The Features of the 1973 Ford F250
With the war in VietNam finally ending, a new generation of consumers was emerging across the American landscape. Buoyed by a distrust of the establishment from Watergate and angered by rising prices on everything (inflation had almost tripled in a year), consumers were pulling back from purchases. The sudden thriftiness of the public made automakers scramble to redo their lineups, desperate to recapture the hearts and minds of consumers. So, when GM announced the redesign of their light-duty pickup, Fod felt obligated to follow suit.
The 1973 Ford F250 came with a standard 4.9L 300 cubic-inch inline-6 cylinder, though there were two V8 options available (360 cubic-inch V8, and 390 cu in V8). The 351 replaced the 360, and the 400 replaced the 390.
The inline six-cylinder engine had stood the test of time (since 1960). Still, its lack of real power was a constant complaint of truck owners everywhere. The 360 FE V8 had been used since 1968 until its retirement in 1976. The 390 V8 was offered in 4x2s only.
Most customers sought out the high-powered V8s for their trucks. While an owner was given the option of a 4-speed manual, there was limited demand for it. Most owners preferred the SelectShift Cruise-0-Matic transmission.
For the sixth generation of F-Series, beginning in 1973, Ford decided to continue the split grille they had introduced in the previous generation but changed the two sections on each side of the center to four. The headlights were still recessed but expanded, providing better illumination at night. The F.O.R.D lettering was placed under the hood rim, instead of on the lip of the hood as it had been in 1972. The rear window was expanded to allow for more visibility.
Along the side, the designers took away the long bump side, which had been a character marking, and inverted it. Instead of an outward concave, the truck now had an inner facing “dent” line, which owners quickly labeled as a “Dentside” Ford.
Ford made both Regular Cabs and CrewCabs, but it would be another year before the SuperCab configuration came out. Both 6.5-foot and 8-foot beds were offered, and customers could choose Flareside or Styleside. Six-man CrewCabs were offered on both 4x2, and 4-wheel drive models, which Ford claimed would seat six “husky” men.
Due to Ford not redesigning their transfer case on the 4x4s, Ford’s four-wheel drives sat several inches higher than the competition. The increased height morphed into the nickname “Highboy,” which is how Ford truck enthusiasts term the fifth and sixth-generation 4x4 trucks. The highboy would lead to the Monster Truck movement just a couple of years later
The gas tank was moved to under the bed frame between the rear wheels, which freed up more cab space and raised the seating position, which customers loved. In addition, the move made the vehicle much safer when involved in an accident.
Ford Owners could have one of 16 different paint colors on their trucks. Many customers opted to outfit their particular truck with a custom two-toned color scheme or install a deluxe fiberglass box cover over the bed (only one color was allowed - Textured White for 8’ Stylesides).
The 1973 F-series line was offered in three trim levels (Custom, Ranger, Ranger XLT). Ford eliminated the Custom Sport from the previous years. The XLT was considered the top-of-the-line model, unlike it being more of a base model as it is today. The XLT had
Power Steering and Power Brakes
Power Disc brakes were standard on all 4x2 models as ‘73 was the first year Ford offered them. (1976 saw Ford making them standard on 4x4s). Although Ford had been using power steering for many of their vehicles since 1965, not many F250s before 1973 had this “luxury” option installed, although 4x4s sometimes had power assist).
The truck was built on an independent twin-I-beam suspension underneath, providing a comfortable ride and consistent cornering capabilities. The f-250 truck offered double-walled construction made from one sheet of metal, and this new design offered additional strength for the bed. Zinc coatings on both the inside and outside helped to add protection against rust and corrosion.
The frame of the 250 was widened to allow the fuel tank to be located under the bed between the two rear wheels. The placement guaranteed additional safety for the long bed by removing the gas tank from behind the cab on early Ford models.
The 50.8-inch width of the truck bed made hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood or sheetrock easy.
The 1973 Ford f250’s truck interior was expanded (due to the fuel tank being moved), and the extra room reminded owners of the more spacious car interior space. The glove compartment grew by 50%, and there was an extra 5 ½ feet of storage behind the seat in the Regular Cab.
A heavy-duty vinyl seating surface was standard in the Custom model, while the Ranger and XLT trim had a durable cloth bench seat. The CrewCab allowed additional passengers to sit in the back, and while most RV enthusiasts opted for the bigger F350, occasionally, you could find a 250 with a Camper Special package.
The instrumentation displays were easy to read, and the faux wood trim edging on the dash was reminiscent of the work in many of Ford’s sedans. The air conditioning vents were integrated into the dash, and owners had the choice of a standard AM or optional AM/FM stereo radio, with a speaker in each door. Intermittent wipers were just one of the options that you could find on an F250.
While only a few owners opted for the wipers, they did like the idea of a 24-gallon auxiliary fuel tank.
Production Numbers for the 1973 Ford F250
Specifications of the 1973 F250
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