Blank Slate: 1961 Ford Unibody

040916 Barn Finds - 1961 Ford Unibody - 1

Back in May of 2015, Barn Finds utility man, Josh, wrote about a 1962 Unibody. I’m partial to 1962 models because I’m also a 1962 model. But, this 1961 Ford Unibody is a great, blank slate for someone to turn it into a super cool dream truck. This truck is in Yuba City, California, about forty-five minutes north of beautiful Sacramento. The seller doesn’t say whether the sunglasses and scissors shown on the hood are included, but that could be the clincher!

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To say that I’m a Ford Unibody pickup fan would be like saying that I’m a fan of breathing oxygen. I’m guessing that most of you are also fans of these super unique trucks and some of you probably have your own, or you have had one at some point in your car-collecting-career. They were only made from 1961 to the middle of 1963 so they’re fairly rare today. This one looks like it’s in great condition, body-and-rust-wise, doesn’t it? The Unibody Pickup was originally named the “Integrated Pickup”. That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Unibody does, but maybe we’re all just used to that name by now. And, with what was to come later in the decade, it’s probably a good idea that they stuck with Unibody as the name.

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In a few hours you’ll have this interior looking like new again! Well, in a few weekends, maybe. You’re going to want to strip this one down and make it your own anyway, so you’ll put in new seats and paint this truck inside and out anyway. The title is missing, so that’ll be something to think about, unless you’re going to make it a trailer queen that you chauffeur to car shows and then bring it back to your living room to admire the awesomeness that is the Ford Unibody design. Ford saw a shift from tradesmen and farmers needing purposeful, tough trucks to more and more suburbanites wanting a pickup for less-arduous tasks, like hauling a lawn mower or piling in a few bags of mulch for the backyard. Talk about forward-thinking!

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I really think that this truck is in nice shape, despite the surface rust (no, that’s not patina, that’s surface rust). I’m guessing that this truck will most likely end up like this, but who knows, someone might take the time to restore it back to original-spec. I think that it deserves to go back to how it would have left the factory, but that’s just me. That’s what I personally would do, but I can see where some would want to modify it because it has such a unique shape already that lends itself to customization.

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Here is where you’ll drop the (insert fancy, fast engine-type here). Unfortunately, or fortunately, this truck doesn’t come with an engine, and it looks like there’s no transmission, either, but there’s no mention of that. There is a boat-anchor-looking 6-cylinder in the bed, and also a radiator back there. I’m guessing that those chunks of metal were what was under the hood of this Unibody, but the seller is about as short on words as it gets. Speaking of that, this great blank slate is on Craigslist for a price of just $500! Are you a Ford Unibody fan as much as I am? What would you do with this unique, rare vehicle: original or custom?

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Comments

  1. p

    Scissor.
    Cut when parked.

  2. Charles

    This truck will make a cool street rod.

  3. Woodie Man

    drag abandoned engine/trannyless hulk from weeds……..put on Craigslist. yeah but its a unibody!

  4. Woodie Man

    Gone! I’m guessing the real owner found out!

  5. Mark S Member

    Back to original.

  6. Howard A Member

    While this is a very unique truck, it was not one of Ford’s “better ideas”. The 1 piece cab and bed was prone to flexing and cracking behind the cab, and there were reports of owners being “trapped” in their trucks, as the doors wouldn’t open with a load in the box. These still had the straight axle front end, as the Twin I beam, a big improvement, didn’t appear until 1965. Still a cool find. Just don’t haul anything heavy in the back.

  7. Jim Marshall

    I forgot all about these Ford Trucks being unibody’s those few years. I suppose unibody’s didn’t work out to well in pickups. Here we are in 2016 and all pickups are body on frame built so that proves Fords better idea for trucks didn’t work out to well in 61.

  8. racer99

    Steal at that price — already gone.

  9. racer99

    Just to show an example of a cheap restomod type upgrade like could be done to this truck here’s a pic of one I did a few years back. Totally done frame off with garage paint job and had a little over $3500 in it when I was done. Drove it 12 years (around 40K miles) and it never missed a beat. Hauled or towed whatever I wanted to move. Updated 5.0 FI/AOD drivetrain got over 20 mpg and would cruise all day at 75 mph. As mentioned above, the unibody trucks have some inherent issues but are very collectable — the early 60’s truck enthusiasts love them. Looked like a solid truck at a very reasonable price.

    Like 1
  10. racer99

    Interior Pic — again, mostly of the major components were sourced from a salvage yard. All the interior trim parts are now available aftermarket (wasn’t necessarily the case when I built mine) so that you can go as mild or wild with the interior as you want.

  11. slickimp

    A buddy of mine had one a shorty like this back in mid 90s it had a 350 Buick in it that truck was a goer

  12. Sky

    Believe it or not I bought this truck ! I originally went to buy it to resale and make a few bucks. I brought my 13 year old son with me that day . He took one look at it and fell in love. So we are building him a unibody. Sorry Scotty but it is not going back to original. I have a built fuel injected 302 with aluminum heads already for it. We are putting a mustang II suspension up front with a 4 link in the rear on full air ride. He has been working his butt off cleaning and doing the tear down . I have been one proud dad watching and helping him. He was very excited to see your article!

  13. ROGER DAVIS

    I’ve had one for a long time and it’s almost done but due to unforseen medical issues I’m not able to go any further.

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