Fifty years old, and this venerable Ford is still working hard, hauling construction supplies and debris for its young owner who traded it for “some drywall work”. But in addition to just still being on the job, this F-600 caught me eye for another reason:
It’s a Custom Cab, no less. Ford’s upgraded cab trim package was reasonably popular with pickup buyers of the time; maybe about half of them paid the premium fare. But those were pretty much all private buyers; fleets and work trucks rarely sported the chrome grille and deluxe interior appointments. And on the larger trucks, like this F-600, they were downright scarce.Let’s take a look inside:
Not your typical vintage work truck interior indeed: two-tone color scheme, and a (formerly) white-painted steering wheel with a big chrome horn ring. Truckin’ in style.
In my younger days, I drove lots of Ford construction trucks like this and the big Super Duties, as recounted here. But none of them were bestowed with luxurious and tastefully trimmed Custom Cabs.
The Custom Cab may included an upgraded dash, not that it did you much good. All that chrome and white trim, but no tachometer! How’s a guy supposed to know when to shift this thing? And there’s plenty of that to do, with a five speed and two speed rear axle: ten speeds to play with, if you know what you’re doing. If not, there will be tell-tale grinding from the rear splitter, for sure. Back to that the tach question: It wasn’t really very necessary, and here’s why:
Ford’s venerable Y-block, probably a 292 CID version here, was not fond of revving. You knew when to shift when it just stopped breathing any deeper, and hit the wall, probably about 3500 rpm, or so. After driving some of these Fords, my first drive in a Chevy of similar vintage was an eye opener: it was a construction hauler just like this one, but had a 283 in it. Compared to the asthmatic Y-block, the Chevy small block felt like it was hooked up top a bottle of Nitrous. It was so responsive to the pedal, and probably revved to at least to 5000 or more. Felt like a ‘Vette engine compared to the Fords, and we wrung it out for all it was worth. Maybe that’s why there seem to be more old Ford than Chevy work trucks left.