Diesel-Powered ’79 Ford F-350 Beats Corvettes and Camaros With $220,000 Sale Price
In the fast-paced world of automotive buying and selling, Mecum Auctions’ eight-day bidding marathon at the Indiana State Fairgrounds is one of the proverbial “main events” of the year. For consignees (buyers), and especially for consignors (sellers), “Mecum Indy” is the place where automotive dreams really can and do come true, as all types of cars and trucks are in abundance, and the “big score” attitude is unanimous.
On Wednesday, May 18, auction attendees and MotorTrend’s streaming and television viewers witnessed a sale that is bound to go down in Mecum history. A 1979 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT—Lot #W222—sold for $220,000 (including the buyer’s premium), $115,500 more than the day’s second-highest sale, a custom 1966 Chevy Corvette!
An OG Ford pickup trouncing the price of a tricked-out classic ‘Vette, not to mention two 1969 Super Sport Camaros ($93,500 and $88,000, respectively)? If you didn’t watch the auction, “how in the world did that happen?” is a valid question. For all intents and purposes, those vehicles theoretically should’ve clobbered the big Ford in the earnings category.
Yes, the high-dollar pickup is also customized. It’s actually modified with a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis, with a 24-valve, 5.9-liter Cummins diesel engine and five-speed automatic transmission in place of the original Blue Oval hardware. In the diesel-enthusiast diaspora, the F-350 is considered a “Fummins” (Ford + Cummins), which, while different, doesn’t make it unique to the point that it would typically garner six figures, let alone 220 racks.
On Wednesday afternoon, a fierce battle between two consignees commenced almost immediately after the $120,000 reserve price for the 1979 Fummins F-350 was reached, and the back-and-forth bidding escalated quickly. Check out the accompanying real-time video of how it all transpired. To familiarize yourself with exactly what’s taking place during this type of sale activity, check out this inside look at Mecum’s operation, documented by Truck and Off-Road Group Senior Content Producer KJ Jones.
1979 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT
Although we’re surprised by the final sale price for this 1979 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT, we acknowledge by all means that it is a masterfully executed build. The perfectly restored longbed crew-cab body is fitted to the Dodge Ram 3500 chassis at a level that even had MotorTrend’s auction announcers praising the truck’s builders on the air for the engineering and detail that went into the custom rig’s construction. A gentleman named Mike Anderson and his daughter built this rig as a family project.
When combined with a Cummins powerplant, a Ford rig takes on the nickname “Fummins.” The restored 1979 F-350’s engine is a common-rail, 24-valve, 5.9-liter turbodiesel that features a custom aluminum radiator, intercooler, and cold-side charge-air tubing.
Inside, the F-350’s two-tone leather bucket seats and center console are complemented by a leather headliner, dash cover, and door panels. “Ranger XLT” woodgrain trim remains intact, along with a period-correct stereo. A new steering wheel, Dakota Digital gauges, air conditioning, and cruise control complete the custom cabin.
The 1979 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT has a great profile. Ford fans call 1973-1979 F-Series rigs “Dentsides,” a reference to the concave horizontal body lines on each side. The 1-ton Dodge Ram frame, 37-inch tires, and custom Detroit steel wheels give the truck a tall, aggressive stance. Check out the OEM Ford hubcaps on the wheels.
In the back, the trick pickup’s bed is equipped with a fifth-wheel tow hitch and Ford’s rubber bed mat. A Class IV receiver is mounted below the bumper. Notice how straight the body panels are, and how the two-tone blue-and-silver paint really pops.
That’s a Dodge Ram front axle assembly, coil springs, and Bilstein shocks you’re looking at. Yes, this custom-built Ford is four-wheel drive.
This is the sticker that every Mecum Auctions consignor wants, along with the bucks that go with it. Mike Anderson and his daughter scored big time with the sale of their custom Fummins.