1967 was the final year of production for the Econline pickup, rounding out 6 years of fashionable yet humble servitude. While we weren’t around at the time, Bell Telephone (as in Alexander Graham Bell, as in “Ma Bell”, as in…yup, AT&T) is said to have used the van version of this gem for their fleet vehicles. We can just imagine the sales call for that one.
Phone company guy: “Stop. You had me at ‘ECONO-’”.
In addition to being the cheapest truck you could possibly buy, according to the sales pieces from the wayback machine (above), the Econoline Pickup also had “less dead weight” and a “bigger loadspace”. So, basically, more room for whatever dead weight of your own you might want to throw in.
The cab-over design allowed the cab to be smaller, and the bed to be a full-size 7’ length. It had a unibody design, based on the compact Ford Falcon. It was lightweight, light on gas (30 mpg) and light on features. The 1961 version used Ford’s “Thriftmaster Six” — a six cylinder, 85-horsepower engine. It had no power steering and a barebones interior. In 1963, payload capacity was increased, along with an optional heavy-duty package (reinforced frame, stiffer springs, 14” wheels, and a stronger rear axle).
Little changed in the first few years of production, but in the final year, the pickup was improved with a sorely needed creature comforts (padded sun visors!) and a few other
nonessentials. But all this luxury was too much for the value consumer, and with mounting competition from the other guys, the Econoline Pickup was nixed.
Style-wise, the top half of the 60s was totally mod and out-of-this-world. Bold patterns, new materials and new manufacturing processes allowed for great explorations in industrial design. Automotive style was edging out of the fighter-jet wing design and into the possibilities of life on Mars. Even houses were envisioned as alienesque escape pods — but for some reason, this didn’t exactly “take off”. Go figure. The Econoline certainly benefitted from some of this other-wordly design think — with Martian-like eyes and bubbly window shapes, it looked like it was helping workers step boldly into the future.
Sometime in the later years, the Econoline pickup took its rightful place as a sideshow freak at NHRA events. Some among us may fondly remember the “Little Yellow Wagon” and “Little Red Wagon” — wheel standing pickups, with recorded quarter miles at around 10.4 seconds. Read more about this little fork of automotive history on TruckTrend.com.
The little bird that’s landed in our shop is a ’67, and it’s in amazing shape, especially for being nearly 50 years old. There’s a little rust here and there, but nothing we haven’t seen and repaired before.
Here are some shots of the truck in its lovely, original canary yellow. We toyed with some over-the-top styling ideas — metal flake purple, white pleather interior, super graphics, the works. Sort of an homage to the wheelstanders but also totally fresh. A statement piece. But after some soul-searching with ourselves and some awesome input from Alberto Hernandez, we toned things down a bit, and we think we now have a winning look that helps make it a little retro, a little spectacular, and very retrospectacular.
This car is in what we lovingly refer to as the Back Lot. The Back Lot is our stash of cool projects with loads of potential — fun for us and way more fun for someone looking to participate in the development of their future passion piece. Want in? Give us a call or drop an email. We can’t wait to get some of these started!