Perfect Tow Vehicle: 1978 Ford F-250 Crew Cab 4×4

This 1978 Ford F-250 Crew Cab is no cream puff. One look at it reveals that this is a pickup that has worked to earn its living, but delving deeper reveals that it is a physically solid vehicle that is perfectly equipped for towing. It could definitely benefit from a cosmetic refresh, but there is no reason why the next owner couldn’t use and enjoy the vehicle as it currently stands. It is located in Mahopac, New York, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Given the popularity of the F-250, it is no surprise to find that the bidding has been strong on this one. It initially opened at $500, but it hasn’t taken long for it to find its way to $14,100. However, the reserve hasn’t been met at this point.

The Crew Cab is finished in the very attractive combination of Midnight Blue Metallic and Wimbledon White. The paint is now looking pretty tired, and there is no doubt that the whole vehicle would benefit from a repaint. Having said that, the exterior presentation isn’t actually horrendous, and whether or not a repaint was on the cards would depend on the ultimate fate of the F-250. I mean, if the intention is for the Ford to be used to pound its way through the undergrowth into inaccessible locations for camping holidays, then spending good money on a repaint is probably going to be a pointless exercise if that fresh paint is going to be scratched to pieces by all manner of branches and other objects. However, if the majority of its life is going to be spent on the bitumen, a repaint would have it looking quite striking once again. The owner supplies a comprehensive collection of photos of every aspect of the Ford, and it appears to be free of any real rust. The frame and floors look really good, with little more than the usual dusting of surface corrosion visible. The panels seem to be free of rust issues, and while the inside of the bed is heavily scratched, it does appear that it is free of the sorts of dents and dings which would indicate that object have simply been thrown in the back with little care. The glass looks like it is in good condition, and the inclusion of the optional sliding rear window is a real bonus. Some of the external trim pieces have become detached from the vehicle over time, but the photos tend to indicate that these are still present, and are just sitting in the rear seat awaiting refitting.

The F-250 does have quite a bit of potential as a tow vehicle because what you find under the hood is a 400ci V8, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. That engine would only produce around 170hp, but it does pump out a mountain of torque. It is this that makes it a potentially great tow vehicle, but the inclusion of dual-range 4-wheel-drive also means that it should quite effortlessly find its way into some pretty remote locations. The owner doesn’t make any outrageous claims about low mileage, with the Crew Cab showing 117,000 miles on its odometer. However, he does say that the 400 has only clocked around 25,000 miles since it was treated to a full rebuild. He states that the motor starts and runs really well. The steering does have a bit of free play in it, but otherwise, he says that it drives nicely. For those buyers who are seeking the life of adventure, the 4×4 system works exactly as it should. The Ford has also been treated to a new rear fuel tank, but the tires are showing some rot, and a new set probably wouldn’t go astray.

One look at the Crew Cab’s interior reveals that this is a vehicle that has spent a large part of its life as a workhorse. Whipping the interior back into shape is going to take some work, but the reality is that there is nothing there that requires immediate attention. The most obvious issues are the state of the door trims and the cover on the front seat. Both are beyond help and will require replacement at some point. The headliner has been replaced, and it does look quite nice. The rear seat looks to be free of rips and tears, while the dash only sports a single crack. I believe that this could be repaired and that replacing the pad might not be required. The carpet is faded, but if the vehicle is going to be used to access the wilds, I probably wouldn’t be inclined to replace it in a hurry. One item that will require replacement is the window seals. The owner says that these show some deterioration, and if dust and moisture are to be kept at bay, new seals would be a pretty wise investment. The original radio is long gone, but the CD player that has been installed in its place is said to work really well.

I could explain to you just how popular the F-250 Crew Cab is, but I think that the bidding on this one tells the story quite nicely. The fact that there have been 22 bids on the vehicle before the auction has even reached the halfway point is probably pretty indicative of the popularity of this model. This one is a bit rough around the edges, but with no obvious rust issues to contend with, returning it to a fairly pristine state shouldn’t be that difficult. Given the enormous variety of tastes that we have amongst our readers, I will be interested to see whether we have anyone who would be interested in bidding on this fantastic F-250.


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  1. bud lee

    I’m guessing 5 gallons per mile .

    Like 3
    • Rodney

      Probably 7. It’s the miserly 400 not a 460…

      Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Out west, back in the day, we called crew cabs “Hutterite Wagons.” That was because the majority of them were bought by Hutterites, with construction companies and the railroads coming in behind. My dad bought a ’69 International crew cab only his was a short box. Just the same he got teased a lot. Interesting that today, the standard cab is now out of place. They’re still referred to as Hutterite Wagons by some people but they sure have caught on.

    This truck would be a good all purpose truck. You would need four full lanes to turn it around but it sure would do anything you wanted, except maybe passing a gas station…

    Like 2
  3. canadainmarkseh Member

    Pretty worn out truck, it’s clearly been ridden hard and put away wet. These were tough trucks but this one is going to need a lot of work, there will be wear and tear in all sorts of mechanical parts that won’t show in the pictures. For that reason I think the price is way to high. I think that best of this truck is all used up and even though it’s not rusty it will be a money pit. Good luck to the buyer.

  4. Jimmy

    I like this truck a lot but with what work needs to be done to make it safe and decent looking I think his current bid of 14K is about tops, just my honest old 4×4 opinion.

    Like 1
  5. Bennie C Davis Jr

    It’s a good looking truck and yes the motor might have just 25,000 miles on it after the rebuild but that type of truck is made to work. The seller talks about the slack in the steering so their’s no telling what you’ll need to fix that problem. With the price at 14K that’s a little bit high and with the reserve not met, I don’t know if I would bid any higher. I would drive it like it is and use it on a farm.

  6. Val

    Rip that Pile of Garbage 400 out of there and drop a 6bt Cummin’s engine and Built Automatic 47rh trans then you would have something that would get 18 mpg easy.

    Like 1
    • Jimmy

      @Val, To each their own but the 400 I had in my 78 F-150 shortbed 4×4 was no piece of garbage, yes it used gas but what 4×4 didn’t on the other hand I could blow the doors off Camaros & Firebirds of the same era since trucks didn’t have all that smog restrictive garbage on them. Surprised quite a few of my fellow coworkers going and coming home from work on the lonely 30 mile long 4 lane highway. Yes back then diesel was cheaper than gas but not anymore, we just filled up at Sam’s club and gas was $1.37 a gal while diesel was $2.26 a gal. Just an old Ford guys opinion.

      Like 2
    • JCA

      So someone should spend $10k to replace the motor and trans and destroy the originality of the truck just to save a few bucks of fuel costs? And with at least a 25% cost premium of diesel, your 18 mpg instantly turns into 13 mpg…

      Like 2
  7. Brian

    This truck needs a total makeover and has definitely earned its keep over the years. The current bid is plenty for the workhorse, it will cost an enormous amount of money to get it back into its
    original shape. Good luck to whomever decicides to restore this baby.

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