BF Exclusive: 1984 Ford E350 Centurion Conversion

UPDATE: Mike has decided to hang onto this one.

I love oddball conversions and few are as odd or cool as this Centurion van conversion. Take an E350 van, cut the back half off of the body off, close up the opening, add a truck bed and you have yourself a van/truck hybrid capable of hauling the family in comfort while still being able to tow a fifth wheel trailer! Given that reader Mike M’s Centurion is a dually, I’m guessing that the actual conversion was a bit more involved than that, but it’s same basic idea. He has decided it’s time to part ways with this 1 ton van, so if you’d like to give it a new home, be sure to email him here. You can find it in Kirkwood, Illinois with a $3,500 asking price.

Mike didn’t give us much to go off of. He states that the body is in fair shape, but that it does need some work. I see some spots on the doors that need attention, but as long as the frame is solid, rust really shouldn’t be a huge concern.

He says that it runs and is drivable, which isn’t surprising. These 1 ton Fords were well built and can choke up some serious miles. Clean and tune it up, and you’d have a unique truck to haul with or hit up the local car events! One thing is for sure, you aren’t likely to see another one. So what do you think of this conversion?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Now HERE’S your horsey set truck. :)

  2. Billy

    I thought these were for pulling large fifth wheels. I bet there is (or was) a huge hitch in that bed. Would like to see inside the cab.

  3. Ralph Terhune

    I noticed that the two rear dually fenders are from different years, the right side being from an ’87-’97 and the left side being an ’80-’86. What’s up with that?

    • AMCSTEVE

      I don’t see the difference

      • LIL ABNER

        AMCsteve, look closely around the wheel opening, right side protrudes out further then the left and the right side does not have the indentation as the left. I think

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Left side, squarish/flat top arch, right side curved arch. Decidedly different.

        Not said is what motor this has. I’d be guessing a 460?
        Also, of concern is the direction that rust is heading. Bottom of the doors yes, but also leading edge of the hood, etc. Illinois is salt country too!

    • Mark S

      Good eye ,👍

  4. Woodie Man

    If you have to pull a fifth wheel…….

  5. LIL ABNER

    Ralph, good eye. I never would have noticed that.

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    Out west you used to see a lot of them. Chevies and Fords alike, they were mostly used to pull horse trailers to equestrian events. You’d see the odd one at a rodeo but rodeos were mostly 1-ton dually 4×4 trucks, the vast majority of which were/are diesel powered. I had a customer with one of these with the 6.9 diesel. We installed a turbocharger on it. The guy’s wife phoned when she got to her first show. “I just about didn’t want to get out of it,” she said. “It goes like Jack, the bear, and I don’t want to drive anything else!” I thought that maybe I was a little too generous when I ‘tweaked’ that DFWI screw, but I wouldn’t dare turn it back….

    • Mark S

      I agree Geomechs what this thing needs is a diesel. Of course I’m partial to cumins, you’d probably need to redesign the cowling inside. It would need some rust repair and fresh paint. Then you’d have something.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Mark. It’s interesting how geographical location can affect what some people choose for transportation. You get into the western prairies and the diesel population goes way up. We travel down to Aztec to see our daughter and family, or my brother in Las Cruces, and it seems that half the trucks are diesel powered. See a van or modified truck like this anywhere along I-15 and you’re far more likely to see it diesel powered than with a gas pot. I’m not beholden to any particular brand of diesel; I work on them all and they’ve all got their quirks.

        Like 1
  7. CJay

    The left fender is a 1986 the right fender is a 1987. They are fiberglass and are often broken.

  8. Scot Douglas

    I worked right down the road from where these were made. :)

  9. JW

    I like it and wish I had a need for it plus a prepaid 5K Visa gas card.

    Like 1
  10. hoberg

    i’m in illinois and that resembles a temp tag. Should have front tag also. Anyhow, Not enough pics or info. Reminds me of craigslist spam.

  11. CKKurtz Member

    Cool and funky rig for towing a 5th wheel trailer – Think vintage race car, horses, camper, etc. These types of tow vehicles were the norm back in the 80’s. Nostalgic today. I like it!

  12. Steve H

    Just another oddball Truckenstein.

  13. Myron

    I would say it is setup to haul a gooseneck trailer by the looks of the tailgate. It is set deeper than the normal fifth wheel tailgates. Like others have said horse haulers more than likely since most of those trailers are either bumper pulls or gooseneck trailers. I love seeing these things on the road.

  14. chad

    Cent. made the van based 1 & a Bronco based 1. I think Meteor (or some “M” named co. made the van style too – had issues @ glass/metal junction on the roof). The Cent. variation in the sm pic @ bottom of this 1’s galley is my fav.
    Been waiting 2 C them on here. Some even pulled ‘campers’. (460 gas or 2 different diesels). Cent is out of business & I think Superior bought them – is probable out of Biz too. Ck their clubs on-line.
    Even tho a ‘ford man’ like 2 hear more bout the chevys like these.
    Specialty vehicles but do that specialty quite well. (1 guy @ the track slept in his & towed the car & lrg inventory of prts/tools behind).
    Thanks Josh!

  15. HeadMaster1

    I used to have a Dodge Dreamer, which was the Dodge version of this, had a 440-4bbl, 1 side door on the back, a nice rear bench that folded into a bed…..fiberglass bed with Chevy tail lights

  16. Francisco

    Josh, I think the expression is “…chock up the miles.” That being said my E350 Ford van with Airstream motorhome conversion and 460ci can sure chock ’em.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Francisco, good one. I believe this truck would CHOCK up the miles, while it CHOKES down the gas. What do you think? Pulling a 20 foot horse trailer with gear, family, couple horses, I’m sure it has big tanks, so the fuel itself, stiff head wind. Could be in the “gallons per mile” range.

      • Francisco

        I’m sure this rig would do the job. My Airstream gets 10 – 12 mpg fully loaded. It tackles the Tennessee hill country with aplomb.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Eh, NO.
      The term is “CHALK up the miles”.

      As in, a chalk mark on a blackboard with each mile passed. Done with frequency and regularity, few interruptions/deviations in sequence/timing. The gaps here would come from gas stops….

      LOL, this kills me! Hahahahaha. “choke, chock,” LMAO

      Too funny.

      From a ‘net source:
      chalk up
      v.
      1. To earn or score something: The baseball team chalked up four runs in the last inning.
      2. To credit or ascribe something: Let’s just chalk the mistakes up to experience and try to do better on the next project.

      Like 2
      • Chebby

        Thank you.

        Like 1
      • Francisco

        I stand corrected. I guess I was thinking of a wheel chock.

        Like 1
  17. Jim

    I have a 1989 just put a 91 12 valve Cummins with a beefed up C 6 behind it I will post some photos of the job later as I do not have them on my computer yet .

  18. Al Norman

    is this 84 still for sale and how to contact thank you

  19. Valerie Hopkins

    Ok, MY question is: what’s the tow capacity of one of these? (And please don’t say “it’ll tow a horse trailer) specifics, please, as I have a toyhauler and even most affordable 350’s (around $10,000 used) don’t have the cajones to tow 12,000-15,000lbs

  20. Jess

    Still for sale?

  21. James

    They are great I have a 89 pulled the 460 out and put in a 12 valve love this truck and I can fix any thing that go’s wrong with it

    Like 1
  22. Troy Koser

    My dad owned this truck from about 1990 to 1995, give or take. This truck back then was something to see. We are in Wisconsin, but until we sold it, it had never seen a winter. This truck was absolutely beautiful. Had a matching burgundy soft snap on tonneau cover and was always waxed and shined to hilt. Had a ford 460 in it with a split transmission. The truck would pull. We pulled a steel 3 horse living quarter gooseneck all over the country. Trailer was unique in that it had a fifth wheel. The old fifth wheel in the truck was a beast. The inside was beautiful. Full classy conversion with curtains, lots of oak, lights ect…. When we sold It, it went a southern Baptist preacher that I believe went around building churches or something. Not sure where he was from. Such a shame to see it so rough. I will see if I can dig up a picture of it from in the day.

    Like 3
  23. James Rogers

    I bought one from a guy in California about eight years ago I live in Colorado paid 3000.00 for it flew out there and my son and I drove it back.
    Did a great job,but after a couple years I decided I wanted more pulling power so we put a 5.9 in it. still driving it now love the truck and still get a lot of thumbs up when out and about with it.

    Like 1

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