Good morning! It’s the Friday before Labor Day here in the US, so what better time to look at a couple of all-American beasts built for labor? We’ll check them out in just a minute. First, let’s finish up with yesterday’s blackout Toyotas:
Well, that’s decisive. To be fair, I don’t think the Celica is a bad deal at all, and it sounds like many of you agreed; it’s just that the Supra is even better. And I was wondering if anyone was going to mention Shirtless Guy in the photos.
So yesterday, I found two possible pairs of vehicles: those Toyotas, and a pair of charismatic three-quarter-ton pickups, both manuals, both with fresh and excellent-running V8s, and both at the blue end of the spectrum. I had a hard time choosing which one to feature, and then it occurred to me – just pick one pair, and use the other pair the next day. So today it’s truck day. Here we go!
Engine/drivetrain: 460 cubic inch overhead valve V8, four-speed manual, RWD
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Odometer reading: 77,000 miles (probably rolled over at least once)
Runs/drives? Doesn’t expressly say, actually…
The fifth-generation Ford F-series trucks have not only aged well; I would go so far as to say that they actually look better all old and scruffy like this. It’s as if Ford designed them with surface rust and dents in mind from the start. Patina gives these trucks character in a way that really suits the shape of them. And teal over white is quite possibly the ideal color combination for them.
This particular F-250 Ranger has had the same owner for twenty-five years. They built an engine for it, a big-block Ford 460 chock-full of hot rod parts – but they don’t say how long ago that was, or what sort of condition it’s in now. But it has been my experience that if someone goes to the trouble of name-dropping high performance parts in the ad, they’d also tell you if something was preventing it from running, so I have to assume this one runs, and probably pretty well. It will be an appalling gas-guzzler, but I bet it gets up and moves.
It actually doesn’t matter much if a truck like this is a manual or an automatic, but this one has what I’m assuming is a four-speed manual. If it were a three-speed, it would be on the column, I imagine. The length and shape of the shift levers in trucks of this age is always something to behold; it’s probably two feet long if you straighten out all the twists and turns.
Like the majority of west coast trucks, this one only has some surface rust. It is lacking most of its paint on the hood and roof, but overall it looks solid. And it has those cool locking compartments built into the side of the bed.
Engine/drivetrain: 350 cubic inch overhead valve V8, four-speed manual, RWD
Location: Centralia, WA
Odometer reading: 58,000 miles (rolled over at least once)
Runs/drives? Great, according to the seller
I only recently learned that GM’s term for this generation of truck is the “Rounded Line.” Ironic name for a truck that could be convincingly depicted out of cinder blocks, but there you have it. Though in fairness, now that I look at it, there are quite a few rounded lines in the design, but I think I’ll just stick with the “squarebody” nickname.
This one is a GMC, from before the big redesign in ’81 that drastically changed the shape of the front end. It’s also a three-quarter ton, powered by a brand-new example of the ubiquitous 350 small-block V8, and what I’m guessing is my beloved Saginaw-Muncie SM465 four-speed manual with a “granny” gear. The seller just had the engine replaced, and now is going overseas (in the military, I assume) and wants to sell it before they leave. It runs and drives great, and although the seller calls it “ugly,” I don’t think it’s too bad at all.
The great thing about these trucks is that as long as GM keeps selling these crate engines, you’ll be able to keep them going. At least, as long as you keep the rust at bay. Squarebodies are notorious for rust, and while this one looks pretty solid still, a new owner should take some steps to keep it that way.
Or you could just use it as a weekend warrior as-is. It doesn’t quite have the charisma of the Ford, which is hard for a Chevy guy like me to admit, but I have no doubt in its ability to get the job done.
Yeah, I know, I’ve done old trucks a lot. What can I say? I like ’em. And these two strike me as particularly good deals. Mechanically solid, with just the right amount of scruff around the edges, and far more reasonable prices than some old trucks are commanding these days. So which one will it be?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)