You don't need me to tell you that old trucks are going up, up, up in value. Squarebody Chevrolets and first-gen Dodge Cummins pickups have landed in collector territory with prices that are higher than ever. The same can be said for '90s Fords, so what's so special about this 1994 F-250 with a stick that just went for $32,000 on Bring a Trailer?
Even though that's still a lot of money, it's far from the most expensive Old Body Style Ford ever sold. I mean, a crazy-low-mile dump truck with the 7.3-liter Power Stroke from the same era went for nearly $85,000 last year. But this one from Specialty Cars, Trucks, and Classics in Idaho isn't a Power Stroke—it's a 7.3-liter IDI.
That engine isn't nearly as vaunted in the truck world. It features indirect injection rather than the Power Stroke's hydraulically actuated, electronically controlled unit injection (HEUI), and it's significantly down on output. The shared displacement leads people to believe they're the same, but really, it has more in common with the 6.9-liter IDI that preceded it. Naturally aspirated 7.3-liter IDI trucks topped out at 185 horsepower and 358 lb-ft of torque, while turbocharged examples like this one made 190 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. Compare that to 215 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque in the Power Stroke that debuted in MY1994.5 pickups.
Strangely enough, 1994 Ford F-250s were offered with all three diesel engines as well as a couple of gas options—the 351-cubic-incher as well as the legendary 460. We've seen several examples powered by the latter V8 bring more money than this truck, but I'm not finding any other IDI that's sold for so much scratch.
Any time I see an old Ford go for some surprising amount—which is actually fairly often—I hit up Paul Rutledge. He's the co-owner of Complete Performance, the go-to aftermarket supplier for pickups like this one. In this case, he told me, "I think presentation is key."
It's a rare color, which helps a lot since so many of these were painted in plain white or black. And while the photos in the listing aren't amazing, there are a few shots that show the truck's best angles. It certainly pops under the right lighting.
Perhaps more than anything, though, it takes the right buyer to pay the price—especially in an auction like this. Rutledge continued, "Somebody out there—probably whoever bought this truck—someone in their family probably had one really darn close to this. And they said, ‘Oof, that reminds me of Pawpaw’s truck. I have to have it. I don’t care how much it costs.’”
If any IDI-powered Ford warrants such a high hammer price, it's this one. It's in beautiful condition with roughly 102,000 miles on the odometer, which isn't all that much—Rutledge noted that a lot of these IDI trucks haven't seen the same abuse as the Power Strokes because those were bought to work hard back in the day. Single cab, long bed is the right spec and it sports a five-speed manual transmission as well as four-wheel drive. The Medium Palomino Metallic paint is pretty much perfect and photos of the frame prove it to be in solid condition—a little surface rust but nothing worth hollering about. The biggest knock against it is that two minor accidents are mentioned in the CarFax report, so there's been bodywork done at some point, apparently to the passenger side.
Commenters online are criticizing the sale, saying the buyer "definitely didn't know the difference between the engines." Another said, "Whoever bought this made a mistake." That's open for interpretation, but I believe the buyer knew exactly what they were getting.
Either way, I won't blame them. It's a good-looking rig and very few people will care that it has a less-powerful engine. It scratches the itch for a classic 4x4 with a stick and shiny paint, and I'm not sure what else a guy could ask for.
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