The Features of the 1976 Ford F150
With the introduction of the F150 in 1975, Ford began to establish itself as more than a serious contender for pickup truck dominance. Battered by years of Chevrolet’s CK trucks and Dodges D100s, Ford needed something to reestablish itself. Many truck owners were abandoning the F100 as being too weak and inefficient to do the required tasks. Ford’s solution was to enter a new contender (F 150) in the half-ton market. The truck had heavier springs, better payloads, and greater towing capacities, so Ford labeled it a heavy half-ton.
According to Fordification.net, of the 200,174 F150s Ford produced in ‘76, a quarter were 4x4s, and over 8 in 10 were made with V8 engines. Over two-thirds were equipped with an automatic (the 3-spd manual was standard). While most were Regular cab configurations, the SuperCab began to show promise selling nearly 33k units. (The CrewCab was only available for F250 and F350 models).
Cab Configurations and Trim Levels
The 1976 Ford F150 was offered in 2 different cab configurations - Regular Cab and SuperCab. (The Crewcab option was reserved for large F 250s and F 350s). There were three trim levels - Custom, Ranger, and top-of-the-line Ranger XLT.
Ford continued to offer the Styleside as its primary configuration, although owners who wanted a Flareside with either a shorter 6.5’ bed or the regular 8’ bed could order one. The split grille design was very similar to the ‘75 F 150, except for new square black insets shadowing the round headlights to give them better contrast against the chrome on the front end. The oversized hood had reinforced sections, which helped fight rust, and the hood lip sat neatly above the iconic Ford lettering cemented between the truck’s parking lights.
Overall, the general exterior appearance was solid and straightforward. The black and chrome accent line ran from the front fender, continuing across the doors and extending to the rear. The Styleside had smooth double-walled sides, helping give the cargo box additional strength for increased payloads. Ford improved their use of zinc-coating metals and instituted a 4-coat paint process, including two coats of exterior enamel. The result was a truck bed more rust-resistant than any previous Ford ever built. An integrated storage/toolbox was an option for the Styleside 8’ beds, situated just above the base of the chassis on the passenger side.
To celebrate America’s 200th birthday, Ford issued a 1976 Ford F-150 Custom Bicentennial Edition in Wimbledon White or Bahama Blue with a golden eagle accent strip on the side. The truck also had red, white, and blue seat cushions.
Customers could choose between sixteen different colors, some of which were Indio Tan, Hatteras Green Metallic, Bali Blue, or Raven Black. As an option, there were several two-tone paint schemes offered (contrasting with Wimbledon White). Owners could have the cab roof painted, a broad white accent stripe painted on the side, or even use the color they chose on the bottom half while the truck’s top was white.
There were four engine choices for the 1976 Ford F150. The 4.9L 300 ci inline-six was the standard engine, with the 360 ci, 390 ci, and 460 ci V8s available as options. The FE 360 and 390 would not survive past the 1976 model year on the F150s. (Ford retired them and switched to the 351W V8 and a 6.4L 400 ci eight-cylinder the next year).
Most smaller engines had a 2 bbl carburetor, while the 390 and 460 V8s and 4 x 4s had a 4 bbl Motorcraft carb.
A 3-spd manual “three on the tree” was standard, but not many manual F150s were manufactured. (Four-wheel drive owners had to choose between 4-speed manual and automatic). Owners (67.5%) opted for the 4-speed Cruise-O-Matic transmission because it was easier to work.
Twin I-beam suspension undergirded the truck. (Ford had been using the system for over a decade). Each front beam had its own “beam” and large coil spring, allowing the tires to move independently. This design helped the truck move over potholes or rugged terrain more efficiently.
The interior consisted of a movable bench seat with more foam than had been used before (7” in the seat and 5” in the seatback). While seat belts for three adults had been required since ‘68, Ford included a 3-point safety restraint system. (Most truck owners hated it).
The seatback in the Regular Cab was moveable, allowing access to additional storage space. The SuperCab version gave owners 44 cubic feet of additional space, with 2 ½” of width, just enough to throw a couple of small kids in the back. Options were a fold-down rear seat or two inward-facing jump seats.
The luxurious Ranger XLT trim gave customers the feel that many full-sized family sedans enjoyed, including long-wearing cloth and vinyl upholstery, wall-to-wall nylon color-matching carpet, and faux woodgrain paneling around the instrument panel. The XLT included additional insulation to make the cab quieter, and if you wanted to pay for it, the convenience group had intermittent windshield wipers and a locking glove box.
The wide steering wheel was a tri-spoked thing of beauty, offering a clear vision of the gauges, and cruise (speed control) was an add-on. The AM radio was standard, but owners could have an AM/FM stereo with a speaker in each door.
The Specs For The Ford F150
What is a 1976 Ford F150 Worth Today?
According to Hagerty, a 1976 Ford F150 in good condition will fetch an average price of $15,300.
The most money that has been paid for a 76 F150 was $220,000. Many collectors are looking for 76 F150s (bicentennial version or 4x4s) as those are rarer than 4x2 models.