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Barn Find Ford: 1954 Ford F-Series

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This hidden gem is in Batesville, VA, just southeast of beautiful Charlottesville, former home of Thomas Jefferson. This cool, black truck is posted here on craigslist for an asking price of $9,300. The seller lists this truck as an F-150 but I think this is actually an F-100. This is a 1954 Ford F-Series pickup with what the seller says is a “factory made camper shell”. It’s supposedly been stored since 1980 so it’ll need your talents to get it back on the road again.

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This fang-faced Ford has to be one of the most sought-after pickups ever: an early-mid-50s Ford F-Series pickup. Not to mention that this one has supposedly has a flathead V8, which wouldn’t have been available in 1954, and a three-speed manual transmission. 1953 was the first year that an automatic transmission was available on the F-100, but luckily this one has three pedals.

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This second-generation F-Series Ford was made from 1953 to 1956 and the seller mentions that this is a flathead V8 vehicle, but I think that 1953 was the last year for the Ford flathead V8 in pickups. It was replaced by the already two-year-old Y-Block overhead-valve V8 with 15-20 more hp than the flathead had. So, although it probably didn’t look as cool, it was most likely a nice upgrade. Of course, there are no engine photos, and the seller says that this one is “stuck”; bummer. But, you can get it sorted out, I’m sure.

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It’s hard to tell what the interior is like from the dark and grainy photos, but it doesn’t look too bad from what’s shown in the two photos. Why sellers don’t take more time to snap better photos I’ll never know. This one looks like it has the optional sun visors but not the arm rests. And, there are no photos of the headliner to tell if it has an optional dome light. These were work trucks, no question about it with “options” for things that have been standard equipment in cars for decades. I’m pretty sure that a latte maker comes as standard equipment in a 2016 F-150, if I’m not mistaken.. (just kidding)

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This looks like the more desirable 6 1/2-foot box as opposed to the 8-foot box. Unlike with some other things, the shorter the pickup box the higher the desirability and value, it seems like. This truck is about 1,000 to 2,000 pounds lighter than a 2016 Ford F-150 so you’ll be able to trailer it home with ease. This is one cool truck, no matter what engine it has or what F-Series designation it is. This is a bucket list vehicle for me, how about you? Or, do you already have one?


  1. hhaleblian

    Home of Thomas Jefferson and don’t forget David John Matthews.

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  2. JW

    Factory made camper shell just not by Ford, nice addition to try and boost price that I would throw in the nearest dumpster. I wish I had come across this gem as I’ll almost bet this seller paid 2 or 3K for it and now wants 10K, I would get it running, put some nice cragars with some new tires and brakes on it and drive it.

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    • Mike L.

      By the looks of the rear logo (The Alaskan Camper name imbossed over a set of moose horns) this shell was made by Alaskan Campers Inc. They started manufacturing shells back in 1953. So what you have here is a barns find truck and truck camper that might have been sold to the original owner of this truck back in 1954! I am not sure if there is a way to date the shell, maybe a serial number? More research is needed! Would this package increase the value of this truck? Definitely not a item you would throw away!

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  3. Woodie Man

    For an East Coast truck looks pretty good on the outside. As to the shell, well it does fit the particular tailgate configuration pretty well…but I suppose manufacturers could have made them for specific trucks. The price is just crazy when you figure in there are no pix of the engine, the underside….the bed and the engine is “stuck”. Folks who find trucks serve a purpose in the old car ecosystem…..its just I wish they felt that value added included actually making the damn thing run.

    Five grand tops and thats being generous.

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  4. boxdin

    There was one factory camper shell in 1978 with Ford, but no other exists with Ford or any other manufacturer.

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  5. Ed P

    If the seller wants top dollar, he should provide more and better pictures. Also, at this price, the engine should at least run.

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  6. Kornmanone

    I like it but wow he’s asking a lot of money for it. With some smart shopping I think a personal could do better.

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  7. Howard A Member

    Yeah, may be expensive, but it’s down from $13,999 on another site ( in Hobart, Ind). It may be a dealer offered top, I can’t, however, find any on images that were for a step-side. ( except home-made ones) Scotty is right, these mid-50’s are popular, I had no idea they were THIS popular. I’d give them $1,000, and not a penny more.

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  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    It could be a Canadian built truck. The Canadians must have had a surplus of flatties because they kept building the basic cars and trucks with them through most of the year. Nice truck by the way even if it’s a little beyond my budget.

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    Really cool if it still has the flathead, if not then a coyote motor. Gotta lose that cap though

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  10. Alan Brase

    That is not a 1954 model, in my estimation. 1954’s had the Y-block 239 overhead valve motor, and logo on front with a blocky Y behind the V8 emblem. I kinda treasure these to be used as they were built, perhaps upgrade a little in the power and safety areas, at least dual circuit brakes, radial tires, perhaps a replacement engine with a bit more power. But the flattie is quaint and also spooky quiet, and I think a good rebuild could be built with a stroker and a few more ponies and still be reliable. Sure, they all came equipped with 2/40 air conditioning. (2 windows, 40mph), and if you were gonna drive it across the desert, might wish for more. Maybe just take your epic old truck road trip to Alaska, instead?
    Yes, quite a bit too much money, or shine it up, get it driving, take better pics, and CONVINCE me it’s worth that much. If the seller will spend HIS time and treasure fixing the engine, fuel tank and lines, brakes, lines cylinders and hoses, and electrical to get it driving, then I’ll pay his price.
    NICE TRUCK, though.

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  11. Steve

    here’s a running one with a rebuilt 239, just noticed it on e-bay. Price is a bit more realistic I think.

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    • brian crowe

      Wow Steve this truck makes the ebay truck look new.

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  12. Jay

    One of the worst thing I have ever done was to sell my 54. It had been in what I call my family since new. My “uncle” godfather bought this in 1954 along with two other 1 ton grain trucks, tractor and a 80 special Massey Harris combine. I learned to drive with this truck at the age of 5. My uncle put blocks on all the pedals, I used manual choke to keep truck moving down field while my granddad and brother picked rocks. My Uncle always said he would give me the truck when he passed. He died in 1986 at the age of 98, but my granddad was still using the truck on the farm so I didn’t get the truck until 1990. I had the 239 rebuilt, should have put a bigger engine in as it cost me more to have it rebuilt. Put new shocks, tires and wheels, painted a navy blue with grey bumpers, grill and side boards. Drove it until 1994 when our second child was born. Because of seat belt laws and child safety seats we could not drive it as a family, so I ended up selling. I wish I could find it and buy it back but since we sold it through a dealer I don’t know. We live in Montana and were told it sold to someone from Maine. Since our girls are both raised now, I want to find a 1967 to 1988 stepside pickup as an everyday driver. I have never been a believer in not driving cars. Both the pickup and a 1967 4 door T-bird were driven every day that we had them. But I sure do miss this truck.

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  13. Tracy

    Greetings from Virginia, I don’t know who is selling it but I do know it would take me less than 15 minutes to get there should someone want me to take more pictures. I had seen it on CL here and thought it was a little rich for what it is. And no, should some of you know my barn find project, I haven’t had the chance to start it yet. In fact it is still on the trailer.

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  14. Lion

    Last year I was driving my unrestored, so quite beat, 1952 F1 around town when a guy flagged me down and offered me $1500.00 cash on the spot. (I live in south-east Saskatchewan just north of the Montana – North Dakota border.)
    So I said how would I replace my truck with $1500.00 ?
    Turned out this was one of these rich guys that come out from Ontario and buy up all the decent stuff and haul it back east to build rods out of.
    Hate guys like him but if you don’t go find this stuff somebody will grab it up.

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      There are order-buyers for big hot-rod shops all over the Chinook belt, from Montana to well into Canada.Their purpose: to buy up straight-bodied, low rust cars and trucks to send to California where they’re built into ‘Sky’s the Limit’ hot-rods. I don’t blame the shops or the buyers because there’s a high demand for custom pickups, but on that same note: I don’t have to like them either. I’ve had them show up at my place, wanting to buy my ’47 Ford parts truck, and my neighbor’s place trying to pry away his extra ’53 Ford. I might add that they picked up a ’38 Ford pickup that I’d been negotiating for, going onto 15 years (bought it from the guy’s wife). I doubt if they’ll be bothering me again, and they sure as hell WON’T be bothering the neighbor (Sid, the German Shepard, and the neighbor who is a lot more crusty than I am). I hope the guy who gets this one preserves it or fixes it up original; it will be one more that WON’T be unrecognizable in less than a year…

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  15. George Morrison

    If this is a 50 year anniversary truck then it likely had a flathead in it. Good friend of mine had one of these and it had a flathead. I know some of the late 54’s had ohv engines but I’ve also worked on 54’s with flatheads…. I reckon u could have the best of both worlds at least in 54

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