The old Ford goes through the wringer before the competition.

A 1991 Ford F-150 isn’t the first pickup to jump to mind when thinking of something rugged and reliable that’s a bit vintage, but it satisfies all three. The crew at The Fast Lane Classics bought one for $900 as a parts vehicle, but they also wanted to see how the truck’s 300-cubic-inch straight-six, a Ford engine with a respected reputation, handles a day of work, so they headed to a farm to find out.

The tug-of-war doesn’t start until about halfway through the video, but the TFL crew had work to finish before playtime, starting with removing a massive log from a creek bed. First, the F-150 pulled them ashore before putting the 14-foot-long log in the truck’s bed and hauling it away. It’s dicey, the worn tires unable to find traction in the loose dirt, but the truck eventually makes it. The log is teetering on the verge of falling out because the bed’s only attached with a few bolts.

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The tug-of-war pits the tired F-150 against a newer 1994 Dodge Ram, but it’s not a fair fight. The F-150 features Ford’s straight-six making 145 horsepower (108 kilowatts). The manual-equipped Ram packs a turbodiesel producing 175 hp (130 kW). Not only is the Ford down on horsepower, but it’s also short two drive wheels. The Ram features four-wheel drive, while the Ford powers just the rear two. The Ram is heavier, easily tugging the F-150 in both two- and four-wheel drive modes.

Not even a boulder in the truck bed can give the F-150 the advantage it needs to overcome the weight difference with the Ram, which has probably been better taken care of than the $900 F-150. While the F-150 failed to sail through a gauntlet of work-day activities, it did perform better than most would expect, especially for a 30-year-old battered-and-bruised pickup.

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