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Custom 1981 F-250 V8 Box Truck Hauled Produce to New York Markets for Four Decades
Rochester, New York, is a city where cars and trucks go to rust back into the Earth from whence they came. That's why it's an eternal surprise to see this stunningly, heck, even magnificently preserved 1981 Ford F250 regular-cab box truck. While most of its brethren were scrapped decades ago, this one looks as ready to work as it did 40 years ago.

Custom 1981 F-250 V8 Box Truck Hauled Produce to New York Markets for Four Decades

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Coming to us via a private Classic Autotrader seller out of the same city of Rochester, this truck has one awesome story behind it. It was owned by a produce farmer working on the considerable farmland near the major Western New York metro Areas of Rochester in the greater Monroe County. For decades, the farmer used this truck to transport fruits and vegetables from his farm plot outside the city to farmer's markets inside Rochester proper.

The new owner, the farmer's son, claims this truck spent its entire life traveling local county roads to get in and out of Rochester on its innumerable trips to the city. Never once has it so much as sniffed the interstate, known to get heavily salted in the brutal Western New York winters. It's a good indicator of how this truck avoided rusting into oblivion, as most examples of this same model did ages ago. There are a few spots of surface rust here and there.

But, compared to lots of vehicles in this area half its age that are about to split in half at the frame yet somehow pass state inspection, it's not all that bad at all. Under the hood of this truck sits a gas-powered Ford V8 engine the owner describes as being 351 cubic inches (5.8-liters). It's hard to tell without explicit say-so whether it's the older 335-platform V8 or the newer 351 Cleveland engine under the hood. Being a stock 1982 truck, we're betting on the former. 

As it happens, this truck's chassis indicates it was built not in the U.S. but instead at Ford's factory at Ontario Truck in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. It makes sense, considering this region of New York, hundreds of miles from the Big Apple, is a stone's throw from the border by way of Lake Ontario. By the looks of this truck, you'd be led to believe Canadian F-250s were made of sterners stuff somehow. Moving to the interior, we find the family that owned this truck cared for its insides just as much as the rest of it.

Tasteful and period-correct fabric seat coverings protect the OEM red cloth seats nicely. It's hilarious to see the little seatbelt fasteners sticking out from them. At least it has seatbelts, to begin with. But the black plastic steering wheel, red carpets, and dashboard door card trim are all largely the same as it was the day the now sadly deceased farmer took it off the dealer lot. There is a small tear in the dash in a not-all-that-visible spot below the rearview mirror. But really, that's nothing to gripe about. It only adds character.

When observing the lower right corner of the truck's rear cargo door, we find emblems indicating the truck was purchased new from Andrew's Truck Sales in St. Louis, Missouri, before being hauled to New York to be fitted with a custom wooden cargo box by a mysterious company called Art Schoff & Sons in Webster, a 20-minute drive northeast of Rochester. It's likely the team behind this remarkably skilled team retired decades ago, but the mark of their craftsmanship remains strong.

If anything, having to haul fresh produce in the rear cargo box boded well for it in the long run. Having to be kept clean down to a science, lest a wayward piece of chipped rust falls onto a crate of farm-fresh veggies only prolonged its service life even longer. It's just another reason why this truck is probably one of a kind on the planet these days.

It's so easy for a classic Ferrari 308, Corvette Stingray, or Lamborghini Coutache made in the same year as this truck to serve as time capsules for the cosmopolitan upper class of the day. But this positively beautiful New York classic is a time capsule for the working man, the common farmer.

The soft-spoken backbone of this nation that keeps the people wearing suits in the suburbs getting their kale smoothies every morning. In the case of this truck, it was all to the tune of a classic V8. For that, we offer them our greatest and deepest thanks. As for the price of the truck, $24,000 is a pittance to pay. Check the gallery above to see more; it's like therapy for your eyeballs.

Check back soon for more from V8 Month here on autoevolution.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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