Big trucks like this 1948 Ford F-4 Stake Bed remind us today that life was very, very different not all that long ago. Most of the heavy lifting around town was handled by trucks very much like this one, designed to carry immense loads at modest speeds over questionable terrain. And at that, the Ford F-series excelled. The fact that they were also handsome doesn't hurt, and today they remain perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the antique vehicle hobby.
1948 was the inaugural year of the legendary F-Series of Ford trucks, offering the old-school grille with narrow-set of headlights that looks great. The paint is a twist on of the old-fashioned look, Vermillion Red with black fenders, and it nevertheless looks right on the big rig's classic shape. Fit and finish is appropriate to an original heavy-duty truck, with doors that open and close easily, a hood that latches tight, and a very attention-grabbing overall look that makes people smile. There are plenty of signs of use and it isn't perfect, but you wouldn't want a truck that hasn't proven itself, right? The period stake bed is a neat feature and makes this truck practical today and remains fully functional with pressure treated wood, although we do think a little varnish would spruce it up. Put it to work or imagine the possibilities for hauling around all your friends during a tailgate or car show. Cool, right?
The interior is nattily trimmed with a brown vinyl bench seat and painted metal surfaces everywhere else. Remember, it was designed to work hard, not be luxurious, but Ford stylists knew that good looks sold trucks just as well as they sold cars, so the new factory-style instruments are in a stylish pod and keep an eye on all the vitals. The dash, doors, and other areas have all been painted red to match the body, with proper cardboard headliner that gives it a very finished look. The contrast between the black control levers and steering wheel versus the red paint is pleasing and rakish, showing a bit of style that's right at home in the handsome truck. Manual steering and brakes are easy enough to manage, but this is still a big vehicle so it'll take some getting used to the commanding driving position. And brush-up on your shifting, since the 4-speed manual gearbox is heavy-duty and requires a firm hand on the shift lever.
Remarkably, Ford's 226 cubic inch inline-six was offered alongside the flathead V8, and produces nearly as much power and more torque, which is probably why it was used in the giant F6. It's quite clean under the hood for such a workhorse and starts quickly with the factory-spec 6-volt system (positive ground) spinning the starter. It wears proper Ford Red paint and a downdraft carburetor, and still retains its generator for the electrical system. There's also a push-button starter inside, and an electric choke if necessary, and once the big rig is warmed up, it runs smoothly and can go all day. Shifting takes some practice, but you certainly won't hurt the big guy while you learn, and the brakes are remarkably effective given the truck's mass. Performance is leisurely, as you'd expect, but there's simply nothing you can't move with something like this. The original steel wheels have been painted to match the fenders, and wear very grippy 7.00-18 heavy-duty Super Traction-STA truck tires.
For business promotion or weekend warriorism, there are few better mediums, and if moving big stuff around is part of your daily routine, you'll probably enjoy it twice as much from behind the wheel of this F-4. An awful lot of truck for not a ton of money. Call today!