Explorer Package: 46K Mile 1978 Ford F-150 Ranger

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

I believe this time capsule 1978 Ford F-150 Ranger with Explorer package is Candyapple red and it has to be one of the nicest ones left. It only has traveled 45,980 miles over the last 46 years and the seller says it’s still wearing its original paint and it’s never been painted or even touched up. They’re a dealer, one of two dealers who have owned it for a total of three owners since it was new.

This truck is like a Faberge egg or other trophy that gets passed around, although this truck is a perfectly functioning machine, not just a display piece. I’d rather have this F-150 than a Faberge egg myself, value notwithstanding. Speaking of value, Hagerty places a #3 good-condition value of $18,600 on this truck and a #2 excellent-condition value of $35,900 on it. And those values are with a 302 V8, this truck has a 351 V8.

The Explorer package adds some luxury to the already very nice Ranger trim-level F-series pickups, but the Ranger Lariat would have been the top model. I love the wheels and this is a rear-wheel drive truck, of course, not a 4×4. In tracking down some information on this truck, I noticed that it was in a May 2023 Mecum Auction and didn’t sell at $32,000, so plan on spending at least that much if you want to see it in your driveway.

The sixth-generation F-series pickups were made from 1972 for the 1973 model year, until the end of the 1979 model year in the U.S. and a bit longer in Argentina. As expected, the interior appears as new with not much to report for flaws. Although this pickup is somewhat similar to our old ’69 F-250 Ranger Camper Special, it looks like quite an update to see a nicer dash and other upgraded interior bits. We don’t get to see inside the bed, which is unusual, or really any usable underside photos. I’m guessing that it looks great in those two areas, too.

The clean and shiny engine compartment houses what was an optional engine for this truck – it was standard in the F-350 but optional in the others – a 351-cu.in. OHV V8, which had 156 horsepower and it sends power through an automatic transmission to the rear wheels. It runs like a charm, as expected, and the seller has it listed here on eBay in Canandaigua, New York where the current reserve-not-met bid price is $15,400. I’m guessing their reserve is at least double that price. Any thoughts on this beautiful pickup?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Thank you Scotty. My favorite generation of F-Series, With the Explorer trim package (Ford has certainly gotten a ton of mileage out of that name, haven’t they), including the stripes and wheel covers, it illustrates to me that all trucks don’t need to be jacked up with oversize tires and wheels to look good.

    Likely pricey, but illustrative of a hot market for vintage trucks.

    Like 16
  2. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    Im going to 100 percent agree with Bob on this one. This is one of my favorite generations of F series. I think because its from my childhood. I remember these trucks. I especially remember those full size wheel covers. Dont ask me why, but I do. As an 8 to 10 year old kid I liked them and saw them on Ford pickups and vans a lot back in the 70s, and if this were mine, those wheel covers are staying exacly where you see them now. I love em. This is a super clean truck, I also agree with Bob its pricey, but hey, if you find the right buyer who wants it, thats all it takes. To me its super clean under the hood and Im impressed the vacuum hoses are all appearing to be hooked up still as well. Hope it gets a great new home, with a nice garage or barn ( with a concrete floor and insulated this old girl deserves the best).

    Like 13
    • Yblocker

      A concrete floor is the worst, a wood floor is best for storing classics, especially in a humid climate

      Like 2
      • Big C

        Maybe so. But my front door isn’t quite wide enough to get my old Mustang onto the living room floor. I have to suffer with concrete.

        Like 7
  3. Rw

    Nice one.

    Like 5
  4. Bear

    I had a ’78 or ’79 F250 4×4 with the 351 engine.
    Bought it from the original owner (a good friend of mine) & drove it from Scottsdale AZ to Wichita KS, & then to Little Rock AR (…when I moved there).

    It was a head turner.
    All original paint, & not a dent or scratch anywhere.
    Sparked many the conversation, from random admirers, at gas stations. (…often shifting from “nice truck” to “how’s the gas-mileage?”, which usually sparked a round of healthy laughter!)

    Unfortunately, some “jack-hole” stole it one night from my apartment’s “gate secured” parking lot shortly after I arrived in Little Rock.
    It was literally parked less than 10 yards from where I was sleeping, fully alarmed, Clubbed, and kill-switch enabled.
    I guess the thief REALLY wanted it, & apparently really knew what they were doing. (They left no trace of the truck. Just an empty parking spot. Never saw it again. I was devastated!!)

    I’m ASSUMING that it was likely parted out.
    All of that rust free & super straight OEM sheetmetal was likely worth much more in parts than the truck was as a whole.

    I still look twice every time I see one on the road.
    …& I wonder “Is that my truck?” (…or perhaps parts of it?)

    Like 7
    • Jesse

      That’s a damn shame, Bear! I hate to hear that story!

      Like 5
  5. Yblocker

    What’s unusual here, is the Explorer package was typically added to the “Custom”, the base model, as Rangers had side moldings, this truck has none. Explorers also typically came with aluminum bed rails, none here. Kinda strange, not the way I remember them from back in the day, but then, I’ve probably killed a lot of brain cells since then lol. Beautiful truck regardless, I’d take it

    Like 5
  6. BCB42

    Not sure I’d bid on a NY truck without a bed or under shot. Just sayin….

    Like 2
    • JWH14580

      I agree with BCB42. Awfully old for that part of the country to think it hasn’t seen it’s share of salt

      Like 2
    • Erich

      Agreed, however, living 40 minutes away from this truck I can tell you, if it had seen salt, you wouldn’t see it here as these trucks around here, no longer exist. We employ what they call “winter beaters” to keep nice vehicles safely stored away for the winter. It looks like this one was very pampered.

      Like 3
  7. Nelson C

    These are sweet looking trucks. This one in particular is a good color with great features. As much as I favor the square body GM’s that I grew up with this is an easy choice to go with.

    Like 3
  8. Wademo

    The best generation for these trucks, in my opinion. Better than anything else made at the time. I never would have believed that they would ever bring these prices, though.

    Like 4
  9. Bob P

    I thought the ‘78 had round headlights and the ‘79 got the square headlights, I could be and probably am wrong but the ‘78 I had did have round headlights.

    Like 2
    • Yblocker

      An ongoing debate. The 78 base model “Custom” had round headlights, the “Ranger” and up, had rectangle headlights. In 79, they ALL had rectangle headlights. And Ford was the first to offer rectangle headlights on a truck. Class dismissed

      Like 0
  10. michael gross

    I have had several in the past. I think the headlights were changed near the end of the 1978 model year. I have h
    seen 1978’s with both styles.

    Like 3
  11. Big C

    My ’78 had the square headlights. F100 shorty, silver with the 351. I still prefer the 73-77 with the eyebrow turn signals, though.

    Like 2
  12. Nelson C

    I believe headlamp shape was a matter of model or decor. Custom should have had round lights and rectangular as you went up in trim.

    Like 1
  13. Joe Haska

    I like seeing these trucks ,because I have a 1973 in very similar condition. Except it is a short box, 2WD, 302 3 speed, and has factory A/C and disc brakes. It has been in storage since at least 1980, this turned out to be a bad thing and a good thing. Everything looked brand new, but it didn’t work like brand new, it was all over 50 years old. I had to replace many more parts than I expected, my total investment is between 30 and 35 thousand, but it looks like it is brand new and it drives like it too. So I am encouraged when I see a truck like this one, that I did the right thing.

    Like 3

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds