked to hand out. The IH’s REALLY had stiff steering but were at least manuverable.
Given a Ford C-model, a pup full of freight and a fistfull of bills and I was one happy camper! Looking at the Roadway shot above really brings back memories!
Also, don’t forget it had a big brother that we used to call a Two Floor Falcon.
Thats interesting, its like the C-series cab with another truck stuck underneath it and FORD nameplate filling the grille.
The two story Falcon was the C series cab, high mounted. The C’s wheel wells were boxed in for luggage compartments.
I think I’m correct in saying International did the same thing mounting its CO set back front axle tilt up high and creating the Emeryville cabover, and went Ford one better by using the cab as a conventional as the Transtar 400. One of the first conventionals with the fiberglass flip-up hood.
The Ford H Series used the C Cab
Here’s a sleeper showing the storage bin in the C Cab wheelwell.
Here’s another oddball, a C Series with an Econoline cab. I have never seen one of these in person
I think you meant “two story falcon”.
I’ve never seen an Econoline cab used on a medium duty truck. I reminds me of the Dodge medium duty tilts that used the A series van cab.
I’m actually surprised 1990 was the final year for these, I remember seeing them regularly up until probably 10 ten years ago or so. I’m always fascinated by long running truck lines like this.
My county had a 1988 C8000 as a trash truck that they got at least 20 years out of.
Yes, I also remember these being the “generic grimy garbage truck” until about 5-10 years ago.
You still see them in rural areas as a farmer’s grain truck. Now and then.
Ahh the mighty 300 six. Like Michael Freeman and his Land Rovers, I have a sick obsession with the big six. Even though I have a much more modern, comfortable, and rather fun truck I still catch myself browsing eBay for cherry condition ’92-’96 Ford F-150 XL’s with the big six.
Ford did build some awesome vehicles. I hate to see that those days are gone mainly in the name of catering to the dude ranches.
These things looked so modern, “just right”, when I was a kid in the 1950’s and ’60’s, especially compared to the 1930’s designed generation of COE trucks that proceeded them. The only COE truck I ever drove was an Isuzu diesel, and extremely loud workhorse.
One thing to note is that Large trucks, including Semi trucks, Earth Movers, and heavy equipment were not popular or considered “cool” in the early 1900’s- which is why GM never really publicized there Euclid Heavy Industry division. However in the later part of the 20th century circa- 1970 large trucks were starting to gain popularity. GM produced the first ever commercial about Earth Movers and Mining equipment featuring Championship golfer Jack Nicklaus showcasing the Largest Truck In The World, at the time- Terex Titan.
Does anyone remember the TV show “CHiPs”? In almost every highway accident scene there is a RustOleum blue Ford C series pulling a silver trailer jackknifing in the middle of it.
I really need your help. model cars is my hobby. and I really want to make a model of 1/10. but I can not find drawings of the cab of the truck. If you have the desire and the opportunity to send them to me by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , I will be very grateful.
I bought a C-600 About 2 years ago just because I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and wanted to just drive it. Best $900 bucks I’ve ever spent!
The principle reason that Ford dropped the C cabover was that the Budd Co, manufacturer of the cab, was undergoing yet another in a series of reorganizations as part of Thyssen-Krupp, which pretty much decided to end production of the cab because of low margin and in effect, “fire” Ford as a customer.
I’m in the process of buying a C8000 from a neighbor farmer…I always had a thing for these trucks,,,,he purchased it about 7 years ago and never used it……it set for over three years..and never started…..when a should interest.. he pulled it out of the weeds,,it cranked over and started on the first try…..the old girl is a 1975…Cat 3208 diesel….5/2..a beauty
I worked for a CoOp back in the 1990s that had a C series Ford that they used to deliver bulk feed. I think it was from the 1970s or 80s. They had a regular driver who drove it but a few times when he called in sick i had to deliver a load of feed to a farmer with it. It was very similar to the GMC L series tilt cab my dad had on the farm.
my dad was a member of scarborough fire dept from 1960 to 1990,and in that time that was the only truck they used FORD 850 SUPERDUTY,s. when they wore the 352 gas jobs out they would retrofit them with Detroit diesel 6v53,s and 6v71,s. I used to get chills hearing those detroits winding out, the sirens awailing away. was a popular kid when us kids would look and there would be MY DAD either driving or on the back, to a pre teen kid nothing topped having a dad as a firefighter. those trucks are gone and so is my dear ole dad, but those memories will last until I leave this life too. GOOD TIMES they were…………..
What a great story,it made me feel like I was there to.
My dad got one of these in 72. It was a 62 C-750 with 16 ft flat bed. It had the 332 gas engine, which was blown when he bought it. It was the first vehical I ever replaced an engine in at age 14. Was purchased in the spring of 72 for use in his well drilling business. He died in September of that year, i think he only drove it once. I drove it once down a country road, near Gahanna Ohio, and thought it was great…….gee, wish I could go back to those days.
As of 5/4/2014 I am still driving a 1970 C600 dump truck. I have moved close to 5 million pounds over the last four years. Little 330 gas engine and Allison 6 spd auto, power steering, air brakes. Easy truck to drive, doesn’t leak a drop as I can park all day on blacktop with not a mark and is QUIET in the cab (I guess the diesels are noisy?) with a short 111″ wheelbase that allows me to go places even pickups dare to tread. Probably will drive this truck till I pass away, it will outlive me as it is rust free.
We had one of these with the 3208 Cat. +1 for your comments. We added A/C and electric fans to keep it cool.
Its since been sold, but lives on – I see it every now and then, still on the road.
I have a 1964 C 850 SD fire truck. She still pumps like a champ with a Waterous CMD 2 stage 1000 gmp @ 150psi. I converted her passenger side to a food truck. Wood fired oven, hand wash sink and so on. Her name is “GINGER”
I am in the process of replacing EVERY brake component.
Have a 1969 Ford 750 c firetruck
I am looking for info on where the brake fluid resorvoir is located
I own a 1976 C8000 with the 3208 Cat, 5 speed. Ex fire truck, I bought it for hauling water. It came equipped with a Bean pump system. It’s a great truck and only had 24,000 miles when I got it.
Im a volunteer fireman and we just took ours out of service and is for sale via sealed bid. Its an 89 with a Caterpillar diesel and a 1000 gallon tank. It is a great truck and it will be missed, its so simple and rugged compared to the new ones.
Why sell it then?
Found this last weekend. Logging road being pushed on further into forest about 300 meters higher elevation.
Not abandoned I assume.
I always liked the face of these trucks ever since I was a kid. They looked honest, and tough but friendly. And for some reason they reminded me of a hippopotamus.
Just wondering, does anyone know what one would cost?
I have a 1962 c600 with 42k original miles mint condition.
Don’t expect too much money from it. I was offered one last Saturday free. The guy that has it just wanted the rollback bed for a newer truck. It runs and drives, tires are not very good. I plan to make a toter home for my classic car trailer. In Montana I can license as a motor home and drive without a CDL.
I actually have a 79 C-series flatbed that has been sitting in the for about 20 years. What is the best way too sell it?
I remember seeing trucks like this when I was a boy. I didn’t find them attractive, not like the GMC/Chevrolet trucks of the same generation. But they were good trucks.
The Ford C always reminds me of the (1965-1979) Volvo F84/85/86 trucks and tractors.
As a kid I thought that they looked way too friendly for a truck. Big innocent eyes somewhere halfway the cab, simple yet perfect round fenders, too much glass and a rounded cab that seems to lean a bit forward. It didn’t have Überholprestige, if you know what I mean.
“Real” trucks were tall, square and had to roar and turbo-whistle like hell, with an endless up- and downshift party going on. FTFs with their Detroit Diesels (they screamed) and Scanias with a V8 (they hammered) were the best, loud noise-wise (I’m still speaking as the kid back then).
Anyway…thanks for this truck repost, since I wasn’t around here yet the first time.
What did Ford replace the C-Series with? Something totally not what the customers wanted? It seems like Ford has a habit of doing this type of stuff. Not that long ago, I visited a Lincoln/Ford dealership and all the sales there told me that Lincoln has discontinued the Town Car and replaced it with MkT.
As mentioned above the C-Series was replaced by the Euro-designed Ford Cargo. For a few years they were imported from Brazil and sold alongside the C-Series. After the C’s demise production of Cargos for the NA market was moved to Louisville.
Rights to the Cargo in North America were sold to Freightliner along with Ford’s heavy truck division in 1997. History repeated itself as the Cargo cab was used on a Freightliner chassis and sold under the Sterling and Freightliner nameplates. They sold even worse than the Ford original.
After seeing this bagged and slammed Loadstar I’ve often daydreamed about finding a 534 (unlikely) powered C-series Truck and making a “Rat Rod out of it.
I’ve never liked slammed (camber even less) but you can’t deny that a C-Series has the perfect combination of ugly (good ugly) and vintage to make an awesome rat-rod. There certainly isn’t a shortage of ones whose paint has seen better days too.
I’m not typically a fan either. But.. I’d rather do the “Stance” thing to a rig like a C or Loadstar than the typical Car Show fodder.
You’re right, Old-Ugly is fashionable now. (There’s hope for me after all!)
We are getting ready to make ours look a little slammed with skirts all the way around. We wanted to keep the geometry the same for pulling my 5th wheel or flatbed. Excited for the summer weather. 916-276-0433 Alan
I remember poking around the back lot of Cliff Heath Ford, trying to sneak a peak at the new ’79 LTDs, and being amazed at seeing a brand new C-Series cab and chassis ready for delivery. I couldn’t believe they were still making them, even though I had the AMT model of the stake bed – let alone they would continue to do so for more than a decade.
As for FWD, they were great users of other people’s cabs – not only the C-Series, but also the ’56 – ’75 Dodge cab, and I think an International cab before both of them.
FWD was (is?) truly tiny by motor-vehicle-manufacturer standards. No way could they have afforded to tool up a cab of their own.
I remember buying parts for my ’68 Torino GT from Cliff Heath Ford in 1976. They were located just south of Pittsburgh.
Here’s a pic of a local ’75 Dodge 800 Dump Truck still using the ’56 Cab.
We had hundreds of these in the L.A. City fleet , none as garbage trucks (White & Pete COE’s there) but for everything else , they were fantastic .
Sterling got the rights to seel C Series parts when Ford foolishly walked away , they were all smiles and lies ” of course we’ll support these forever , it’s AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR MEDIUM DUTY TRUCK ” ~ B.S. ~ as soon as the ink dried they cut all the contracts with the original part suppliers and we were in deep doo-doo .
Sterling of course said ‘ well , we have nice new medium Duty Trucks you can buy ‘ ~ they were GARBAGE ~ worse than the Brazilian COE Diesels .
After some teething the Brazilian Diesels were O.K. but never as robust , they toddled off to salvage in three years or so .
Sadly , you can still buy a cherry C series Ford truck fur under $1,500 , rust free .
Often they’re available for scrap value once the tires are bad as new tires cost more than the whole truck with new tires , is worth .
I was only born 9 years after these were discontinued (you can do the math, I hope I’m allowed to stay here) so I’ve never actually seen one of these in person or had any experience with them, besides thinking they look great.
But from what I’ve gathered it seems like discontinuing the C-Series instead of giving it a refresh (refined cab, some modern features here-and-there) was one of the worst decisions Ford has ever made. It seems utterly bizarre to me that they gave up such a huge monopoly in this category of truck.
We put on so many miles we wore out the door latches and window lifts etc. so when those became un available , we _had_ to salvage them ~ most would simply go buy a good used latch from the Junk Yard , we’re not allowed to do that .
There’s a local Arborist (SP) who buys them cheaply and scraps the beds , re paints them yellow , chromes the fenders and installs huge chipper van bodies and works the living crap out of them .
Good trucks in 1957 , good trucks in 2015 .
I see several of these on a daily basis hauling paving materials (dump trucks). Still a good looking truck. I remember these from tons of Movies and TV shows in the 60s, stripped of insignia, painted in a military motif, they were always the ‘secret convoy’ truck of choice.
Interesting site for car spotting.
I’m of the age to remember when these trucks were everywhere – and you could always tell which ones had the big 534 V8 as they had a very unique, deep bass sound, as Paul expertly described here: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/auto-biography/auto-biography-super-duty-truckin/
Another thing I remember is thinking the face of these trucks reminded me of a little kid with his bottom jaw stuck out showing his bottom teeth………
Saw one just yesterday, mid-50s vintage. It wasn’t original … clearly restored and refinished … but nevertheless working hard for a high-class landscaper.
By 2007 last bit of Ford apportioned and commercial truck offerings died with Sterling ending production. It ended in such a mash-up that Sterling badged Dodge Ram pickups as Sterling Bullets!
Ford still builds heavy-duty COE diesel trucks in Brazil and Turkey.
The current Ford Cargo model line-up:
I’ve been seeing one of these regularly–they’re doing maintenance work on a bridge near downtown and there is a C-series with some sort of specialized apparatus that is always parked on the shoulder with several other construction trucks after work finishes for the night. Really ought to get a photo sometime. I have no clue how old it is, but it’s at minimum 25, so good to see it still in use. These were always favorites of mine.
I had no idea that Mack used the cab! That’s quite an interesting fact…
The Waste Management C-Series with a missing headlight sure does look tired, maybe even sad. About 10 years ago NYSDOT had a few of these to paint stripes on the road and they must have been over 40 years old. If the C-series is not very comfortable to drive then it seems good to me that they are not made any more.
The drive-by engine and fan roar on these was incredible, one of those indelible childhood memories like the exhaust sound from the Cummins diesel in the our Crown school buses.
Love that two-tone blue and white truck in the lead pic!
I always felt that this was an excellent representation of the Ford Cab over. My favorite toy of the 60s!
I drove quite a few of the C-series Fords as box vans during my working years as well as the comparable International Cargostars. Shifting the Ford was like stirring soup – you never knew where the gears were going to be – but don’t miss a gear on a hill! I really can’t compare them to the Int’l because all of those were automatics. I do think the Cargostar had a better ride, though. The Fords were way too bouncy. I had the radio jump right out of the dashboard one time.
I have a C series Ford with a Cat 3208 engine. It has a TRW power steering pump, but I need to find a pulley. Can anyone please help me find a press-on pulley for a 0.802 inch shaft? Or even help me find a part number? THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH.
I am in the process of restoring a 1972 C700. This truck was used in Pulver Wi. as a Fire Rescue trick and only has 57xxx miles on it. i am looking for a pickup style box to fit the frame. I will use it to pull 30 foot long vintage wood boats. Also looking for an engine mount for a Air Conditioning compressor. I have a vintage Evaporator unit.
I’m not a truck guy and was always curious about these – they used to be everywhere, but with the obviously late-’50s styling I assumed they were 1960s or early ’70s trucks that were still in use. Had no idea Ford was still making these into the ’90s
I remember one of these garbage trucks milling around the campus of the state university I attended in Virginia around 2012-2014. By my senior year it disappeared, evidently replaced by some smaller Japanese vehicle.
I always thought these were ugly, as when I was younger you would see many of these in various tv shows of the 70s and 80s. now I reckon they’re a classic, not like todays trucks that have little or no character whatsoever. its a pity these were not built in Australia as they would have been good competition to the Aussie built International Acco, which in itself is an easy to maintain long lasting truck, and has been built here since about 1968 and continues today under the Iveco nameplate.
I have an 89 C8000 with a 3208 Cat. Looking for the rubber bellows that fits between the cab and the air filter
Please anyone… I am trying to restore a 1962 C-850 super duty ford/Hahn fire engine. It has the monster 534 engine. At some pioint, the carberator was changed out and I am having difficulty figuring out what I can replace it with. It appears to have a 1965 holley 4150 carb, but I cannot get any clarification. Any ideas? Thank you!
I own a ’75 – C7000 Tandem with the Cat 3208 which was rated at 175 h.p. from the factory. It has 18,000 original miles, is red with black vinyl solitary seats (one cannot really call them buckets), and has a 5 speed with 2 speed splitter. It is a grain truck with a steel side/wood floor box and has a tag axle. The black vinyl dash pad in the Custom Cab looks like new. Cab is very solid and pretty much rattle free. I will post a photo of it some day soon….. I love the old ‘gurl’. It makes me smile each time I crawl up in the cab and drink in that panoramic view
I grew up during the 90’s and I remember seeing these C-cabs quite a bit. The local BFI had a E-Z Pack front load body (Two hinged arms) fitted to these. My transit authority also had a couple of these with scissor lift bodies for servicing trolley lines. They disappeared after the city got rid of the trolley lines
Did these C series have a Detriot 2 stroke offering? I swear I remember those barking Detriot Roadway trucks as a young, young child. Swore they were Ford C series…
The Detroit 6V-53 was available some years in the C series.
I believe they sure did…..
I know mine has a “Made for Ford” diesel by CAT (as read on the engine tag), a V8 – four stroke model 3208. But I am nearly positive the local Roadway trucks had the 2 strokers made by the General.
They were much more rancorous in their odor and sound, bellering that wail so familiar to the world awaiting at downtown crosswalks. Smelling that smell only a 2 cycle diesel emits.
(if you ever hear the sound of a v/8 CAT 3208, and smell those exhaust fumes peculiar to that engine, you will never forget. Just as in those Detroiters….. which always seem to have the downdraft, underframe routing of the pipe to give passersby a good wiff. Both have a very ‘individualistic’ aroma which permeates the breathing apparatus of a human and lingers in the nostrils declaring their skull and crossbones presence
I remember the former GFox department store in Hartford Conn. had a delivery fleet of these in blue. Seems like with so many things being ordered online these days I wonder if we’ll see larger stores going back to their own fleets.
I used to drive one of these as an airport fuel truck and thought it was kinda a junky rattletrap. It wasn’t really that old and, being an airport truck, didn’t have a lot of miles on it. I also drove a Cargostar as a youngster, and IMHO it was a nicer truck. Admittedly, it was brand new at the time.
But there’s no denying it’s a classic.
I think very last C-cabs were bought by the federal government (GSA). I work on a military base and I remember seeing a brand-new C-800 stake bed with the 429 V-8 operated by the haz-mat guys in 1990. Was kind of amazed – didn’t think they were still making them then
They also used to use C-cab tractors (along with Chevy COE’s) to haul passenger trailers for Catalina Island tours into the early 2000’s.
Out here on the west coast, where they don’t rust out, these trucks are incredibly long lived. I was amazed to see a compressed gas company in Ventura using C’s as delivery trucks as late as 2017! And a friend who works for a major LA utility said they had a specialized C-8000 utility truck until just a few years ago.
I just acquired a 69 Ford Cabover C Series. But can not get the cab to flip open. Can anyone give some advice.
It maybe just needs a gentle tug to and fro and up and down while pulling that little handle. On mine, there is a second handle to release the safety catch after the main handle lets it up a couple inches; a double handle and double catch system
On the rear passenger side of the cab, just underneath the corner is a rod with a sort of loop formed in the end of it near you ~ pull this and look for the cab tilt pump, it looks like a hydraulic bottle jack, close the little valve on it’s base and insert a properly shaped snug fit handle, pump it up and down in full strokes as you keep the latch release rod pulled out ~ in time the cab will slowly begin to lift it’s rear edge .
There are two huge coil springs to assist this movement .
I acquired a 1969 Ford Cabover Series C 6000. I can not get the cab to hinge forward. The two smaller latch handles won’t budge. Then there is a larger longer one that doesn’t do anything either. Someone told me to look for a built in jack to pump the cab up. But there is not one. So I tried to jack it up with my own jack, but it would not budge. Can someone give me any advice. I am out of ideas. It looks like the picture attached.
The long lever, of tube construction, needs to raised to release the primary latch
The two “bent rod” loop handles are secondary latch and safety latch. Those aren’t in play until the cab begins to raise and unseats from its saddle. It takes an up and down jog of the cab to clear both latches.
It may take a bit of prying with a bar at the top center of saddle to get things started. Nothing too radical, just a pinch from something like a 24″ pry bar.
Open both doors to help counterweight the cab for raising.
Thank you, JimDandy. I will try that.
Looks like an ex – fire truck .
I’m sure there’s an affordable factory shop manual out there, it should give detailed instructions and cautions if any….
CAN NOT GET THE CAB TO TILT FORWARD ON A 1969 FORD SERIES C.
THERE IS NO PUMP. IT ALL LOOKS MANUAL.
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS. THER
The early ones were spring counter balanced and lifted easily.
These used to be in regular use as furniture and appliance delivery trucks here.
I drove many Ford C Cabs for Superior Propane in the late 80’s and through the 90’s.
When I started they still had a couple mid 80’s trucks with the big gas engine running on propane of course. Most were the CAT V8’s. For delivering around Toronto the C Cab couldn’t be beat. With the 20’ (jk) of shift linkage they had their individual unique characteristics but if it was your regular truck the 10 spd Eaton Fuller transmission was a very smooth transmission.
Once Ford stopped making the C Cab they gave us a Brazilian Cargo that was very difficult to shift because you had to roll your wrist when the shifter moved left/right. The newer Louisville built Cargos were better and the engines were more reliable as well.
Once you’ve driven a C Cab they’ll always hold a special spot in your memories.
It’s been over 23 years since I’ve driven one and I still miss those trucks.
I have a 89 C8000, 2 axle, 8208 Cat with a 10 speed. Does anyone know what power steering fluid to use ?? Pretty its ATF, but need to be sure. Don’t want to ruin seals.
I just traded a 2004 Saturn Vue for two 1985 c600’s
I’m wondering if anyone knows how to tow these units as these were airport units and never were registered for use on the street they only have 7,000kms and 1,100kms (yes that’s the correct mileage.)
I’d drive them home if I could but I don’t want to risk having them impounded by driving them illegally.