The 1974 Ford F250 4×4 had a GVW of about 7700. But I have tracked down a one off Superleggera lightweight version, well sort of. Meet Rusty Boy, my new to me Ford F250 Highboy project truck. Ford prides itself on the extensive use of Aluminum for weight reduction in their new F-series trucks. The 1974 Highboy? Not so much. It’s weight reduction comes from extensive rusty bed.
This truck is the biggest investment I’ve ever made. Being 19-years-old, this truck was a huge purchase in my life that represents many years of work. At $3800 this old Ford may seem like a rusty liability to you, but for me, the ‘ole truck is an exciting dream. The 1974 F-250 4×4 is not just any used truck. Referred to as the Highboy by enthusiasts. Why? Because pre 1977.5 F250 four-wheel-drive trucks contain many significant differences that sets them apart from their two-wheel-drive counterparts.
The most important feature of a “true” Highboy is the divorced transfer case. A third drive shaft connecting the transmission to the differential means front and rear driveshafts are the same length. In fact, the first Big Foot monster truck is based on an F250 4×4 of this generation.
Highboy frames are narrower than 2wd models and they only have one fuel tank located inside the cab behind the bench seat. The “high” in “Highboy” refers to the astonishingly tall ride height. Different leaf springs and a rear axle blocks meant these old trucks sit much higher than the competition. The one I bought appears to have stock suspension, though it is riding on aftermarket wheels and tires.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the one I bought is far from new condition. The majority of the rust lies in the bed with gaping holes above each rear wheel. The bed itself has moved its fair share of what appears to be bulldozers and boulders because it is heavily scratched and dented.
The cab on the other hand is surprisingly solid. Floor boards and cab corners are both in pretty good condition. The interior is the best part of all with the seat, headliner, carpet and door panels all remarkably still in place.
The mechanics appear to be functioning as well. The previous owner told me the truck has a rebuilt 390 V8. Further research revealed it came standard with a two barrel 360 V8. The transmission is a 3-speed automatic with a worrying hesitation between first and second gear.
On the road the truck drives much better than it looks. The power steering could do with a rebuild, but the engine pulls strong and transmission shifts well (for the most part). Power assisted drum brakes almost bring the truck to a stop, although a disc brake conversion would improve mine and the truck’s survivability.
So what’s the plan for ‘ole Rusty? Currently I am flat out of money so for the time being I will slowly bring the truck back up to spec the best I can. While my dad (Roman) HATES the bug guard and ’70’s mud shields, I think they add a period correct look. I’d love to know what you think, please be sure to comment below.
There will be MANY more videos in the future with my new Highboy, and perhaps even an off-road battle between Big Green, TFL’s 1985 K10 and Kent’s new Dodge Ram. I hope you will join me on this new adventure as we welcome this relic to the channel. Be sure to check out the LIVE video we did below for a brief overview!