Classic Pickup: 1967 F-250 Camper Special

1967_Ford_F250 CS 2 II
 Story and Photos by Richard Truesdell


Over the past 50 years, we've watched the pickup truck evolve from their utilitarian roots on farms and the vehicle of choice for small businesses to rise to the top of the sales charts year after year in the case of the Ford F-Series. Of course, the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and (Dodge) Ram are no slackers, either, when it comes to annual sales. All are the most profitable, on a unit basis, for their manufacturers.

And while we recognize their farm and small-business roots, there's one other constant over the years: their use as recreational vehicles. Today, that means that you're likely to see a pickup towing a luxurious fifth-wheeler, but 50 years ago you were more likely to see a camper slid into its bed. Addressing this need were the origins of optional camper packages.

To see a time-capsule example, take a look at Richard Drake's 1967 Ford F-250 Camper Special.

Drake is an enthusiast owner. He's a regular on the Southern California show scene, and over the years we've admired his truck at events like Fabulous Fords Forever in Buena Park and the annual Orange Plaza Show. What exactly is it about his truck that makes us stop and chat every time we see him?

For starters, Drake’s truck is the definition of perfection. It's a California original 1967 Ford F-250 Ranger Styleside Camper Special. “I've owned the truck for 32 years. The year 1967 was the first year of the redesigned F-Series pickup truck, first year for the Ranger series, third year for the Camper Special edition, and the last year for the 352cid V-8 engine. I am the second owner, buying it in June 1980 from a neighbor,” he said.

1967_Ford_F250 CS 3 II
Drake's research and the truck's Marti Report tell us that it was built at Ford's San Jose, Calif., plant on May 2, 1967. It is equipped with the stock 352-cubic-inch-displacement V-8 mated to a heavy-duty C-4 three-speed automatic transmission. Air conditioning was a rare factory-installed option in 1967, but Drake's truck is equipped with a dealer-installed air-conditioning system.

Speaking with PUTC, Drake said the original owner bought the truck from Corwin Ford in Orange, Calif., with a camper-over-cab truck camper unit that was quite typical for the time. The MSRP was $3,660.36 (view this photo). (In today's dollars, that comes out to $25,024.) The camper was sold separately in 1992 after having served the family for many years on vacations throughout the Western states.

Before the truck camper unit was sold, the entire truck was stolen from Drakes’ home in 1991. Thankfully, it was recovered by the California Highway Patrol a month later – just before being driven over the Mexican border. CHP reported that the thieves were driving drunk, erratically and without lights. Driving it back to Orange County took an extra toll on the truck because a desert sand storm pitted the windshield, body paint and brightwork. Little did Drake know that some of his future restoration work was done for him!

In 2006, Drake finally got serious about restoring his Camper Special. He wanted to keep it original inside and out as much as possible. The process was spread out over three years, and when the project was completed the truck looked just as it did on the day in 1967 when its first owner signed the delivery papers at Corwin Ford.

1967_Ford_F250 CS 7 II
All the interior components have been restored, including the original AM radio, knobs, instrument bezel, steering wheel, horn ring, dash pad, door handles and the brightwork. The seat, upholstery, floor carpet, door panels and headliner have been reproduced from the originals.

One of the biggest parts of the restoration process happened in 2009 when the original 208-horsepower engine was completely rebuilt to original Ford specs by Jasper Engines in Indiana. Likewise, the three-speed, C-4 Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, driveshaft and differential have been rebuilt.

The exterior, the first thing people notice at shows, has been restored to as-delivered condition. Drake notes that the upper body/Fawn Beige metallic paint was a factory special order in 1967, so it took a bit of work to match it since there was no letter code on the ID for the paint. The Wimbledon White below the belt line was used by Ford on countless vehicles the 1960s and 1970s.

All the body panels are original, and close examination of Drake's truck shows no dents, cracks or rust. The exterior brightwork is original, but Drake spared no expense to re-anodize or replate the components as needed. The stainless-steel window trim was buffed. The undercarriage has been cleaned and coated with rubber sealant. The engine has a fresh coat of Old Ford Blue.

1967_Ford_F250 CS 6 II
Drake applied some functional upgrades, too. These included front disc brakes, power steering (which was optional in 1967 and not originally installed on the truck in 1967), electronic ignition, radial tires and a Dana differential of with 3.54:1 ratio in lieu of the original 4:10. Drake made two functional changes to the exterior, replacing the western side mirrors with smaller F-100 mirrors and 16-inch solid wheels in lieu of the split-rim wheels found in 1967.

Over the years, the F-250, like countless others, received federal government mandates for safety and emission control, and it got numerous changes in the drivetrain, interior, exterior components and models as Ford widened the size and scope of the F-Series to meet changing consumer tastes as pickup trucks moved from their utilitarian origins and into the personal-use category.

One of the great things is that Ford has built millions of F-Series trucks, and they have a strong following, especially among customizers, which makes Drake's stock truck all the more appealing. That's certainly what caught our eye when he first showed the completed restoration in 2009. Since then, his truck has won eight best-in-class and two best-of-show awards.

1967_Ford_F250 CS ad 8 II

1967_Ford_F250 CS 1 II 

Comments

Sweet Truck!

Makes me want to watch "Mr. Majestyk" again!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071866/

the picture labeled as cross country motel with the camper looks identical to my 1970 F250 camper special i used to own, was a sweet old truck that never quit, had a 1972 F250 4x4 also that was indestructible with a 390. great old trucks, nice article PUTC !

Wow...memories of our old '69 F350 tow truck! Nice truck Richard Drake...nice indeed!

My uncle had a black 68 Ford truck. That truck sounded evil. I am not sure what v8 it had. I had a lot of memories in that truck my cousin driving sideways on the dirt back roads. Jumping into the canals in the summer when it was over a hundred outside. I will never forget that black beast. The exhaust came out in front of the right rear tire. Sadly it caught on fire and was a total loss.

Great looking truck..my Dad had a 67 352 three on the tree....drove it before I got my license....67 was the last year of the 352..I still have a air filter housing with the 352 - 208 hp like showed...love these trucks...

Cool truck and a great story. I prefer the original style mirrors though. Brings back some nice memories.

Great story Mark! Sweet truck! Like the color. Thanks.

Cool pickup--I had a buddy in high school with one very similar in the exact same color scheme.

I am surprised that more folks don't have truck campers. I have logged well over 5000 miles with one on the back of my Tundra and love it.

I'm a Ford man but I'm still not into this era of Ford trucks. I've said this before but this truck was Ford's GMT-800 rust bucket special. There was a time where not a day would go by that you didn't see one of these with the bedsides bungee corded or roped together. The wheelwells would give from rust and if you didn't have a tailgate like most farmers in our town didn't, the sides would flap in the wind. And yes, we had one too and did the same thing. Break out the bungee cords. Dare I say the 60's and 70's Chevy trucks looked better too? I think they did. They sure don't now but back then Chevrolet had some serious design mojo.

Nice old truck. I doubt they'd even allow split rims on a vehicle now a days. I miss the fact that the bumpers and grills were made of decent metal. My dad used to use bailing wire to attach a 4x8 sheet of plywood to the grill of the truck to keep rocks from chipping up everything when he pulled the pickup behind his gravel trucks. Can't do stuff like that anymore.

You sure the transmission is not a C-6?

BTW- That is a really nice truck, regardless of what transmission is in it!

I remember my father had a F-100 that looked very similar to it in the 70s. I think they came from Canada. It also had a 240 cu in straight 6? (not sure but it was a six). It was dark blue.

@FordTrucks--They did rust pretty bad but rust was a bad problem for all vehicles of that era. That is one thing that has improved is that the bodies last longer and the motors run longer. Being a California truck helped it not to rust. Still a neat old truck and kudos for the great restoration.

@ FordTrucks1,

People back then drove the hell out of their trucks,they were mostly used for real hard work..and the roads were worse,most were not paved,thats why older cars have softer suspension,to soak up the bumps..Furthermore we didnt have all these machines to help do work for you,you loaded everything by hand,after working hard all day you would just throw crap in any old way !

If you took care of them they stay in great shape,no or little rust ect...that goes for GM and Dodge trucks even the cars were beat on more so back then..and you must remember the newer vehicles are dipped in anti rust material at the factory.

These old trucks were fun to drive,you can actually beat on them day in and out and they dont break (GM & Dodge as well) And with the 5 digit odometer these trucks rolled over 3-4 times before they were sent off to the bone yard..as after 99,999 they go back to 0 again..Ever wonder why all these old cars/trucks are fully restored and yet the action/seller says 12.000 original miles !!!

I know some dolts are going to say only Ford's rusted or only GM or Dodge..fact is they all pretty much were the same,depended on how well you took care of them,same with today keep them clean/polished even in the rust belt in the winter and you wont have a problem.

@440 Magnum --Good points as well but the technology today is much more advanced and the oorrosion protection is better. The maintenance intervals are longer now but you are correct if you followed a regular maintenance schedule and washed and waxed your vehicles on a regular basis you could get a lot of years out of them. Of course in a warmer less humid climate the bodies and electrics will hold up better. Salt really does a number on bodies. But good regular maintence is a key to longevity. I usually get well over 10 years out of my vehicles because I adher to strict maintence schedules and I hand wax and buff each one at least a couple of times a year. I did the same thing with my parents vehicles when I was growing up and they would keep their cars at least 10 years. We can get into brand preference but in reality any of the brands are good and they all need proper maintenance to make them last. I learned this growing up and it has served me well.

I miss the fact that the bumpers and grills were made of decent metal.

@Lou, amen to that! My Silverado bumpers are worthless piles of junk. My rear bumper I've had replaced 2 times already. I can't believe the severe damage done only using my truck for household work. The center chrome front section I replaced once and gave up. It was dented up within a week from who knows what. My old 97 Silverado was sturdy and strong! These new trucks aren't built to last. Use em for a few years and throw em away.

I've said this before but this truck was Ford's GMT-800 rust bucket special.

@FordTrucks1, Those 800's were crap when it came to rusting. I stayed away from that body because of the rust problems guys at work had with them. I think they had sturdier bumpers though. Maybe not as sturdy as my 97 but much better than my 08.

@KenJenkins --My 99 has thicker metal on the bumpers than my 08. Hate to see if the metal on the trucks gets any thinner.

I have this truck in 1969 version. Great to see other people's ideas and done with creativity. Again, nice work!

Nice truck! You don't often see these around much anymore.... Nice styling, clean looks..... I miss the old days!

Hate to see if the metal on the trucks gets any thinner.

@Jeff, Ken, tell me about it. The metal has gotten so thin on these new Chevy's it's gone Beyond the point of ridiculous. You can see ripples in the bed sides on the Silverado's. Had I noticed it at the lot, I wouldn't have even bought one. Now that it's been pointed out to me by several people, I'm pretty ticked off that a truck got put into production like this. And you're both right, the bumpers are worthless now. They'll literally dent or bend if you even 'bump' them. Utter junk. If Chevy goes any thinner then why even bother. Honestly had I known how thin this stuff was going in I would have just bought a Ford or Dodge. Maybe they're thin but they aren't This thin. I get body dents from everything on my 40k dollar 'truck'. I'd take this old Ford anyday over what I have now. Give me a plush interior, fuel injection and an upgraded suspension an I'm golden. I don't know what happened to Chevy but man did they ever get cheap on their steel and interiors.

. I don't know what happened to Chevy but man did they ever get cheap on their steel and interiors.

-This. What happened to Chevrolet? GM as a whole is done for I think without a second bailout. I never cared for GMC's but Chevrolet... man, I used to love Chevrolet. They really turned to crap now though. I was told they won't even offer an 8 speed tranny for the brand "New" truck. Why is it they release a supposed all new truck that isn't even all new? They do this stuff all the time with trucks and cars. It's almost like this old truck is a sign of things to come. Only Ford is left standing. I'm to the point I can't hardly stomach GM anymore. I'm burnt out on those stupid initials. They did some good things 50 years ago but those old guys who did the good stuff are retired or dead. It's funny, this morning driving to work I was passed by a Chevy Trailblazer,then an Envoy and Buick that all looked like the same stupid suv. I think they made more too. I don't get it?? Why not just make one world dominating suv? What's up with all the stupid names? The whole concept of GM is bizarre to me.

this truck is ugly!!! and as for chevy bumpers learn how to drive and not run into things!!

Nice old Ford truck. Don't see many of these anymore. Why not put up some classic Dodge pictures/stories? My Dodge loyalty started out with an old Adventurer. It's still the best built truck ever made by anyone.

@KeithH37, GM's just a mega-rebadge company off of a bunch of nonsense platforms.. They haven't made a genuine real brand product since the 50's-60's. Once those who live in the past die off, so will Government Motors Corp. Our tax dollars proped up this pathetic operation and I'd bet we have to do it again. Since this is a truck site let me say, SERIOUSLY, why in Gods name did my tax money go to build 2,TWO trucks???> What company in the world needs 2 freaking trucks? You can't just build ONE????? LOLOL! And Govt Motors wonders why everyone hates them and won't buy their stock.

this truck is ugly!!! and as for chevy bumpers learn how to drive and not run into things!!

@JD, or Chevy could build a truck worthy of being a truck.

I was never much into old Ford's although this is cool. New Ford's however rule the streets and trails.


or Chevy could build a truck worthy of being a truck.

@mopar,yep. Modern Chevy's are built really chintzy and cheap as all get out. Interiors and bodies are extremely poor just like their cars are. New Ford's tear ass! Old Ford's suck. I'll take an old Chevy any day over a Ford. Not a new one though and especially not a truck of all things. Chevy trucks are junk now.

New Ford's tear ass! Old Ford's suck. I'll take an old Chevy any day over a Ford. Not a new one though and especially not a truck of all things. Chevy trucks are junk now.

@DB, sure are. Old Chevy's rock. New ones suck. Ford's are built to last now. Not like they used to be. One can only thank GMC for this mess. We'll give them some more money to save opel/buick for sure all while they destroy the old chevrolet empire. I hate gm.

isn't that what Clint Eastwood drove in the movie Gran Torino

isn't that what Clint Eastwood drove in the movie Gran Torino

@dtm, i think so. Great movie! One of my all time favorites. It shows what america once was with our loyalty and patriotism.

@: Tim --I don't know if you read my comments as to what Chevy should do in the prior posting about the new half tons but I would add a little thicker metal. I am no truck expert but after reading some of the nonfanboy comments about people who are sincere about Chevy and would like them to improve I thought about it and wrote some comments. I think that Chevy needs to get back to what made Chevy great. They do need a premium trim level to compete with Ford but they also need to keep a low price truck but don't be too chincy. The customer is better served when all the manufacturers constantly improve and update their products. Thats one thing I think that needs to happen with Toyota as well especially with the Tacoma. Tacoma is still a good truck but Toyota has not put anything new into it and they need some real competition to force them to innovate. Toyota has started to put cheap hard plastice in their interior and put less quality overall into their products. Thats just my two cents.

@Dan the Man, MikeKenseth
Actually it was a '72 F-100 in Gran Torino

@Luke in CO --Liked that movie. I like Clint Eastwood.

I think that probably why one sees "ripples" on the fenders of the Silverado has more to do with metal shaping than thin metal. Those wheel flairs are large and flat. Any piece of metal will be more flexible if it is flat than if it has a curves to it. The Sierra metal has a different shape and smaller "flairs" which probably make the sheet metal more rigid as I bet they have the same thickness of metal.
I do agree that bumpers have gotten thinner. I could put a jackall on the corner of the bumper of my 1990 3/4 ton and lift it 3 feet in the air and not warp the bumper. I do think that the GM bumpers are more frail as I see many of them that are dented, or warped. I see all brands of the new trucks developing surface rust so I don't think the problem is confined to GM.

@Johnny dose - funny to hear you say "and as for chevy bumpers learn how to drive and not run into things!!" hasn't stopped hearing you complain about that bent Ford bumper when you hit a deer.

loo that deer was unmissable

@lou--Never thought about the metal shaping. I would find it a little hard to believe that GM would use different gauge steel since they all pretty much use the same suppliers. I doubt any of them will use thicker metal because if anything all the manufacturers will lighten their trucks to meet the new fuel standards. I expect more will go to painted plastic bumpers (not to fond of) and light alloys and alumninum. Lighter and thinner will be the new mantra.

Biggest problem with the GM 900's is the 'slab side' styling. Without any character lines, any dent or imperfection becomes noticeable. GM sheetmetal isn't any thinner than Ford's. As for Chevy quarter panels, it looks to me like their stamping dies need attention, as Lou pointer out. GM probably doesn't want to spend the coin on new dies with a new truck coming soon. The GMC quarters look nice and straight, since the GMC's are not built in the same numbers as the Chevy's are, the GMC dies might be in better shape. Personally, I like the way the Super Duty doors wave at you when you shut them. That's some think steel, to be sure!

@BigBob, The Chevy's are thinner all around. I run both. We still have a couple of fleet Silverado's at work and I have a 2010 F-150. I will say this, the new Ford since 09 has thinner metal than my 06. That's why you have the shapes pressed into the wheel openings and tailgates and such now. It's still thicker than the 2010 Silverado's at work. The bumpers likewise are sturdier. They are all thin now but there's no doubt in my mind that Chevy took it way way too far. The ripples in the Silverado beds are par for the course on this model. Everyone notices it now and I'm sure it turns many off to buying one. I know I wouldn't buy a new truck with such painfully obvious waviness. As Lou pointed out, it is shape-die related. When you combine that with the thin metal, you get what we have. The solution to that is they should have changed the shape. It was very poor engineering-quality control. The Tahoe's don't have that at all and as mentioned the Sierra. Same thickness of metal on both of those. Chevrolet really needs to get with the program before they have no truck customers left. Loyalty will only take them so far and IMO they've used up most of it the last decade or so.

CHEVY IS THE JOKE OF THE INDUSTRY. THEY SCREAM CHEAP.

My dad bought a new truck just like the one mentioned in this article but with a step side. It was a camper special, black, automatic, 352 engine, but there was one problem. Out truck camper would not fit on the bed. The rails on the bed were tilted up on a 45 degree angle and the truck camper would hit them before touching the floor of the bed. The dealership had to heat the rails and bend them down so the camper would fit. They tried charging my dad for the labor needed to correct the problem, but he told them no because the truck was a camper special and it should have been built to haul a truck camper like it was advertised. That was the last Ford my dad ever bought even though the truck treated him well while he owned it. But it sure liked to drink gasoline and the shifter would have to be wiggled for the truck to start sometimes because the park position had a lot of play in it. That was a common problem back then on Ford trucks. And of course I hated the truck because it was a Ford but I did drive it when he would let me.

I wonder if the frames in the old Ford trucks was as weak as the frames in the new super duties? I remember in 1970 Chevy offered a Longhorn camper special truck with an 8.5 foot bed for truck campers. It had a 400 cubic inch with HD transmission. Now that was a sweet truck!

You do not see many of these old Ford trucks because they are just like the new ones, they do not last long before you need a new one. GM is here to stay so you Ford boys should quit crying and accept that your Ford trucks will never get higher then number 2 in quality, reliability, towing, power, and looks. I still hate that ugly grill on the super duties and what is up with that stabilizer bar on the rear of the super duties, it looks like it belongs on a Focus. Looks like it was made out of a coat hanger.

Thank you all for the initial positive comments on the story. I just wish that the comments didn't get hijacked into the old Ford vs. Chevy thing. It distracted from the theme of the story, of how one man's passion saved this particular truck from the fate that most find, the scrap yard.

With regard to the transmission, it is a C-4 as I reported. I spoke with the owner and he confirmed that it was a C-4, not a C-6. He's pretty sure since he rebuilt it and he said that the C-6 transmissions were used with the 360 and 390 cubic-inch engines. (I didn't even know that Ford made a 360 but in checking, I see that they did as it's a short-stroke version of the 390.)

If you check out a short story I posted on this truck on AutomotiveTraveler.com you'll see that I have posted a link there to a PDF of the full-line 1967 Ford truck brochure.

For you Chevy fans, I'm working on a really cool 1969 Chevrolet Longhorn Custom Camper with just 31,000 miles. I should have it in to Mark on Monday or Tuesday so keep checking back to pickuptrucks.com to see when Mark gets it posted.

@Rich Truesdell - ignore the trolls. Any story about any restored truck is appreciated by the majority of people that frequent this site.
@Greg - your attitude explains why your son purchased a Dodge.

@Rich Truesdell & Lou-I enjoy any story about any old trucks. As an IH lover I enjoyed that story as well. Sounds like a great restoration Rich on that 1969 Chevy. I always have a soft spot for old Chevys. What a neat old Ford I really enjoyed this article and pictures Mark. Please keep these old truck stories coming. And Rich when you finishing your restoration could you submit pictures and a story and maybe Mark could post your truck as well.

@Lou -- It's an original, un-restored truck with just 31,000 miles. I think the classic truck guys will love it.

@Rich Truesdell-Please keep us posted as to the progress with your restoration.

@Rich, How about bringing the rarest of the bunch. Good old Dodge truck. Check out this resto=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0TX3KPX7O4&feature=related



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