Earlier this week, a reader sent a sweet pickup truck into our tips line (email@example.com). The email had just a single line in it about the truck being a 2004 Ford F-150 SuperCrew FX4 converted to look like a 2021 F-150. I took the bait and clicked the ad. This truck has more red flags than a high-mileage Volkswagen, but it’s remarkable in how well someone apparently grafted on bits and pieces of a 2021 F-150 onto this salvage title 2004 F-150. It’s so good that I had to make sure that it wasn’t already a 2021 to start.
This listing was sent in by a reader going by pibs. Their email contained just a single line: “Hi just thought this 04 F150 converted to look like the 2021 model is interesting and pretty well done.” Alright, you got me, hook, line, and sinker. I love it when inspired individuals try to graft another car onto their car. I mean, somewhere in Canada is a BMW 750iL pretending to be a Checker Marathon. Back at the old site, I wrote about a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI pretending to be a Chevrolet C-10. One sort of popular mod for the Smart Fortwo is an attachment that makes your car mimic a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. There are whole social media accounts dedicated to mixing cars up.
All of us at the Autopian Global Headquarters™ are impressed by what we’re seeing with this eleventh-generation Ford F-150.
An Important Truck
The year 2003 marked an important milestone for both the Ford F-150 and the whole of the Ford Motor Company. On June 10, 2003, the very first 2004 Ford F-150 rolled off of the line in Norfolk, Virginia. The red SuperCab Lariat truck was the first production example of a new generation of the truck that dominated Ford’s sales charts for 26 consecutive years. Ford also said that as of that launch event, the F-Series wasn’t just the best-selling Ford, but the best-selling vehicle in America for 21 years in a row. Yep, America’s been in love with trucks for a very long time!
[Editor’s Note: This was a huge improvement over the 10th-generation, which looks like this:
My colleague Matt doesn’t agree that the round one above is significantly more hideous, but we can’t all be right. -DT].
Ford also adds this line:
To enhance today’s milestone, the company equipped the first truck with Ford’s 100-millionth V-8 engine – the new 5.4-liter 3-valve Triton™ V-8, which was produced April 29 at Ford’s Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ont.
If that wasn’t enough, the launch came just six days from the 100th anniversary of the founding of the company. The 11th-generation F-150 was a big deal for Ford because the F-Series was the company’s bread and butter for half of a century, from Ford:
“In the last 50 years, nothing has been more central to our success, or more important to us, than the F-Series,” said Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO. “The power, styling and interiors of this fantastic all-new 2004 Ford F-150 are built to delight our customers and help maintain its place as America’s favorite truck.”
Meanwhile, as Automotive News reported back then, Ford was suffering from a profit slump and the 11th-generation truck wasn’t just marking the dawn of another century of Ford, but a bet for Ford to continue winning the truck wars. As Automotive News noted, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler had been encroaching on Ford’s territory while Toyota and Nissan were both gearing up for their own assault on the American pickup market. The 11th-generation F-150 had to be good to stay on top.
Ford did it in part with a new design from top to bottom with a wide array of cab and bed configurations. At launch, the cab had four doors no matter the cab configuration while there were two bed styles with three box lengths. Regular Cab models still had those four doors, but they opened to reveal 13 inches of storage space behind the seats. The biggest engine available was the 5.4-liter Triton V8 making 300 HP and 365 lb-ft torque, a controversial engine for its alleged tendency to eat cam phasers.
Updating A 2004 To A 2021
Anyway, one of these has popped up for sale on OfferUp in Garden Grove, California. Normally, a sort of old and very well-used Ford pickup wouldn’t be much to write about, but just look at the thing:
The listing provides just a single sentence for a description and it’s in Spanish. Thankfully, I can read Spanish (please don’t ask me to speak it) so I can tell you what’s going on here. The seller says that it’s a 2004 Ford F-150 SuperCrew FX4 with the body of a 2021. It has 160,000 miles, the transmission shifts fine, and it has a salvage title.
No other description is added and at this time, the seller hasn’t gotten back to me, but I suspect the salvage title is why this truck has a new mug. Perhaps it was wrecked and someone decided to get artistic. Here’s the thing, it’s not exactly the body of a 2021 F-150 on it.
From the front, it looks so good that at first, I went off to Google to make sure it actually was a 2004 wearing 2021-face. The 2004 Ford F-150 is 79 inches wide, which is the base width of a 2021. So, with enough work, I could see grafting on the face of a 2021.
Next, let’s move to the bed. Now here’s where you start to see that this may not be a body swap as said. That appears to be a 2004 bed, but with 2021 lights. If you look at a 2021’s bed, there are some curves that aren’t on the 2004’s bed and the crease down at the bottom is different, too. That suggests that whoever did this went through the work to form the bed to fit the 2021’s lights.
There’s nothing too special going on with the tailgate. It looks like a 2004 gate with an insert that makes it look newer. But, I think it’s good enough that someone who isn’t paying attention will see a newer truck in this.
Where the illusion starts breaking is in the side profile view. Whoever did the conversion did nothing to the sides of the truck.
The crafty work done to the front and the rear cannot hide the blocky door handles and slab sides of this truck.
The interior was also left untouched as well. That’s a shame, I would have loved to see a newer interior shoved in there. With that said, I do like that the interior presents in decent shape. You get what looks like leather seats, some power options, and the track on the ceiling looks pretty neat.
Sadly, there are two rather huge red flags here. The first is its $12,500 price and the second is the salvage title. Maybe things are different in California, but 160,000 miles and a salvage title makes $12,500 a big ask to me, but the car market is wonky. Maybe the seller is very flexible. If, for whatever reason, you’re the kind of person who wants to drive a 2004 with a 2021 face, I’d definitely recommend getting this inspected. And if you do buy it, please follow up with us about what you find wrong with it.
Do you know of any other weird car body, face, or butt swaps? I’d love to know! Shoot us something down in the comments or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“To enhance today’s milestone, the company equipped the first truck with Ford’s 100-millionth V-8 engine – the new 5.4-liter 3-valve Triton™ V-8,”
It should be noted that The Car Wizard says the 3 Valve Triton engine is CRAP due to the cam phaser and other issues.
Now about this modified truck… they want $12,500 for one of these with 160,000 miles AND a SALVAGE TITLE?
That’s a solid NO DICE. And if it has the Ford 3-valve Triton V8 engine, then it goes into ‘Crack Pipe’ Territory.
The short front doors on that gen drive me nuts.
so would a steering wheel sticking out of your pants
This is done pretty often, especially on Excursions….in fact my 03 has 10 front face… Pretty common for ALOT of trucks get updated both outside and inside, even the Chevy guys get into the action I’ve seen newer parts on 88-99 trucks as well. Need to get out the office and stop worrying about all these ugly ass EGGS and go hit up some car shows and not just little meets, actually large serious shows
This does look really well done, the one thing that still gets me is the front fender specifically the bottom of it. The ’21 has a similar body line there but I would be surprised if they’re and exact match to the ’04, there’s also an additional character line on the bottom of the ’21 that’s either covered up by those huge flairs, or not there at all which begs the question, how did they blend these so well? The ’04 is steel, the ’21 is aluminum so you’re not just grafting a part of one on to the other. Same goes for the taillight section. I’d love to see more detail on the build because it honestly looks great.
That all really makes me wonder about the structural integrity of all of this. I’m imagining some really janky things going on beneath the surface.
But I also recognize that there are some people capable of doing a lot of this really well.
What’s there to worry about? It still has the structure behind the fenders which are just cosmetic
It’s a salvage title. So I worry that they mashed things together to hide structural damage. And I worry they did it poorly and did this change because the proper parts would have been obviously crooked or ill-fitting. Perhaps I am just overly suspicious, though.
Just popping in to say that everyone is wrong and the eighth and ninth gen F-150s are best. Carry on.
Add the 7th generation as well. That entire three-generation family platform makes up some of the best F-150s ever.
The 7th gens need an asterisk. *Some of the early 7th gens had the 5.4 still. I have a 7th gen with the 5.0 and agree its fantastic. I would never buy any ford with a triton engine.
*12th gen carried the 5.4 for ’09 and ’10, ’11 got the 5.0. Don’t write of the Triton completely, the 2 valve version from ’97-’03 are great engines, the 3 valve versions are the trouble makers.
You can call the generations what you want but the 7th gen F150 is a 12th gen F-series. The first gen F-150 was released in 1975. I was just going with the convention of the thread I was replying to and didn’t want to be pedantic especially since its still correct. I’ll also disagree with you on the triton 2 valve. Family had a 2001 F250 with the 5.4 and it was an underpowered turd. I believe it shot a spark plug or two out of the head, coil packs were a fairly regular problem, and the exhaust manifolds cracked.
Here I am again to defend the 10th gen (and Matt), I will give David some credit and agree that the early ’97 and ’98 trucks don’t look great, but the facelifted trucks from ’99-’03/’04 were a big improvement and were and are still great looking trucks. The 11th gens look good no question, and their interior is one of Ford’s best IMO, but the engine problems these had sent so many to an early grave and ruin the entire reputation of the truck. This was also the year Ford added 2″ of height to the bed rails for no reason, ruining visibility out of the back. The 10th gen was more revolutionary, more honest, more reliable, better built, more durable, and just a better truck.
One may not like the 10th generation but as least the driver could see bicyclists and pedestrians while driving it. Giant grills are compensators.
The modernization is a downgrade, IMO. I think the 11th generation is the best looking modern F150, before they added fake fender vents and giant stamped logos. It’s a timeless design: update the lighting and you could sell it today.
Jerk take….putting Raptor bits on a non-Raptor will never look good.
Agree, and I’d extend the statement to any attempt through badging to fool people into thinking your cheap vehicle is actually a more expensive version, going all the way back to Chevelle SS clones.
Counterpoint: Fools who overpay for a badge deserve every bit of trolling they get.
Except a Raptor isn’t really an example of that. It’s a performance vehicle priced as such.
Perhaps seeing how seamlessly this went together will finally convince everyone here that trucks really haven’t grown in size the last 20 years (and honestly, longer than that).
2021 width: 80-87″
2004 width: 79″
2021 height: 75-80″
2004 height: 73-76″
And that’s not considering the increase of F250 and F350 commuter vehicles or the dropping of the small Ranger and rereleasing it larger, much less the increase in pickup market share overall.
I’m hopeful that the success of the Maverick (still wider and taller than a 2001 Ranger) and the EPA revisions that stop incentivizing large vehicles will lead to an increase in small pickups. Because the 1990s Rangers were great for a lot of use cases.
87″ wide must be the Raptor only, because every other F150 is 79.9″ wide.
80″ tall is also the Tremor (or maybe the Raptor) only. All regular models are 75″ tall for 2wd and 77″ for 4wd.
The results of the mashup speak for themselves as far as I’m concerned.
General commentariat attitude is that we’re being overrun by larger and larger trucks. Comparing like for like, that simply isn’t the case.
Comparing like for like doesn’t necessarily capture the reality of the market. In the 80s and 90s, a crew cab pickup was uncommon and most often seen as a crew bus for work in the woods or construction. (Interestingly, I think you’d see that most of them would be longer than today’s crew cabs, since they were more likely to have the long bed.) The Ranger was very popular and single cabs or extended cabs were far more common for both work and personal use. Also, there were fewer pickups being used as commuter cars. Certainly fewer super duties were being used to commute.
Some of this, of course, can be tracked to a general rise in vehicle prices and in multi-income households. If you can only afford one vehicle per commuter, you’ll likely get the one that does the most and use it for a lot of things for which it’s not needed. If one person commutes and the other mostly stays home, you can leave your pickup at home a lot more of the time. Some of it comes from the EPA regulations allowing larger vehicles to avoid efficiency standards. Cheap gas also leads people to buy larger, more powerful vehicles. Some of it is purely profit, since larger, higher-priced vehicles generally have higher profit margins. Some comes from the increasing weight of camp trailers and bed campers (some of which require an F350 to safely use, which is a baffling amount of weight for a slide-in, in my opinion, but I recognize some people want a lot fancier ones than I do).
It’s anecdotal, but even in the last ten years, I have seen a shift to more F250s and F350s in local parking lots. Hard to find actual numbers, since they report the F-Series sales together (same for Silverados and Rams). Taken together, the increased market share of full-size pickups, the loss of the compact pickup, and an increase in super duties does mean that a lot of people have seen overall vehicle sizes and also pickup sizes increase over time.
It could be interesting in a few years if the Maverick et al (and/or increased towing and power in the midsize market) have people talking about how pickups have been shrinking over time because they remember the time of big pickups.
Everything in your post is factually accurate, which makes me believe you aren’t one of those mindlessly posting apocalyptic rhetoric about how large “normal” trucks have become.
It’s frustrating, as someone who has both a CCLB F350 and a low sports car, to hear endless whining about both how pickup drivers can’t park or see anything around them, which is ludicrously false, and how car drivers can’t see anything with pickups all around them, which is mildly true, but mostly irrelevant.
“It’s frustrating, as someone who has both a CCLB F350 and a low sports car, to hear endless whining about both how pickup drivers can’t park or see anything around them, which is ludicrously false”
As someone who has been backed over in a low sports car by a lifted pickup because the oblivious driver couldn’t see me nor hear my horn over the noise of his engine I can speak from first-hand experience you are wrong.
To be fair, lifted pickups are a whole different animal from stock ones. As, I suspect, are the drivers.
I think pickup drivers are as bad at parking as anyone else. The problem is that due to the sheer size of their vehicle there is less room for error.
I can park my car 10-15 degrees off center in a parking spot and it affects nobody. But, truck driver guy does that and he is hanging over on both sides and basically taking up 2 or 3 spots and looking like a a-hole.
They have, but mostly in the sense that 4-door long cabs are now the industry standard, whereas single cabs were the norm in the past, that alone makes the average new truck bigger than the average older truck, but, if you compare like for like – same cab/bed configurations, the difference is negligible.
However, if not strictly longer under the right comparisons, modern trucks are still a great deal taller, there’s no denying that dimensional increase
Per my post just above, it’s 1″ between 2004 and 2021 (4wd to 4wd).
My 2019 Super Duty is the same height as a 1970s Hi-Boy F250.
Trucks are styled to look larger now, and the ruse is clearly working.
Hoodlines/cowls are shoulder height now, they didn’t used to be, the bottoms of the windows are at the roofline of my car when I’m sitting it traffic, that didn’t used to be the case, either