Classified Find: 1973 Ford F-350 Camper Special

As they grew in popularity from the 1950s through into the 1970s, slide-on campers grew larger and more elaborate. This came at a cost because they also grew heavier at the same time. Finding a vehicle onto which an owner might fit their camper wasn’t that difficult because manufacturers offered a wide variety of models. One of the more interesting was the Ford F-350 Camper Special. This particular example is in above average condition for its age, and the owner has decided that the time has come to part with it. The F-350 is located in Livingston, Montana, and has been listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. It can be yours for $18,000.

The F-350 is finished in what I believe to be a combination of Candyapple Red and Wimbledon White. The paint isn’t perfect, but it still presents extremely well. The clear is peeling off the hood, but the rest of the paint looks good. There are a few marks and scratches, but there’s nothing that would require urgent attention. Alternatively, the buyer could tackle those imperfections in a home workshop. There is a small dent in the front right fender, but once again, this is insignificant. Rust is not an issue, with the entire vehicle remaining clean and solid. The camper shell is in good condition and offers some added versatility. The buyer could leave it in place and throw some basics and a mattress in there for camping. Removing the shell to fit a slide-on camper would be an easy task. With slide-on campers of this era becoming heavier, vehicle stability began to be questioned. Ford offered a unique and ingenious solution. The Camper Special is a long-bed pickup, but the rear axle was pushed back, which extended the wheelbase by a full 7 inches. This allowed for better weight distribution and made a significant difference to overall stability.

Buyers in 1973 were offered a wide choice of engines in the F-Truck range. In this case, what rests under the hood is the 390-2V V8. This is backed by a C6 automatic transmission, while the vehicle also features power steering and power front disc brakes. The F-350 has a genuine 81,400 miles on the clock, and the engine has received a rebuild in the past. The drivetrain combination should provide more than enough power and torque for towing, and it has done the majority of its work on the highway. The fact that the vehicle is fitted with a towing hitch means that a trailer is an alternative if a slide-on camper is not the preferred option for the next owner. The Ford is equipped with dual tanks, but the rear tank is not used due to a leak. This could either be repaired or replaced to extend the vehicle’s range on the road. The interior is in good condition, with only some light wear on the original seat upholstery. The F-350 has been fitted with slip-on seat covers since new, which has helped its cause. The headliner is also hanging down slightly on the driver’s side, but this should be an easy fix. The pickup is fitted with factory air conditioning, but the compressor is faulty. This will need to be repaired or replaced. However, none of these minor issues will impact operation, so the F-350 is ready to hit the road right now.

I look at this 1973 F-350 Camper Special, and I can see a wide variety of uses for it. The vehicle could be used with a slide-on camper, or it should not raise a sweat hauling a reasonably large trailer. I have seen one of these used to tow a race car, and the large bed makes it perfect for this role as it can also carry a respectable load of spares and tools for that purpose. What I find most attractive about this Ford is its honesty. The owner doesn’t try to paint it as something it isn’t. This is a clean and tidy survivor. It isn’t perfect, but its condition is good enough to grab plenty of attention and favorable comments wherever it goes. It is waiting for the right person to slip behind the wheel and hit the road for a life of adventure.

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Comments

  1. Mike

    47 year old pick up with 81,000 miles that had a rebuild sometime in the unknown past, broken air conditioner , leaking gas tank, clear pealing on hood means its not original paint, no 4 wheel drive, and will get terrible gas mileage and ride terrible without a load. 18,000 seems a far stretch to me.

    Like 16
    • petemcgee

      Comparable trucks are 1/2 this price.

      Like 3
  2. Connecticut Mark

    This was 500.00 dollar truck I would pass on 20 years ago. Now even more, pass .

    Like 4
  3. Charles tubbs

    I had a 79 version of this with a 460, it rode like a forklift and had big drinking problem, although it was a conversation starter , I did like where the spare tire was held and the true double wall bed, kinda miss it now, it was a very strong truck.

  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    The truck needs all that,& they still want all the money?
    For that price,I’d expect it to be in like-new condition.That said,these
    are really cool trucks,if you need to tow/haul a heavy load.
    I looked at a few of these a few years ago.They were going for reasonable money then (under $2500).
    That top looks familiar – Bell was a company in
    Kalispell,Montana (Highway 93 South) that made trailers
    & pickup canopies.

    Like 1
  5. Daniel Wright

    My dad had an f250 from the early 70s. It had auxiliary gas tanks and needed them. We drove it with a slide in camper on many family vacations..I remember the 390 being LOUD…the truck had both glasspacks and a cracked exhaust manifold.

    Like 1
    • Tman

      Yes. Very loud truck. I had a 67 Dodge D-200 and dropped a 360 in it with dual Cherry Bombs and exhaust exiting ahead of the rear tires. Neighbors complained every morning I started it up. It’s no wonder it didn’t collapse the tunnels I drove it through. But was an improvement over the poor tired out 318

  6. Todd Blair

    Should also have the bigger rear wheels and tires.

    Like 1
    • petemcgee

      Todd Blair the “super single” oversize rear tires were an option, not standard equipment. I’ve owned SCS trucks equipped both ways.

      Like 1
  7. Guggie 13

    I had an 1973 F250 camper special set up like this F350 ,less the A/C and front disc brakes , I hauled an 11 1/2 ‘ Coachman slide in camper , pulling either my Bass boat or a pair of snow machines depending on the season . I had 10.00 16.5 ten ply rated tires , traveled all over the country with this set up never had problem one , gas mileage was ok for what it was , needed two tanks , gas was cheap then . Drove it for 9 years until the tin worm got it , loved that truck . That being said this truck is a good truck but the price is not .Good luck to the seller

    Like 1
  8. Dave Mathers

    Ford offered that Camper Special with a 140″ wheelbase AND the side storage box on the passenger side. The dual tanks had a manual switching valve unlike the power switch that arrived later. I sold a bunch of those many with that exact paint combo.

    Like 1
  9. lbpa18

    He’s asking Bozeman money. Its just around the corner so maybe he’ll get it. To the rest of us, its just a good truck worth good truck money, about one eighth the asking price.

    Like 3
  10. Ben Leighton

    Brings back fond memories of my dad’s 75 F-250. Same color. 351 v8 could not get out of it’s own way though.

  11. Morley

    Less than 20 grand, seems cheap considering a new Tremor would be over 100 grand The useless things we want. and they say the world is in a recession???????????

  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    Lots of these out west. Farmers bought them, used them as farm trucks then slid in a massive camper and pulled the boat to Duck Lake for a weekend of beer drinking along with some fishing. Plenty hard on gas out of the chute but put a set of dual exhausts on it, recurve the advance and replace the stock carburetor with a Holley 500 2bbl and you had a totally different truck both performance wise and economics. Those FE engines could pull well once you turned them loose…

    Like 1

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