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Short Bed Survivor: 1973 Ford F100

Short bed pickups are among the better-looking classic trucks you can buy, regardless of manufacturer. While we often see Chevy-branded pickups for sale in this configuration, this 1973 Ford F100 Custom is a nicely patina’d example and configured the way most enthusiasts would want: rear-wheel drive with a 302 V8 under the hood and three-speed on the floor. The body may look rough, but the short bed with the knobby off-road tires is a great look. Find it listed here on eBay with no reserve, bids to just over $4K, and located in Houma, Louisiana.

The paint is certainly not what you’d call fresh, but the drab olive green finish works with the rough patches around the top portion of the bedside. The black steel wheels on 33-inch tires are a nice look, and it looks even better with the bed cap removed. The seller refers to it as a “camper top” but it appears to be a regular shell to me; regardless, it’s been with the truck since it was nearly new, which likely means the bed has been preserved. Still, photos show the seller hauling around heavy items with the Ford – a habit we certainly encourage – but it doesn’t guarantee the bed is free of scratches and other signs of use.

The interior is in fair shape, with a mostly solid bench seat with a few holes poking through. The dash paint looks clean and matches the rest of the car, but the radio does appear to be a later aftermarket example. The manual transmission is a surprise and makes this Ford seem like loads more fun to rip around town in, and the three-spoke steering wheel is a nice touch – and probably makes the truckloads easier to steer around town. Overall, this F100 seems to reside comfortably in the sweet spot between project-grade example and open road ready. It’s a driver you can enjoy using.

The 302 paired to the manual ‘box is another enthusiast-minded feature, and would likely sound pretty meaty with a free-flowing exhaust. The engine bay looks better than I’d expect considering the outside, but it’s certainly not detailed; the seller claims it runs great and mileage is reported as 90,000 with no confirmation that they are actually other than the condition. The short bed design will always make for a sound investment in the world of vintage pickups, and this one can either be left as-is or turned into more of a street rod with lower profile wheels and tires and a dropped suspension. Would you leave it as-is or modify it further?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good job Jeff. This brings back memories. One of my dad’s oil field pickups was this configuration and color: short wheelbase, Styleside, 302, 3-speed (but without the floor conversion), Limestone Green. I also worked for the same ma-and-pa company while in college and drove his truck on occasion. I remember it as being tough and dependable but certainly very basic.

    Here is the window sticker. You can see comfort and convenience wasn’t the goal; rather, note the heavy-duty components, including the old school 16″ wheel/tire package.

    Like 9
  2. Jon

    I learned how to drive in my dad’s green 1973 Ford F100 pickup. Looked a lot like this one, but his had a nice topper and a bigger motor, I want to say a 390 V8. That sucker could kick some serious gravel. Seeing this one brings back some great memories.

    Like 3
  3. Little_Cars

    Shift leaver seems woefully low to the floor and I bet 4th gear grazes the seat if you’re short like me. Steering wheel seems out of place, like a Buick Gran Sport from the same era. Good to know that radiator hose hasn’t blown in 11 years….could it be marked any more conspicuously? Nice shorty truck for a good basic price if it doesn’t go much higher.

    Like 1
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had a longbed ’74 in this same color.I think
    I paid $1500 for it.I was in Eureka,Ca.The truck came
    from South Dakota & Utah.
    When I looked through the paperwork,I found that
    it was purchased new in Eureka.
    Not a fun truck to drive.

    Like 1
  5. Larry Ashcraft

    Ford 4WD trucks had slave cylinder power steering until 1976, whereas the 2WD ones had integrated power steering starting in 1969. I had a ’75 version of this truck with a 390 and four speed. It came stock with a 360, but the previous owner had swapped in a 390 from an F250. I found a conversion kit to swap in integrated steering, but it required quite a bit of cutting and welding. It DID fix the steering problem (these were known to have to be “herded” down the highway because they wandered all over the place).

    One other problem these all had was weak brakes. Ford apparently didn’t build these as real trucks, and the brakes seemed more like car brakes. Mine was in the shop several times for wheel cylinders, etc. My 1992 was better, but not by much. At least it came with discs in the front.

    Like 1

    pretty close but wish it was:
    step side, F250, 4WD.
    If so I’d puta coupla 18 inch wide satin black stripes over the grill/hoof/cab bout a 1/2 inch apart…

  7. bhowe Member

    I may be mistaken, but I believe this color is Medium Green Glow Metallic. When fresh and shiny, it’s a beautiful color, which you can’t tell from these photos. My father had a new 76 in the same color and it was awesome. Love these old Fords especially in these colors.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      I painted the 1/25th model I made of this truck in that Green Glow finish, straight out of a Duplicolor rattle can. Because in my town I seemed to only see them in that color and red. Wish I still had the model and the box it came in. This was the era when model kits had to have bonus decals, motorcycles and trailers, CB radios, and special offers on the packaging.

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