Hollywood Find: 1955 Ford F-100

A legend of cinema with a career stretching from the late ’70s to his untimely death in 2009, Patrick Swayze was an dancer, actor, singer, and more. A triple threat in the vein of Gene Kelley, he was cast in a variety of roles, from the father figure that held together the dysfunctional found family in The Outsiders, to the flawed and vulnerable romantic lead in Ghost, to the disturbing antagonist of Donnie Darko. Although he always could draw on the grace of a trained dancer, many of his best roles relied just as much on his Texas drawl and blue-jeans-and-t-shirt American appeal. Small wonder that the Houston native and his wife– actress, dancer, choreographer, and director Lisa Niemi– would be drawn to ranching and horses. She is now offering this 1955 Ford F-100, originally purchased as a part of their Los Angeles ranch, for auction. The truck is located in Slymar, California, and is listed here on eBay. Bidding has reached $7,100 at the time of writing, with over five days left to go.

The second generation of the F-series pickup introduced a wide range of options never before offered by Ford, several of which are present on this vehicle. In 1954, the flathead V8 was retire, to be replaced by the 239 cubic-inch Y-block V8. This would be the engine this truck left the factory with, as revealed by the V8 logo on the grille and the “V” in the VIN. Its overhead valve design offered a marked increase in performance over the flathead, producing 130 horsepower to the older engine’s 106. This generation was also the first with an automatic transmission (more on that later) and, in 1955, the first with the “Custom Cab” option; an option which, again judging by the chrome, this truck also has.

Even without the connection to the Swayzes, then, this would be an interesting and desirable truck. Now the mystery: given the clutch pedal, the overdrive knob, and the chrome on the hood proudly proclaiming “Overdrive,” it’s a fair bet that this truck was originally equipped with a three-on-the-tree and a Borg Warner overdrive unit. Though both a four-speed with granny low and the Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic were options, most F-100s left the factory with the three-speed. What, then, is that push-button gear selector doing under the dash? It looks for all the world like it came from a mid-Sixties Dodge. Would this be the source of the seats as well? And if the buttons are on the dash, what might be living between the engine and the rear axle? On further reflection and closer inspection, that engine starts to look a lot like a 318 Poly…

The truck, of course, needs a complete restoration; a restoration that was planned, but sadly never completed, during the Swayzes’ ownership. Whoever purchases it will doubtless take into consideration its connection to the famous couple, but it is an interesting, engaging object in its own right. A classic truck, even in this state, can be a thing of great beauty, exuding a certain style and refinement. Ford did not have to give these trucks the beautiful lines or chrome. They were work vehicles, tools meant to be put to use. But the early Ford F-series trucks are more than that and always were. Theirs is a timeless, classic, and capable design. A design that is quintessentially American.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Forget the Mustang transplant below. This old guy with that Chrysler drive train rebuilt would be a blast to drive. Love it!

    • Frank Sumatra

      I thought you were against cutting up “Collector” cars?

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        This modification was probably done before it was a “collector” car.

        Steve R

  2. Dave

    That’s a unique swap. Wonder why she would even bother selling it, it’s not like she’ll need the money.

    • Steve R

      Are you suggesting she let it sit or give it away? If you are suggesting she give it away because “it’s not like she needs the money” how do you know? Since when is it the job of random people to dictate what someone else, that they have no connection with do with their property?

      Steve R

      Like 9
      • Dave

        Well, my touchy friend, I actually am suggesting she give it away. She can’t possibly need the money with those residuals. Sounds like you do though.

        Like 4
      • Dave

        Lisa Noemi net worth: $40 million

        Like 2
      • Steve R

        Touchy? I’m not the one calling for a stranger to give away their possessions because I deem them to have too much money. That’s none of your business.

        It’s sad when random people on the Internet think they have the right to tell someone successful what they can or cannot do with their belongings.

        Steve R

  3. Bob C.

    I knew that alternator screamed Chrysler.

    Like 2
  4. Ike Onick

    Do I understand this? Your are the spouse of a kinda famous guy and you don’t use a broker/manager/gofer to handle this? Strange. The Swayzes are good with strangers coming to the ranch to check out the truck?

    Like 2
    • RKS

      I’ve met quite a few famous people and have been surprised by how human they are and how they live.

      Like 2
      • Steve R

        You are right, but that doesn’t fit today’s popular narrative.

        Steve R

  5. Dan Bogert sr.

    Yes , I thought that it looked like; and is the “old ” 318 dodge engine (not the later version ) Yes He did an engine swap -very popular in those days-did a couple myself. Great actor too, gone too soon.

    Like 5
  6. Joe Haska

    Kinda famous, I think is a little understated. However having owned and built several of these F-100’s I still have two, I would have to say the best thing about this one is the name on the title. As much as I liked him , I don’t think this truck is worth much more than any other one in this condition.

    Like 5
  7. Troy

    I never quite understood how just because something once belonged to somebody famous it somehow makes it more valuable but that aside this would make a fun truck to get back on the road

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Google provenance.

  8. Allen L

    (It had to be said.)

    Like 13
  9. David Zornig

    Clearly Patrick put Baby in the corner…

    Like 4
  10. Morley Member

    You guys are all goofy. Instead of being such dick—-I mean detectives about everything but the truck, lets discuss what a great barn ind this is . The truck is the star here, the story should be about the potential this truck has. I like it and I would soup up that engine and drive. I was looking in the back of the garage and I have a tri power , four barrel and dual quad intakes for that engine. It pays to never clead anything out Morley

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      You must be new here. Save your comment so you can save time by cutting and pasting it into EVERY post on this site.

  11. Connecticut Mark

    Truck was registered 3 months before he passed away. Just saying.

  12. Sam Shive

    I’d pull that NOpar out and make it all Ford again.

    Like 3

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