- Note the rear tire's negative camber. No, this truck doesn't have some trick race suspension... it has a flat passenger rear tire!

One project truck was a lonely number. So I went and found another one.

And when I say found, I mean it was a gracious family donation with history back to 1972.

MT Blake posted in USA News
5w ago
33.2K

There are some sights and sounds that evoke memories we never knew we had. Cars we grew up around can hide memories we never knew we had. At some point, they're triggered into the front of our minds. It could be the sound of a power steering pump. The smell of unrestricted exhaust. The smell of a vinyl interior. Ripples of memories begin to come back. The emotional connection to these fond memories is what we'd describe as nostalgia. But often, it is so much more...

My grandfather had a 1969 Chevrolet C20. It was yellow. It had a burnt orange tailgate and in the upper corner, someone used a fluorescent orange paint pen to write something indiscernible--likely verbiage from an auto wrecker. When he passed, there was talk about the truck being my first car, but it wasn't to be.

The C20 sat for a few years and seeing as no one was mechanically inclined in the family, it quickly became a basket case. It was sold just prior to me receiving my learner's permit. I remember watching two guys show up, one old, one younger, who got it running in an afternoon and drove it off soon after. The money was used by my mother to buy a wrought iron trellis. The trellis is now in my yard, but I wish it were a yellow C20 instead. The C20 is forever gone, the leads went cold long ago, but...

THIS ISN’T ‘MY’ GRANDFATHER’S TRUCK

There was one other grandfather's truck in the family—it was my cousin’s grandfather’s truck. He'd bought this 1972 Ford F100 brand new, somewhere in the Oakland, California area. It too stuck around in their family and rusted like the trellis. After years of hard work in the bay area, it retired with its owners to a cabin in the Sierra Nevada range. Every family gathering at the cabin, I remember seeing the Ford. It rarely moved from a hillside parking spot—except for the worst snowstorms and dump runs.

The truck was such a fixture and its position obstructing a three-point turn upon leaving the cabin, that it's weird it isn't there anymore. It's not there anymore, because it's at my house—but still obstructing proper flow of traffic, that is until the blue Dodge finds a new home. The time came to pass the truck to the next generation and I was lucky to be the masochistic-homebrew-mechanic to get the nod.

Who, exactly who, orders an avocado green truck with a green interior?! Apparently, someone I’m related to...

I was surprised to find the truck in the garage when I arrived. (Apparently, I hadn't been to the cabin in a long time!) A 'Ford Owner's Parking Only' sign hung proudly above the garage door. Opening the door found the truck in a sad state: the bed was full of junk; it displayed a distinctive lean from a flat right rear tire; underneath a drip pan collected a large amount of oil, likely both motor and gear varieties.

Both the front fenders were smacked in collisions at some point. The passenger side took the harder hit. The force caused the front clip to move backward and towards the driver's side. The misalignment has allowed the driver's fender to close the gap between it and the door. I'm reminded of the body damage every time I open the driver's door due to the metal clash and sharp pop between the two panels.

The many years spent outside in the elements weren't kind to this truck. The frame and front suspension have a scaley, rusty texture. A small hole in the middle of the driver's floor pan needs attention. The pickup bed is, somehow, in decent shape--not all mother nature's most heroic attempts to dismantle this truck were successful.

RUSTING IN PEACE (NOT IN PIECES)

Despite all the damage and decay, this truck was well maintained for a number of years. In the fifteen years since the original owner passed--regardless of sitting outside--the truck remained in running condition; the tires and all exhaust tubing was replaced. 'Running condition' is a fleeting state of affairs when fifty years have passed. I tried to start the truck with no success. To my wife’s dismay, another truck came home on a tow truck. She was happy with the price though. This F100 was free.

There was one catch to free: the baggage that comes with 'keeping it in the family.' I was given the truck because I was the last, best hope to get this old pickup back on the road. I knew the truck wouldn’t take much to get in driving shape. The battery was flat and a quick visual inspection found the ground cable was corroded and falling apart.

A fresh battery and ground cable allowed the starter to spin the big 360ci lump, but the engine did not start. The engine roared to life with a bit of gas poured into the carburetor—an obvious sign of a bad fuel pump. Forty-four dollars for a new mechanical fuel pump and the truck stayed running! The total cost to this point was approximately $250.

IT'S GREEN? MANY GREENS!

I began to dig into this "Bumpside" Ford--as the 67-72 trucks are known, due to the bump running down the length of both sides. The dark green was chipping in numerous places, revealing a lighter shade. The dash, also, was the same lighter shade of green when it should be dark green? I found the build tag and began decoding. The true color was found to be the lighter shade of green—this truck was repainted sometime in the 80s. The original color is Seapine Green, which to me looks like an overripe avocado. It’s such a terrible 70s color, I’d have repainted the thing too!

The remainder of the truck decoded as it appears: standard cab, long bed, paired with 4wd, and a four-speed New Process 435 manual transmission. The transfer case isn’t divorced like those Highboys—I emphasize, this is NOT a “Highboy.” The F100 has a single range transfer case (Dana 21) bolted to the back of the transmission, unlike the F250 Highboy with a divorced transfer case (read: three driveshafts!). It also does not have the stronger and thicker frame, nor beefer axles of the Highboy. Although, it does have a Nine Inch rear and a Dana 44 front, so it isn’t anything to be upset about.

The transfer case isn’t divorced like those Highboys—I emphasize, this is NOT a “Highboy.”

Under the hood is a 360ci (5.9L) Ford V8 (other options included the 390ci, 302ci, and 300ci I-6). It is as stock as stock can be, and I love it. It wears its original exhaust manifolds, carburetor, and air cleaner housing. It runs well--smokes a bit--and it’s absolutely covered in fifty years of grease. To remove all the grime, it might be easier to remove the whole drivetrain for a reseal and repaint in Ford blue...

Being this truck is the last year of the 5th generation Ford truck, it received the optional power assist brakes. Unfortunately, they’re connected to four-wheel drum brakes as front disc brakes didn’t appear until 1973. The truck does not have power steering, so any parking lot 3-pointers need to be made at a slow roll unless you’ve got arms like Popeye.

Inside, it’s green. It’s all green. Green everywhere! God is it green. Remember when automakers made several colored interiors each year? Who, exactly who, orders an avocado green truck with a green interior?! Apparently, someone I’m related to... Interiors like this have grown on me. It might be ugly, but it would be sacrilegious to change the interior color—the outside can stay as is or get repainted dark green again as I will not paint it “Seapine Green” for fear of insulting my ancestor.

SO MUCH TIME AND SO LITTLE TO DO. STRIKE THAT. REVERSE IT.

There is far too much to do to this truck to write about in one article. Theoretically, it is safe (loosely used) to drive on the street right now. It won't’ be comfortable or reliable and it just might void some weird clause in my life insurance if I take it out as is... but hey! You only live once?!!

Money is always a factor, and that’s why I’m envisioning a patina build. The front fenders and grill will have to be replaced, but the remainder of the truck is relatively straight. The rear step bumper is coming off and a proper bumper and tailgate will be affixed. I don’t think there is enough rust to make it look too good, but a rough scrubbing and getting rubbed down with linseed oil might bring back some luster in the paint.

Inside, it will stay green. The bench seat needs a reupholstering—that's after the vinyl flooring is torn up and the hole is patched in the floor. The AM radio doesn’t work, but everything else inside seems to be getting power. I’d like to stick with used parts or those that look vintage. I’d like to find a place to mount an Equus tach because it looks like the vintage Sun Super Tach II (or I’ll just buy a vintage tach).

The tires are in need of replacement. Regardless of having only a couple of hundred miles on them, they’ve started to rot and one has a bead tear from corrosion (the flat tire was flat for a long time). I’m in love with the STA Super Traxion tires in 700-15. They’ve got the vintage knobby look I’m looking for.

Stay tuned! In the next couple of months, this green machine is going back on the road! Vintage and patina is the idea. The ultimate expression of these terms might be a bit different when I’m done and that’s part of the fun. Let’s see if this old F100 is up to get a second life and if I’m able to juggle another project with the rest of life’s surprises. That reminds me! A third project is in the works now. Something much more modern, desirable, cheap, and filthy!

PS: Ironically this isn't the only vehicle to have shown up recently. I'll get to the next one soon... but if you're curious, follow my antics on IG (below) and get the sneak preview of one of the worst examples of an epic car!

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Comments (16)

  • You were lamenting the color choice of the truck however keep in mind that when that truck was built and sold people did not buy a truck as a fashion accessory or a "Hey look at me", vehicle.

      1 month ago
    • Good point. People did a lot of drugs in the 70s, that’s why avocado green was normal for them.

        1 month ago
    • You talking about grandpa?

        28 days ago
  • I would spec that truck in those colours. I'd also do the same in burgundy. It's not that uncommon in those days to see the same colour inside and out.

      29 days ago
    • The more I see the original color, the more it’s growing on me.

        29 days ago
    • 29 days ago
  • Inevitably there would be someone show up with 6 or 12 pack or even a case of beer which the bed was suitable for proper storage of back when things were simpler.

      28 days ago
  • Like leaning on the bar.

      28 days ago
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