How to Appraise a 1971 Ford F-100 Pickup

by Rob Wagner

Appraising a 1971 Ford F-100 pickup truck can be a time-consuming but necessary task to determine the vehicle’s value. Vintage, collectible and antique car clubs have established a standard guide broken into six general categories to determine the value of any vehicle. The categories are Excellent, Fine, Very Good, Good, Restorable and Parts Car/Truck. The guide applies to the 1971 Ford F-100 as it would to a 1928 Cadillac for 1915 Ford Model T.



Study the criteria for categorizing the Ford truck. An Excellent category is a show-winning truck restored to professional standards. The Fine category is a well restored truck or one in excellent original condition with minimal flaws. Very Good is an operable original vehicle or older restoration with some wear. Good is a functional truck that needs minor work. Restorable is generally an operable but complete truck that needs restoration. A Parts Car/Truck is junk.


Determine your budget. A Ford F-100 in excellent condition could easily command a five-figure price tag. One in fine condition will cost less than $10,000. F-100s in good condition sell from $3,000 to $6,000.


Use a clipboard, pen and paper to grade the condition of the truck.


Assign a number 1 through 5 with 1 being “excellent” and 5 being a “parts truck” as you grade each feature.



Inspect the cargo box panels for bulges and dents. Inspect paint for blisters. Look for gaps in the doors. Use a magnet to determine whether plastic body filler has been use to repair the body.


Check the doors and hinges to determine whether they open and close properly. Check for aging weather seals on windows and doors. Inspect the door sills, inner fenders, cargo box floor and cab floor for rust.


Inspect all chrome-plated trim to determine if it’s bright and shiny or dull and pitted. Note missing chrome pieces. Inspect all glass for cracks or pitting. Inspect dashboard for cracks or discoloration. Inspect gauges to determine whether they operate properly. Inspect all lights. Check bench seat for rips or tears.


Inspect engine to determine that it runs. Check for smoke or loud noises from inside the engine. Check oil pressure, which should be above 20 psi. Inspect the condition of wiring. Drive the truck to determine whether the engine runs smoothly. Shift the transmission to determine if it engages properly. Examine undercarriage for cleanliness, rust and leaking oil.



Assign points ranging from 1 to 5 for each feature of the pickup in each step in the Appraisal section.


Total the number of points for each feature listed in each step.


Determine the condition category: more than 90 points is excellent; 80-89 is fine; 70-79 is very good; 60-69 is good; 40-59 is restorable; under 40 is junk.


  • check Ask the owner for the documented history of the Ford F-100.


  • close Never purchase a truck you haven’t personally inspected.

Items you will need

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images