Budget Blank Canvas: 1948 Ford Pickup

For the person who is on the hunt for a classic pickup project that is a blank canvas, this 1948 Ford is a vehicle that might be worth a serious look. This is a very solid old girl, and with the original engine now nothing but a distant memory, the next owner will have the freedom to configure it exactly as they want. Located in Walker, Louisiana, the Pickup has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached a mere $830, and with the reserve having been met, this looks like it could have the potential to be a real bargain buy.

With 1948 marking the introduction of the first generation of the F-Series, this Pickup would be one of the last production examples of a series that can be traced back to 1941. It appears that this one started life finished in Sheridan Blue because there are some traces of that color visible in a few spots around the vehicle. The body wears its fair share of dings and dents, but what it appears to be seriously short of is rust. The photos aren’t the greatest, but they do show the floors as being solid. The steel sections of the bed floor also look pretty clean, along with areas such as the corners of the cab. Some of the glass will require replacement, as will some of the external trim, but from a project perspective, it all looks quite encouraging.

The interior of the Pickup will require restoration, but once again, how this is tackled will entirely depend upon the vision of the next owner. There is no seat, and while the dash is complete, everything is looking pretty tired. If the next owner is considering a faithful restoration, there will be a few items that would need to either be restored or replaced. One of these is the gauges, which are looking pretty sad. These could be restored, but a bit of searching allowed me to locate freshly restored units for sale for around the $670 mark. Not cheap, but it is a no-fuss solution. Of course, if restoration is not the aim, then the world is your oyster when it comes to interior equipment.

Sadly, the original 100hp, 239ci flathead V8 engine is nothing but a distant memory, but the original manual transmission is still present. The next owner could choose to source a replacement flathead to slot back into the engine bay, or they might want something with a bit more grunt. Once again, it will depend on the ultimate aim of this as a project vehicle, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see something more modern occupying this space in the future.

If the bidding on this 1948 Ford Pickup doesn’t liven-up in the near future, there is a real possibility that someone will score for themselves a solid projrct pickup at a very affordable price. I’d love to see someone grab this and return it to active duty. It is a true blank canvas, and the final result will only be limited by that person’s imagination.


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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    1948? Sorry, the newest that could be is a ‘47. The jail bar design came out in’42. Ford used the cab from ‘40-‘41 and the box and rear fenders from’38. A new frame with parallel leaf springs began the era. This one is likely a’46 or ‘47. A’45 is about as common as the winning Poweball ticket. The’45 and up had ‘Ford’ stamped into the hood sides whereas the’42 had it in potmetal that was bolted in place. The S/N would be the final word, of course, but I can ID them by the interior control knobs and the way the wiring harness is routed…

    Like 14
    • TouringFordor

      We had a ’45 F-6 with a dump bed on our farm. It was originally sold to a local coal yard, as coal was considered a civilian necessity.

      Like 2
    • Dave

      My grandfather’s 1948 F1 had a plate on the inside of the glovebox door that had the serial number and said that it made 90 horsepower.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        The actual VIN should be stamped on top of the frame just above the steering box. I’ve seen ID plates attached to the firewalls on some units but not all. The glovebox is a different one unless it might be a government issue…

        Like 2
  2. Gaspumpchas

    This looks like a decent start for a nice project. Good write up, Adam, and the sky is the limit. to me the orig flatmotor would be a good choice, but even with the drivetrain that’s left you could put a 283 in there and make it look stock, all pieces available. And that’s coming from a Ford nut! Hope someone who can appreciate this gets it. good luck to the new owner!

    Like 2
  3. Todd Zuercher

    As usual, geomechs is right – this isn’t a ’48!

    Like 3
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    There’s still enough left of this truck to make something really nice out of it. I’d probably source a wrecking yard engine and trans for it since I no longer keep things like that in inventory. Something low cost it doesn’t matter the brand or year. Make it driveable, and use it for trips to the lumber yard.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  5. Eric

    Yes indeed, not a 48 at all. Just thought I’d throw this out there for anyone reading this. I’ve been on the hunt for a tailgate of this era for a long time now. Definitely one in better shape than this. I don’t have a lot of connections in the car world, but I’ve contacted a lot of the big salvage yards out west and check ebay regularly. I’d probably be better off just buying a repop.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I once had two salvageable tailgates but both of them disappeared one night. I’ve hunted for a replacement and what I found was pretty dismal so a repro will have to do. I’ll still keep my eyes open for a good one…

      Like 1
      • Eric

        Dismal is definitely the word lol. Years ago when I first started looking there was a super nice original one on ebay somewhere out west, maybe AZ. Most likely original paint with just a slight cool haze of patina and straight as an arrow. But, stupid me thought an even better one might come along and passed. If I’d known then what I know now. Ever since all I see is overpriced rotten garbage.

    • Mike

      The pickup bed and tailgate were the same from ’42 Commercial Car to ’52 F-1. They would haul a 4×8 sheet of building material with the tailgate down and the chains attached.

  6. Howard A. Member

    Looks rough, but another great find. There simply can’t be many of these left. Judging by what the seller has, it can be saved, but again( and again), sam ting. If it was more complete, it would have more appeal, but as is, resto-mod city.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      The jailbar Fords were never quite as popular as the ones before or after. Myself, I’m happy with mine although a ‘38 is what really tickles my fancy. But you take what you can and appreciate it for what it is. I’m sure you’re right about a resto-mod. A 302/C4, a bolt-on IFS, and a Ford 8 or 9 inch rear would be a fairly economical change. However, owning and having driven one for many miles, I have no problems with a sometimes temperamental flattie that threatens to vapor-lock and decides to be hard to start hot; or to have a transmission that jumps out of 2nd every now and then. Or maybe I’m just used to it. These are actually pretty nice all restored…

      Like 3
    • fitz

      Rough? It’s a truck, that was used as a truck, and over 70 years old. I started with worse, mine was literally, in pieces when I got it. First driveline combo was a 302/c4/9″. Now an injected 5.0/4R70w/ 8.8. It ain’t perfect, but its a blast to drive…

      Like 3
  7. Dave Patten

    This is likely NOT the truck’s title! Model year is the first clue, but look closely at the title.

    Under “body” it says “4d”. The buyer should put some effort into the sale. I’d bet the VIN on the vehicle is NOT the one on the title.

    Like 1

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