Prototype Pickup: 1988 Ford F-150 4×4 Centurion

The owner of this 1988 Ford F-150 Centurion refers to the vehicle as a prototype, and while an exhaustive search of the internet has not allowed me to confirm this, nor has it allowed me to disprove the claim either. It is an interesting vehicle, and it is being advertised for sale with a BIN price of $25,000, or the option is there to make an offer. The F-150 is located in Boone, North Carolina, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

The most distinctive feature of this Centurion is the bed, which is constructed of fiberglass, with timber inserts. This results in a vehicle that is lighter than your standard F-150, but it would also tend to be quite tail-happy. What makes this an unusual vehicle is the fact that the vast majority of Centurion conversions were actually what was essentially a four-door SUV. This was achieved by mating the front half of an F-150 or F-350 with the rear quarter panels, hardtop, and tailgate of a Bronco. The resulting vehicle, called the Centurion Classic, was capable of seating up to nine people. Finding an F-150 Centurion like this one is a bit of a rarity. Having said that, this one does look to be in very good condition, and it’s nothing if not interesting.

The interior of this F-150 presents well for a vehicle of this age. Centurion Vehicles, which was located in White Pigeon, Michigan, was also renowned for upgrading the interiors of their converted vehicles, and this was one aspect of their vehicles that was commonly criticized. The quality of some of their fittings and features was quite questionable, and thankfully, this F-150 has avoided that fate. What you get with this F150 is a clean, crisp interior, with an aftermarket CD player being one of the very few modifications.

The owner supplies no photos of the engine, so this is as close as we get, and it does look clean under here. The engine is a 5.0-liter V8, while the transmission is a Mazda M5OD-R2 5-speed manual. Being a 4-wheel-drive, this is a pickup that’s ready to go anywhere. The owner says that the Centurion starts and runs well and that the manual transmission shifts smoothly. He also states that the vehicle has been garage kept, and the overall appearance of the vehicle, especially the underside of it, reflects a history of careful ownership.

This is actually quite an interesting vehicle, and a large part of that stems from the fact that there is so little information about Centurions of this configuration. There is plenty of information to be found on the Centurion Classic, but an F-150 Short Bed seems to be something of an anomaly in the company’s history. That’s why the owner’s claim that this is a prototype is quite conceivable. I’ll be interested to see if any of our Barn Finds readers can shed some light on this vehicle and whether it really could be a prototype.

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  1. crop_dusting_4_life

    this looks like my grandpa’s truck

  2. 71FXSuperGlide

    Currently own a ’94 F-150 5.0 and really like this body style. Easy to work on as well.

    That being said, this is nice, but not $25K kinda nice.

  3. Wayne

    I worked at a Ford store that sold a few Centurion Classic trucks/SUVs. Their quality (or lack there of) was worse than Fords at the time. (Body cracking at the welds that they would not stand behind on a 3 month old vehicle.) I ended up with a F350 Dually with one of their “upgrades”, and it was just as bad on the quality. In fact it looked much better when I removed all their stuff and “re-made” it into a stock XLT. As far as I’m concerned, The Centurion name detracts from the value.

  4. Jermey

    Parents had a 91 Bronco with the Centurion package. Salesman explained it was a customization job, not from the factory. So, not a prototype.

  5. jcs

    The interior is not in good shape for only 14,000 miles. This is not a prototype Centurion took various styles of Ford trucks (vans, pickups and Broncos) and modified them with fiberglass parts, like the bed on this pickup. This seller doesn’t seem to know what he has and that shows in the price. If anyone believes the description, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell them. I agree with Wayne. A Centurion is something to run from.

    • Gary S.

      Adam, there is an engine pic…not a great one but there is one. Nice truck but not 25k nice.

  6. Rusty67

    Could this be related to the Ranger Shadow prototype beds? … Same time frame and very similar looking with the diamond plating.

  7. Noah

    Looks like it’s a regular f150 with a custom “centurion” box. You can take any regular f150 and slap on an 80-86 flareside box, or the correct 87 flareside box, OR a 94-96 flareside box and have the exact same thing. I assume the ford beds have better build quality as well. This sucker is probably worth a good solid $6-7k.

  8. Jake Larson

    My 91 f150. Have the order sheet from centurion. No wheel humps in the bed and solid steel bed floors

  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Personally I don’t care for add-on sun visors on trucks. Most are designed for style, not function or long term durability (especially automatic car washes). I’ve also owned trucks with wooden beds and remade broken parts and though not fun, it created a fantastic look.

    Personally this one doesn’t trip my trigger so hope someone finds it desirable.

  10. Morley Member

    This is my version. F100 Custom 1980 Bought it new , hardly ever drove it , it is absolutely rust free, it has never seen rain nor snow. I haven’t driven it for years , just sits in the garage under the car cover. This guy is asking 25 grand, I would not sell mine for that. If you want to buy it, wait for my estate sale. As I always say , it is all emotion, not money.

  11. boxdin

    That bed is a standard ford “stepside” for that year. The year before, 1987 was the last real stepside bed for ford and chevy.

  12. Miguel Member

    I bet the seller is throwing the word prototype out there to see if somebody bites.

    He can’t be that ignorant not to know Centurion was just a conversion company like many many others.

    He has the internet just like we do.

    Besides that, it is a1988 Ford.

  13. tony t

    <> that would be fun .. stop to pee every five miles …

  14. shanahan

    IMO the seller just put it out there to see if there was any interest at a crazy price.

  15. Mike P

    … is wife told him to put it up for sale and he didn’t want to sell it… so at $25K it will never sell… problem solved. He can tell his wife he tried. Very old trick that a lot of “wives” don’t know about.

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