Cummins Powered! 1959 Ford F-100 4×4 Diesel

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This powerhouse is a 1959 Ford F-100 4X4 Diesel and it’s in Austin, Texas. It’s here on eBay with less than two days left on the auction and an unmet starting bid price of $9,999.

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This is a factory 4×4, the first for Ford in an F-Series pickup, and it has a non-factory Cummins turbo diesel for power. Ok, now this thing is cool! Marmon-Herrington used to make Ford’s 4WD trucks and in 1959 Ford was the first of the big-three truck makers to offer a factory-made 4WD system. Apparently this truck was “painted decades ago and stored in a barn since”, so it isn’t perfect. You can see some odd spots, especially towards the bottom of the box sides and bottom of the passenger door, which worries me thinking of rust. But, they say that there’s “very little rust for its age”, and “no major bondo”.. which means that there is some bondo, of course.

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I love the clamshell style hood on these trucks, our 1969 F-250 had that, too. The front bumper was extended and held a vintage Warn winch but some rascal made off with it so they replaced it with a new winch. I can imagine that this truck could almost pull over a sequoia with that Cummins diesel, the 4WD, and that winch. This restored 1959 Ford 4X4 sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction back in 2007 for $38,500!

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The interior recently got new weather stripping, seat cover, floor mat, and shift knobs. It looks pretty good in there. I was in Austin, TX about a week ago and it was 100 degrees, and sitting on that black vinyl seat in 100-degree weather doesn’t thrill me, maybe that’s why a lot of these trucks got the classic blanket seat covers? It looks like the steering wheel could use a little work, but I guess when you drive something like this you don’t beep the horn, you just drive over whatever is in your way. This one has a 4-speed manual transmission, of course.

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Here’s the heart of the beast, a Cummins 4BT Turbo Diesel. The seller mentions that this engine was put in years ago and it has proved to be a reliable swap. It has a “stage 1 30hp fuel pin and 3200rpm gov spring.” Geomechs? Howard? I’m guessing that’s a good thing but I don’t really know anything about diesels, other than I like them. The brakes and steering and everything else works great, but the speedometer cable needs to be lengthened and the oil pressure gauge sometimes sticks. Here’s a YouTube video of the owner starting and driving this truck, what a great sounding engine! What do you think about this creation? A factory 4×4 pickup with a Cummins diesel swap sounds pretty interesting to me!

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Comments

  1. Bingo

    I’m in for $6,000.

    Does that make me a cheapskate?

    Is cheapskate spelled right? Is it cheap skate? I don’t want any misspellings. Barn finds readers are harsh on that sort of thing. I’m so nervous. I hope it’s right. did I spell nervous right?

    HELP!!

  2. Bingo

    Did I spell misspellings right?

    My heart rate is high. I need a break. I need a brake.

    OH MY!!

  3. JW

    If I was still living in the country I would love this for a work horse pickup, not a daily driver though and 8K would be my top offer. Pickups trucks are just that a truck not a collectible musclecar so his starting price is higher than what he will get IMHO.

  4. Howard A Member

    I had a Tonka truck like this when I was a kid ( got flattened by a Buick) Well, here you go. Old truck, newer power. I have no idea what that stage 1 thing is, geomechs would know. Obviously sending more “juice” in the motor. I guess I was surprised to see the 4 cylinder when I heard diesel. I just figured it would have the 6.( looks like the 6 would fit) JW is right, make no mistake, these were a pain to drive on the highway. No mention of a gear swap, with a lower rpm diesel and stock gearing, I’d think 50 mph would be it. They rode like lumber wagons ( although, I’m not really sure how lumber wagons ride) all over the road, and like Scotty sez, not the most comfortable. Still, aside from the diesel quirks ( gas motors are just more civilized) this, I’m sure, would be the last truck you’d have to buy. For tough jobs, this would be great, if you were to use it for that. Looks solid underneath, cab mounts were a bad spot for these. Great find.

    • seth karpen

      A six cylinder Cummins would be to heavy without a lot of extra work

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Seth. A person might want to run a front axle truss and an extra leaf in each of the front springs to carry a 6 cyl. Cummins. It seems to me that they weigh in at around 900-1100 lbs. ready to go, depending on equipment. A much more effective door stop than the stock V8 out of that truck….

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. Lumber wagon? In all honesty I don’t think this would be any worse than your Diamond T. Maybe a Dodge 1-ton Power Wagon. I think most of this version of 4×4 came with 4.11s in them so I think this outfit would use almost all of that 3200 rpm to make 50 mph. Well, maybe 60. I had a ’75 Ford F-100 4×4 with 4.11 gears. That 360 was making noise at 60 mph and it definitely did NOT like 65, but I never ran a tach so I can only guess at the rpm. The newer trucks all run O/D so they’ve got it pretty good. I might add that I used to have a chart that listed approximate engine speeds with different axle ratios at different road speeds.

      • Mark S Member

        Hi geomechs 6 cyl. Cumins way in at 1150 lbs. and that’s the 5.9

  5. Dairymen

    If the gearing is right, that 4 cylinder diesel without any of the exhaust BS on it, that would do 30+ mpg very easy.

  6. Allan

    What a beast! I have no practical use for it, but man, that would be so much fun.

  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    A 4BT3.9? Like Howard, I was expecting to see the six cylinder version of this. Powerwise, the original 292 would probably be plenty. However, the diesel is already in there and will still do the job, albeit a little more slowly. You can get some pretty good ponies out of that motor but you are very limited to the Bosch VE injection pump. That fuel pin they talk about is only a device to disable the LDA (Luft Druck Anschlage) Yeah, it’s the boost control unit (diaphram) on top of the pump that is designed to limit smoke at low rpms. For this, it’s overkill in that if the LDA is properly set, you’ll never know it’s there. Just a quick puff of black off the line and it’s clear. Of course there are those who LOVE to roll coal.

    The VE pump can deliver the fuel, but only for a short time. Turning it up too high will cause it to self-destruct. The camplate and rollers will start to chip from the added pressure and pretty soon it is grinding its internals to powder. The six cylinder versions, we set to 180 hp and that’s it. One of these (4-bangers) is good for about 120. The internals of the motor will handle lots more. If you want to get some serious hp out of this motor you would want to convert it to one with an inline injection pump, preferrably a P-3000 or P-7100. You’ll get enough fuel to make that #4 piston evaporate….

    • Neal

      That all sounds like poetry! Geomechs, I want to be your apprentice. Help me put a 4BT into a scout?

  8. Ed P

    F-100 were 1/2 ton and fairly limited in load carrying capacity. That may be the reason for only a 4 cyl diesel.

  9. Clinton

    What do you diesel guys think top speed is on this beast? I didn’t watch the whole video but looked like he was in second gear as he made the first lefthand turn….going 2.5mph

  10. M B

    Trucks aren’t collectible? Check out the Mecum auctions for the “less substantial” ’54 Chevy 1/2 ton pickups? ALL are more like $35K when accurately “over-restored”. They don’t have nearly the ‘hones of this truck!

    In the middle 1980s, there seemed to be interest in using 4cyl diesels for conversions, whether a Perkins or a Cummins. Best to know the history of the particular motor and when it was last rebuilt!!

    Certainly a novelty item!

  11. ROTAG999

    Really talk about DWD or is it DWV i rather have something newer for 9k unless you had a big ranch to play with this thing. Not sure how safe it is on the road for everyday use steering does look pretty bad and brakes may need some work also.

  12. Loco Mikado

    I drove a ’57 in the early 70’s with a 272 4spd. Not a speedster but not a slug either. Unless I was using it for day in\day out heavy hauling I can’t imagine driving it with the 4BT, especially a 4WD. Both the 272 and the 4Bt have about the same amount of torque, only the 4BT doing it at 1600 rpms vs the 272’s 2700 rpms. Trying to roughly compare apples to apples with the 272 being 4.45L to the 4BT’s 3.9L. Not my cup of tea but then again this is what makes this country great, is the freedom that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. It is a nice looking truck though.

  13. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this auction is marked sold with a price of $9,999!

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