Maaaaaan. I am a sucker for a vintage Ford F-250 “Highboy.” I don’t really know what it is. They are way too expensive these days. They aren’t objectively good or anything. I just love them. This one might look the part, but the truth is, this “Highboy” is actually a clone. This budget overland truck build is a regular Ford F-250 that was converted to look like a proper Highboy. The result is an unendingly cool off-road pickup truck that doesn’t cost a billion dollars.
This vintage Ford F-250 High Boy is not what it seems
According to MotorTrend, Tim Jackson’s F-250 overland truck build is not a real Highboy. He took a regular F-250 body and slapped it onto a Highboy chassis. Jackson pulled both the F-250 body and the Highboy chassis from a field into his warm and dry garage, saving them both from a shameful, rusty death.
From the Highboy side of things, Jackson kept the transmission and transfer case since the plain F-250 was only RWD. The project went fairly smoothly and only required an engine upgrade and some sheet metal to pull off.
The Ford’s original 360 V8 ran but had a sinister knock once it warmed up. Tim’s solution was a “pretty much stock Ford 390 with fancy cylinder heads.”
A big truck needs big tires
MotorTrend mentions that normally, this vintage Ford F-250 rolls on a set of skinny Super Swampers and stock steelies. This is a good look. However, when the Highboy wants to get out into the rough stuff, Jackson swaps the steelies for a set of American Racing wheels wearing some beefy BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrains.
Nothing says overland truck like racks for storing gear
The vintage F-250 has a lot of bed, but it had to be reserved for Jackson’s three dogs; Hank, Blue Belle, and Shiner. To keep his dogs safe and secure, he built a “K9 retention system” (cage) that takes up the truck’s bed. However, the outsides of the cage work beautifully as a place to mount tools and gear, of which Jackson seems to have plenty.
The overland camper truck vibe is coming through nice and loud
If you look at any one section of this badass vintage F-250 overland camper, you’ll see that Jackson had very little care for making his Ford Highboy look pretty. The paint is rough, there’s rust all over, and the interior looks like my grandad’s farm truck.
However, if you look past the crust, the performance bits flash their teeth in moments of hard-working juxtaposition. The bright-yellow shocks are the “best the parts store had to offer,” says Jackson. Axles for the front and rear are the Dana 44/60 combo held in place by the stock leaf springs. This truck is the embodiment of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The front end proudly boasts a well-worn Warn M8274 winch spooled with synthetic rope. Like everything else on this vintage Ford pickup truck, money and glamour wasn’t the goals. Everything about this truck screams “practica,” “budget,” “DIY,” and so on. There is no question as to its maker’s mindset.
I love this truck.