• 302-ci V8 engine with dual exhaust
  • Manual 3-speed transmission
  • Two-owner vehicle
  • Just over 15,000 actual miles
  • F-103 model-code Sport Custom
  • Solid with little to no wear throughout
  • Chromed bed rails
  • Spotlight and foglights
  • Heater
  • Radio
  • Factory wheel covers and whitewalls

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Ford F-100 Sport Custom pickup
Years Produced:1967–72
Number Produced:457,746 (1972 styleside F-100)
Original List Price:$2,804
SCM Valuation:$12,000–$26,000
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:$10
Chassis Number Location:Stamped on the frame rail adjacent to the steering box; dataplate on rear edge of the driver’s door
Engine Number Location:Tag attached to the distributor locking bolt, basic casting numbers only on the side of the block
Club Info:American Truck Historical Society
Alternatives:1967–72 Chevrolet C-10 CST pickup, 1972–80 Dodge D-100 Adventurer pickup, 1969–75 International Custom pickup
Investment Grade:b

This truck, Lot 3032, sold for $17,200, including buyer’s premium, at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn event in Auburn, IN, on September 4, 2015.

Pickups for every purse and purpose

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, Ford and General Motors paralleled each other as far as pickup truck offerings were concerned. Both had new designs introduced in 1967, both introduced a significantly new truck grille in 1971, and both saw their trucks get a redesign for 1973.

GM’s product was more successful in sales at the time, and Chevrolets and GMCs are vastly more popular in the modern collector market than trucks from the Blue Oval. But Ford’s efforts at the time didn’t just earn the company a second-place spot — those efforts also sowed the seeds that eventually enabled the F-series to outsell Chevrolet’s trucks starting in 1978. In the new-truck world, Ford’s held the number one spot in sales ever since.

In the 1960s and ’70s, both GM and Ford exploited an expansion of available trim packages. At the time, pickups were evolving from large work tools into second family cars and recreational vehicles, yet all the typical truck requirements still needed to be met. In 1966, Ford had an optional Ranger package, and Chevy’s option was a Custom. By 1972, they each offered four trim packages: Matching Chevy’s Custom, CST, Cheyenne and Cheyenne Super was Ford’s Custom, Sport Custom, Ranger and Ranger XLT. In addition, each manufacturer had its own Camper Special models on three-quarter ton and one-ton chassis.

Sport and Custom in name only

Our feature truck’s Sport Custom package was Ford’s spin on what a “sporty” pickup should be — not as well trimmed as a Ranger, but a step up from the bare-bones entry-level Custom.

The Sport Custom featured alloy rocker panels and wheelwell lip moldings, black background alloy tailgate trim panel, color-coordinated vinyl door panels and floor mats, plus a more lushly padded two-tone bench seat. Hardly the stuff of a wannabe F-100 GT performance package.

This and all other trim packages were essentially variations on comfort and looks, as all had the exact same powertrain availability. Standard was the 240-ci inline six, with a more stout 300-ci design as an option. The big engine was the FE-block 390 V8, but this was essentially the same standard full-sized Mercury engine from a few years before, set up for low-end torque rather than performance. Next on the list was a destroked version of the 390, at 360 ci. Of all five engines available in ’72, one can make the argument that the rev-happy mid-level small-block 302 V8 in our featured pickup was the most sporty choice.

Our featured pickup also is equipped with a couple of desirable options, namely cargo box rails and mag-style wheel covers, both of which were introduced mid-year in 1971 for the Explorer package and continued to be optional into the entire next generation, through 1979. At first glance, our featured truck comes off as a 1972 Explorer, but it has the stock interior rather than the Explorer’s unique cloth seat inserts, plus the Explorer package wasn’t available with a short wheelbase.

Over this truck’s years in limited use, the change to a generic flexi radiator hose instead of the original molded profile-type hose and generic battery don’t do much for me (as they come off as on-the-cheap fixes), plus I can really do without the driving lights mounted on top of the front bumper and the spotlight.

If it were my truck, I’d ditch the driving lights for a set of period front bumper guards, but since the A-pillar has a hole for the spotlight, you’re pretty much stuck with it. The Avocado Metallic paint may not do much for most folks, but it’s very period-looking. And hey, it’s better than dark brown.

Undervalued, but catching up

The 1967–72 GM pickups — especially the Chevrolets — have been very popular in the collector market essentially since day one, and they have been increasing exponentially in value over the past decade. Currently, they seem to have stabilized a bit, but we continue to see slight increases in pricing. On the other hand, commensurate-year Fords have been red-headed stepchildren.

It’s not that Fords are generally regarded as ugly, being just as stylish as a Chevy or GMC of the era. If anything, it’s the perception that they were more worker bee-like than the seemingly sportier Chevys. But that is starting to change, and higher-option short-bed F-series trucks like our subject are leading the charge. While some vintage SUVs have spiked up in value and have since corrected, pickups continue to slowly rise.

Above and beyond a case of everything rising with the cream, collectors are finally noticing these stylish pickups can be used in modern traffic just like GMs (then again, I am a bit biased on that subject, since the first vehicle I ever drove was my dad’s 1968 F-100 Ranger).

Low-mile original trucks are rare across the board. But since the war of attrition has not been good to Fords, due to being used to destruction and beyond thanks to lower values rather than their Chevy counterparts, there are even fewer Blue Oval examples like our subject rig left in the market.

A decade ago, $10,000 would have bought you a short-wheelbase ’72 F-100 in concours-ready condition, or maybe a low-mile example like our featured rig. Now, $17k would have been a good deal even on a long-bed truck with this equipment — and they’re typically valued less than short beds regardless of the manufacturer.

With the increased interest in all genres of low-mile unrestored originals, this truck was really well bought, and I think it’s bound to increase in value if it continues to be well maintained and used sparingly.

(Introductory description courtesy of Auctions America.

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