In 1976 America celebrated its bicentennial, Gerald Ford was president and a man named Bill bought a brand new Ford F100. Ford Motor Company ramped up production across its 13 factories and sold 1,003,610 other trucks throughout 1976, nearly setting a model-year sales record. Out of those trucks produced, 225,154 were F100’s and 30% of those were built with the same power plant as mine. My truck rolled off the assembly line in Ontario with a 4.9l 300ci 6 cylinder coupled with a three speed manual transmission and manual steering. The only option the truck came with was an FM radio.
Bill, the guy who bought the truck in the picture above and kept it 30 years, also happened to be my Grandpa’s neighbor. I’d grown up across the street from it sitting underneath the carport and always admired it as we left my Grandparents’. In 2006 when Bill decided to part with the truck my Grandpa who knew the special place it held in my heart made sure that I was the first to know. And while I wouldn’t say that this is the truck that ignited my passion, I will say that it has stayed with me longer than most vehicles (all told, I’ve owned north of 30), and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
While I wouldn’t call it old, slipping behind the large steering wheel and the three-on-the-tree manual transmission definitely instills a sense of nostalgia. It doesn’t drive like anything built in the past 30 years (for better or worse) and with so few options it feels older than it is. It’s everything that I love about old cars, it’s simple and it’s mechanical. I often joke that the truck was built when men were men, but in my mind there is some truth to that. If you’ve ever driven a twin I-beam truck with manual steering, you know what I’m talking about. The truck is no nonsense; it’s an honest truck that wasn’t built for anything other than work.