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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Market picks up on US pick-ups

    Act swiftly to land an original hauler before they go the way of earlier trucks

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    / #1954-Chevy-3100 / #1948-Dodge-Power-Wagon / #1949-Ford-F1 / #1975-Ford-Rancher-F-250-Super-Cab / #Chevy-3100 / #Dodge-Power-Wagon / #Ford-F1 / #Ford-Rancher-F-250-Super-Cab / #Ford-Rancher-F-250 / #Ford / #Dodge / #1954-Chevrolet-3100 / #Chevrolet-3100 / #Chevrolet /

    American pick-ups are hot. Generation Xers have embraced vintage trucks in a big way and are prepared to shell out serious money for the proper stuff.

    At January’s Scottsdale auctions $74k was paid for a #1948 Dodge Power Wagon and $59k for a ’ #1949 Ford F1. Mint Seventies Ford Broncos are being advertised at $100k and hailed as blue-chip investments while Jeep CJs, Chevy C10s, 3100s, Apaches and even Silverados are all attracting interest. You can see this upswing in affection in movies like Gifted, Logan and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri where the hero drives a battered SUV or pick-up. There could be a market lift here too, because younger UK enthusiasts see these Midwest icons as cool practical classics with room to haul bikes, surboards and quads.

    I’d start looking at the Sixties/Seventies Ford F-Series because they haven’t been hyped, have that square-jawed look and aren’t expensive. ABC Auto Finders in Texas has a green ’ #1973 F-100 with 65,000 miles, 302ci V8 and lovely green velour insert seats for just £5k. With the 30-year import rule you could ship that one back and pay the 5% duty for just over £2k.

    Here in the UK a private online seller is offering an unmolested ’ #1975 Ford Rancher F-250 Super Cab with 76,000 miles, 460 V8, four-speed auto, original paint and still wearing hubcaps for £11,750. This may sound like one of my more demented predictions but these classic pick-ups have massive presence and radiate tons of American nostalgia. And don’t forget Ford now sells a new F-150 here – modern pick-ups are everywhere – so market acceptance of these utility vehicles is growing.

    Don’t go for restomods. Instead seek out the really original, stock, straight ones. Over in the US, dealers have latched on to this upsurge in demand and are trawling farm sales buying fresh-out-the-barn trucks. Some are doubling their money overnight.

    You could do worse than look at pick-ups already landed in the UK. Last year Brightwells sold a well restored ’1954 Chevy 3100 for £16,500 – a price that’s actually behind the smoking US market. Find a virgin survivor American pick-up, ideally with a #V8 , and you might find yourself ahead of the curve.

    VALUE 2010 £10k
    VALUE NOW (2018 UK) £12k

    ‘Don’t go for restomods. Instead, seek out original, stock, straight ones’
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  • #Ford-F250 Camper Special. By 1968, Ford's F-series (b.1948) was on its fifth generation. The #Camper-Special is basically a posher iteration of the half-ton #F250 for those who wanted to drop their demountable camper into the bed and head off into the country. This one has the largest V8 available in 1968, the #FE-block 390 (6.4 litre), plus dealer-fitted aircon, which currently has no drive belts.

    This San Jose-built truck has survived amazingly well, with undamaged bed and tailgate on the rot- and filler-free structure. Having been in California all of its life, there is no corrosion underneath, either. The body has been resprayed in its original colours, but the bed still has its original paint and the rails are mint, with just a couple of scrapes in the rear tubs.
    The newish Firestone tyres have lots of tread, and there's a factory-fitted auxiliary tank the size of a bath under the chassis (probably advisable).

    Inside, the brocade cloth-covered bench seat is unworn and the carpets are new. The dashboard and instruments are all good, plus the horn ring is perfect and the original #Philco radio still works.

    The tidy #Ford V8 has just had a bottom-end rebuild. It starts after a couple of churns, with a 'tick' from one exhaust that lessens as it warms. It drives sweetly, with no lost steering motion thanks to new drag links, but the low gearing can catch you out. The brakes work well even without assistance (vented discs and four-pot calipers!) and the gearchange is smooth. There's no kickdown but with this much torque you don't miss it. The 'Twin-I-beam' front set-up - long, overlapping swing axles - means that there's no axle patter on rough roads, and it's easy enough to conduct. The temperature gauge shows normal but the oil-pressure gauge doesn't work. With a reground crank, new bearings and oil pump, though, it's a safe bet that it's as factory! The MoT runs to 7 May, but its #GVW of over 3.5 tonnes means you may need to check your licence to see if you are eligible to drive it.

    #1968 Ford-F250-Camper-Special
    Year of manufacture 1968
    Recorded mileage 26,601
    Asking price £13,495
    Vendor Attington Classics, Thame, Oxfordshire; tel: 01844 218491;

    Price $2579 (1968)
    Max power 255bhp
    Max torque c400lb ft
    0-60mph 10 secs (est)
    Top speed c90mph
    Mpg 10-14 (est)

    • Solid; straight; repainted

    • Unworn upholstery; radio works

    • Engine rebuilt; the rest of it is massive and looks bomb-proof

    VALUE ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

    For - The yee and, indeed, hah factor
    Against - Filling both fuel tanks; not old enough for the Revival paddock

    Hard to resist if you like this kind of thing, plus it could make a great support barge. Start scouring eBay for demountable camper bodies.
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  • Richard Coney, Contributor, Ruislip Middlesex. Ford sits under the car port.

    ★ 1939 Plymouth P7 Roadking Coupe
    ★ 1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor Sedan
    ★ 1953 Ford F100 Step-side Pick-up

    I confess to being somewhat relieved. I am most fortunate in having a relatively large (10x30ft) garage, which I had built back in the mid-Eighties. Though the mortgage was crippling (what's new?) and I didn't own one at the time, I ensured it would accommodate a typical Fifties American car, as my previous ones had all stood outside.

    In the last 25 years it has stored and protected several classics. However, although corrugated compressed fibre cement is said to be safer than the asbestos it replaced, it's not as resilient and in recent years many roof panels had cracked. My neighbour's asbestos garage has been waterproof since 1937.

    Plans were made to reroof, using 90mm marine plywood with layers of torched-on roofing felt that should remain waterproof for 15-20 years. Having procrastinated for over a year, arrangements were made, but even then the appallingly wet weather delayed the work for six weeks. At last it was accomplished, the biggest problem being easing the Plymouth out into the daylight, a process hampered by the lack of an interior. My wife will be relieved to see the Plymouth seats leave the dining room and return to the car now that the garage is not dripping wet. I've several more jobs to do on the Plymouth, which will be much easier in a dry environment.

    In the meantime, I still don't quite believe that I have the 1940 Ford hot rod under the carport. It remains to be seen if it lives up to my long-held expectations. Although the inclement winter weather inevitably limited road trips, it's been started regularly and I have taken it around the block on the odd sunny day. Plans are afoot to overhaul the steering box in the near future, which should improve the driving experience enormously. The parts are readily available, a complete overhaul kit retailing from $200. That's the advantage of having an early Ford. Just about everything is still available, an NOS or reproduction. A disc-brake conversion might follow and maybe even an auto transmission at some point.
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  • Keith Harman, Contributor, Berkshire.

    ★ 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe Hot Rod
    ★ 1950 Ford F1 Pick-up

    Work has been progressing on the Ford F1 since it arrived, although first of all I have to redress an error in our last Behind the Wheel. Having never seen an old pick-up with a steel bed floor before (and I've owned a few), I thought mine was a rarity, but apparently not; the Ford FI truck had a steel floor from the factory, though curiously, it has the wooded bed boards underneath, visible from under the truck (and not a lot of people know that).

    Anyway, having got the truck running on the old flathead six, I the engine seems to be in fine fettle, unlike the braking system. Although it stopped okay unloading it from the trailer on delivery, a quick trip down the street found the brakes to be non-existent. Luckily no harm was done and when the effects of the adrenalin calmed down, a quick inspection showed the master cylinder seal had gone and the fluid had leaked out.

    A couple of weeks later a new master cylinder arrived from MAC's Antique Auto Parts from the US (, which I fitted myself at home; the wheel cylinders had already been replaced by the previous owner, so with a bit of adjustment, we had a pedal again. The handbrake needed attention though, the old lever had been broken at some time and bodged up, so a good used one was sourced from Owen's Salvage in Texas ( That and a new front cable have just arrived at the time of writing, and fitting them are the next jobs on the list.
    In the meantime, the registration process went smoothly with DVLA, and although they've shut down all the local offices, I was surprised how quickly the tax disc and V5 came back in the post. I've also rewired the rear lights properly and now have fully functioning brake lights and indicators (always useful). Since the truck is now roadworthy, I've decided to delay the 12 volt conversion and rewire for a while and get some use out of it, besides it's the '34's turn for some attention - more on that next time.
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    Pick-up group

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