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Hello, 1980s! 1976 Ford F-250 Ranger Highboy

Finding a survivor vehicle in all-original condition is very cool, and I love everything about them. However, survivors from a period in time are just as cool! This 1976 F-250 is equipped with the basics of customization for 4×4 trucks in the 1980s, and evokes thoughts of Chuck Norris and hair metal. This truck hasn’t been restored, nor does it seem to have been built in the style of the period. As best as I can figure from the listing, this truck was outfitted the way it is now and kept this way since then. Find it here on eBay in Nevada with bidding at $3,500 and no reserve. 

At first I thought someone may have done this truck up in a 1980s style, but the interior says it has been this way for quite some time. The bench looks to be covered in velour, the shifter is definitely not original, and the door panels match the seat. It can’t be seen in this photo, but the dash pad is button tufted and diamond-pleated velvet. It is very faded, but at one time also matched the seat and door panels in color. The seat is in nice condition, but the armrest is missing from the passenger door.The instrument cluster is in need of cleaning and possibly repairs, and there are various wires handing and spliced under the dash.

The engine is a two-barrel carburetor equipped Ford 360 cubic inch V8. This is a running truck, but according to the ad the carburetor either needs rebuilt or replaced. Much like under the dash, the spliced and haphazardly ran wires under the hood scare me, but if it works it works! I would have to straighten things up to enjoy it, but it would be fine otherwise if left the way it is. 

This is a really nice Highboy with lots of potential. It is just on the cusp of needing to be restored, while simultaneously being cool as a relic of a time long gone. Personally, I would enjoy it as it is for a while and then restore it to be the clean 1980s custom Ford truck it once was! Some cool features include a roll bar with lights, a 1979 grille, lift kit, 4×4, a manual transmission, and of course that retro interior. Plus it has that cool factory bedside toolbox. A walkaround video from the seller can be found here on YouTube. Although it has some rust in a few areas, if bidding stays as low as it is right now then someone may end up getting a good deal. Would you restore it original, restore it to how it was customized, or just enjoy it as it is?


  1. tompepper

    The front end has been changed if that is a 1976.Ford only used that grill for 2 years 79/80..It has the square head lights makes me think 1980.

    • Rabbit

      Actually 78/79. The whole new body debuted for 80. 78s were more likely to have round headlights, 79s square.

      Like 1
      • KKW

        In 78, the low end models had round, the high end models had square. In 79, they all had square. Not sure what’s all been done to this truck, but it has a 78-79 steering wheel and column as well. I would guess it’s had a hard life and a lot of “rigging”. They were great trucks through. Don’t make em like that anymore.

    • Mark

      That front end would be late 78 or 79 only. 80 was a whole new generation (Bull nose).

    • William Sanders

      That grille with square headlights was 78 on the xlt and lariat, and all models 79. 80 was an entire body change.

    • Pookie Jamie P

      78 has that grille too. Round headlights tho

    • Diamond Dave

      78 had similar headlight housings however, they were still round headlights, 79 had the square headlights and this grille, 1980 was a new bodystyle all together and looked nothing like this era of truck. I thought this was a 79 as well when I was looking at it, the steering wheel is a 79 too. The ad does say that a 79 style grille and lights were installed and other parts so, maybe there was a 79 donor truck available???
      I have a 76 Highboy and I did the exact same change to a 79 grille and headlights, I just prefer the 79 front end but LOVE the Highboy so I combined them. Similar to the original Bigfoot which is a 74 F250 highboy with a 79 grille and Headlights, done for Ford Sponsorship back in the day
      The only way to know for sure is if this truck is a real Highboy is a side picture and shows it has the divorced transfer case which hangs down low midway in the frame, the transfer cases on all Highboys were about 18″ behind the transmission and connected by a short driveshaft. That is why they were called Highboys, Ford had to lift them high enough for the transfer case and the 7′ long front driveshaft clearance.
      77-79 F250’s were called Lowboys because Ford finally mated the transfer case directly to the transmission eliminating the little driveshaft.

  2. grant

    Idk if this evokes hair metal lol. Waylon Jennings, maybe.

    • Andrew Tanner Member

      It definitely evokes Waylon! I’m also thinking David Allan Coe.

    • Rob'sGT

      Urban Cowboy

  3. Dusty Stalz

    That wiring looks scary. I hope they plugged the hole in the breather before they pressure washed the engine as well.

    • Joe Carstensen

      That cab is no good, to much rust in it to save

    • SEAN C

      hopefully they plugged the missing p/s dipstick

  4. Kevin W La

    Used to have one of these in the 80’s. Had to pull myself into the cab and I’s over 6 foot tall, my wife had to stand on a five gallon bucket to get in (she was about 8 months pregnant at the time). You didn’t drive it, you pointed it in the direction you wanted to go and slowed way down for curves. The best thing about that beast was NO ONE pulled out in front of you!!!

  5. Steve R

    That thing is scary. The wheel need lug nuts with a shank, they are installed with acorn style lug nut. That’s what you get when you buy a set of wheels and tires off Craigslist. The California plates are recent issues, it might have come from a state with rust issues. As mentioned, the wiring is a mess. This is likely going to turn into a money pit for whoever buys it.

    Steve R

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    With the exception of the engine I’d tend to call this one a ’78 or ’79. The front end and the steering column say ’78/’79. Of course ’76 was the last year that Ford trucks used the FE engine. And there’s nothing wrong with an FE. Well, that lube passage through the block to get to the rockers sometimes sprung a leak and seeped oil into the coolant (had a couple do that). There was a fix, where the gallery was bored out and the passages sleeved. They said it needs a carburetor job? Scrap that stock carb and install a Holley 500 2bbl. Fairly cheap to do. Jet the carb down a couple of sizes and recurve the advance. Smartens them right up….


      The door data plate says that it is a 1976 model.

  7. Adam T45 Staff

    I like it, but any vehicle that I need a ladder to get into is probably not for me. Curse these stumpy legs!

  8. Rube Goldberg Member

    “You might just be a redneck, if you can change the oil in your truck without jacking it up”.

  9. Stang1968

    Reminds me of the truck Flea drove in BTTF.

  10. JW

    I had a 76 and 78 Ford trucks and they were nearly indestructible four wheeling. I like this truck but it would need more than a carb change, complete new wiring front to back and I would get rid of that interior and go with a stock Ford interior. Love big bad Ford trucks of the 70’s, I’m pushing 65 and climbing in and out of a big truck doesn’t bother me especially when a toaster on wheels is not going to challenge me for a parking spot.

  11. Jim

    My friends and I growing up all had these F250’s in the 80’s but the one I had was by far, king of the hill. I loved this truck and it went anywhere and everywhere, from Asuza Canyon to Pismo Beach. My best friend had the blue colored sister to my truck but he was a much better driver in the sand, we made plenty of money pulling people out of situations in pismo, such a great time in life. Sold it to buy my first home, best decision of my life but I missed it at the time. Mine had the 400M and it oddly enough pulled far better than my buddies that had FE’s in theirs and I’m a big FE fan. Just can’t place a price tag on the amount of fun and girls I had with that beast.

  12. Beaver

    Just a $3100-$3500 Truck

  13. FiremanDan

    1978 and 1979 grille

  14. Rob M.

    Just put a Bud and a Sissy mini tag in the back window and you’re off to Gilley’s!

  15. Mark S.

    The 1980 truck was a pc of crap with there hollowed frame that would buckle at the cab. The 70’s trucks were the last of the tough ones. In 1980 Ford also went to their hokey twin I beam four wheel drive axle made out of stamped steel. My older brother had a freind with one of these 78’s, I never seen a more beat truck. He put that truck through everything and piled on 400k in about 5 years. He even broke the back axle shaft and couldn’t afford to fix it so he pulled the axles out put ply wood caps over the hubs to keep the oil in and drove in 4 lock, turning it into a front drive truck. He drove it like that for months before it got fixed. The truck being presented looks to me to have lived a similar life, and I suspect based on the wrinkles if the sheet metal on the inside of the cab roof that this truck was rolled and repaired. These are about the only Ford trucks that I like but I’m still glad I choose my 94 3/4 ton 4×4 cumins diesel. I’d say that in this Ford trucks current condition it is only worth about $4k tops and will need a lot of work to make it right.

  16. chad

    seller targeted yr @ that due to last HighBoy wuz made in ’77 I think.
    nice 3 – 7K$ truck if U ask me (I can get rid of bondo).
    (just sold @ hi end of that).
    My fav body style (’73/9) any p/u truck made(include the ’78/9 Bronco w/that, plez).

  17. SRT8

    Love this body style, had a ’79 4×4. It came with a 300 6cyl, pulled that, fabbed some motor mounts and dropped in a slightly modified 460. Man that truck would go

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