1971 Ford Truck

Let me tell you about my old Ford truck.

This 1971 Ford F-100 Ranger XLT has been in the family for 50 years.

My grandfather bought it in East Texas in February 1971 and it’s been in near-constant use since then. He used it on his small ranch to haul hay, feed, and anything else that came along. He hauled grandkids in the bed from the home place to the lake and back – back in the day when it was legal and no one thought about the safety of such practice. I spent many hours riding standing up in the bed with my elbows leaning on the top of the cab, facing the wind.

Here’s a Polaroid photo he sent my Mom just after he bought it.

My Grandfather’s Note on the back of the photo:

New Ford Pickup and new snow of last night.
Started to snow about 6PM 2-7-71.
Pines are real pretty in snow.

My grandfather bought a new truck in 1980 and sold this one to my Mother. She mostly puttered around town in it, but occasionally she and my Dad used it to haul their travel trailer back to East Texas to work their pecan orchard there. It spent many hours working the “farm” there.

When Mom passed away in 2000, I bought it from my Dad and have owned it since.

I’ve spent many hours repairing, restoring and improving this old truck. Please take a look at the factory specifications, as well as the maintenance that I’ve done and the upgrades I’ve added.


  • 390 CID V-8 w/ 2 bbl Carburetor
  • Ford C-4 Three-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Power Brakes
  • Power Steering
  • Dealer-Installed Frigidaire Aftermarket Air Conditioning
  • Full Eight-Foot Bed
  • Behind-Seat Storage
  • Twenty-ish Gallon Fuel Tank, Under Bed (not in the cab)
  • 141,000 Actual Miles

Improvements Over the Years

  • Ford Factory Maintenance Manuals – Engine & Chassis
  • New Paint Job (2009 – OK, that’s not really “new” anymore)
  • New Side Trim (though woodgrain insert has peeled off)
  • Tachometer
  • Cruise Control
  • Steering Stabilizer
  • New Headlight Harness
  • Kobalt In-Bed Toolbox
  • Bluetooth Car Stereo
  • Shoulder Belts

Maintenance Over the Years

  • Engine Rebuilt 1999 (just before I got it) – Maybe 30,000 miles on it
  • Transmission Rebuilt 2002 – Maybe 20,000 miles on it
  • A/C Converted to R-134a
  • New Steering Gear
  • New Tie Rods and Drag Link
  • New King Pins
  • New Radius Arm Bushings
  • New Power Steering Pump
  • New Power Brake Booster
  • New Brake Master Cylinder
  • New Wheel Cylinders
  • New Alternator
  • New Starter
  • New Electronic Voltage Regulator
  • New Rear Wheel Bearings
  • New Radiator
  • New Fuel Sending Unit
  • New Fuel Pump
  • New Heater Core
  • New Gas Tank Filler Hose
  • Rebuilt Carburetor
  • New Plug Wires
  • New Exhaust System


  • Factory-Installed Oil Leaks in Valve Covers & Intake Manifold (grin)
    • Find me an old Ford that doesn’t leak oil and I’ll show you one that has NO oil in it
  • Wood Grain Peeled on New Side Molding
  • Some Lower Molding Missing
  • Interior Needs Work
  • Some Rust at Bottom of Doors

Never Owned or Driven on Old Ford Truck Before? What You Need to Know.

  • Old Fords leak oil – it’s just what they do.
  • Old Fords are cranky when it’s cold (and their definition of “cold” often changes).
    • You gotta learn how to tickle the accelerator to get them to start.
  • This was one of the last years Ford produced trucks with the “Twin I-Beam Front Suspension”.
    • What does that mean?
    • Well, it’s fantastic on the farm because of the way the front wheels can move freely and absorb the bumps from a terraced pasture.
    • And it’s awful on the highway because the front wheels can move freely and constantly change the geometry of the front end. Therefore, it wanders on the highway. Every Ford truck with Twin I-Beam does that.
    • Once you drive it for a week or two, it becomes second nature, but you are always moving the steering wheel to keep it going in a straight line. Head for the farm and you’ll love it.
  • This truck originally had G78/15 tires on it. When the P-metric tires came along, the P215/75R15 was supposed to be the closest thing to the original G78s. However, the speedometer reads a bit fast. I think moving up to P225/75R15s will put the speedometer in the right range and will probably look better on the truck.