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My First F-150 Pickup Truck

It wasn't new and it wasn't good looking, but it got the job done


My First F-150 Pickup Truck

In 2003, my wife and I bought a house that needed some renovations. Since my old Datsun 280Z wasn't ideal for hauling lumber and supplies, I started looking around for a cheap pickup truck.

I spotted a 1980 4WD F-150 parked at a house I passed each day, and it rarely moved. When I knocked on the door, the owner didn't have to put much thought into whether or not to sell the truck -- he had been considering it but hadn't had time to write an ad.

The 1980 truck had a 6 cylinder engine, a 4-speed transmission -- and a lot of body rust, but it was perfect for my needs. A sliding rear window allowed me to insert long boards all the way to the dash and secure them to the top of the tailgate. Scratches were never a concern and the interior was rough enough that I didn’t worry about getting it dirty.

I drove that truck every day for about a year and a half and the only thing I had to replace was the alternator. Even that repair was not the truck's fault -- the alternator failed after I drove through bumper-high water (and remember, this was a 4WD, the water was deep).

Eventually, I wanted a newer truck and decided to stick with Ford. That's when a 4WD 1997 F-150 SuperCab made its way to the garage. My wife teased me about the truck because it had power windows, power seats, leather -- and the air conditioning actually worked. She thought I would have a hard time adjusting to all of those creature comforts, but I managed.

I drove the "new" pickup for over a year and put about 27,000 miles on it, and then sold the truck to a friend (after taking out a row of mailboxes along the passenger fender and door). Its replacement is the truck I still drive every day, a 2003 F-150 SuperCrew that I've put about 80,000 miles on in the last three years.

I sold the 1980 F-150 truck about two years ago and recovered my original purchase price plus the cost of all the parts I put in it, including brakes, exhaust and alternator. Not bad considering the miles driven and the loads of cargo it hauled.

The most recent pickup in the garage is a 1951 Ford F-1 project truck. It has a ways to go for full restoration, but is solid enough to drive while I'm working on it -- except when it rains (I haven't fixed the windshield wipers yet).

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