Revisiting Classics: The Ford F-250 “Highboy”

1972 ford f-250

The Classic Ford F-250 “Highboy” is a popular truck among automotive enthusiasts. The nickname “Highboy” comes directly from these enthusiasts. Although that nickname only applies to the F-250 4x4s from 1967 to 1977.5 model years, it did include both crew cab and standard pickups. These pickups had a divorced transfer case and narrow frame and are still in reasonable demand.

The Nickname

1969 “Highboy”

The nickname “Highboy” comes from the fact that this particular configuration of the 1967 Ford F-250 sits higher than other models due to the divorced transfer case. That transfer case could be an NP205, NP203, or Dana 24, and it led to a higher front end. Ford needed to lift the rear end with 4-inch lift blocks underneath the lift springs. The “Highboys” came to an end in the middle of 1977 when Ford started using married transfer cases for the F-250 pickups. It was at this point that the models before this change earned the nickname “Highboys.” Then, the ones after it were called “Lowboys.”

The Extra Height Was Typical

1969 ford f-250

That height found in the “Highboys” from 1967 was actually a given across most automakers’ 4×4 pickups of the time. This is because the early 4×4 pickup trucks were actually based on 4×2 chasses. They had conversions since automakers found it easier and more affordable to just keep the transmission as opposed to creating an adapter that would marry the transmission.

In addition to the extra height from the divorced transmission, the first “Highboys” were a bit higher than the later versions to make up for clearance issues between the engine, front axle, and driveshaft. That said, Ford was among the last automakers to make the change to a lower stance for 4x4s. Jeep began the trend in 1963 with the Gladiator line. GM followed suit in 1967 and Dodge in 1975. Ford waited until the 1977.5 model year, which is why that is the final “Highboy.”

How “Highboys” Are Different

1971 F-250 Camper

Compared to the other Ford F-250s from 1967 (and the other relevant years), “Highboys” had a few differences besides their extra height. As mentioned, “Highboys” have narrow frames, measuring 33.5 inches wide. This is actually the same frame width found on F-350s. Additionally, the frame on “Highboys” got an extra front cross member underneath the bumper. Other than these differences, the frames on F-250 “Highboys” and regular F-350s of the same year were the same. Because the “Highboys” had different frames than other F-250s, they also needed a unique bed.

Because “Highboys” were taller than other pickups, they had a significantly higher cargo loading height compared to 4×2 models. It also made it much harder to get in and out of the cabin, and the center of gravity was taller. The higher center of gravity on 1967 Ford F-250 “Highboys” meant that the automaker did not offer the Camper Special; the automaker felt it was a safety risk due to the extremely high center of gravity.

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