Low-Mileage Camper Special: 1973 Ford F-250

The fifth-generation Ford F-series pickups were redesigned for the 1973 model year with many new features, both mechanically and design-wise – even though they looked very similar to the previous generation trucks. This 1973 Ford F-250 Camper Special can be found here on craigslist in Manassas, Virginia with an asking price of $8,000 or best offer. Thanks to Jay L. for sending in this tip!

The only vehicle that my parents ever bought new was a 1969 Ford F-250 Camper Special in Ranger trim and it was a great truck, other than the troublesome front disc brakes. Well, the 8 mpg wasn’t great either. Or the rust. Hmm.. well, I still have fond memories of it even though a mere decade after we bought it brand new, it had so much rust on it that I learned how to do welding and bodywork using that truck for the experience. Not to mention that we paid a fair amount of money to have it “Ziebart” rustproofed when it was new, it sure didn’t last long.

You can see the rust on this truck, and that’s with extra factory rust-proofing (much more galvanized steel, zinc primer, etc.) for the new 1973 trucks. This generation is known as the dentside trucks due to the indentation that runs along the bodyside. Our fourth-generation ’69 Ford pickup was a bumpside because that area bumped out rather than in.

Being a Camper Special, this truck should have come from the factory with special camper-friendly features or had options available, such as a rear bumper that could be adjusted out for a big slide-in camper, pre-wired camper plugs, dual batteries, one for the camper, etc. We had a giant Winnebago camper on our truck and a 3/4-ton F-250 was not heavy enough for that. We lucked out in not having any serious problems hauling that heavy of a camper.  Yes, that’s me sitting down in maybe 1970ish. I sat too much as a kid, too.

Other than some obvious rust repair needed on this truck, there will be a lot of work to do inside. I expect to see an interior in this condition for vehicles in the desert southwest, not in the eastern end of the country. The dash has several big cracks and the steering wheel just basically has to go.

The seller must have accidentally forgotten to include an engine photo (sigh), so here’s another interior photo for your viewing pleasure. Yep, almost everything needs to be stripped out inside, it’s toast. The engine is a 390 cubic-inch V8 with an Edlebrock intake and carb and they say that it’s in excellent running condition with new brakes and tires and more. How would you restore this dentside?


  1. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    Seems like a high price,considering the rust on it.
    I’d want to see pictures the underside also.
    Unlike newer ones,these drive like a truck.

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo Mark P

    You call that rust over the wheel arches in back.? That ain’t rust. This is rust…..now imagine I attached a pic of one of my 2008 F150s where the rust is 2/3 of the way up to the top bed rail.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! The dreaded flapping-rust? I’ve lived with that kind of rust my whole life, no wonder I’m always depressed.

      Like 7
  3. Avatar photo Steve R

    It’s priced like a short bed 1/2 ton, unfortunately for the owner, it’s not. The market doesn’t, nor will it ever value them on par with each other. Too many sellers haven’t figured this out, but they will when their “flip” goes south and they have to sit on it until reality sinks in.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Bob McK

    I am looking for a driver but not one with so much rust. This one has been used hard.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo petemcgee

    Better trucks out there to be had for a whole lot less money. Ford made millions of dentsides, if you’re looking for one and not in a hurry, nice longboxes are out there and come up for sale every week – many are camper specials. Rust free examples do sell quickly, though, so keep your wallet ready and your sneakers laced up!

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    I’ve had many experiences with this vintage Ford pickup, had several myself and drove several more for jobs. I drove a ’73 F-100 for a paint supplier, none tougher. Seeing one like this, is almost more rare than some GTO. Trucks like this had a specific use, and when done, discarded for another. There was no reason to keep a truck that didn’t work. I give up on what something is worth, just a great find, is all. You this is rusty, I remember them like this.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo guggie

    these were great trucks , owned one just like this one ( different color) , loved that truck , had a 11.5 Coachman camper on it , went all over the east coast from Florida to Canada , never let me down .Drove it for 9 years way over 100k on it . This one to rough for the $$

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Pappy

    Now if this were a FWD… I’d probably hurt myself trying to reach in my pocket quick enough to get the $8K out!! This one… not so much. $8000 will buy you a much nicer 2WD truck. Great trucks!

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Kerry Lewis

    The brake pedal does not look like low mileage

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Jerry Logan

    This is not a low mileage truck!!! Unfortunate how sellers have no clue. Or do they?

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo chrlsful

    ‘S my gen, fav right there. All ways loved the ‘tool box’ too. Not every 1 had ’em. Runs all the way across where the frame takes a jog for the back wheels. Thought abt an expansion (it’s lill door, the inside) as a place for the spare tire. Never got there tho…

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Danny Gonzales

    My dad used to have one much like that, but his had some reflectors under the rear taillight and a few other things that are missing from this one. The one my dad had, we sold three years ago, and I felt that I was extremely lucky to have gotten $2300. for the pickup truck, but his was also always kept in his garage and wasn’t really that bad looking still had the original seat covers on the seats Also. This one is in pretty shabby shape, I don’t think that this guy understands , just because the truck is older, doesn’t mean that people are going to pay you a ton of money for it. This is truly not anything that people are out there searching for as a collector. It’s really just another old work truck. He’ll probably be able to get a couple of grand for it, but not much more. It’s in need of to much work to get more money than that.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Jason Pelletier

    Great vintage photo of you and your family at Devil’s Tower. Hopefully you kept an eye out the camper window at night watching for that “Close Encounter Of The Third Kind”.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Danny Gonzales

      Can you post that picture?

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Jason Pelletier

    Danny. Look back at the description of the truck above and click on the red hilighted “that’s me sitting down” comment and that will bring up the vintage photo.

    Like 0

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