Market Spotlight

'73-'79 F-Series values are built Ford tough

by Eddy Eckart
25 August 2023 3 min read

Ford has no shortage of nameplates that get enthusiasts going—Mustang and GT40 are the obvious standouts, while the utilitarian Bronco is not far behind. That said, there’s another, more workaday model that’s captured our attention and is lighting up the value charts: Ford’s venerable sixth-generation F-Series.

In 1977, these trucks grabbed the pickup sales mantle for Ford, and the F-Series hasn’t looked back since. (Coming from a GM family, I’m obliged to point out there have been more than a couple years during that period when sales of the GMC and Chevy twins have together beaten the cross-town Ford, but the blue oval “wins” because GM’s trucks are technically two different models. But I digress.) Taking a conservative approach by using much of the same underpinnings as the previous generation, these “Dentside” Fords (so-named for the indentation running the length of the body) were nonetheless a smash hit and rounded out the Ford truck hierarchy as we now know it.


Additional bed options (and a longer wheelbase) for the workhorse F-350 were available from the generation’s debut in 1973, and the now-ubiquitous F-150 debuted in 1975. Trim levels changed over the course of the seven-year model run but included Custom, Ranger, Ranger XLT, and Ranger Lariat. The Lariat was about as decked out as you could option a pickup then, with two-tone paint and a plush interior. As you can see from the below brochure, a variety of cabs, bed lengths, and bed styles met broad consumer needs.

Ford put an array of engines under Dentside hoods over the course of its seven year production run: 240- and 300-cubic inch sixes, 302-, 351-, 360-, 390-, 400-, and 460-cubic inch V-8s gave buyers plenty to choose from. For those who are shopping for these trucks today, engine differences make for slight variations in valuation, but while a 460 gets you bragging rights, there are worse things than tooling around with a 302 or a bulletproof Ford six-cylinder.

The exterior of these rigs benefitted from extensive use of galvanized steel and rust-resistant coatings. Ford updated the Dentside F-Series’ look with mild tweaks to the grille in 1976 and again in 1978—this, along with the constant updating of engine and trim levels, helped keep a platform that dated back to 1965 feeling fresh.

Ford’s cover-all-bases approach (covered in great detail in our recent buyer’s guide on the Dentside) was a success then, and the truck is seeing renewed popularity now. That’s not just a generalized, pandemic-era-raised-all-prices statement, either—the sixth-gen F-Series is actually ticking up in value as the market has begun to come back down.

The rise of SUVs and old pickups as collector vehicles is nothing new, and Ford’s original Bronco was among the first to see values jump. As six-figure prices for Bronco or FJ40 Toyota Land Cruisers got people used to the idea that ’60s and ’70s collectibles weren’t limited to muscle and sports cars, values slowly began to rise for that era’s pickups as well.

Fast forward to now, and though the early darlings of the collector truck movement have lost some steam (#2-quality, excellent condition first-gen Broncos are down 13 percent in the last year, and FJ40 values are down just under ten percent), a similar condition F-150 4×4 with a 351-cubic inch engine is up 20 percent over the same period. The same F-150 in #3 condition is up nearly four percent.

The Dentside fares well against its contemporaries, too. Equivalent Dodge W- and D150 models (which are near to my heart after helping my cousin restore his—check out that story here) have been flat over the last year, and can be had for ten to twenty grand less depending on condition. Chevy’s K10 half-ton tracks the Ford more closely—it’s up nine percent for #2 and #3 conditions, though it’s still thousands cheaper than the Dentside.

The F-Series benefits from a very healthy set of buyer demographics. Younger buyers represent a full 40 percent of the market, while Gen X and baby boomers retain strong shares as well. These trucks are nearly universally appreciated, and that suggests they’ll continue to have a positive valuation outlook.

Are there more affordable classic trucks out there? Yes, there are. But if you love the '73-'79 F-Series's looks and are good with a driver-quality example (you are going to use your classic truck as a truck, right?), you can still find decent examples in the teens. Besides, given how well-liked they appear to be across all ages, you're likely to get out what you put into it. That's the value of a good name.



  • Bruce Pellow says:

    MISSED AN ENGINE… some years also offered the 400 CID, 2.V

  • Tim Kuehl says:

    I had a 76 F150 Super Cab and I swear it was built from cast iron, tough! And, no, there is no such thing as a Ford Extended Cab. The Extended Cab is Chevrolet and GMC and didn’t wasn’t introduced until 14 years after the Ford Super Cab and 15 years after the Dodge Club Cab.

  • paul s murray says:

    They just look right. Like a truck. And those ‘torquey ‘ 300 straight sixes run forever. Which is why Ups (U.P.S.) used them for so long in their delivery trucks.

  • fred johnson says:

    For 11 years I owned a 1979 F150 short bed, step side, factory wood bed, Four Wheel Drive 400 V-8, C-6 Trans.. Tough truck, great off road maneuverability. Arizona truck no rust, sold it at 150,000 miles for twice what I bought it for. I miss it!

  • Cornbinder says:

    Yup, written by a Chevy guy – the F-350 was not “introduced in 1973”. As long as there was an F-seires, there was an F-3 and subsequently F-350 (when changing to 3-digit monikers in 1953). Rather, availability of the Styleside pickup box was extended to the F-350 in 1973. Flareside boxes (Stepside, to translate into Chevy) were always available for all models up to that point.

  • Carmelo Bova Jr says:

    I had a 1978 F150 2 wheel drive regular cab Styleside with a 302 4 bolt main. Talk about quick and fast. I don’t know if Ford put it in or the guy I bought it off of. Sadly the guy didn’t believe in oil changes and the motor just lost power at 95,000 miles. I replaced it with an 86 F150 4×4 XLT Lariat.

  • Gil Davis Tercenio says:

    I had a number of these over the years- two ’76 F100s, one with a LWB 300 six and auto transmission and the second was a SWB 360 with a three speed on the column. Both were 2WD. Had a SWB ’77 F150 4WD with the 351M and 4 speed manual. Also had a ’78 set up the same way. The ’78 was a real dog, but the ’77 was a great truck.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    Solid work trucks. I see plenty of these still running around in Texas.

  • paul s murray says:

    Carmelo, A 4 bolt main 302? Other than the ‘Boss’ ( which seems like a more than unlikely swap into a pickup ) and aftermarket blocks ( again, cost, unlikely ) I know of no such animal.

  • John says:

    My Dad traded vehicles every 2 years till he bought his 78 Ford Ranger red and white 351M he kept it 12 years and was sorry he sold it it was a simply great truck

  • Michael Thomas says:

    I had a 1973 F-100, 302 V8, three on the tree regular cab. It was decent in many aspects. I also had a 1978 F-150, 302 V8, automatic. It had two gas tanks to fill if I had the money. It was very trouble prone. The biggest problem was rust. I currently have a 2010 Ford Fusion that is disintegrating from rust also. The Ford trucks back then were the best of the bunch.

  • Ron Crawford says:

    Just bought a 74 f100 solid body . Having the 390 and transmission both redon , hope to have many years with this truck .

  • paul s murray says:

    luv the 390

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More on this topic

Hagerty Insider Newsletter

Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.

Thank You!
Your request will be handled as soon as possible
Hagerty Insider Newsletter
Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.