Joe Sprague sent us photos of his ’67 F-250 Camper Special after reading about our very own F-350 Hot Rod Hauler project. Take it away, Joe…
“I bought the truck on October 1, 1994, one day after my 14th birthday (I included a picture of me and the truck taken the day after). As is usually the case, I didn’t have very deep pockets when I was 14. When I heard my aunt’s mother was selling her dad’s ‘67 Ford for $350, I had to go look at it. What I found was an all original but used as you can see, 67,000-mile ¾-ton truck. The truck had spent most of its life with a huge camper on the back of it. I hate to say it, but at the time I didn’t know the difference between a ½- or a ¾-ton, I just knew that I wanted a project to call my own. It originally came with a 352 and four-speed with a 4.10 gear out back. It took me four years to do a frame off on it. The cab was surprisingly solid, but the box had to be replaced. Other than that all the other body panels were repaired and reused. My dad and I did a lot of the bodywork, but our friend, Randy Gooding, helped us with the stuff we couldn’t handle. I removed the western-style mirrors, removed the camper special emblems, and added a roll pan to the back. Other than that, the body was restored to stock appearance. I lowered the front by cutting the coils (didn’t give any thought to the camber adjustment) and put the rear axle on the leaf spring. Neither I nor my dad had any clue of what we were doing. Fortunately for us, there was an old garage in town that still had the stuff to bend the front I-beams to correct the camber problem. I finished the truck just in time to have my senior pictures taken with it. In the summer of 2003, just a few months after graduating from college, I proposed to my would-be wife in the truck.
By the fall of 2004, the old truck had developed a few issues. The repairs on the front fenders needed repair again, the truck developed some electrical issues, and I was itching for more power. I decided to take the truck apart for what was supposed to just be the winter. However, what was meant to be a simple fix up turned into a five-year project! The second go ‘round, I pulled out the old 352 four-speed drivetrain and replaced it with a 460 built by Martin Racing Engines, a local engine builder. The block was bored 60 over and fitted with TRW high dome pistons. It now runs 10.25:1 compression. The top half was equipped with Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, and intake. The bottom end is stock Ford, but has been balanced. The manual four-speed was replaced with a C6 equipped with a full manual valve body and a 2,400-stall convertor. Inside the cab, the transmission is shifted via a B&M Megashifter. Since the truck had such low miles on it, the original plastic weave seat was in great shape and is still in the cab. I had originally put some 16-inch Ultra saw blade-type wheels on the truck, but I wanted to give it a more modern look so I installed 20-inch Akuza wheels wrapped in Toyo tires.
While the truck was apart, the original front fenders were replaced with a pair from Arizona. Other than having the front fenders and hood repainted by Randy Gooding, the paint on the truck is from the first restoration in the late 90s. The electrical issue was resolved by replacing the turn signal switch with one from LMC. Now, everything on the truck works from the horn to the brake lights to the blinkers.
With the low-profile tires, the 4.10 gears were just too low, so I had the rear end rebuilt by Koz Offroad. They installed a Detroit Locker and a 3.54 ring-and-pinion set. The original drums in the front were replaced with disc brakes from a ‘78 F-250. To help smooth the ride, I installed Air Lift air bags in the rear; this was probably one of the smartest moves I made as the truck rides so much better. I’ve had the truck back on the road now for two summers and it’s a lot of fun. The big summer event in small Beaverton, Michigan, is the 4th of July parade. I had the truck in the parade from 1998 through 2004. We actually planned a short honeymoon in ‘04 so we could get back in time to drive the truck in the parade (with a “just married” sticker in the back window). The old truck finally returned to the parade lineup in ‘09. I’m glad I’ve been able to hang onto the old truck; especially since it was my first vehicle.”
We’re glad you hung onto it too, Joe! Thanks for the pictures and the inspiring story. CCT