This 1997 Ford F-350 Dump Truck Is Listed at $84,800. Here’s Why It’s Worth It (UPDATE: It Sold)
Everybody’s an expert, but we talked to a real one and got the full backstory on this absolutely perfect workhorse.
Unfathomably clean classic trucks pop up for sale from time to time that demand everyone's attention. Such is the case with this 1997 Ford F-350 dump truck at Gateway Car Connection, a Missouri dealer known for its impossibly preserved, pre-emissions diesel pickups. It's the perfect spec—single cab 4x4 with a 7.3-liter Power Stroke and five-speed manual—and it's as spotless as they come with 1,584 miles. That alone is enough to get the internet talking, but what most folks can't turn their focus from is the $84,800 price tag.
It's the new high watermark for Old Body Style Fords in the collector market. It's not up for auction, but to give a frame of reference, the most expensive 1992-1997 F-Series on Bring a Trailer went for $59,280 in March. This leapfrogs that truck not only in price but also in spec and condition, as that pickup had a 460-cubic-inch gas V8 and nearly 60,000 miles.
Anthony Clavenna, owner of Gateway Car Connection and seller of the Power Stroke, gave me the truck's backstory that's as mystical as you'd expect.
"Basically, the truck was ordered by a guy that owned a Ford franchise—he owned a large Ford store," Clavenna explained. "He ordered it and hauled one load of gravel in 1999, so that's the only thing that's ever been in the bed."
Well, other than the stock wheels that are wrapped in plastic and stored in the back. The original owner also had a tire shop, so he ordered the Weld wheels and had them installed straight away. They're a pretty great match with just the right amount of style to go with the truck's flashy red interior.
"He did that one load of gravel, but he would drive it into his Ford store periodically and have it serviced," Clavenna continued. "It wasn't a truck that sat around even though it didn't get a ton of miles put on it. It did drive periodically."
The truck held its original certificate of origin until 2020 when it was first titled. Clavenna says he'd been in contact with the previous owner for about a year and a half before purchasing it. It came from New York but was stored in a climate-controlled garage, so you won't even find a water spot on the undercarriage. It's that clean.
Now, all this might be enough to make you salivate, but does it justify the colossal asking price? You'll get a different answer from every person you ask, but I thought it'd be best to ring up an expert. I talked with Paul Rutledge, co-owner of Complete Performance—one of the most recognized aftermarket companies in the OBS Ford community.
"It's a Catch-22 for me because I remember when they were $5,000 for a really nice one; now, they're $35,000 for a really nice one," Rutledge said. "I also like it, though, because it's making the market bigger if you will. More people are starting to say, 'Hey, we need to produce X product for this truck' or 'We really should focus on keeping this truck alive' because people are enjoying them now."
As Rutledge mentioned, these trucks are going up, up, up in value. Hammer prices have climbed alongside the prominence of online auto auctions that continue to bring unheard-of specimens to the surface. It'd be wrong to say there are a hundred more time capsules just like this scattered across the country, but since collectors have started seeing how much money they bring, they're dusting off their pride and joys to hit the block.
"It's a mason dump, for one, so it was a work truck that was never really worked, kind of like our chip truck," Rutledge added. He's talking about his own extremely low-mileage OBS Ford, one that has a scarcely believable 900 miles on the clock. "It's got the Weld Typhoons on it, which are period correct, and it's got the red interior which you can't get in anything anymore. When you go down to the dealership, you can order a black truck or a grey truck with a black interior or a grey interior. The end."
The '97 F-350 in question here is special for reasons other than the shape it's in. It really is the perfect example that blends awesome options, tasteful upgrades, and nearly unimaginable preservation. That's why people are talking about it all across the web, whether they prefer Ford, Chevy, or Dodge.
Rutledge is pretty familiar with this specific rig. He and his brother considered buying it before Clavenna did, so he's seen all there is to see of it.
"I couldn't justify the original seller's cost for it to just sit in my showroom when I have 50 other trucks that are already sitting here, from rail trucks to four-door Broncos," Rutledge said. "I really wanted it for our collection because of what it is, but I couldn't justify it just sitting here."
"With Anthony getting it, I feel like he has it priced accordingly," he continued. "Anthony understands the market, too; otherwise, he wouldn't be in the business he's in. He wants to get low-mile, clean trucks to people who appreciate low-mile, clean trucks."
I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm just an average truck guy from the Ozarks—I don't have this type of money—but I'm also OK with it being out of my reach. If I can't afford it, then odds are neither can the droves of young bucks who would immediately lift this sucker six inches and swap in a 12-valve Cummins.
There's no way for me to convince everybody this Ford is worth more than a new one. To be honest, I wouldn't blame you for buying a 2023 Super Duty, especially if you need to use it. Scratch that—if you need something for work, please buy a new one. This is a collector item, no longer a tool, and it's one of the rare examples that should stay that way.
"I hope Anthony gets every penny that he's asking for that truck," Rutledge concluded. "I believe it's worth it."
Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET on 05/11/2023: Clavenna informed me the day after this article was published that a deposit had been put down on the truck. Now, it’s paid for in full. It’s off to its new home with a collector in Michigan.
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