1 2 3
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 11:45 a.m.

I like the clean lines and the simple grille of the work truck Chevys. Mine would be dropped, on Corvette wheels, with a mild LT1 under the hood. 

bobzilla MegaDork
1/25/21 11:51 a.m.

After owning many many generations of trucks (OK, 4 but still) bang for the buck for me goes to a RCSB 4.8 GMT800. They have R&P steering, decent suspension geometry, real brakes and real seats. Stylistically the GMT400 and the 73-87 are both pretty but are much more difficult to live with (the GMT400 isn't too bad, but the leap from it to the 800 is big. Like Hyundai generations big). The 73-87 are just.... terrible vehicles honestly. Turning radius of a school bus, brakes that are a mere suggestion in stock trimand a frame as stiff as a wet noodle.  The cab is tiny. 

So you should get a 73-87 C10 stepside. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/25/21 12:17 p.m.

A 1993 or 28 year old Lightning IS and old truck.  When looking at the F-150 wiki, the '93 is very similar to the '73 F-150.  I see the '93 as just a very, very updated '73.  

This makes me wonder what some of the next unique/desirable trucks will be.  If that desirability has to do with "what you can't get now", I think some of the fiberglass "stepsides" are interesting.  

Sample '97 Stepside: 

Single cabs are generally all but done in new trucks too.  

Here's a question, when was the last time you saw a single cab dually?  

This pic found claims to be a 2012 model but I don't think you can order them this way any more.  If you can order them this way, no one does.  That's doing it "old school" in a new truck.  


ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/25/21 12:51 p.m.
ddavidv said:
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

I would find a vintage Ford truck forum and offer up the Lightning in trade for a dentside. You might do better than you would trying to sell and buy independently.


Yeah, I'd thought of that. The true Lightning fanbois seem to not be interested in 'antique' trucks but it's not impossible.

To answer a few questions posed:

Why do I want a truck? I really don't need one. But I like trucks like some of you like Miatas and AE86 Corollas. An 'antique' pickup costs me almost nothing to tag and insure. I can use it to haul stuff, go to cruise nights or C&C and just have it as any other old, fun vehicle. I've always had a truck for the last...sheesh...20 odd years. It's more of a want than a need. I've moved to fixing and riding motorcycles so it could be handy for moving those around. Downsides are that loading bikes in the bed of a pickup is a PITA; a trailer would be way easier.

I'm browsing 73-79 trucks as they are the most appealing and have tremendous parts availability, kind of like an early Mustang. I wouldn't refuse a 67-72 bumpside but they command even higher prices and are more rust prone. In 1980 Ford changed to a completely new truck with a lot more plastic in the interior and thinner gauge metal.

Going to a trailer is not without some pitfalls. One, I'd have to keep it in one of my garage bays as there is no place on my property to leave it parked outside that it wouldn't be in the way. Two, my other vehicles are decidedly inadequate to tow one (06 Mustang, 10 Jetta wagon). Yeah, they could tow but I'm not putting a hitch on the Mustang and the wife's Jetta is...well...her car.

One final factor is that I'd like to do one more project/vintage car and am also browsing 60s Falcons. I could own/garage two classic Fords at the same time but only can have one 'project' which is why I don't want a beater truck.

In this case, I think you have a rare opportunity.  The Lightning you already own is a rare and collectable truck, and it hauls enough and tows enough for your needs.  Any money you invest in making it nice will probably come back to you when it comes time to sell, maybe even more than you invest.  This seems like a no-lose proposition to me.  Fix the cab leak, fix the dings and have it repainted in the original factory color, horde the rare factory parts as they come available on Ebay etc.  The value of those things isn't going anywhere but up, plus they're cool.  I know you said you're not in love with it, but I bet that would change if you really restored it like the next owner probably would.

ddavidv PowerDork
1/25/21 4:08 p.m.

You guys (other than the Chevy fanbois) are actually being helpful. I appreciate the responses. I'm truly divided on the issue.

Loved...but needed a hood and the roof fixed at the rain gutters among other things:

Arguably nicer to drive, faster, SVT cachet but almost nobody notices it. And it likes to piss various fluids onto my garage floor seemingly at random:

I didn't make YT videos back when I had the '65. Pity. Here's 21 minutes of me yammering about Lightnings and some of their issues: 93-95 Lightning Honest Review

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 4:28 p.m.

i'd keep the devil i know, especially if it was an early Lightning.

otherwise, i'd body-swap a 59 Apache onto an LS-something 800 or 900.

Appleseed MegaDork
1/25/21 4:46 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

Fleetside 58 or 59 for me, please.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 6:44 p.m.

Having owned multiple examples of all three truck brands, I won't get into any specific brand suggestions, just some nebulous ideas.

I'm one of those guys that truly needs a truck.  I use mine as a truck probably an average of 5 times a week. If you need the bed, but not the truck, I will suggest finding the nicest Taco, Ranger, S10/S15/Sonoma/Colorado/Canyon you can find.  They can be had with 4 to 6 cylinders, usually have a tow capacity that is sufficient for nearly any small trailer and whatever cargo you put on it, parts are usually cheap, and it's a huge market segment, meaning plenty of options out there.  The one truck I had that excelled in that duty was a Sonoma ZQ8.  It's like the GMC version of the S10 Extreme without the strange body kit on it.  (pic below).  It got the tight steering, lowered suspension, and it was very car-like.  The payload was more than sufficient, the 4.3L was fun and stoopid reliable, and I think it had a tow rating of 4500-5000.  I honestly miss that truck, but since moving back to PA I really need 4x4 to get into camp, make it to work when it snows, etc.

I would sell you my current truck (94 Mazda B4000/Ranger copy), but before you buy it, do a forum search for "Branger."  It's a lemon.  You don't want it.  It will make your first world problems look like child's play.  It's always one more repair away from being perfect.

My ZQ8:

Image may contain: car and outdoor

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/25/21 6:48 p.m.

Another possibility... El Camino?  Tons of G-body Elkys out there.  They do carry a bit of a desirability tax, but not too bad.  I've had two and had lots of fun with them.

ddavidv PowerDork
1/26/21 7:23 a.m.

No newer trucks. If I can't tag and insure as a collectible they aren't worth it to me for the little use it would get.

I've owned little trucks (Rangers, Nissans, Mazdas) and found them all lacking and not really cheaper than a full size.

My wife HATES El Caminos. Really early Rancheros are barely acceptable. It's something about the roof line, I think. So while I don't care if she is indifferent to stuff in the garage I'd rather not ask her to ride in something she deems hideous. She digs all the old trucks I've had.

I browsed the ad sites again yesterday and am just appalled at the asking prices for old trucks. I'm leaning toward just keeping the pale red Lightning for now with the openness to anyone who asks if it is for sale.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) UltraDork
1/26/21 8:12 a.m.

That Lightning is sweet! Especially in red. You should be able to trade that easily for an older truck if that's what you want. Look at what's happening to 4th gen Broncos, which is basically the same truck. I would imagine the values are coming up.

Saron81 HalfDork
1/26/21 8:51 a.m.

Is a 2001 Lightning old enough to be tagged classic in your state? 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/26/21 9:16 a.m.
ddavidv said:

No newer trucks. If I can't tag and insure as a collectible they aren't worth it to me for the little use it would get.

I've owned little trucks (Rangers, Nissans, Mazdas) and found them all lacking and not really cheaper than a full size.

My wife HATES El Caminos. Really early Rancheros are barely acceptable. It's something about the roof line, I think. So while I don't care if she is indifferent to stuff in the garage I'd rather not ask her to ride in something she deems hideous. She digs all the old trucks I've had.

I browsed the ad sites again yesterday and am just appalled at the asking prices for old trucks. I'm leaning toward just keeping the pale red Lightning for now with the openness to anyone who asks if it is for sale.

PA only requires that it be 15 years old to have a classic tag, and that Sonoma is only a few years newer than your Lightning.  I think some of us might be confused.  I got the impression that you wanted something that could have classic tags, was a truck but mostly because you like trucks and sometimes need a truck, but don't need to tow... and it should be inexpensive

If you like trucks and want a truck, by all means get a truck.  It's just hard to know which syns are apsing in your brain.

older vehicles in pretty much any condition are selling for black-market prices these days.  Even square body trucks from the 80s are bringing top dollar.  If that's what you want, be ready to open a bigger wallet.  I think we are just trying to find you something that fits your needs that isn't expensive, but it isn't old enough for your tastes.  You have clear desires in what you want, but since I'm not in your brain to know what makes your heart pitter patter, it's kind of a nebulous request.

If you're looking for an inexpensive old truck that runs, just wait.  Keep the Lightning for now and just keep sniffing.  That's what I've been doing for the last 3 years with a Jag XJR/Super V8.  The right one will come along for the right price eventually, but if you're looking for something soon, you'll pay the currently-inflated market value.  I just bought a van because my truck sucks, and I'm driving 16 hours to get it, it has rust, and the A/C doesn't work, and I had to use those shortcomings just to negotiate it down to what I consider a retail-level purchase price.  I bought it for $6500 which is right at the high side of KBB PPV, but other vans like it are selling for $12k.

It's a crazy world out there right now.

Uncle David (Forum Supporter)
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/26/21 6:34 p.m.

It's totally the wrong time of year to hunt for this stuff, but...



Mr_Asa UltraDork
1/26/21 7:32 p.m.
ddavidv said:

I browsed the ad sites again yesterday and am just appalled at the asking prices for old trucks. I'm leaning toward just keeping the pale red Lightning for now with the openness to anyone who asks if it is for sale.

Are you looking up north, or elsewhere?  I've been keeping a lazy eye open for a 70s F series in Challenge range and have found a decent amount of nice looking trucks down here in the Florida/Georgia area.

Also, what sort of range are you looking for? I think I saw $10k?

ddavidv PowerDork
1/26/21 9:53 p.m.

All of those trucks but one are post-1980. Not interested in anything that new.

This one is pretty nice for $15k. Don't want a 4x4 but it's a reasonable buy. https://allentown.craigslist.org/cto/d/center-valley-1970-ford-f100-pickup/7267509067.html

There are some decent trucks down south, though pickings are still far slimmer than just ten years ago. Though I browse most of the east coast I don't have time to travel more than a day away currently, so can't get excited about much farther than Virginia.

Virginia, $15k

Closer to home, $8 grand. Notice the rust over the rear wheels. Plus, a color best referred to as 'unfortunate'.

So the $5000 truck of yore is now $7500 or more. The $8000 truck has become a $15k truck in about a decade. It's just amazing to me. I mean, good for the market because it's doubled the purchase price of my own truck. I think a lot of it has to do with the insane price of new trucks. $45k barely gets you an XLT model these days. So I suppose it makes sense that old trucks have followed suit. It's just hard for me to accept, especially when it's for something that sits in the garage most of the time. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the Lightning, I just don't have the adoration for it that other Lightning guys seem to be full of. It doesn't have much character (yup, I said it) compared to my old truck. I figure if I'm going to have a not-newer truck it may as well be fun and interesting. To me.

daeman Dork
1/27/21 3:44 p.m.

You're trying to find a 40+ year old truck .... Think about it, how many have been junked, are absolute basket cases or just plain tired and need cubic dollars spent in them by this point. There's less of them now than there was 10 years ago and those that are left and worth having are nicer examples or they're restoration projects ..... Most of the run of the mill average daily drivers are gone now.

There's nothing wrong with wanting an old truck, but with limited availability, the prices for the nice ones are most likely going to keep climbing.

Edit: if you're not enamored with the lightning, then consider trying to swap it like others have suggested

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/27/21 4:56 p.m.

Having recently gone through this myself (swapped my 1997 Dakota for a 1979 Power Wagon), here are some things to consider:

-Newer "classic" trucks (like your Lightning) have all of the "old truck" underpinnings with all the good modern stuff like EFI, an extra gear in the trans so you can actually use it on the highway, power options, and more. They will also be more comfortable on the inside. These are things to consider if you will be driving it a lot.

-Some older trucks have infinite parts availability depending on the year, make, and model. Some don't. You could probably build a few of the more popular ones from the frame up with the right LMC catalog. I can't do that with my Dodge, but you could probably do that with a late 70's Ford.

-Do you care about gas mileage at all? One shock with swapping to my Power Wagon was seeing my mileage cut in half from 16mpg to 8mpg. That's 8 on a good day, running well. If you plan on going 4WD, Chevy and Ford used the same NP203 full-time 4WD transfer case as my Dodge, so you will see the same results. My old 1992 F150 5.0 4x4 got around 12-13mpg, so I'm assuming the Lightning gets around the same with the extra cubes.

-Finding a nice, ready-to-go old truck is going to cost you. Deals can be had, but you have to have a lot of luck and be willing to wrench on them. They are 40+ years old now, after all. Even the nice ones will need work.

Don't get me wrong, I love my old rig. I did get it cheap, but it needed A LOT to get it where it is now, and it's nowhere close to being done. It's been fun resurrecting it from near death, and I enjoy driving it around and making improvements as I go. It has been a lot of work though. If I was driving it every day, I'd probably be bankrupt by now with the fuel costs alone! It doesn't like the highway due to the steep gears and full time 4WD, so if I needed something to drive everyday, something like this wouldn't be a good choice. I do like being able to fix it with rocks and sticks on the occasional chance it breaks down on the side of the road. smiley


03Panther SuperDork
1/27/21 11:16 p.m.

Just a quick glance at the add, but thought of this thread...
03Panther SuperDork
1/27/21 11:17 p.m.
ddavidv PowerDork
1/28/21 7:17 a.m.

Bet that FL truck is gone by the weekend. I was emailing a guy about a similar vintage truck (6cyl, 3 speed) in about the same shape for $7900. It was sold in 3 days.

Fuel mileage:  depends on what you buy and how you use it. I've only owned 4x2 trucks. My 4 cyl mini trucks got depressingly low gas mileage because you had to wail on them so much just to get them to move. When I went to the full size 1965 Ford with the big, low revving lump of FE 352 I'd typically get 15-16 on the highway. Lots of guys didn't believe me. "You'll never see more than 12 mpg".  Well, 2 bbl, manual transmission, 2.73? rear axle and not trying to win drag races constantly makes a difference. Modern trucks don't do a whole lot better. The Lightning has 4.10 rear gears but an AOD trans so I suspect it gets close to the same. I haven't checked it since I bought it and it ran for crap back then (bad distributor).

One of my old truck buddies has a '66 Ford with a 240 six. On a trip we got 24 mpg. We still laugh about that, along with the sub-$500 price he paid for it. Obviously quite some time ago now. That one is currently finishing up a 300 EFI conversion.

With it being only occasional use I'm not too concerned about mpg. I could own a single-digit mpg 460 and not really care.

Steve_Jones HalfDork
2/2/21 8:21 p.m.

This is close to you.

ddavidv PowerDork
2/3/21 6:36 a.m.

Rust. Needs floorpans. Stupid lowering kit (I want a truck, not a car). 40 gallon fuel tank? Power sapping C6. And let's make it my least-favorite color too.

I've decided I'm not looking for a truck. If one falls from the sky, then I'll deal. Otherwise I'm shopping for the Next Project Car.

03Panther SuperDork
2/4/21 1:15 a.m.


I don't know if the current market makes this a good enough deal, but it loks ok at a glance.

ddavidv PowerDork
2/4/21 7:00 a.m.

A little more patina than I'd like but that's a very fair price right now for that.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners