Tricked Out 1956 Ford Panel Truck – Yay or Nay?

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panel truck

Freshly restored and ready for action, this could be your classic dream machine!

To classic car and truck collectors, panel trucks are an interesting curiosity. They were initially produced to be functional work vehicles, so most were used and abused, but a few were preserved — making them quite rare today.

With a few exceptions like the recent Chevrolet HHR Panel, there haven’t been many recent panel trucks, partially due to the fact that panel vans now fulfill those same requirements. Seeing a restored panel truck is a rare sight indeed, but there’s one for sale right now on Los Angeles Craigslist.

This 1956 Ford panel truck has a familiar — and instantly recognizable — front end and cab. Even the bulged-out bedsides are present. However, the smooth, slab-sided panel delivery body style is an unusual and attractive take on this iconic platform.

panel truck

The seller claims that $50,000 has been invested, and they’re selling it for just a hair over half of that. There’s a lot to like — the deep blue metallic paint, chrome moon disc wheels with fat white-letter tires, and slightly raked stance certainly look the part of a mild custom.

panel truck

However, less attractive is the fully furnished wood interior, which features some questionable trim and finish choices, looking more like a cheaply-renovated apartment than a classic panel truck. The absence of running boards in favor of side pipes looks kind of odd to us, and we think that maybe what the builder really wanted was a custom van.

panel truck

Gone is the original Ford Y-block V-8, replaced with the ubiquitous small-block Chevy V8. Seeing a bug catcher air cleaner in this application is unusual, although we’re thankful that the hood wasn’t cut to expose it.

Still, the truck looks promising overall, and if you’re in the market for an early Ford panel truck, this might be the truck you’re waiting for. Drive it as-is, or modify it to suit your taste. Maybe you’ll be inclined to paint a mural on the side — parking this out in front of your business might be some of the best advertising money can buy.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Cam Vanderhorst is a contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and MB World. He is also a co-host of the Cammed & Tubbed podcast.

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