In 1961, Ford introduced its Econoline E100 van, station bus (window van), and pickup. These unique cab-forward pickups (and the Ford Ranchero) were based on the Falcon platform, powered by a 170ci inline six-cylinder bolted up to a three-speed on-the-column manual transmission. These unique pickups were relatively light, weighing only 2,415 pounds. Unfortunately, the Econoline E100 series had a short life, and they were discontinued in 1967.
In case you haven't noticed, we have refocused on our roots during Truckin' magazine's 30th anniversary, and vans were definitely major players in Truckin's history. While reflecting on the early years of Truckin', freelance photographer Peter Linney discovered this rare '65 Ford E100 Spring Special Package pickup of Eric Parsons from Valley Village, California. Eric says it took him almost 30 years of intense searching to find his rare Spring Special. The bright, factory poppy-red enamel paint makes it stand out like a ladybug on a green leaf. The cab-forward pickup uses a unibody Falcon frame as a foundation, and the I-beam straight axle and spindles are suspended by a pair of leaves up front. A standard Ford 8-inch rearend is stuffed with 4.11:1 gears and suspended by a set of leaves and factory shocks. The braking horsepower is handled by a set of factory single-anchor internal expanding self-adjusting brakes. Eric's E100 pickup rolls on 13x6.5-inch stock steel wheels wrapped by P185/80R13 Atlas steel-belted radial whitewall tires on all four corners.
The factory 170ci six-cylinder engine is located between the driver and passenger seats. The powerplant is bored 3.50 and stroked 2.94, and the power stroke rotates a forged-steel crankshaft inside four main bearings. The intake manifold is an integral part of the cylinder head, and factory-stamped steel valve covers encase the intake, exhaust valves, and rocker arm assembly. A Ford 1-V single-barrel carburetor feeds the air/fuel mixture to the factory intake manifold. The stock exhaust manifold flows into an aluminized exhaust and stock muffler, exiting before the right rear wheel. The standard ignition, points, and condenser are housed inside the factory distributor. A factory rotary oil pump circulates the 4-1/2-quart system, and the cooling system is a 9-1/2-quart system capped at 12-15 psi. The massive doghouse engine cover dissipates some of the heat and noise.
Wherever it goes, the bright-poppy-red five-window Deluxe cab-forward pickup draws a lot of attention. A black vinyl tonneau covers the flawless bed, and the factory interior is simple with steel door panels, no headliner, a bare dash with only essential gauges, and a factory AM radio with a single in-dash speaker. Mounted atop the front wheelwells are the factory vinyl low-back seats. The steering column, with a bigger-than-life white steering wheel, is mounted school bus-style.
Surprisingly, we are seeing more of these Ford E100 and Dodge A100 Little Red Wagons and Chevrolet Corvair side-ramp pickups. It's amazing what will resurface as the latest old-school trendsetter. We hope Truckin's coverage of some of these vans may shake some ol' walnuts out of the tree.