What Is A Ford HighBoy?
A Ford “Hi-Boy” is a designation that Ford owners placed on the four-wheel drive F250s that were manufactured from 1967 - 1977.5. While Ford never used the term in its official sales brochures, the company didn’t discourage it.
The truck sat about four inches higher than the competition due to the divorced transfer case. The two-speed transfer case required a longer front driveshaft and had to be set farther back, which meant Ford had to raise the F250’s front. To compensate and prevent the truck’s nose from pointing to the sky, Ford installed a four-inch lift on the rear end. The lift meant that 4x4s had a high center than their Ford F 250 2WD, which forced owners to make decisions about whether they wanted to drive a truck with a higher center of gravity. The higher height kept Ford from offering the 4x4 F250 as a part of the Camper Special Package due to the increased chance of the camper rolling over. (It did offer a Camper Special on 4x2 models).
The Features of the Ford High-Boy
When Ford introduced the fifth generation of their F-Series, they kept many design cues implemented during the 1965 redesign. The F-Series had rebuilt the fourth generation with a new platform incorporating the Twin I-Beam suspension. For the new model, engine choices were expanded, and new, more luxurious interiors were offered.
The sales brochure for the new fifth generation promoted the fact that Ford trucks “worked like trucks, but ride like cars.” A rising middle class of buyers demanded more amenities and better ride quality in all their vehicles. The truck size was increased to provide more interior cabin space and visibility, and a new trim level (Ranger) was added, all designed to make new buyers more comfortable.
For the 1967 model, the straight lines of the truck were lengthened, and the body and hood were reinforced with double-walled construction to provide better stability. The truck was offered in Styleside and Flareside versions, with a 131-inch wheelbase and an 8-foot cargo bed.
The front end presented a solid appearance with a chrome latticed insert extending across the
front fascia as the iconic FORD lettering stood out from the front lip of the hood. Small chrome recessed headlights bookend the front, resting on top of small rectangular orange parking lights. A solid chrome bumper undergirded the front end, matching the chrome door handles, and upgraded rims.
Initially, Ford used a standard 240 cu. in. inline six as the standard engine, with a 300 cu. in. inline six and 352 cu. in. V8 as engine options.
In 1968, Ford dropped the 352 for the powerful 360 and 390 V8s. Truck owners needed more power and torque for towing applications, and Ford was desperate to keep its customers happy. (Ford tinkered with its engine choices for 4x4 units throughout the fifth generation production run. For example, 1970 offers only 300 cu. In. Inline six or the 360 V8).
The sixth generation in 1973 offered three engine offerings (240 or 300 inline six or 360 V8) until 1976, when the FE engines were dropped for the stronger, updated 351M V8 and 385 V8s (for the 1977 model).
The 1967 F250 4x4 offered two transmissions, the 3-speed manual and a 4-speed New Process 435. (Automatic transmissions were developed with the 1973 model of the F250 4x4). The three-speed top-loader was built for F250s from 1967 - 71. Owners appreciated that both the F100 and F250 4x4s engaged the 4WD through a single shift lever without the need for clutching or stopping.
Suspension and Braking
Ford used the Twin-I beam suspension with large, heavy-duty leaf springs with reinforced shocks on both the rear and front. A dual master cylinder sent brake fluid to both the front and rear brakes independently so that if one system failed, the other could take over. Ford went to standard disc brakes in 1976.
Cab Configurations And Interior
In 1967, Ford highlighted their interior with a new Ranger option that offered wider seats, more padding, and a swept-away dashboard. The Ranger trim offered vinyl and cloth seating, wall-to-wall carpeting, and chrome accents on the window handles and dashboard. The instrumentation was easy to read, with enlarged gauges and a comfortable three-spoke steering wheel. Optional equipment like power brakes and power steering was available. Ford would eventually add XLT to the Ranger trim (Ranger XLT) and move the Ranger name to its mid-level package.
Owners who wanted less luxury could opt for a Custom or Standard cab interior. Ford tried to encourage owners with different styles, from Sport Custom line to Free-Styling (which offered color-coordinated orange, brown and yellow decals on the doors and bed exterior.
Ford offered Regular Cab and CrewCab versions until 1974, when it introduced a middle SuperCab configuration. The added space in the cab happened because Ford moved their gas tank from its rear wall to integrate it into the frame.
Ford offered multiple colors for the exterior, averaging between 12 - 15 colors per year. Two-tone options were offered so owners could customize their trucks with a contrasting white color (White Wimbledon).
For the 1978 model year, Ford abandoned the divorced transfer case preferring to go in an integrated system and offer costumer’s the choice of a part-time or full-time four-wheel drive. The part-time four-wheel drive used the NP205, which was gear driven, while full-time units had a chain-driven NP203. The result was that Ford trucks lowered in height, which prompted owners to nickname them “LowBoy.”
The Specifications For Ford High-Boy
The following table lists many specifications for the F250 4x4 pickup trucks made between 1967 - 1977.5.
What Is A Ford Highboy Worth Today?
According to Hagerty, the value of a Ford Highboy in good condition ranges from 18,400 (1975) to 28,000 dollars (1967). These trucks tend to be in short supply and are often highly valued by classic car collectors for restoration projects.