This. This right here is why I started to like old trucks. I was probably 10 when my uncle found this truck in California (he lived there), manual swapped it and drove it to New Hampshire so my father could have a nice truck for not a lot of money. Since then it’s never been driven in the salt and probably has rolled around 130,000 total miles since its production in 1979.
I learned to shift a 4-speed manual on this truck because we used to sit all four of us across the front bench. I could either get whacked in the knees for 2nd and 4th, or learn to do it myself. I may or may not be responsible for some of the dings and dents on it. I may have done some questionable things in it in college. It hauled 18 empty kegs back to the store after an especially large party one night. Yes, really. Eighteen of them.
It also moved classroom supplies into my kindergarten class, and moved me out of college, with countless other “hey you’ve got a truck can you help me move” in between.
It’s a 1979 F100, powered by a 300c.i. straight six driving only the rear wheels with its junkyard-acquired 4-speed manual. First gear is that wonderfully low ratio “creeper gear” so really, it’s like a 3-speed. The only known bodywork was done just last year when the floor rotted out of the cab, otherwise it’s quite solid.
The bed has been painted several times (inside) because it does get used as a truck. The main corrugated floor is, I believe, galvanized.
Inside, it’s... less than perfect. But keep in mind also, this truck was stored outside 365 days a year until about 10 years ago. I remember the winterizing process being something like, “back it into the woods” and that was it. Spring would roll around and when the ground was dry enough that it could extract itself, we’d literally just turn the key and drive it out.
I remember the day when that door handle broke. We flipped it around and wrapped the sharp bit with tape. It was a warm day in May... of 1998.
I think I was 17 when we used it to launch a boat my father and I spent a summer restoring. The boat was one that he used as a kid, and it was already old then - it’s probably from the 1920's.
Overall, this truck has been a shining example of simple, effective engineering. It has never broken down once, ever. And at this rate, I have no doubt my kids will get to drive it in a few more years, too. Certainly growing up with this in our family inspired me to appreciate old trucks for more than just their patina; owning an old truck like this is a great way to have a project vehicle, a conversation piece, and a practical utility vehicle all in one. Don’t restore it to perfection so it can’t be scratched or driven in the rain. Just keep it up mechanically and use it. In fact, this truck is probably the root of “function-over-fashion” for me.
There’s no question it’s the reason I bought a 1972 F-100 back in 2007.
My wife (then girlfriend) encouraged me to buy it at the time, believe it or not. That purchase sparked a friendship that lasts to this day, and also led to me buying the ‘61, of course. The ‘61, by the way, only recently gained the status of “part of the family” from my wife. If I can manage it, it’ll remain part of the family at least as long as the blue one has.
So there you have it. Long live the Blue Truck.