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Driving Lessons: 1948 Ford Pickup

We all tend to go crazy when we see a well restored old pickup truck.  However, back in the day, these vehicles didn’t get much respect.  Trucks were a tool for work.  The idea of the “Cowboy Cadillac” was far off in the distance.  So trucks got used.  Some were used hard and had to suffer through the poor driving habits of countless workers from the businesses they served.  Take for example this 1948 Ford F-1 pickup truck.  Being sold here on eBay, this hauler benefitted from covered storage later in life.  Even though the cab corners and floor have survived the ravages of rust, the rest of the truck has been ruthlessly subjected to countless dings and dents at the hands of drivers that needed a few more lessons.  Does the condition of the cab justify a high price?  With bidding at $4,800 for this Scottsdale, Arizona truck, how much more do you think it will bring?

According to the seller, this truck has been languishing in a barn for a number of years.  It has an Arizona title, which may well mean that the dry climate protected it from the ravages of rust over the years.  As you can see from the pictures, the cab corners look to be fairly rust free.  The bottoms of the doors are also undamaged.  Inside, we are told that the floors are free from rust, the dash is uncut, and the rubber on the pedals looks brand new.  The seller also reminds us that the truck has bumper guards that may have been a dealer installed option.

The rear bumper guard didn’t help the tailgate much.  It is in pretty rough shape, but a talented body man could likely get it back into good shape.  As for the bumper guard itself, I am not so sure this was a dealer installed option.  It looks to be simple square tubing and angle iron.  I realize such an item wouldn’t look like the finely crafted additions sold today.  The one on this truck just has the look of something crafted on the farm.  Most people don’t know that bumpers were an optional item on trucks for many decades.

The picture above gives you a fair idea of how the surface of this truck looks.  You can still see remnants of the factory paint and primer.  However, the rust you see is primarily surface rust.  Trucks of this vintage here in the southeastern United States are usually suffering from rust through in many areas.  Dry desert air certainly helped this truck.  The seller mentioned the word patina, which conjures up images of a Gas Monkey Garage clear coat over rust and grime.  Hopefully, the new owner will put a proper paint job on this truck in the near future.  There is simply too much-exposed metal to last for long if this truck moves to a more humid climate.

A look underneath shows that the parts and pieces are in good condition.  Things such as rubber bushings are obviously worn out and/or baked beyond repair.  These parts are available though, and are fairly easy to replace.  It is neat to see how simple but well built these trucks were back then.  When you bought a new Ford truck in 1948, you certainly got your money’s worth.

The seller tells us that the original Flathead V-8 still lies under the hood.  There are some missing parts and pieces, such as the generator, plug wires, and air filter.  What is there obviously hasn’t been running for some time.  I wish the ad stated more information on the status of the engine.  Knowing whether or not the crankshaft can be turned would be nice.  Regardless, Flathead blocks have been turning up in the classifieds lately with ever-shrinking prices.  Finding a replacement engine wouldn’t be too tough or costly. So, does having a good cab make up for the shabby condition of the fenders and tailgate?  Is this truck worth more because of the lack of surface rust?  Let us know what you think.


  1. Ken Carney

    …uh Sanford & Son anyone?

    Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    It’s obviously been through a typical life on the farm or the construction zone. Rear spring shackles and pins are worn out; that’s why the axle is forward of its usual place. Definitely need to arc the springs while you’re at it. That 8BA engine shouldn’t need anything other than the typical reconditioning. I would love to have something like this come to my place. It would get a bone stock restoration and it would be put back to work, mind you, in a dignified setting for a 71 year old…

    Like 5
  3. Jim Lee

    My first truck was a 1948 F1, I bought it in Willow Springs MO and drove it home to Halltown MO. In 1973. I gave $150 for it. Flathead Six, three speed. No rust. I got a picture of it somewhere around here. My girlfriend (now my wife) we painted it with a brush, Allis Chambers orange and Case Yellow. I bought the paint at a farm store in dented cans. I really liked that truck.

    Like 6
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      You never forget that first one. I still have my ‘47 Ford pickup. I bought it from the local Chevy dealer 52 years ago. I was hoping to pass that down to my grandsons but pressures might force me to sell it. Lots of memories…

      Like 1
    • Steven Ligac

      Speaking of brush-painting, I had a ’61 Ford P/U when I’se in the Naval Air in Corpus Christi in the early 70s. I lifted a 5gal can each of International Orange and Non-Skid from the paint locker at the hangar. I brush-painted it orange, with Non-Skid bumpers and running boards (it was a stepside). Talk about getting looks everywhere you go… What a beast!

      Like 1
  4. Rube Goldberg Member

    Got to admit, the seller is hopeful. 0 bids says otherwise. I don’t think that’s a factory grill guard, that was a popular aftermarket piece, the factory one, I read, was heavier duty. goemechs is sharp noticing the rear axle wear, front too, with the spring shackles laying on the frame, she’s tired. I bet it wanders down the road like an old man at a flea market. Also, with no bids, perhaps we’re seeing the beginning of interest fading with these. I suppose if we live long enough, these may be $500 trucks again,,,

    Like 3
  5. John Planic

    I’ll say it….LS swap!?!?!

    Like 1
  6. AMXBrian

    The tailgate is a non-issue unless you insist on 100% original. Most of these tailgates look just like this or worse. They sell a complete bed kit for the 48-52 trucks, even fenders are available.

    They are starting to reproduce the 51/52 fenders but they aren’t cheap. Everything is basically available for the 48-50 f1’s though

    Like 1
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Boo, to the LS1. Restore this baby. Ground up everything. Fret not about the cost, it will be what it will be. Just vision this truck as it will be when finished, never lose focus, keep the good fight, live and love with pure notions. Make this truck great again.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  8. bigdoc

    If I had a real garage to work in this truck would find a welcome here in Arkansas.

    Like 0
  9. TimM

    I really like the truck but have been waiting for a 52 ford cause the big teeth grill as I call it is just the coolest looking pickup of that era!! This truck has definitely seen its life of usefulness I just hope it gets put in a place where it can be seen as an iconic truck of its era and not a work horse anymore!!!

    Like 1
  10. Howard Collins

    My Dad had a 48 F-1 he bought with about 40,000 miles on it. Straight truck 6 cyl. He asked me to take it and after he passed I was busy with life, etc. I never brought it home. One day a guy came down the alley where my Mom still lived and asked if it was for sale. She called me and asked me if I wanted to sell it. I knew she could use the money so I said go ahead and see what he will give you. He paid her 400.00 cash! It made this one look really bad.. 1988 or so..

    Like 1
  11. Woody

    The Spot- light on the pillar could be worth $500 alone this F1 is worth bidding,would like to ship it east-via railcar!

    Like 1

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