Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford F-150
Writing this series has made me start paying more attention to types of vehicles I’ve long overlooked. Say, the early Nissan 300ZX, or the Mazda-based Mercury Capri. Then we’ve got the beat-up work trucks that still roam the streets in large numbers but are finally dying out, e.g. the Dodge D-100 and the late-60s GM C-series. Today, it’s the turn of Ford’s workhorse from the darkest days of the Malaise Era.
The F-150 has evolved very slowly over the decades. The 6th-generation F-Series truck weren’t much different from those that came before and after.
These gauges should look familiar to anyone who has ever driven any American Ford product built between about 1975 and 2000.
This yard has plenty of older F-100s and F-150s, but something about this ’79 grabbed my attention first.
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"Uncle Jesse's truck" was a 73 or 74 if memory serves and also a long bed. The Fords from 73-79 are referred to as "groovesides" and the rectangular headlamps were first available on the 78 high trim models then on all of the 79s. The restyled 1978 bolder grilled fronts were sold as the "Louisville line." I would not consider this the "Malaise Era" when it comes to domestic pickups. Dodge Club Cabs and Little Red Wagons, Ford Camper Specials and Supercabs, and GM 3x3 Duallys and Heavy Halfs are all of this mid to late 70s era. My dad had a 79 Ford F150 Regular Cab Long Bed with a 302 and AT AC. It was comfortable enough but not a "Cowboy Cadillac" by any means. Ford "downsized" their trucks for 1980 with the more squared off look that continued to the late 90s. "Custom" as a base designation for Fords goes back to at least the 50s cars. I had a summer chemical plant job in 1978 and the new 1978 Chevy base model plant truck was a "Custom Deluxe" with the metal fendered and wood strip floored bed and the only option was auto trans (not AC) but at lease they had vent windows! The straight 6 used oil from day one and the speedo read 45mph at what seemed to be about 60 mph really. These trucks were a lot simpler and still not covered by a lot of the regulations affecting cars of the same era. Today they are still great hobby projects.
My Dad had a 1975 Super Cab and then a 1990 Regular cab F-150 - both had the 300 straight six and both lasted over 300,000 miles and he traded them because he just got tired of them - the last one he did little maintenance on as he was getting into his 70's and couldn't work on them like he used to - the vehicle was scary to ride in - finally Mom told him to get something new and he did. Another Ford.