The Features of the 1973 F100
The sixth generation of the F-Series (‘73 - ‘79) would lay the groundwork for a massive legacy for Ford. During these years, Ford would begin its reign as the best-selling nameplate for trucks (1977), a trend that has lasted over 4 ½ decades.
According to Fordification, 463,241 F100s were manufactured during the ‘73 model year. Almost 99% (457,746) were Stylesides, with only 3000 Flareside pickups rolling off the assembly line. Records do not indicate how many 4 x 4 models were made, but they were available. (The addition of a four-wheel drive cost around $575). The MSRP for the F100 was around $3,000, depending on the configuration and the options that were added.
Ford retained much of the design cues it had used in the previous fifth generation but made some structural changes. The 19-gallon gas tank was moved from the back of the cab to underneath the cargo flooring as a safety measure. The length and width of the truck’s frame had to be increased to accommodate the new fuel tank. The wheelbase of the new sixth series was increased by two inches to 117 (short bed) and 133 (8’ bed). The truck’s stance increased about an inch. New rear leaf springs were added to handle the weight of the heavy fuel tank, and upgraded tire treads helped stabilize the truck’s handling and feel. To owners’ delight, these design changes translated into a better ride which Ford was quick to trumpet in their advertising efforts.
The standard fuel tank on the F100 was 19 gallons, although owners could opt for an auxiliary tank (20.5 gallons) if they so chose to do so. The tanks were operated by a simple toggle switch on the dash.
The cargo bed was available in 6 ¾ ‘ and 8’ lengths. The short bed was about ¼ of a foot longer than had been used in the previous generation. (6 ½’ in the fifth series - 82 inches for the new truck - 78.2 inches for the older model). The tailgate opening of 65 inches remained unchanged, as did the depth of 19.3 inches. The GVW of the ‘73 F100 varied between 4600 - 5500 lbs.
The company used more galvanized sheet metal in the design (even the tailgate was double-walled). New zinc polymers were added to the primer, and customers could choose from 16 paint colors. Some colors were Wimbledon White, Bahama Blue, Raven Black, Midnight Blue Metallic, and Sequoia Brown Metallic. If owners wanted to break up the color scheme, there were four two-tone (Ford labeled them as Tu-tone) combinations if owners wanted to break up the color scheme. Wimbledon White was the contrasting color, and many owners opted for the color combinations. Some even ordered a white pickup box cover for their 8’ Stylesides.
For the 1973 model year, Ford used the same engines as the previous year’s F100. The 3.9L 240 inline-six was the standard engine, although there were three V8 options that provided more power (5.0 L 302 V8, 5.9 L 360 V8, and 6.4 L 390 V8). Ford would replace the 240 with a 300 inline six the following year (but kept the 360 and 390 for three more years). The only engine options for the four-wheel drive model were the 240 inline-six (std) or the 360 V8.
The 3-speed manual transmission was standard, while the 4-speed and Cruise-O-Matic were options. On 4 x 4 models, four-speed or automatic were offered. Ford had been using Dana 21 transfer case but switched to the NP205 two-speed case for the ‘73 F100. (The NP203 would make an appearance a year later.)
Even though Ford developed the Twin I-beam suspension in 1965, the system had proved so successful that Ford brought it over to use in the new F-Series. At the time, the ride quality of Ford trucks compared to the other members of the Big Three wasn’t even close. Ford had the competition beat by a mile, and they made sure people knew that even though the F100 was a pickup, it had the ride of a car. Four-weel drive F100s continued to use the monobeam front suspension with heavy coil springs and steering-linkage shock absorber.
The F100 had three trim levels, Custom, Ranger, and Ranger XLT. The XLT offered luxury amenities like cloth and vinyl seats, wall-to-wall carpeting, and wood-tone accents. The basic Custom trim offered a large bench seat, rubber mats, keyless locking doors, two-speed wipers other features. The Ranger trim level offered upgraded seating treatments, rear window moldings, and an aluminum applique with the word Ford on the tailgate.
The interior of the new F100 offered additional storage space behind the seat (due to the gas tank being moved). A large bench seat sat three adults (although the manual gearshift made riding in the middle uncomfortable). The cabin offered more than 66 inches of shoulder and hip room (an increase over previous years).
The glove box was enlarged by 50%, and the windshield was increased to provide more space and better visibility. Black rubber floor mats were standard on the Custom trim, while the Ranger added floormats, and the top-line XLT gave color-coordinated carpeting. Other optional equipment included an upgraded AM/FM radio with a speaker in each door, integrated power steering, air conditioning, a rear cab sliding window, or a curbside toolbox on the 8’ Stylesides.
The Specs for the 1973 F100
What Is A 1973 Ford F100 Worth Today?
According to Hagerty, the value of a 1973 Ford F100 in good condition is $15,800. While the most spent on a model is $220,000, the market for classic trucks like these is relatively strong. (The price you receive will depend on the condition and engine size of the truck. Prices can vary by region). For new listings of ‘73 models and other cars for sale, please visit classiccars.com.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane