I'm looking at a 1959 F250. I haven't had the chance to look at it in person yet (I'm frequently out of town), but I'm assuming that the sale description is accurate: yard drivable (brake issues), very rusty body, sound frame. I'm not a mechanic myself so I'd be paying someone else to do the work for me, but I'd like to restore it to road drivable (with a regular reg, not antique) condition. One garage quoted 20 grand, but I think they were imagining more of a suped-out version. Given the very rusty body, is this a project worth considering? With a decent frame and basically working engine and suspension, is $10K a realistic budget for a working vehicle? Do the '59's come with any particular issues I'd need to worry about?
Depending on where the rust is will have a big impact on costs. Replacement panels are not available for several areas, although patch panels may be. Is the rust some surface rust from sitting outside for years or rotted out cab corners and holes in the fenders? Paying a shop for a good paint job can be several thousand $'s.
How fast are you wanting to get everything done? Are you willing to spend a few months waiting for a certain item to pop up on eBay, craigslist, for sale sections of this and other forums to get a great deal on a part? Would you rather just buy it today?
You mentioned having someone else to do the work. Is there any of it you want to do yourself? Brakes aren't terribly hard to do.
The cheapest approach is to buy a truck that is already restored or mostly restored.
Take the money you would spend trying to save a rust bucket and buy one from a dry climate. You will be money ahead and it will be on the road a lot sooner. If you are paying to get the work done, just buy a truck that's already done a lot cheaper usually. The truck they want 20K to build, you can probably buy for half that from someone whose already done all the work.
Thanks, guys--that's very consistent with what I've been told so far. It's not that I'm averse to mechanical work, it's just that I'm so busy already I don't want to make time for a truck too! And that would be the best way to save on the restoration...