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Wondering if I should put a bunch of money in to fixing up my grandparents' old '79 custom flatbed

This pickup is a 1979 F250 custom flatbed. It needs some bed work, repainted, the inside needs redone, and i am debating to switch it from a manual to an automatic. Opinions???

We can’t answer that definitively. We don’t know your finances, or your intentions with the truck.

If your intent is to fix up the truck and then make a profit selling it, we can tell you that unless you find a particularly rich sucker, that’s not going to happen. Fixing up an old car is always a money drain, not an investment.

If, however, you love the truck, you have enough money, you have a 2nd car to use as a daily driver, and you just want to make it nice so that you can enjoy it without any expectation about return-on-investment, then go for it.

In general, American cars in 79 were not very good. If it were 69 or 89 I might agree.

A risky and tedious project. It will be easier to learn how to shift gears than to switch it over to an automatic! As pointed out, this is a potential money pit.

What are you planning to do with this comparatively thirsty machine, especially if gas prices go up gain?

If you want a truck with an auto transmission, buy one. As @shadowfax said, don’t undertake the project unless you want to keep the truck.

Yeah, gotta agree, keep expenses to a minimum. Very few people want one of these trucks either restored or hot-rodded. It isn’t old enough to be cool.

But if you really want to fix this old truck up, go right ahead but be forewarned you won’t get your money back out let alone the time you put in.

You could swap in an old-school Ford C6 3 speed automatic fairly easily. You’d need the mounts, flexplate, maybe even an new crossmember. Plus the kickdown mechanism used to downshift at full throttle. The driveshaft you have likely won’t fit so you’d need another or modify the one you have. ANYthing can be done with enough time and money! :laughing:

I’d love to restore my dad’s old Fiat 124 Spyder if I had it, but I realize it would be expensive and a whole lot of work… and the result couldn’t keep up with any modern cars, especially a Miata. But I’d love to do it just out of remembrance of my dad. If there’s an element of that type of emotion in it, and if you enjoy that type of hobby, go for it. If not, you may want to reconsider. It definitely won’t be cost-effective. :slight_smile:

The real question is for you, not us. Do you want to keep it alive and well? Do you need it? If so as long as the frame is in good shape and you want or need this vehicle go for it.

I think you should do it if this truck sports a carburetor operated engine. Old school design in other words. If fuel injected, not so much. If fuel injected the reason I say “no” is that first off it is an early fuel injections system and will likely be problematic. Second, fuel injected old trucks are a dime a dozen, nothing special.

Detroit iron, carb truck though, different story. That’s a potential classic and worth preserving. And if so the carb on that truck is as close to being optimally designed as you’ll find, b/c it is one of the last Ford truck carbs. It’s a keeper in my opinion. If you decide you can’t afford to restore it, you should have no trouble to sell it to somebody who wants to. Don’t expect much money for it though b/c whoever wants it, wants it for the Detroit iron effect, thinking it makes him look manly to the ladies. But he needs to keep the cost down b/c a man with a hunk of Detroit iron only goes so far if he can’t afford to take his lady friends to the movie and dinner too … lol …

[quote=“GeorgeSanJose, post:9, topic:97828, full:true”]Detroit iron, carb truck though, different story. That’s a potential classic and worth preserving. And if so the carb on that truck is as close to being optimally designed as you’ll find, b/c it is one of the last Ford truck carbs. [/quote]I remember carbs of that vintage being finicky and hard to get running right due to the miles of vacuum hoses and various add-on devices needed meet emissions standards.

With all that work, no way to make money on it. Unless it’s a hobby with a large budget, I’d sell it as-is.

My opinion depends upon what you intend to do with the truck; sell it after some fix-up work or keep it.

If it’s the former then you should do as little as possible and just sell it as is.

1979 F250 is a badass looking truck. I would want one with it’s lines and stance.

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If I inherited this truck, I would restore it to good mechanical condition, keep it stock, and have the interior done at a local upholstery shop. With the emphasis being on functional, not necessarily good enough to appear on a magazine cover

And I would actually drive it at least once a week, for doing chores and hauling stuff