A Beautiful Body: 1961 Ford F-100 Unibody

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Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

If I said you had a Ford Unibody would you hold it against me?.. to paraphrase the Bellamy Brothers. This Ford Unibody/beautiful body is a 1961 Ford F-100 Unibody and it’s in Nacogdoches, Texas, about fifty miles west of the Louisiana border. It can be found on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $9,500 or make an offer.

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Mmm mmmm, I love me some Ford Unibody! This one is priced higher than I expected it to be, but overall it does look good, with not much if any rust-through other than some work that’ll be needed on the floors. This baby has patina-a-plenty, there’s no question about it. But, there is also some rust lurking under the surface and in the cracks and crevasses. This truck is from Arizona so that has helped to preserve things more than normal.

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Ford made the Unibody pickup from 1961 to 1963 and they were originally known as “integrated pickups”. They were a bit cheaper to make because fewer stampings were needed, but the market wasn’t too receptive after stories started trickling in of owners having trouble opening the doors of overloaded trucks. Whether that’s a rumor or not, the Unibody was only around until mid-1963.

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The previous owner bought this truck in hopes of turning it into a resto-mod with oversized wheels and a modern drivetrain but, after driving it for a while they couldn’t bear to cut it up or modify it in any way. Original is king and this one is original. The seller says that while there is “desirable surface rust showing through the paint, there is no known areas of rust that has eaten away at any of the metal. Additionally, there is no known body filler on the truck and there are no major dents or body damage.” I’m not sure if I’ve heard the term “desirable surface rust” before!

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The floors do look like they need some help, or at least help in preserving them with a good sanding and primer and some floor mats. Supposedly this truck drives perfectly and will cruise at highway speeds in smooth, virtually-vibration-free comfort, or as much smoothness and comfort as any 1961 Ford F-100 pickup could possibly provide. The gauges all work; well, there are only two gauges, a temperature gauge and a fuel gauge, and also two warning lights for the generator and oil pressure. I guess, technically, the speedometer and odometer are gauges, just for the record.. There are no engine photos, which is super weird. This truck has the 223 cubic-inch inline-six with around 135 hp and it also has a three-on-the-tree manual transmission. One of these days I just have to get one of these Unibody pickups. What do you think about this one, is it worth $9,500? Would you restore it or just maintain it and drive it?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    These are rare indeed. And the stories are true, of people being trapped in their truck with a load in the box. The flexed that much. I believe, cracks would develop behind the doors, and that’s why pickups have a separate box. This is a great example, however, I’d check the front cab mounts, right below where your feet are, which looks rusty, and was a sore spot for these, although, replacement mounts are available, it’s a big job. Cool find. Um, anybody else notice, the F-100 side spears on the hood are facing the wrong way?




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    • geomechs

      Hi Howard. Too late a night last night. I knew there was something wrong but couldn’t see through the cobwebs. Thanks for pointing that out!




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    • DAN

      yup, frame bends
      I see tons of old 70s chevys with the banana shape from hauling big firewood loads,lol

      1/2 tons with 1 ton loads, he he




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      • Loco Mikado

        That is why late 60’s-early 70’s 3\4 ton Dodge LWB PU’s are ones to buy. Haul 80 sheets of sheetrock(4100 lbs) no problem. Once took mine over the scales at the dump at over 13,000lbs gross. Of course it had a trailer that was made out of another Dodge PU LWB box, axle and frame and both were loaded to the hilt.




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  2. JW

    OH the days of a basic pickup interior with a rubber floor mat that you cleaned with a wisk broom and a garden hose. I truly miss those days before trucks became middleclass mainstream family haulers rather than pickup trucks.




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  3. dirtyharry

    You would have to pry $9,500 from my cold dead fingers. No, it isn’t worth it. With the economy looking shaky, I expect the collector car market to soften, so buying something overpriced will make things that much worse. There is nothing special here.




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  4. Mike

    I bought a 62 and after getting it home discovered a large crack in the bottom of the cab floor, right behind the seats, hard to see without either putting it on a lift or crawling around under it. Of course it was my own problem then.
    Dad had a fix for it because he had learned of a repair that Ford did to them back in the day, We welded frame braces and body braces to it the strengthen the weak point. After we put it back together and repainted it, it went on the auction block, I made a little on it so it was worth getting rid of, but never again.
    For $9500.00 to high in my book, maybe $7000.00 but it better be a great looking truck for even that price, and have a good looking engine in it, or a least one that looks like it had been taken care of on a regular basis!!




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  5. geomechs

    A guy working on the farm traded his Studebaker Conestoga on one similar to this. I remember it being yellow and white but otherwise a new SWB Unibody Ford. He put a cap on the bed and that’s where the kids rode. When it was cold they had a pile of blankets to keep them warm. One day they loaded up their belongings and kids and headed for places east. He had an opportunity to farm out there someplace. I sometimes wonder what happened to that truck? Probably became the farm truck and used as such…




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  6. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    While the cool factor is undeniable, who at Ford thought this was a good idea, engineering wise? Seems like a bad idea, structurally…




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  7. MeToo

    Closed, no buyer. Gee, no one wanted to pony 9k for this? I’m shocked! Shocked I tell ya! And I LOVE mid_60’s Ford pickups. I drove a 1966 with a six banger from Minot AFB ND to Eilson AFB in Alaska. I left the day after Xmas 1973. A real experience that I would never care to repeat even today. And if I had not had the ND cold weather experience, I doubt I would have lived through it. No cell phones. No triple A




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  8. OhU8one2

    Being a born and raised in Arizona, I can honestly say that the truck is most definitely from the northern part. No way in hell would there be that much rust if it was in the southern part. For me,I would pass on this one. Unibody is just not for me,no matter condition or price.




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  9. Rolf Poncho 455

    grate shape for me i like




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  10. Kevin

    There are at least two within a few miles of me.




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  11. Kevin

    I’m not a Ford fan but I’d proudly drive this one…..and not overload it. Located NE of Rock Valley, Iowa. Interested? I have his number.




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    • Ralph Terhune

      I like this Custom Cab pickup. Have you got his number handy, Kevin?




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      • Kevin In Iowa

        I took a bunch of pictures there in December 2013. I was there again last month and this Ford is still there. A word of warning, he’s tough on his prices. His name is Jim and his cell is 712-470-3083. If you’re heading out there give me a holler and I’ll help you navigate his scrap yard.

        I brought a Facebook friend from Ohio out there last year to buy a couple VW Bugs, one was a ’55 oval in just about the worst condition possible and of course, no title. Jim wouldn’t budge @ $1000. I wouldn’t have paid more than 50 bucks.




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  12. Kevin

    And, it’s a custom cab!




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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Kevin, great pics, however, I believe there’s a good reason both trucks have door closing issues. They are bending in the middle. I do like the custom cab. That was a pretty rare option, as most were just plain pickup trucks. I bet the black one was( and probably still could be again), a snazzy looking truck, for the time.




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