In Europe its rather easy to overlook how significant the Ford F-Series pick-up truck has become.
It is the world's best selling truck, and it regularly continues to maintain its status as the US best selling vehicle. The F-Series has been in production since 1948, with each generation catering for America’s ever evolving demands.
The seventh generation of F-Series trucks, colloquially known the bullnose model, arrived in 1980 and was built on a completely new chassis and body.
The F-Series has become well liked for its rugged exterior styling, which has dated surprisingly well but more importantly it was the first Ford truck to offer a genuinely comfortable experience to customers, marking a critical turning point in the F-Series' transition into a daily-driver.
With soundproofing, more comfortable interiors, and increased options to provide creature comforts, the sleeker, but still durable design had modernised the pick-up genre and gave Ford a market share that it still continues to dominate.
This 2WD 1985 Canadian import was imported into the UK in 2019 after spending the previous few years in its home country, where it was showcased at historic car shows.
Powered by a small block 5.8-litre V8 engine, the truck has retained many of its unique features but has been enhanced by a new paint job and some minor cosmetic improvements.
The current owner has shown remarkable control by not over-accessorising and detailing it; he had a clear aim of keeping the car's 1980s vibe without the gimmicks.
The History and Paperwork
MOT to June 2023
V5 applied for
Imported into the UK in 2019
Believed to have been originally fitted with small block 4.9-litre six from new, this example has been upgraded to accommodate a 5.8-litre V8 which obviously offers more power with better parts availability.
The chassis number confirms that the truck was built in Canada, and the show plaques affixed on the top of the front valance of the engine bay confirm that it spent its previous life attending shows in Nova Scotia.
Imported into the UK in 2019, the car initially served as a lock-down project for its owner. Soon after driving it back from Southampton docks, he placed the car in the hands of a specialist for a check-over, who established that the truck was indeed solid, mechanically sound and only needed paint and minor cosmetics.
The owner had a change of heart soon after the Ford received roughly £5,000 worth of paint work and has opted to move the car on to help with other projects and make more room. It has an MOT to June 2023.
The V5 has been applied for and will be available upon handover to the next owner.
The interior has been subject to a good scrub with nothing much more than layer dirt needing to be removed.
As a result the seats have come up well with no notable issues in terms of wear or damage. The seats fold forward to reveal two speakers and a storage box.
The truck is fitted with a hard wearing mat, which is in good shape, with minor wear on the foot plates. The door cards are in very good condition.
The dashboard has lasted well, with its wood-grain applique being the correct style of this specific model year.
The rest of the facia is good, with a repair noted on the centre of the top of the dashboard padding. The plastics are free of cracks or damage.
The dials and controls are in good shape, a series of aftermarket dials have been fitted to override the originals, this includes a battery, oil pressure and engine temperature gauge which are all said to be functional. A tachometer has also been installed as well as a Kenwood CD/Aux player. The column change and steering wheel are in good condition.
The rear bed acts as a large boot and is in good shape, with some wear noted on the wooden floor, but otherwise free of any form of water ingress and certainly strong and durable enough for use.
A recent £5,000 repaint
Very presentable exterior
The truck uses a fairly rudimentary chassis using rails on a ladder frame, but it is a tried and tested design and very robust in use.
The core frame is in good shape, with no significant evidence of damage, suggesting that it has been spared recent off-road use. It has likely to have seen some level of restoration, due to its positive visual condition.
The suspension mounts are well kept, with no issues noted on the cross member and surrounding areas. The body mounts on the chassis are good, with the rear deck using wood as a base, which appears to have aged well.
The cabs inner wings and the floor pan look solid and are well mounted on to the chassis. There is signs of age noted under the cab footplates as you peer up to the running boards, otherwise the structure is in very good shape.
Externally the cab is in positively presented, with the passenger door panels offering a decent fit. The rest of the front body panels are in excellent shape and free of damage or dents, with the bonnet staying up thanks to a decent set of struts.
There are no issues noted around the A-post, wheel arches or door wells. The ‘moonshine’ roof appears to be an original fitting but has been sealed shut. It is said not to leak. The roof side guttering shows under paint blemishes on both sides.
The inside wings of the bed are in good condition, with a coat of rust inhibitor paint applied, and the entire area shows no evidence of significant damage. The top of the deck has been permanently sealed with a non removable lid. It is finished with a vinyl topper which is in very good condition.
The tailgate drops down with ease, it uses pins and latches in its operation, some under paint blemishes are noted on the seams of the outer tail gate. The rear valance is in good shape.
The truck has been subject to a recent high quality paint finish. It has been applied with care, with no obvious paint runs or uneven coverage. It has a decent lustre and is free from any road wear or chip damage.
There are a few accessories fitted on the body which includes a fibreglass windscreen visor and moulded Lund running boards, both of which are in good condition.
The car is defined by its chrome front, and luckily it is in a presentable condition and appears to be free from age-related damage. The front bumper rubber trim is in excellent shape.
The PCI bed rails are in good shape, with no issues noted on the B post grab handles or door mirror mounts. The glass is in good shape, with the sliding rear window operating with ease.
The windscreen shows signs of lamination faults but is otherwise free from cracks or chips. Their respective seals are in good shape, which no evidence of water ingress. The lights and lenses are complete and free from damage.
Fitted with Tuff Torque style chrome wheels, the style suits the era of the truck well. They’re in good condition with minor signs of age. They’re mounted on a set of BF Goodrich tyres which are all less than 10 years old, with the rear items dating from 2015 but are showing light perishing on the side walls but all retain a healthy tread.
5.8L V8 Engine
Mechanically the car is in very robust form, starting up with no issues at all.
Upon picking it up from Southampton docks, the owner felt very confident about driving it back along the motorway at 50mph and it didn’t miss a beat.
He also confirms that the reliability of the V8 block has yet to be questioned. There were no observation of leaks from the engine or any undulation or misfires in its engine note.
Upon acceleration, it really sounds magnificent, with the exhaust system releasing a deep and satisfying burble without any excess smoke. While Ford had improved the handling characteristics to make the truck significantly more usable than its predecessor, its age means that its not one for the daily grind.
However, it is said to have reasonably compliant steering with limited play, no issues with the effective braking system and is perfectly happy being used as an occasionally runaround.
The ‘Twin-Traction Beam’ front suspension system can cope with the worst of the British roads but don’t expect the last word in refinement. There are said to be no knocking or thuds noted while the truck is on the move.
The gearshift is slick and it engages gears with no issues, no noises are said to come from the differential.
Classic vehicles are are often emotive purchases, often motivated by the visual design and memories of our past.
The UK has appreciated American culture, with the 80’s being an influential period for many of today's classic vehicle buyers. However, there needs to be a little more substance and the Ford F-Series does that with charm too.
Its simple but reliable V8 power has an exceptional parts availability.
A handsomely designed truck that offers a huge amount of potential for turning heads, it offers the relative comfort of a 1980’s car, with a huge amount of drama and enjoyment - surely that’s all you need in classic vehicle?
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1985 Ford F-150 V8 XL LHD
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