Thursday, March 10, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1966 Ford Econoline Pickup

When shopping for a truck, most people in the United States would likely pick a conventional full-size pickup, probably a Ford F-Series or Chevy Silverado. There's a reason why those two vehicles are the two best-selling vehicles here, year after year. Which might give you a hint as to why you don't see many cab-forward, van-based trucks in this country. This Poppy Red 1966 Ford Econoline is a particularly fine example of the forward control pickup breed.

Cab-forward pickups were about the closest thing to a compact truck you could get from an American manufacturer in the 1960s. The Ford Ranger (as we know it today, not the Ranger trim level on the F-150) was still more than a decade away. The Econoline, introduced in 1961, was based on the compact Falcon platform. Of course, "compact" is relative - the 1966 Falcon was 9 inches longer than my 2007 Focus sedan. The Econoline came with a six-cylinder engine which was surely adequate when unloaded, but one wonders how much it might struggle when weighed down with a bunch of bags of cement mix or potting soil in the back.

This example looks to be a nicely equipped truck. Stainless bed rails, a big stainless trim spear on the side and deluxe wire hubcaps with knock-off spinners hint at a Custom trim level, but it has painted side mirrors and no identifying body badging. If it were my truck, I might chrome the side mirrors and touch up the body a little. There's just enough wear in the paint to suggest it sometimes gets used as a truck. And it lives just around the corner from an awesome miniature cupcake bakery which made the trip to see it worthwhile.

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