Mystery Motor: 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat 18K Survivor – NOW $29,950

by | May 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

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June 18, 2024 Update – the seller of this 18K original mile ’88 Ford F150 we first spotted in May lowered the asking price in their soon-to-expire Craigslist ad.  In addition to posting a new set of pictures illustrating the like-new condition of the truck’s undercarriage, the seller elected to reduce their asking price from $34,500 to $29,950.

Here at GuysWithRides, we believe there is a story under the hood of every classic car and truck. The vast majority of vintage trucks we come across could tell many stories about how they were driven hard and put away wet for most of their lives. However, extremely low mileage, like-new, survivor-quality light-duty pickup trucks are at the other end of the spectrum.  The story of how a consumer buys a well-optioned pickup truck and then proceeds not to use it can be just as interesting.

This Red and White 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in May 2024, is a prime example.  The XLT Lariat trim was the most luxurious available in 1988. In addition to selecting the top trim level, the original owner of this F150 also checked the option boxes for such convenience options as power windows, cruise control, and air conditioning. Yet, despite buying a highly optioned truck for the period, it has only logged slightly less than eighteen thousand original miles since it left the showroom floor.  Besides the reason for not being used much, the only other mystery is which V8 engine this Ford F150 for sale features.  The seller does not mention the engine’s displacement nor provide the right picture for us to identify it.  The optional twin gas tanks have us thinking this F150 features the optional 5.8 Liter V8, but you’ll need to confirm that with the seller.  Additionally, you’ll need to confirm with the seller whether they are the original owner, as the truck’s photographs do not feature any license plate.

Now offered for $29,950 (the original ask was $34,500),, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s six-month results for all eighth-generation Ford F150 body styles and powertrains produced between 1987 and 1991. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals that the seller’s ask falls well above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $24,455. The premium in this case is for what is essentially a thirty-six-year-old new truck.

Ford produced the eighth generation of its storied F150 light-duty pickup truck line from 1987 through 1991. The eighth generation F150 relied on the prior generation’s chassis and basic cab design. However, Ford designers tweaked every body panel and supporting components to ensure the eighth generation F150 had a modern, more aerodynamic look.  The most compelling aerodynamic feature was the introduction of composite headlamps, a first for an American-built pickup truck. With the exception of a few 1987 models, the eighth-generation F150 does not offer a stepside bed version.

The 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat stands as a testament to the durability and classic appeal of the Ford F-Series, an enduring favorite in the American automotive landscape. This model, equipped with the 5.8L V8 engine, embodies the ruggedness and reliability that truck enthusiasts expect from Ford, coupled with a touch of sophistication and comfort indicative of the XLT Lariat trim.

The 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat boasts a distinctive design that reflects the automotive trends of the late 1980s. It features a boxy, robust frame with a squared-off front end, which includes the iconic twin I-beam grille flanked by rectangular headlights. This design enhances its commanding road presence and underscores its utilitarian roots. The XLT Lariat trim adds a layer of refinement, featuring chrome accents on the grille, bumpers, and side mirrors, as well as unique badging that distinguishes it from the base models.

The F150’s body construction features high-strength steel, ensuring durability and longevity. The pickup bed offers ample space for hauling, with various configurations available to suit different needs, from the standard bed to the extended cab options. The exterior is often complemented by stylish two-tone paint schemes that were popular during the era, adding a touch of elegance to its rugged persona.

Stepping inside the 1988 F150 XLT Lariat reveals an interior designed for comfort and practicality. The spacious cabin has ample legroom and headroom, making it suitable for long drives and heavy-duty use. The seats are upholstered in premium cloth or optional leather, providing a comfortable ride for both the driver and passengers. The XLT Lariat trim level typically includes a range of luxury features for its time, such as power windows and locks, air conditioning, and an upgraded sound system.

The dashboard is intuitively designed, with easily accessible controls and clear instrumentation. The center console provides additional storage and functionality, while the inclusion of woodgrain accents adds a touch of sophistication to the interior ambiance. This blend of comfort and utility makes the F150 XLT Lariat not just a workhorse, but also a pleasant vehicle for everyday use.

While Ford’s ubiquitous 5.0 Liter V8 came standard in Lariat trim F150s in 1988, we believe the example here features Ford’s robust 5.8L V8 engine, also known as the Windsor V8. This engine is renowned for its power and reliability, making it a popular choice among truck buyers. The 5.8L V8 produces a commendable amount of horsepower and torque, ensuring strong performance whether towing heavy loads or cruising on the highway. It is paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission, although a manual option is also available for those who prefer more control over their driving experience.

The engine’s performance is complemented by the truck’s suspension system, which includes Ford’s Twin I-Beam front suspension. This setup provides a smooth ride even on rough terrain, balancing comfort and capability. The rear-wheel-drive system is standard, but four-wheel drive is available for those who require additional traction and off-road capability.

The 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat is celebrated for its performance, comfort, and reliability. Owners often praise its longevity and low maintenance requirements, contributing to its enduring popularity. The combination of a sturdy frame, a powerful engine, and well-designed components ensures that this truck can handle the demands of both work and leisure for many years.

In summary, the 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat with the 5.8L V8 engine is a quintessential example of a classic American pickup truck. It offers a harmonious blend of rugged performance, comfort, and reliability, making it a cherished vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts even decades after its initial release.

The 80sAirwaves YouTube Channel features this 1988 Ford F150 commercial:

We checked, and a nicely optioned 2024 Ford F150 now costs over $50,000.  Unfortunately, you cannot buy a brand new top-trim XLT F-150 in a single cab configuration. Ford forces you into an extended cab version if you want a luxurious light-duty pickup. Additionally, the biggest V8 available is Ford’s latest version of the 5.0L.  Consequently, this 18K-mile 1988 Ford F150 XLT Lariat for sale is a 36-year-old new truck that makes a compelling alternative to buying “new-new.”

Rather than buy it to use as a daily driver, we hope the next caretaker uses this F150 for sale as a show truck, as it’s a great candidate for preservation class judging in the Antique Automobile Club of America (“AACA”) events.

If you are serious about buying this F150, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their survivor-quality Ford pickup featured here on Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This is a cream puff all original paint interior all like new truck drives like new 1 owner two gas tanks, air conditioning power windows, power door locks, cruise control original paint just like new.

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality Ford F150 XLT Lariat for sale? Please comment below and let us know!


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