• 1968 Ford F250 – Lee C.

30 Years In A Hoarder’s Prison

While cruising through the vehicles section of my local Facebook Marketplace I came across an innocuous ad for a 1972 Ford F-250 pick up with a period correct camper shell. Upon examination, it was clearly a 1968, but the title had been converted to an RV in 1972, (to exploit a registration loophole), leading the seller to believe it was a 1972…

The current seller, a home builder and real estate investor, acquired the home and hoarded belongings where the Ford was “found” when the owner passed away and the family sold the estate and contents. When he began the garage clean out, after removing countless stacks of papers, junk, and various boxes, he found the ‘68 Ford… sitting on its original tires and had only accumulated 16,763 original miles. It was last actively registered in 1991, oddly, the year I graduated high school… 😆

When I initially viewed the truck, I was skeptical of the mileage, but the condition was simply amazing. Even for sitting 30+ years and only accumulating a few thousand miles, there was simply no way one could fake such an amazing appearing vehicle. It still bore the “born on date,” red inked line stamps showing “2nd Shift March 15, 1968” on the fender and “March 15, 1968 *temp” on the cowl. The original spark plugs, date coded wire, cap, rotor, and coil still fired the rancid fuel delivered by the original Carter button top fuel pump from the cab gas tank. The line inspection QA stamp was still on the hood “Silva.” The interior was still the supple, mint condition brocade and vinyl upholstery, with the factory plastic on the seat belts and paper “starting instructions” still on the visor. Aside from a couple of leaking wheel cylinders and master cylinder, the truck had “escaped time.” The bed of the truck, having a cap on it it’s whole life, was in day 1 condition.

I had a great gut feeling about the truck, negotiated a final price with the seller, and had the truck towed to my home on a rollback. I set out to change all the fluids and sadly, changed the original, slightly dry rotted original tires that were permanently flat spotted from sitting so long. The seller gave me a phone number to the original owners family, should I need any help getting the truck registered. On a hunch, I decided to call, to find out the trucks history. Always listen to your gut…

The phone rang for a long period, but eventually a very old mans crackled “hello” in my earpiece. I introduced myself and the nature of my calling. I told him that I had previously owned a few of these trucks, but his deceased brothers truck was a heaven send. The phone was momentarily quiet, but the old man spoke up; he said, “I want you to know the mileage on that truck is the real deal. It’s not rolled over or restored.” He went on to tell me why… In 1968, his brother purchased the truck brand new and had the cap and a transmission cooler installed shortly thereafter. He took it to an exhaust shop and had a dual exhaust installed as well. At the time, the owner lived in Concord CA and liked driving up the mountains to camp at Lake Tahoe… In the late Seventies, he began developing serious seizures and had a difficult time driving on his own; his wife had to be the designated driver at times, it was easier for her to drive her own car and not the Ford. In the 80’s, the owner was diagnosed with brain cancer and ultimately, his driving privileges were also rescinded by the DMV. He kept paying the registration on the truck until 1991 with the memories of still wanting to drive it, but the truck began it’s prison sentence in 1985, when the light of the world shown on it for the last time. The owner passed away in 1998, but his widow remained at the home until her passing in 2018. The brother had the sad affairs of inheriting a hoarders estate, but being 96 years old at the time, had no interest in cleaning it up. He sold the estate, vehicles, and belongings to a local real estate investor.

I hung up the phone thinking, Wow! my crazy luck at this lifetime find… This truck is a slice of unspoiled history, a trip to the twilight zone, and puts a smile on my face every time I turn the key and motor down the street…