Back in 2002, Howard Buchanan went out and bought a new, 24-year-old '78 Ford F-100 he'd had his eye on. Well, that's not exactly true, it had just a hair over 29,000 miles on the odometer, but it was still about as nice as you can get for an unmolested old truck! The Ranger Lariat-equipped F-100 was bought new in Morristown, Tennessee, by an elderly man named Manuel Manson. After logging only 300 miles on his new Ford, he broke his hip and parked the highly optioned shortbed in his basement garage and covered it up, never to drive it again.
Sometime after this Willis Waddell, an acquaintance of Mr. Manson, bought the Ford and gingerly racked up about 20,000 miles. In the early '90s Howard got wind of the pristine old truck through his daughter in-law and tried to negotiate a deal with Willis, but he wasn't interested in letting go of his little jewel. Seven or eight years later Howard was still pursuing the F-100 when Willis passed away, but much to Howard's chagrin, the widow wouldn't part with it either.
Howard's luck eventually turned, and he finally bought the F-100 from Mrs. Norma Waddell, and it had still never been driven in the rain. Needless to say, the truck really didn't require anything of Howard since it had led a pampered life on par with a high-end import luxury car.
Ford sold 1.3 million F-Series trucks in 1978, which was 60 percent of the truck market, making Ford the number one seller worldwide. The top-of-the-line Ranger, Ranger XLT, and Ranger Lariat-optioned trucks made up half of Ford's truck sales. Howard's came from Detroit with a 351 V-8 equipped with a two-barrel carb and backed by a tough C6. His regular cab Styleside truck was also ordered with $554 factory air conditioning, a simulated leather steering wheel, AM/FM stereo radio, cruise control, power steering, tilt wheel, and mag-styled 15-inch wheel covers, just to name a few of the many other options. In the late '70s, truck buyers were living high on the hog, and this F-100 is proof of that.
Howard doesn't drive the truck a whole lot still, and we can see why with this one. He does enjoy taking it to local car shows near his home in Morristown, Tennessee, during the summer, including the F-100 Supernationals in Knoxville, where we had the pleasure of shooting the truck. Howard knows that good things do come to those who wait!