What Makes The 1966 Ford F100 So Special?
There are many great features on the ‘66 F100 pickup truck worth mentioning. If you weren’t around in the mid-sixties, please allow me to brag a little about this iconic truck.
Ford produced 260,873 F 100s in 1966 (over 85% were 4x2 Stylesides). While the Flareside and Stake or Platform versions and shorter beds (6 ½ feet) were available, most buyers appreciated the additional cargo room the 8’ bed Styleside offered.
By the end of 1963, Ford began to realize that their unibody design was a complete and utter failure. Dubbed an “integrated pickup,” the F-series consisted of a seamless cab and bed. The production costs were lower (which pleased the higher-ups), but in their rush to manufacture a more profitable truck, Ford made mistakes. Complaints of the doors jamming (especially when sidewall toolboxes were loaded), panels ripping and tearing, or even beds warping as heavy loads hit the payload area. For 1964, Ford reverted to the separate cab and cargo trucks, extending the wheelbase on 8’ beds and again tweaked the design for the 65 and 66 models.
The 1966 has a rugged appearance, as straightforward as it was simple. Turn signals were situated above the headlights, which bookended a chrome grille holding the iconic Ford letters indented just under the lip of the hood. Two egg crate slots gave the truck’s front an aggressive appearance.
The truck side had a design line shadowed above the side panel and started from the front quarter panel extending through the door and back to the rear. It formed a lip over the rest of the side and matched the slightly flared fender wells. The front quarter panel sloped downward like a waterfall, while the rear flared from the base of the chassis back to the rear in a straight line. Located between the door and the rear fender, a locking toolbox provided quick and easy access for storage.
The tailgate was strengthened with double-walled construction and was supported by heavy-duty steel hinge-type straps that could support up to a ton in weight. The tailgate’s one-pull handle in the center made opening and locking much easier. A two-tone paint option was available for all cab configurations.
The year before (1965) introduced an innovative suspension system called the “Twin I-beam.” Early ads trumpeted the suspension as providing a smoother ride, offering more control, and reducing maintenance because both front axles moved independently. The
sales brochure promised to “pay off in dollars and cents as well as in ride and handling ease” A prolonged chassis/body life would also produce a higher resale value at trade-in time.
The two front axles gave the truck a smoother ride over rugged terrain. The F100 handled curves better because the truck could maintain its ability to keep the tires planted. The importance of the twin-beam suspension cannot be underestimated since it would become a basic component that Ford trucks would have for almost three and half decades.
Engine And Transmission
The standard engine was the 240 cu. in. inline six, with the option for the 300 cu. in. six or the much larger FE 352 cu. in. V8. The 352 is the best of the bunch, packing 208 HP @ 440 rpms and 315 ft/lbs of torque. It featured aluminum alloy pistons, upgraded oil rings, and hydraulic lifters for quieter idle vibrations. The rotary oil pump kept things lubricated, and the larger intake and exhaust valves were designed for better wear over their lifetimes.
While the 352 would be replaced with the 360 in just a couple of seasons (1968), it was still a beast of an engine. They were built with enough power to handle any job truck owners threw at them. The cast iron block made them virtually indestructible.
The standard transmission was the 3-speed direct drive manual, with an option for the 3-speed with overdrive or the 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The 3-speed with overdrive was a stout transmission from New Process (NP435) and powered by a lever on the tree. Since it was used so much through the sixties, the transmission is easy to find parts for.
The Interior of the 1966 Ford F 100 was nothing to sneeze at. The left-hand oversized mirror, padded dash, windshield washers, and emergency flasher were now standard equipment. Seat belts were a part of the standard cab’s vinyl seats made with extra padding for a more luxurious ride. Ford knew that comfort was becoming more of a buying issue for truck owners, so they provided options. The Ranger option included bucket seats with an optional console between the seats.
The oversized tri-spoked steering wheel offered good support over a simple-to-read instrument panel. The gauges were straightforward, wrapped in chrome accents, and an interior dome light was an addition that helped illuminate the cab. A right-hand armrest and cigarette lighter were optional.
Power brakes and power steering were options for truck owners of the 1966 Ford F100. The features made parking the truck easier, and pedal pressure was heightened to make the brakes more responsive. Other options included black vinyl seats, a passenger sun visor, and a deluxe fresh air heater and defroster.
The base MSRP for a 1966 Ford F 100 Styleside 4x2 was $2,129 (a bit of money in the mid-sixties). Just to compare, it was cheaper than a ‘66 Mustang ($2,713).
One of the best additions to the F-Series was the option for a camper shell to come with your truck. The camper coach was available on 8-foot bed Stylesides 4x2s (it was not available for 4x4s). While most camper shells ended up on F250s, the owner could add the shell to the bed or purchase a cab/chassis to weld it directly to the frame.
What Are The Specs For The 1966 Ford F100?
Here are the specs for the F 100.
How Much Are Ford F100s Worth?
According to Hagerty, a classic F100 in good condition will fetch $13,500, while excellent condition prices can fetch upwards of $26,000. The highest sale price for a 1966 Ford F 100 is $165,000. To view listings of F100s for sale, check classiccars.com for regular new listings.