Garaged 38 Years! 1951 Ford F1 Pickup

This 1951 Ford F1 was already 30 years old when it was stored in a garage for the next 38. It is now for sale and can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $7,000. Located in Rochester, New York, it was last registered in 1981 and is ready to hit the road again. It has a clear title and looks pretty handsome with the two-tone brown paint. Let’s take a closer look.

The interior looks pretty typical of a truck of this era. I love the two round gauge clusters on these trucks. The transmission is a column-shift manual and it looks like the interior hasn’t been poked and prodded much. A good cleaning and it should be ready to enjoy.

The engine is a straight-six and like the interior, it appears to be fairly stock. These trucks are so simple to work on, original examples are good candidates for an inexperienced restorer. The ad says this truck hasn’t run in nearly forty years. Hopefully, it turns over and with a little fresh fuel and spark it will start up.

You’ll notice lights on the top of the front fenders and this is usually indicative of a work truck, the ad confirms this. The ad also states that it has rust in the “typical places.” I’m not sure exactly what “typical rust” is, but I’m guessing frame, rockers, fenders, etc.  You’ll also notice this box on the side of the truck. It may just be a verticle toolbox? I’ve never seen an accessory quite like this one before. If you know this was a factory or dealer-installed option, leave us a comment.


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  1. Eric

    Even though I don’t have the space or time, this is tempting since I’m not too far away from it. Would greatly appreciate any advice/info from the usual suspects here. Price is high, depending on the level of rust of course. But that’s typical for this area- everyone thinks they’re selling gold.

    Obvious repaint at some point (I’d guess 70s) in non original/stock colors. Heavy pitting on front chrome. Plastic under it on the concrete is a good sign though.

    On a site note, I wonder what the blue car next to it is…..

    Like 3
  2. ken tilly UK Member

    I have always been under the impression that Ford didn’t do 6 cylinder engines. Am I correct, or was it only for trucks?

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hey ken, I know the V8 stole all the thunder in these, but Ford did indeed have in line 6’s. This appears to be the 226ci, about 90 hp. and was actually a pretty common motor. I read in ’52, the 215 OHV 6 came out, with the same hp. as the flathead V8.(100hp) They ran flathead 6’s into the mid ’50’s on the bigger trucks ( F-500,600) I had a ’55 F-500 parts truck that still had the flathead 6.

      Like 8
      • ken tilly UK Member

        Thanks Howard. At 80+ years old, and a lifetime in cars, I learn something new EVERY DAY!

        Like 4
      • Bill Hall

        I have read that the Ford flathead sixes were just as good as a V 8 but everyone thought it needed a V 8.

        Like 1
      • Bob C.

        I remember reading somewhere that in 1952 when they came out with the OHV six, they came close to discontinuing the V8 until the y block for 54. One exec balked at HF II saying Ford would be ruined without a V8. Therefore the flathead soldiered on for two more years.

        Like 1
    • Roger

      We had a ’50 F-1 that had the flathead six in it with a three speed on the floor back in the sixties.

  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Fender lights are turn signals. Control is lower left on the steering column. Nice old truck but a bit high on the price.

    Like 3
    • Tom Bell

      Yes, turn signals on top of the fender, amber lens in front and red on the back of the light unit were once a requirement on commercial plated trucks in NYS. Probably a Grote set-up–they didn’t self-cancel so you had to remember to turn them off after completing the turn.

      Like 3
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I remember back in the day when you would be driving down the road behind one of these and see the signal flashing for miles on end. Funny because there were blinker lights in the switch unit itself. But I made the same mistake time and again (still do when I take the ’49 Chevy out for a run).

        Like 2
  4. Fred W

    Seller needs to spend a day getting the motor running, then the price would be about right.

    Like 2
  5. JRHaelig

    This was the model that really sparked my interest in getting a vintage truck.

    My muse was a cream over light blue semi-custom ’51.

    I eventually ended up with a ’39. Big difference, but a better one in my eyes.

    Price on this one isn’t too far off I don’t think. Truck prices are strong and if it’s as solid as it appears it’s it may hold up.
    It’s in the northeast and interested parties in the northeast may come calling.

    Yes…a running engine brings it even closer to asking price, but overall it looks like a great start.

    Like 1
  6. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    “Typical rust” is a little vague and considering the ask, those areas should have been pictured. I like the exterior colors, an attractive combination and different from the usual red/black/greens these trucks usually have. I’d certainly want some pictures of the underside if I couldn’t inspect it in person or at least more details in the text. This truck has spent 30 years on the road before being stored, plenty of time for rust to get a good hold on the undercarriage. I’m thinking that box on the passenger side is a homemade deal, something I’d be inclined to remove. If this classic pickup has good bones, the price is probably fair but a little too high if rust repair turns out to be a major issue.

    Like 1
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    That 6 cyl. engine was quite a diversion for Ford. It actually came about because of a spec issued by the War Department. And it was a build it or lose the contract. Henry Ford hated 6 cyl. engines; probably going back to the Model K he built back in the aughts. When requests came out for a more economical (6 cyl.?) engine back in the 30s, Henry responded with the V8-60 which actually cost as much to build as the mainstream V8-85. However, the war changed all that and Henry had little choice but to authorize the production of the six. It quickly proved itself and after Henry’s passing, Henry Jr. kept it in production.

    Back in ’63, my dad and about 25 others leased building sites on the shore of St. Mary Lake, not too far from the ‘Going To The Sun Road’ entrance. They built modest to fairly elaborate cabins there for a place, in the mountains, not too far away from home, to get away from it all. Dad hired a carpenter out of East Glacier who drove out to the site in a weathered ’51 Ford pickup very similar to this one, only with a 4-spd, and (Howard’s favorite) the Mickey Mouse signal lights on top of the cab. The week before Labor Day he came out to work. Dad drove over to join him. Ollie’s truck was giving him trouble (determined to be a bad fuel pump) so when work was done on Saturday, Dad gave him a ride home. During the weekend a band of scavengers showed up and when Dad and Ollie showed up on Tuesday morning, that pickup had been stripped down to a cab, frame, and the engine block. A call to the sheriff and subsequent trips to three salvage yards in the region revealed a treasure trove of ’51 Ford pickup parts including engine parts, a complete 4-spd. transmission, red doors, and fenders, and a complete bed sans tailgate (which was never recovered). Ollie hauled what was left of the truck home before freeze-up but I often wondered if he put it all back together (he said that he would). Within four years all that was left of that little community was a series of cleared building sites with concrete pylons. Theft was rampant, to put it mildly, so the cabins were sold and moved off.

    Like 3
  8. Millwright Chris

    Ford produced a straight six cylinder 300 cu. in. gas engine that had storied reliability back in and through my 4WD days of the 80’s. I never owned one, but there was a fair amount of support for that engine in conversation and print. The straight six long rod torque at lower r.p.m.’s, without a lot of expensive aftermarket gearing, was what trail riders were looking for then. H.P. equaled speed equaled busted parts. Torque got you up, over, and through, slowly. That motor had a reputation for a long service life while doing it.

    Like 6
    • Don H

      Talking about Ford’s first flat head 6 engines,different time period🤔

      Like 2
  9. Millwright Chris

    Before writing my comment I looked back for that detail in the question ken tilly UK asked initially. A time frame was not specified, so I answered his general question with additional knowledge I had on the subject of Ford six cylinders . I don’t know ken tilly UK’s history or whereabouts over the years, but it is possible that he was not aware of a Ford six cylinder engine, in any time period, from his vantage point in the world. I try to keep an open mind. Thanks to this interesting and informative site, he, as well as the rest of us, are a bit more learned today, on various issues.

    Like 4
    • ken tilly UK Member

      Thanks for the added info Chris. Most of my life was spent 14 years in UK, 10 years in Rhodesia (schooling, work, marriage) 50 years in South Africa (children, work etc. ) and about 6 years back in UK. In Africa most of the cars were 4, 6 or 8 cylinder straight 8’s or V8’s, and nearly all of the pickups were either straight 6’s or V8’s Chev, GMC, Studebaker etc. but I never saw, or even heard of, a Ford straight 6. Thanks once again chaps.

      Like 2
  10. Millwright Chris

    Wow Ken, you talk about your World Travelers! Over an 80 year period you are witness to some serious changes. That’s interesting in and of itself. Thank you for your non-typical perspective, and you are most welcome for the info. All thanks to Montana Danford and a ’51 Ford F1 Pickup no less.

    Like 2
  11. Joe Btfsplk

    This truck appears to have been stored in a well maintained garage. Some of the leaky sheds that are seen in ads aren’t much better than storing under a tree. It makes a world of difference.

  12. TimM

    Best Ford grill ever!!!!

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