One-Owner Survivor: 1978 Ford F150 Ranger

While pickups from the 1940s and 1950s remain exceptionally popular, with potential buyers snapping them up quickly, those that emerged in the 1970s are also a strong proposition. These vehicles offered buyers more power, greater refinement, and a more pleasant driving experience. This 1978 Ford F-150 Ranger amply demonstrates this trend. It presents well for an original one-owner survivor and is in sound mechanical health. The buyer could drive it as is, but a light cosmetic refresh would have it shining like a new penny. It is set to go to a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. The Ranger is located in Elkhorn, Nebraska, and strong bidding has pushed the price beyond the reserve to $12,000 at the time of writing.

If I were trying to pick one word to describe this F-150, it would probably be “honest.” Its paint wears the battle scars that indicate that this is no trailer queen. It still holds a good shine, but a repaint would lift its presentation to the next level. The story is similar when it comes to dents and bruises. There’s nothing horrendous, and the vehicle would serve perfectly as an original survivor. The best news surrounds its lack of rust problems. The panels look remarkably clean, with only some minor non-penetrating corrosion peeking through the paint in a few spots. The underside shots reveal little more than a light dusting of surface corrosion. The story is similar when we take a look inside the bed. There are plenty of scratches, scrapes, and light surface corrosion, but no penetrating rust. The buyer could give the area a quick clean, treat the surface corrosion, and apply a fresh coat of paint to have it looking in as-new condition. The practical stepped rear bumper would benefit from a repaint, but the remaining exterior trim appears to be in excellent condition. There are no flaws with the glass, and the overall impression that this F-150 conveys is pretty positive.

The F150’s interior is tidy for a driver-grade vehicle, but it does have some needs if the buyer wants to lift its presentation to the next level. The carpet looks worn and faded, but $150 will secure a carpet set that would address this issue. It is a similar story with the seat. The cover is worn and physically damaged, but replacements are available for around $350. There are some cracks in the wheel, but with the excellent restoration products that are currently available, the new owner could return this to a factory-fresh state in a home workshop. Otherwise, the interior presents pretty well. The remaining upholstered surfaces, dash, and pad are in excellent condition. It also comes with its share of comfort and convenience items. The buyer will receive air conditioning, cruise control, and an AM radio. Those features should combine to make life on the road pretty pleasant.

While Ford offered a variety of engines for the 1978 F-150, the original owner of this classic opted for the 351ci V8. Its 163hp is fed to the road via a three-speed automatic transmission and a dual-range transfer case. With the mountains of available torque, this combination should allow the Ranger to find its way into some pretty inaccessible locations. For potential buyers, the news is positive. This is a numbers-matching classic, and it is in sound mechanical health. The owner has recently refreshed the fuel system, including installing a new carburetor. He says that this F-150 runs and drives perfectly, making it a turnkey proposition for the next owner.

While it isn’t perfect, this 1978 Ford F-150 Ranger is a great survivor. It is a vehicle still capable of turning heads, but its minor cosmetic needs make it a prime candidate for restoration in a home workshop. Its V8 engine and four-wheel drive capabilities mean that it should be able to take its occupants deep into the great outdoors. It seems that people like what they see, which explains why it has already attracted thirty-four bids since being listed for sale. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it nudge close to $20,000 before the hammer falls, although it could go higher if the right people are determined enough. It might be worth watching this auction closely if you are looking for a classic pickup.

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Comments

  1. Stan

    Throw a canopy on and your camping in comfort anywhere. ⛺

    Like 1
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Just how do so many dealers get all the deals
    on these old trucks?

    Like 3
    • Frank D

      Dealers – Trade-ins, drive-ins, auctions. Some dealerships use junior salespeople to make cold call ads from newspapers and internet listings. When dealers have a low used car inventory where the money is they do anything.

      Like 1
  3. Howard A Member

    “Sound mechanical health”, which is more than I can say for the “1 owner”. As dads pass away all across this great land, their “pride and joy” usually gets sold to help pay the enormous debt that was created. Ask me how I know. Great find, I know, time marches on, turn, turn, turn, and someone will get a nice truck.
    To answer angliat’s question, dealers are privy to all kinds of sales, estate mostly, or seldom visited or misrepresented auctions, they buy these vehicles for PEANUTS, long before the general public knows about them and because nobody else is bidding on them. I’ve been to estate auctions where they are selling mostly household items,, and “oh yeah, we have granny’s Olds”, or in this case, dads truck, and just not the right people. I have a friend that went to a farm auction, and a late “addition” was a ’67 GTO. Naturally, nobody was bidding on it, and he got it cheap., so it does happen.

    Like 9
  4. Harvey Member

    Nice enough older truck,can’t see any ac components and looks like no blower motor:-)

    Like 2
  5. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Your featured truck is very well taken care of with consideration to its originally engineered function-a truck for doing work.
    These are getting crazy money now, and probably will get close to your projected price, but “bargains” can still be found-case in point, we bought this recently for 1/10 of that. A basic Custom with a trailer package option, 351M and C6 behind it.
    Granted it looks the value but it runs well, stops ok and has a terrific 8’ bed to be used for what it was originally intended-a work truck.

    Like 3
  6. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Your featured truck is very well taken care of with consideration to its originally engineered function-a truck for doing work.
    These are getting crazy money now, and probably will get close to your projected price, but “bargains” can still be found-case in point, we bought this recently for 1/10 of that. A basic Custom with a trailer package option, 351M and C6 behind it.
    Granted it looks the value but it runs well, stops ok and has a terrific 8’ bed to be used for what it was originally intended-a work truck.

    Like 3
  7. JP

    Had one it was a Larriat great p/u lots of heavy duty hauling!

  8. chrlsful

    near my fav looking vehicle (a ’73/9 F250 4WD, short bed, step side w/2 18 inch race stripes) altho early ’50s – late 60s Italian’s a close 2nd. Love the care/attention given to the driver’s seat. I’d get a cover to protect that as much as the seat itself 8^ )

  9. Gil Davis Tercenio

    The power steering on these were prone to leak. Hopefully, this one has been rebuilt with the newer seals.

  10. Bob C.

    I always liked this generation. The 1980 to 86, not so much. I’m sure they had refinements, but I thought they were ugly compared to their predecessors.

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