I bought a 50 year old pickup

Over Thanksgiving, my family and I spent 4 days with my in-laws in Dallas. I spent a lot of time on the laptop just surfing the web. As I remember, I ended up on dallas.craigslist.com looking for classic Rancheros. Can’t remember what got me there, but I think I wanted a pickup that wasn’t normal. I ended up driving down to Grand Prarie to see a ‘67 Rachero. It was a rusted out piece of crap, and it killed my attraction for Rancheros.

But next to it was this!

Rusty F100

… and I thought “hell yeah.”

I loved the rust patina on it. I loved the look of that front-end. I wanted it.

Then I got a little closer and realized, no glass, wrecked interior, junk engine, swiss cheese floors. It’s too far gone for me.

This is a 1960 Ford F100 Styleside short-bed with a V8. The ‘57′-‘60 F100 was the first pickup that offered a wide cargo box, as opposed to the box with outboard fenders that had been the design of every pickup before. They’re not as popular to fix up as the earlier and later F100 models, but I like them.

So I cruised craigslist listings in Texas for a couple of weeks, and came across Mike’s 1960 F100 in San Antonio while I happened to be down there for a customer meeting. I called him and he agreed to meet me, driving the truck (!!) while I was on my way back home to Austin. That this truck was running and drive-able and still asking only $2000 was amazing to me, but there it was. He took me for a ride, I poked the bottoms of the doors, the corners of the cab, looked under the hood, and loved it.

I thought about it for a week or so while I prepared my 15 year old Jeep for sale. I was up until almost 3am one night this week working on its brakes, and decided to take the next day off from work. Mike called me that morning saying he had another buyer, and if I wanted it I had one last chance. Probably BS, but he got me. I paid him $60 to load it on his trailer and tow it up to Austin, and here it is.

It’s in gray primer. Somebody really slapped this thing together to make it look good from 20 feet. I don’t think they owned a piece of sandpaper, because in places like around the filler cap, it looks something like my 6 year old would do with play-dough.

It’s a runner though, and it’s a Custom Cab, which means the back glass wraps around the corners. How cool is that. That’s the only piece of glass without a crack, by the way.

I’m planning to do as much as I can with the stock 223 c.i. straight six and 3-on-the-tree transmission. I have no idea if the A/C will ever work. The chassis looks good, and it tracked straight down the road on the test drive. I don’t really see putting a glossy paint job on it, but I think my family disagrees. JT (6) wants flames.

So my immediate plan is:

  • make sure the water pump and temperature gauge work
  • see how much it smokes with some regular driving… it was pretty bad when Mike pulled away after my initial test drive
  • make sure the clutch works and is adjusted properly. I had a hard time getting it into gear a couple of days ago

Longer term:

  • Relocate the gas tank under the bed behind the axle. Much safer than in the cab with me. What were they thinking?
  • New bench seat. 4 sets of belts so the whole family can ride. We’ll need to figure out if it’s wide enough. I shouldn’t have had ice cream this evening.
  • New wiring harness. The existing is spliced all to hell.
  • Hush-mat or similar noise deadening and overall upgrade of the interior. Headliner. Visors. Dome light lens. Driver’s door handle.
  • Oh yeah, the drivers door and front fender were lightly hit at some point. Looks like another truck backed into it in a parking lot or something. The bottom of the driver’s door frame is rotted away. I’ll need to put some new metal in there. Listen to me, talking like I know how to weld. The overall objective is to get that door closing better than it does.
  • Re-build the motor and make it purr. Electronic distributor. EFI? A small turbo maybe?
  • Does anyone make an overdrive unit that fits this transmission?
  • Blast away all the bondo, replace it with some metal and professional body work.

It’ll be fun.


About lc

dad, husband, dog owner, computer guy, race fan, classic car fantasizer, fiscal conservative, mmmm...beer, lover of chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream
This entry was posted in Truck. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I bought a 50 year old pickup

  1. Allen says:

    You can move in with us when Laura kicks you out.

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