Economic Econoline: 1965 Ford Econoline Pickup

I’ve always liked these things. Look at that, who wouldn’t like to own this? Come on! That wraparound rear side window, dang. And the legs-as-airbag.. er.. This is a 1965 Ford Econoline Pickup and it’s listed here on craigslist with a nice price of $3,500. A show of hands of those of you who have spent much more than that on much less vehicle? I thought so; me, too. This one is located in Saint Helen, Michigan. Thanks to Clarke B for tracking down this Econoline!

I’m not sure if this truck was found in the garage or if the seller just stores it there in-between grocery or flea market runs. They say that they would take a trade for “antiques, “small” enclosed trailer or other items you may not need or want plus cash”, and by looking at the inside of the garage, they’re collectors. This truck looks great for the price, in my opinion, but the seller says that it’s a project truck. Hopefully that doesn’t entail a lot of mechanical work so the next owner can fix it up slowly as they enjoy driving it around town. Jamie showed us a real nice looking ’65 Econoline Pickup last May and it seems like the one for sale here could look like that one and you’d have a little money left over from your $10,000 stash.

I could be wrong, but anyone with an oil well on their property probably doesn’t really need the money, so there may be some haggling room here. I don’t know what’s going on there, I didn’t know that Michigan has oil wells, I need to get out more. You can see that there will be bodywork to do on this truck, but, and I could just be an eternal Pollyanna, I think the body looks pretty good on this one, especially considering some of the others that I’ve seen for similar money. The first-generation Econoline was made for 1961-1967 model years in pickup and van configurations. The van outsold the pickup by a wide margin.

This is the only interior photo but what is shown looks pretty good. The seat needs help and I’m guessing that since there are no other photos (even though they’re free on Craigslist!), things aren’t as tidy looking as they show in this one photo. Of course, there are no engine photos, but you probably already guessed that. This pickup should have Ford’s 170 cubic-inch inline-six with around 100 hp, but it could possibly have Ford’s 240 inline-six. I’m betting on the 170. Any thoughts on the engine in this one? Whichever engine is in this truck, it “runs and YARD drives” according to the seller so it’ll have to be gone through thoroughly. Have any of you owned a forward-control pickup like this Econoline?

Fast Finds


  1. motoring mo

    With a design that strived to be both compact and yet provide ample cargo space, the Econoline had some inherent weaknesses. Handling was an issue as the combination of the cab-over design and engine location created a disproportionate balance of weight over the front of the vehicle. To compensate for this uneven balance, Ford fit a 165 lb weight over the rear wheels, but it did little to improve handling or the lack of traction to the rear tires!

    Like 1
    • scottymac

      Here’s a promotional video from Chevy that compared an Econoline to a Corvair Rampside. If you don’t have time to watch the full video, slide over to the 2:30 time mark. I was told Chevy removed the Ford’s rear weight to get the Econoline to pull this trick!

      Like 1
  2. boxdin

    In toyotas first van in the usa they put 3 steel bars bolted to the rear floor for the same reason.

    Like 1
  3. JW

    Yes I owned one of these in the early 80’s, same rusty red color but had real rust around the rear wheel wells. It ran good and stopped fine but the kingpins up front were almost seized, I swear my biceps grew by 3 inches in diameter turning that thing, heated them to force grease in to them but still a bear to turn. I was going to dump the 6 cyl and add a 351W to the bed to even out weight and give it some actual tire burning power, but life got in the way and I sold it. I would now do the same to this one if I wasn’t getting old and couldn’t do it by myself anymore.

    Like 1
  4. 86 Vette Convertible

    My brother had one of those years ago. Biggest problem he had was rocker panel rust. Did what he needed to keep it running and he had it for a number of years.

    Like 1
  5. Mike H. Mike H

    This one looks like it may have been a “Spring Special”, which was a package deal offered by Ford dealers in mid-1965 only. Appears that the trim and the paint are about the only special bits remaining, but regardless. . . This truck is high on my want list.

    Like 1
    • mike d

      with that being said, there goes my comment, about being green underneath and being a phone company truck ha ha

  6. Scot Douglas

    Posting deleted by author. :(

    • JamestownMike

      That was AN ABSOLUTE STEAL at $3,500! It obviously sold quickly, especially in the rust belt of Michigan!

      Like 1
  7. Howard A Member

    In the 70’s, wheelstanders were all the rage, and Dick Harding created “The Backup Pickup”, which was in direct response to Bill Mavericks ” Little Red Wagon.
    This is an incredible find, even though, they were pretty miserable to drive. Originally, I believe they were marketed as a “light duty” pickup, but people found out, as a heavy hauler, which many turned into, it didn’t do so well. Dodge owners found that out as well. Corvair, with it’s rear engine was much better balanced. Very rare find.

    Like 1
  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    If I were in the market for a forward-control pickup I would go with a Willys FC 170. And being four wheel drive it would really help with the traction problem, especially here in Wisconsin in the winter. This Ford is cool looking though.

    Like 2
  9. Skip

    My dad bought a ’61 Econoline pickup new. I loved driving it with its standard shift, etc. The one problem we ran into was a front-end problem that caused it to shimmy badly. Dad had it into the shop a number of times and they never could figure it out. It was replaced by a ’64 El Camino my grandmother gave him.

    I went to work for a local dry cleaner’s in 1968 as a deliveryman. Our delivery truck was a yellow ’65 Econoline van. It had originally belonged to a local oilfield service company and then to a local guy who had painted it a yellow color. The oilfield service co.’s colors was turquoise blue on their units.My boss bought the van from the second owner. But either way, it was on its las legs when we bought it. For the most part it was almost all local delivery except for a 55 mi. run on Sat. mornings to the small town of Rankin, TX whee we did the uniforms for the Western Co. another oilfield service co. well known in these parts. When that old van started to shimmy and shake just in town traffic, it was retired. So did I! I left the place about the same time to make my trip to Lubbock and Texas Tech.

    Like 1
  10. ACZ

    Pass……..I’d rather have a Corvair Rampside with a gas heater. Better handling, better economy and better looking.

    Like 2
  11. John P

    Deleted by author…

  12. Tyler

    My aunt had a 65 model just like this when I was a kid. She was in the antique furniture business & going with her to auctions & hauling furniture home in it.

    I found one a few years ago realitivly cheap, running with very little rust, but needed brake work. I passed on it, but now wish I hadn’t. No idea what I would do with it though…

    Like 1
  13. John B

    Has anyone ever stated the weight distribution on these trucks? I’d really like to know that one…

    Like 1
  14. dan westerberg

    Im wondering what these trucks are worth? I know of 1 in mississippi for around 6000. running and driving and in pretty good shape.

    Like 1
  15. Mark P

    My father in law had the van version of this. He said it was a good vehicle other than arriving at an accident at the same time as the front bumper.

    Like 2
  16. Leon

    I once considered buying a used one and putting a 430 Lincoln in the bed and cover it up and do wheel stands at red lights.

  17. Howard

    My brotherinlaw had a black 65 econoline pickup just like this one back in the day. It had the 170 six with 3 on the tree. It was a good running truck. The only problem he had with it was when the alternator died once, and the battery went dead in our driveway. I helped him push start it, he did the steering from outside, while helping push. He didn’t think about the placement of the front tires, and it ran over his foot, lol. Didn’t hurt it though. I still laugh to this day whenever I think of that. Since I’m a mopar guy I always wanted a Dodge A100 pickup, but I still like the econoline pickups.

    Like 1
  18. GaryC GaryC

    Well my dad has 3 of these and one van.
    If my mom would let him he would buy every one he could find. The last one he picked up was a one owner that the old man’s family couldn’t believe that they sold it to my dad for the same price their dad paid for it new.
    One thing for sure, if your in a wreck, your the first one thier.

    Like 1
  19. Eddie

    I’ve got a ’67 pickup, the last year these were made. Sold today, Ford would sell thousands of ’em. The ’65 shown here is indeed a “spring special” and the white steering wheel was part of the “custom cab” option that was included with the package, along with the side molding and chrome bumpers. Great little truck. Miserable to drive, but fun at the same time.

    Like 1

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