SUV Luxury: 1988 Ford C350 Centurion Classic

With a 460ci V8 under the hood, a tow hitch, and seating for up to nine people, this 1988 Ford C350 Centurion Classic would seem to be a pretty good option for anyone looking to cart a family and all of the associated bits and pieces either on a holiday, or to tackle most forms of recreational activities. Located in Central Point, Oregon, and listed for sale here on eBay, bidding is currently sitting at $1,075, but it isn’t a real surprise that the reserve has not been met.

Time has been less than kind to the paint on the Centurion, but the vehicle could definitely be returned to its former glory. There is a small spot of rust in the lower fender on the driver’s side that will need to be repaired. The top of the vehicle is also looking quite crusty, so it would probably pay to strip that to try to establish exactly what is going on there. It looks like someone has commenced some form of restoration on the vehicle that has stalled, so it will require a personal inspection to make sure that there are no nasty surprises awaiting the next owner.

While they were quite a capable vehicle both on and off the road, one area where the Centurion received more than its fair share of criticism was with the interior trim and accessories. The quality of some of the bespoke Centurion accessories was quite ordinary, and that’s being pretty diplomatic. This particular Centurion has managed to avoid the majority of those parts, but it is still looking a bit tired. The timber trim on the doors will need to be refinished, and the covers on the first two rows of seats are a bit stained and have a few minor tears. However, I wouldn’t be inclined to write them off completely, as they may be able to be repaired and revived without having to resort to new covers. The same appears to be true of the carpet, while the dash and door trims look to be quite good. The headliner also has a couple of small tears and has started to sag in a few places, but once again, this may be able to be repaired. Making life that bit more pleasant is the inclusion of power windows, power locks, cruise control, and air conditioning.

News under the hood is quite promising, with the 460ci fuel-injected V8 the recipient of a rebuild a few years back. The C6 automatic transmission, complete with Gear Vendors overdrive, has also undergone a rebuild. With 4-wheel drive, the Centurion is ready to tackle most off-road situations, and this is made easier by the fitting of power steering and power brakes. The owner says that the Centurion runs and drives well, but that he sometimes needs to jiggle the shift lever a bit to get the starter to engage. That sounds like a faulty Neutral Safety Switch, which is both a fairly common problem and a relatively easy one to fix. The Centurion is also fitted with dual batteries, which should ensure that the vehicle starts fairly easily, while the chunky Super Swamper tires should allow the vehicle to access some pretty hostile terrain.

For someone looking for a vehicle suited to some pretty heavy-duty towing, or for someone looking to tackle the wilds of the great outdoors, there is a heap of potential locked-up inside this Centurion Classic. It does need some cosmetic work to bring it up to scratch, but it appears that the vehicle is both structurally and mechanically solid. With warmer weather on the way, the possibilities with this one would seem to be endless.

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Used to see a few of these around. They took a crew cab and grafted a Bronco body onto the rear. Kind of the first version of the Excursion. This is unusual for me in that the ones I saw were all 2WD. Very costly when they were new. Someone is going to get a bargain on this one. I might add that I’m not all that fussy about an overdrive with an outfit like this one. But that’s me…

    Like 2
  2. Bakyrdhero

    What a beast!

    Like 4
  3. Howard A Member

    The ultimate behemoth,,,

    Like 3
  4. Walter

    In the northeast saw quite a few 4×4 models. Don’t know what is up with the roofs on these. Remember seeing one a few years old very good shape but the roof was peeling and cracking. Despite having very low mileage, Ford dealer wholesaled it.

    Like 3
  5. TimM

    It would be nice to see the undercarriage on this truck!! Some body rust! The roof rust is strange I agree!! The motor compartment is pretty clean!! It would be nicer in my opinion if it were a 7.3 diesel!!

  6. Camaro Joe

    Anybody bidding on this might want to check it out in person or at least get a full story on its’ history. Usually a 460 Ford will go at least 300,000 miles before it needs a rebuild. The only way I know to kill one before that is to overheat it into oblivion or run it out of oil. The fact that this one was rebuilt before 150,000 raises a red flag.

    Of course it will bankrupt you buying gas for it, they are an awful gas hog. We had a 3/4 ton 4×4 at work that consistently got 10 to 11 MPG at 60 MPH unloaded. But it ran forever, driven by clowns who didn’t know anything and cared even less. They even broke the driver’s and passengers’ seat backs, my help found the seat backs propped up with sleeping bags and lumber.

    I hope for the sake of the new owner that the overdrive helps the gas mileage a lot, they’re going to need it.

    Like 3
  7. Camaro Joe

    TimM,

    You’re right, the 7.3 diesel would increase the gas mileage by at least 40% and they last at least as long as a 460. The 7.3 diesel won’t beat a 460 in a drag race, but you don’t buy this thing to race anybody.

    Of course you have to know how to take care of a diesel in cold weather, and you have to shut it off at the McDonalds drive through so they can hear you order your food.

    My 454 3/4 ton 4×4 Suburban never had those problems and it got better gas mileage than the 7.3 diesel pickups that friends and co-workers had.

  8. George

    The roof problem is common with these. It’s where the original roof section and new roof section are welded together.

    Like 2
  9. lbpa18

    This reminds me of a question I always had until Ford made the Excursion at the peak of poor timing. With all the success GM had for decades with the Suburban, why didnt Ford attempt to penetrate that market? There were so many loyal Ford folks out there who could have used a rugged utility people-hauler. They would have jumped at the chance. The Explorer and its bigger brothers came along very late in the game.

  10. Tom

    Depending on the price leave it as is and use as a winter truck in the northeast.

  11. Paul

    These should be able to tow a lot….they need to be able to tow a fuel tanker truck behind them in order supply the fuel they need to run.

  12. chrlsful

    cummins/alison performance (MPGs/pep’n power); 35 ft mobilhometrailer !
    /Or/
    cam the 460 put in race car – use Centurion to tow. Ask me? their just race motors.
    Better yet? l like the van style Centurion (specially w/the 4 doors).

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