1951 Ford F-3 Tow Truck For Sale in Indiana, Pennsylvania 15701
Original Owner Zook Motors Inc.
Present owner Greg Rich Jr.
My father Greg Rich Sr. began his job as Sales Manager for Zook Motors in Kane, PA in 1954. I was 5 years old at the time. In those days’ cars were not nearly as reliable as they are today. It was not uncommon for the tow truck to appear at our house to tow a used car my father had driven home that day.
This 51 ford F3 was purchased new by Zook Motors in Kane Pa. It is a 5-star extra cab that was built in Buffalo, New York. The bed and Boom were built by Mayday Equipment Co., also of Buffalo NY. The truck is powered by a flathead V8 239 rated at 100 hp.
I fell in love with this truck the first time I saw it. I was amazed at all the chrome and rigging on it and the idea that it picked the front of a car up and towed it away. Little did I know that at the age of 16 in the year 1965, I would begin my first real job at Zook Motors as a mechanic’s helper. By then this ’51 tow truck was well used and no longer shiny; however, I was still extremely impressed by it.
During my time working for Zook Motors from 1965 until I entered the US Army in 1968, I operated this truck on many occasions. At that time, F3 Ford trucks had no synchronizers in the 4-speed transmissions. While driving the truck at such a young age, I had a difficult time getting used to shifting gears and consequently did a lot of grinding away as I shifted. Upon leaving the Army in 1971, I returned to Zook Motors for a year; but by then, the ‘51 had been retired to the old body shop for storage where it remained for the next 42 years.
By 1973 I had moved on from Zook Motors. For the next 40 years, the ‘51 Ford was a memory, although I knew the truck was most likely still at Zook Motors, stored along with other old treasures in the abandoned body shop.
In 2008 I visited John Zook, the remaining member of the original Zook crew whom I had worked with. At that time, I began a 4-year quest to purchase the truck for a restoration project. Finally, in 2012 John agreed to sell the tow truck to me. I turned to my good friend and an accomplished Antique car restorer, Bill Bertres, to come with me to visit the truck to help me determine if it was restorable. When I first saw it in the abandoned body shop, I was extremely disappointed in the condition of the truck. I really thought the necessary body repairs were far above my range of expertise. But during the 2-hour trip to the body shop, Bill heard the story of my relationship with the truck and encouraged me to make the purchase. He assured me he would help with the restoration project. So, I purchased the truck and he helped me tow it back to my garage on his flatbed trailer.
This was the beginning of an 8-year labor of love. Bill Bertres was with me throughout the project guiding me all the way. Bill also did the paint spraying, without him the project would have never began nor been finished.
I stripped the truck to the bare frame and sandblasted every part of the truck. Next, I stripped the engine to its bare block and completely rebuilt it after the cleaning and machine work was completed. After this, the dreaded body work began.
I needed to find front and rear fenders for the truck, running boards, and an express bed. It was difficult to track down these parts because body parts are no longer reproduced for ’51 F3 trucks. I was able to locate most of the parts in the western states, mostly in Colorado. Even the replacement parts needed repairs. Also, the boom and winch needed rebuilt.
I am proud to say that everything on the truck works like new including the winch, radio and all accessories.
Throughout this extensive restoration, I was constantly reminded of my days with Zook Motors. These are very vivid memories for even though I moved on to other career choices, my father was the sales manager for 30 years until his death in 1984.
My goal was to have the truck ready for showing at the 2020 Hershey fall meet and then Covid-19 reared its ugly head. Thankfully, AACA was able to reschedule the meet for November in Gettysburg PA. At that meet where I first showed the truck, I was thrilled when it received its first Junior award. However, I was even more thrilled when I was informed that my truck was selected to be considered for a National Award. I received notice in December 2020, that after the first time of being shown, it has been chosen for a national award. It won the Ford award and also became a finalist for the Zenith award!
Not only is this award winning but it is very well built. This is the type of vehicle that you can place anywhere, and people will look at it for hours and be astonished with its overall presentation! Very few of these automobile icons are still on the road. Fewer still are the number of road-worthy units in such great condition as this one! It is a must see/drive to truly appreciate its classic authenticity and charm. In fact, come see for yourself! You will agree that you cannot find another '51 Ford F-3 Tow Truck in this condition for the asking price. Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to own a true appreciator of American made classics that will appreciate in value over time. Call today for more information on how you can get behind the wheel of this iconic classic gem!!!