Wrecker Since New: 1948 Ford F2

1948 Ford F2 Wrecker

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Not only does this old Ford have a cool look to it, but it also has an interesting story behind it. According to the seller, this truck was purchased new in 1948 by a 25 year old Mr. Cantrell. He immediately installed a wrecking crane and headed into the woods of Northern California. There he spent a decade digging out old vehicles until he upgraded in 1958. The F2 was then parked in a barn until he sold it in ’06 to a friend who used it around their ranch. Mr. Cantrell is 93 years old now and is a little worse for wear, but his old wrecker lives on and is ready for its next job. Find it here on eBay where bidding is currently just above $2,500 with no reserve!

Manley Crane

There’s the Manle crane that was responsible for so many mountain tows. It’s still operable too, so this classic might actually be a functional tool for its next owner. The engine is claimed to run well, but the brakes could use some work. The original bed is still with the truck too so it could be returned to factory spec if so desired. That might be a shame though considering all the history here.

F2 Interior

The interior is going to need some help before you are going to want to do much towing though. That shouldn’t a problem though considering that the only upholstery in here is on the bench seat. Recover it and polish up everything else and things will look good in here. There is some rust in the floor too that will need to addressed. The seller claims that the floorboard is the only piece of metal with any significant corrosion so that’s good news.

Reader To Tow

An old wrecker like this may not be for everyone, but I bet every car guy could find a good use for it. Personally, I’d want to clean it up, make it safe, and then use it to drag home more treasures. Perhaps with a Barn Finds logo painted on the door. Hmm… I had better stop now. What would you do with it? Would you follow my lead or would you rip off that crane and reinstall the bed? It would be a fun restoration project. What do you think – what direction would you go with this old wrecker?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. cj32769

    A manual crane Mr. Cantrell must have had biceps and forearms like Popeye! The fuel tank looks like the front tank off a tractor. No pto no hydraulic mess. First I would take the origional bed and make a trailer out of it. Then I would load it with heavy “prizes” and take it to car shows and let people pay me to winch out a “prize” it would pay for itself in no time unless the weight of the prizes ate up my profit in gas mileage. Otherwise looks like a great start to at the least a conversation piece and a fun ride back to when things were so simple.

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    • Glen

      I never would have thought of that!

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    • todd

      fuel tank is inside the cab behind the seat

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  2. Jered

    I actually just picked up a wrecker myself.

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  3. DirtyHarry

    I think I would remove all the wrecker equipment and install some rails to haul motorcycles. Leave the patina as is, except for a Harley decal.

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  4. Cleric

    It’s Stubby Bob’s baby brother!

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  5. Howard A. Howard AMember

    The hoist is a Manley, and they made industrial hoists as well as tow truck hoists. This one appears to be from the 30’s, and yes, they were hand cranked. While they were a bit of a chore, with the long handle and gear reduction, I don’t think it was too hard to operate, except picking up a Packard or Caddy. It looks as if the tow unit itself is quite a load for this, and probably maxes out the 3/4 ton rating of the truck by itself. I saw that extra gas tank too. Be great for a display at a towing outfit, but there’s better ( easier) ways to tow a vehicle nowadays. Guy could have at least blown the cobwebs out of it. Cool find.

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  6. GearheadModelA

    If this was a flathead V8, Id be all about it. Seems a little gutless with the 6 in there. Cleric beat me to the Stubby Bob comparison, that was my first thought when I saw it!

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    ene cuanto la venden? y en que parte se encuentra la grua ford (per Google Translate, How much do they sell it? and in which part is the crane ford)

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