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Aim High: 1965 Ford F-100 Stepside

“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, Climbing high into the sun..”.. Try getting that song out of your head now. This is a former Air Force truck – a 1965 Ford F-100 Stepside. It can be found on Craigslist or here on the CL archive with an asking price of $2,600. It’s located in gorgeous Camas, Washington.

The seller has owned this former Air Force F-100 “for over 20 years it has been a great work truck”, and they even use it as a daily driver. It sure has a great look to it, doesn’t it? Unfortunately there is quite a bit of rust here and there, especially on the floor boards.

My brother had a 1964 Ford pickup and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I really like the unibody and/or integrated pickups but the stepside box is my second favorite. I think this would be a super fun truck to run around town with. The bed floor needs a bit of TLC but it comes with a couple of extra fenders. Extra parts are always a good thing.

The interior is where a good portion of the rust repair work will take place, under that period rubber floor mat. The seat could use some help, too, but otherwise things don’t look horrible inside. How’s that for a ringing endorsement? There are a couple of cool stickers on the dash that I’d hate to lose during a restoration.

The seller says that the 6-cylinder engine “runs and drives good, starts up fine.” I think it would be fun to either get everything up to snuff and drive it as it looks now, or go nuts and restore it back to how it would have looked as a brand new Air Force truck. How would you restore this one?

Comments

  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    It looks like a good basis for a restoration – I’d probably put it back into USAF livery, just to be different.

  2. Michael

    I am an Air Force Veteran, and absolutely love this truck. Fix the bad rusty spots, maintain and drive it! I would never remove the Air Force lettering.

    • half cab

      Amen brother n thank you for your service.

      • PatrickM

        I am a retired USAF Tsgt. We had a few of these in our maintenance squadron fleet. (Mostly Dodges) I would restore it to full USAF, with newer style paint…so it will last longer. How many heads do you think that will turn?

  3. Bob

    I remember this model was commonly used as a “follow me” vehicle that would guide transient aircraft to the parking area.
    My brother had this truck with the Ford six, and he thought it was the best engine he ever owned.
    Bob

    • Metoo

      If it’s a 240 6cyl, can’t be beat. I bought a number of old surplus AF pickups in my years in Alaska in the 70’s & 80’s. I was even able to buy one that had been my old shop truck (civil engineering squadron). The AF bought bare bones vehicles. Any veteran here can tell you, we drove them hard, treated them like crap, and they just kept going. Someone mentioned “Follow Me” vehicles. That would be sweet to buy. Something that never left the flightine or driven over 35 mph? Even better than fire dept vehicles I have seen here.

  4. Derek F

    It’s amazing this truck’s AF livery has remained relatively intact all these years!

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very nice for sure. I’d restore it to original livery but I would have a bit of a personal tug-o-war about using the original ID. If I did add the number I would probably cut it out of vinyl and it would be easier to remove.

  6. Steve M

    I HATE PATINA, I cant believe Im typing this, but I would clear coat it as is (gas hole style), and restomod the suspension and drivetrain, maybe an EcoBoost 6. This truck is madd cool

  7. Yoopermike

    Owned a Navy truck just like this one. Had it for many years. Sold it for $2500. I see it running around with a V8 with loud pipes.Same thing I would have done when I was abit younger.

  8. Mark in WNC

    I’m not saying this isn’t an old Air Force truck but the lettering on the doors is not right. It is “AIR FORCE” not “AIRFORCE” and there should be registration numbers just below that starting with “65B” then four numbers. This brings back memories of my time in the Air Force. I’ve often thought about building a tribute AT truck. Nice truck,too bad it’s so far away.

  9. Timo

    I’d keep the six. I’ve had several cars/trucks with them, slant six, ford 300, chevy 250, Nissan 2.8 (280Z) and never had any problems. Straight sixes are like the B52, another 100 yrs on and they’ll still be going

  10. JW

    My dad was in the air force and he was a painter so he did most of the lettering and insignias on the planes and trucks. He was a Ford truck guy and would love this truck if he was still around.

  11. Jred

    Still serving in the AF myself… as another stated we beat the tar out of out trucks, and they never made it over 35 mph– I’d only fix rot issues, leave it as it is. — -Although I do have a 400 hp 351 Cleveland sitting . Would be very tempting to make a very unique sleeper.

  12. Rube Goldberg Member

    Nice truck, I’d love to have it. Hard to tell if it’s a 300 or 240, but apparently ’65 was the only year they were painted black. The lettering is odd, but not sure why someone would fake that if it’s even legal. While patina is ok sometimes, I’d paint this truck 1st thing.

  13. Memories

    Leave it alone 👍👀

    I am calling this one ….😎

    My dad was stationed in PI in 70s and shipped one like this back from Clark AFB that sold off old inventory.

    It was blue first then deluxed by locals with lacquer gold paint , black raised two inches in padding leather seats and stuffed dash cover and leather cover for bed that had mahogany inserted for wood.

    I would get mechanicals going brakes, engine tuned and drive as is ✅

  14. On and On On and On Member

    Love the suicide knob. Don’t button your cuffs.

  15. gaspumpchas

    Sweet truck!! Good luck to the new owner–btw I think 65 was the first year for the 240??

    Built Ford Tough!!

  16. Pete Phillips

    There is one of these former Air Force Base trucks running around my town in northeastern Texas–I see it about once a month, same year, same color, same engine and drive train–1965 Ford step-side. The guy uses it as a daily driver and the engine sounds great. Perrin Air Force Base was near here; closed down in 1970 or so, and that’s where this local truck came from.

  17. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972 Member

    Great looking truck. I’d freshen up the paint after rust repair and drive it every day. Those straight sixes were tougher than a bag of hammers and go forever with regular maintenance.

  18. matt

    Ford is flareside Chevy is stepside

  19. Larry Elletson

    The AF Follow Me/Chase truck would be one of modified Chevy El Caminos that we had at Beale AFB, CA. They were used to call down the U-2 aircraft. Beale was a SAC base and home to the SR-71, the B-52, and the KC-135 (Boeing 707 fueled). Most of the official trucks were Dodges. The BUFFs (B-52) moved out and we got in the U-2s along with their El Camino chase vehicles. The chase vehicles were also used to pickup the “Pogo Sticks” that were dropped following takeoff. After the U-2 was replaced by the TR-1, the chase vehicles changed to Camaros, Mustangs, and the occasional Pontiac G8.

  20. mike

    I have a 66 just like. I saved it from the crusher, when I lived in TN. It’s not as nice as this one, but it will be, once my shop gets an open space for it. A 460 and a top loader, disc brakes….it’ll be fun to drive

  21. Jeff Rowsam

    Scotty, Could you e mail me a clear close up pic of the military data plate on the dash. I’m restoring one just like yours but the data plate was removed before I got the truck. I need to find a blank tag or have one made.

    Thanks

    Jeff

  22. David W

    My Dad had two of these in the 1970’s….Back then, you could put in sealed bids for government surplus vehicles…..He won a 1965 F100 shortbed stepside ex-Air Force truck in 1972…and then won another identical ex Air Force truck in 1974…..He drove the first one until 1978, parted it out and saved parts from it to use on the 2nd truck which he drove until 1990.

    He drove the trucks 50 miles a day on his daily work commute and the 240 sixes never complained….He found a 4 speed manual transmission in a wrecking yard and converted the 2nd truck from a 3 speed manual to a 4 speed when the 3 speed shift linkage began giving problems with binding up during shifts.

    He found a rust free cab, radiator support and inner fenders advertised from a company out in the Western US and was in the midst of restoring the truck when he passed away in 2001….The truck got sold to a restorer after that.

    Like 1

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