Maybe you’ve finally completed that restomod project that you’ve been working on for years and are ready to sell your beautiful F-100 in order to make space for a new vehicle. Or perhaps you’ve decided that your old, reliable farm truck is ready to go to find a new home. Whether you’re a collector, hotrodder, amateur wrencher, or just a person who happened to end up owning a truck, there are some considerations that you need to make when the time comes to sell.
This guide will help to point you in the right direction in terms of figuring out how to describe your truck in ads, how to price it, and how to physically prepare it for sale.
Determine Your F-100's Type and Condition
Before you can come up with a price range that you’re looking to target, you need to determine exactly who your truck will appeal to and what condition it’s in. Is your model a beautifully pristine show truck that essentially needs no work? Is it a farm truck that is a little bit worn around the edges but plenty capable as a practical workhorse? Or is it an old project truck that has a noticeable amount of rust and will need to go to a loving home (with a skilled wrencher)? The answer to this question will tell you the type of person you should try to sell to, and therefore how you should try to advertise it.
Your restomod might not be to the level of Ring Brothers' SEMA truck, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have appeal to enthusiasts.
Keep in mind that the earlier trucks are typically the most sought-after and rare, especially the one-off body-style used for the 1956 model year. Another note is that some will decry the 1980 and 1981 model for their “Swiss cheese” frames; these later trucks are less collectible to begin with, and will often fall more into the “work truck” category as opposed to “show truck.” Pickups such as the fifth generation F-100 trucks can fall squarely into either camp, or even something in between. Make no mistake, even if your F-100 is not from the ‘40s or ‘50s, it can still have immense appeal to collectors and restomodders.
This F-100 is a definite "condition 6" truck, and won't be restorable or drivable any time soon.
This table shows the industry-accepted condition grading scale for classic vehicles. Note that “Fine” is used in the sense of “fine dining,” not in the sense of “we went to the fast-food restaurant, and I guess our lunch was fine.” The rules aren’t chiseled in stone, but it should give you an idea of how to position your truck, based on the state of its mechanical and cosmetic condition.
Classic Vehicle Condition Grades
|1 - Excellent
||Pristine, virtually perfect. A low-mileage showstopper that appears brand-new.
|2 - Fine
||Approaching perfection. Very minor cosmetic flaws, but they’re tough to find.
|3 - Very Good
||A strong amateur restoration. Very presentable, but with some wear.
|4 - Good
||A useable, fully-functioning car, but one that is not in top-notch cosmetic condition.
|5 - Restorable
||May or may not run. The vehicle will need a top-to-bottom restoration but isn’t beyond saving.
|6 - Parts Car
||Wrecked or weathered to the point where a restoration seems impractical, and the primary use is for spare parts.
Clean and Prep Your F-100 for Pictures and Viewing
After you’ve got a good idea of who your truck is probably going to be sold to, you can start thinking about how you want to present it. Nobody has infinite time nor infinite money, so there’s only so much you can do to get your F-100 into tip-top shape.
In an ideal world, you would be selling a rust-free pickup. However, this isn’t always feasible. While you could spend the money to replace rusted-out body panels or other components of your truck, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see a return on that investment when you sell the truck.
Instead, focus on what you can easily change. If there are any parts of your F-100 that are severely damaged or worn to the point of being unsafe (tires, brakes, etc.), replace those. You want the buyer to be able to safely and confidently drive away unless this is a scenario where they are bringing a trailer for a parts truck.
Beyond that, you want to give your truck a good cleaning inside and out. Be sure to “de-personalize” anything that you can; this would include bumper stickers and fuzzy dice on the rearview mirror. Either hand wash your truck or take it to a quality brush-free car wash. Wheel and tire shine go a long way towards making your F-100 look like it’s ready for sale. The interior should be, at a minimum, vacuumed and wiped down with cleaning wipes. Do your best to get rid of any stains, dirt, or other debris. Completing a quick interior detailing helps your truck make a great first impression though and can be done inexpensively.
It could even be worth having a detailing company do a full detail job on your F-100. This can run anywhere in the neighborhood of $100-$200 on up but can have an immense effect on the selling price of your vehicle. Plus, $200 starts to look like a drop in the bucket if you’re going to be asking $20,000. Check your local area for a well-regarded detailing company; if you’re not going to go that route, the least you can do is wash your truck before you take pictures!
Speaking of which, take pictures in a well-lit area. Don’t try to get artistic, just follow some basic principles. Keep your F-100 in the frame and in focus. Give close-up shots of the underbody and wheels. Remember, having more photos (think 25-30) gives the potential buyer more information and confidence that they know what they’re dealing with.
Select a Medium to Sell Your F-100 Through
While putting a handmade “for sale” sign in the window of a vehicle might still get you somewhere in the 21st century, going the online route casts a much wider net and vastly increases your chance of having a successful (and lucrative) sale. There are many websites that offer a vehicle selling marketplace, but things can be a bit different if you have a restomod F-100. Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace might do a fine job, but it could be worth considering sites that are more dedicated to enthusiasts. These could include Bring a Trailer, eBay, or AutoTrader Classics. For top-condition trucks, it could be worth setting up an auction with a respected name like Mecum or Hagerty’s.
How to Write Your “For Sale” Ad
Most importantly, think about who you’re trying to market the truck to. Is this a collector who will be ready to drop $60,000 for it or a high school student looking for a project to work on with their parents?
Keep your ad fact-focused and professional. Don’t resort to using all capital letters or yelling at prospective buyers. It might be tempting to put “NO TIRE KICKERS” at the bottom but you might be scaring off actual potential customers as well.
Most importantly, be honest. Be upfront with any issues that you are aware of. In addition to simply being the right thing to do (and perpetuating good karma throughout the used car market), transactions always go more smoothly when both parties have as much information as possible. A potential buyer who learns about a mechanical problem too late in the process is more liable to simply walk away, rather than meet you in the middle.
Be Smart and Safe with the Sale
There have been volumes written about the ins and outs of completing a safe online transaction, so we won’t delve too far into that in this article. Just remember that, depending on the sale method, you may have to transact money directly with an “everyday person,” as opposed to a dealership or third party. Use common sense; if something feels suspicious or scam-like, walk away. Don’t meet strangers at your house or in non-public places, if at all possible.
After that, say a quick goodbye to your old F-100. From there, you’ll surely already be on the hunt for the next great vehicle that will enter your life.
Sources: Car Conditions: What the Numbers Mean, Hagerty
Image Credit: Ford | Motor Authority | Mecum | FivePrime