Heavy Duty Features: 45K Mile 1986 Ford F-250 4×4

When you first lay eyes on this single-cab Ford F-250 pickup, it may not seem all that special. After all, commercial businesses, farmers, and contractors alike have all been grabbing used trucks for years, ripping off the beds, and installing their preferred apparatus for daily duties. But in the case of this F-250, it’s managed to endure this lifestyle while incurring minimal flaws along the way, and also emerging with under 50,000 miles on the clock. The truck is equipped with the 460 V8, limited slip, Dana 50 front axle, and an automatic transmission – but let’s not ignore that it’s a rust-free West Coast truck as well. Find it here on eBay where bidding has reached $6,200 with no reserve.

Seriously – you see this rather drab-looking bed and are likely thinking, “What’s the big deal?” I credit the seller for looking past this and seeing that there was a low mileage truck underneath that left the factory with numerous desirable options. The paintwork on the cab shines up nicely, and the color-coordinated steel wheels still look fairly mint. The upgraded tires are a great look for this truck, but to me, the big question is what do you do with the bed: do you clean it up, put some sides on it and paint it, or do you remove it entirely and find a minty short bed to stick on the back? Which option would you choose?

The good news is no matter which path you take you won’t have to restore the interior. This Ford is a conundrum for sure, as the home-brew bed would seem to suggest not much care was taken to preserve the cosmetics, but that’s simply not the case. The interior is in excellent condition with no signs of significant wear-and-tear, as the vinyl floormat is said to be in good shape and the bench seat reveals no major damage. The dashboard remains untracked and while the fake wood trim has seen better days, it’s at least all still in one piece. Crank windows keep life simple and the seller notes it has been retrofitted with a push-button start for security purposes and that the control lever for a previously-installed fertilizer gun is still present.

I suspect the rust-free condition and the equipment is what’s driving bidder interest, and why the seller snagged this “bull nose” F-Series to begin with. The 460 is the preferred V8 from this era of Ford trucks, and the heavy-duty equipment, which also includes front and rear stabilizer bars, promises potential owners that this truck will go where they need it to. While it’s also decidedly ordinary in terms of looks and appearances, all that would be changed in an instant if a short bed is procured and installed – and I’ll bet there’s even more money in this truck if the next owner was included to installing a bed and then flipping it shortly thereafter.


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  1. Todd Zuercher

    Unfortunately a “minty short bed” won’t fit very well on this truck, Jeff. This is a long bed truck. Ford didn’t make any short bed 3/4 ton trucks in this era (or any era really except for some oddball airport ramp rigs).

    Like 9
    • chrlsful

      Ford made stepside (short) till 2009
      “…Up until the early 2000s, all manufacturers still sold the stepside truck. Ford continued to make its flareside truck until around 2009….”
      One of my fav looking vehicles is the 6th gen f250 4WD stepside, short box. I’m surprised the Moss Brothers use a bronk steada the F250 (same ’73/9 model)…

      • Todd Zuercher

        But again, chrisful, none of those beds would fit on this chassis without shortening the frame or lengthening the box….

        Why in the world would you use a 78-79 F250 in Baja? They have leaf springs….

        Like 2
      • Larry Ashcraft

        Again, the 7′ bed will not fit a LWB (long wheelbase) frame. Only an 8′ bed will fit.

        Oh, and LWB and SWB stand for long wheelbase and standard wheelbase, and do not refer to the length of the bed.

  2. Sorel

    As cool as this car is, I think I would leave the custom bed. These trucks weren’t meant for the showroom life, they were meant to do hard work and a custom bed is the perfect testament to that. Great find, I hope it goes to someone who will use it well and treat it well.

    Like 8
  3. Thom Griffin

    I’d use it to get in hay, or to pick up longer items that won’t fit in my short bed pickup.
    Then I’d run it into the ground.
    Living in the northeast, I would maintain a carwash pass that includes underbody rinse.

  4. Jonathan Q Higgins

    For me a 351 is the preferred engine but everyone has their preference. I also prefer a flatbed over a pickup bed. I find them more useful. Condition is nice and parts should still be plentiful for these trucks.

  5. John Member

    Yup, 460 too big for off road or everyday use, too thirsty. I’d put some
    tool boxes on it and use it. Be a good construction truck

  6. GOM

    For an upmarket “farm or ranch” truck this about perfect with the flatbed installed. There are stake pockets if you want or need sideboards. For many of us, a conventional pickup bed is not as versatile as this. For daily use as a working truck, the smaller engine with the 5 speed would be my choice, especially if it had the HD solid front axle. Everyone’s got the “shorty” but not everyone has one of these!

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