Category: Ford

The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon –  Larry Printz  @TheDetroitBureau

The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon – Larry Printz  @TheDetroitBureau


Seventy-five years ago, the very first F-Series pickup rolled off the assembly line.

It may seem that Ford has always built pickups since it builds the bestselling pickup in the world.

But it didn’t always. 

In fact, it took 12 years before the company introduced its first pickup. But this week in 1948, Ford unknowingly gave birth to a dynasty with the introduction of the F-1 pickup truck, the first F-Series truck

Truck ancestors

For nearly a decade after the introduction of the Ford Model T, customers requested a vehicle that had more utility and the ability to haul heavier cargo. Ford responded with the Model TT in 1917, basically a Model T cab and engine with a heavier-gauge steel frame capable of carrying 1 ton of payload at a price of $600 and made to accommodate third-party body configurations. But it was a rough rider as only front shocks were offered and they were optional. Nevertheless, by the time production ended in 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TTs.

t was replaced by the 1.5-ton Model AA, offered only as a chassis cab in two lengths. Following it was the Model BB in 1933. The all-new Model 50 in 1935, powered by a Ford Flathead V-8 and looking much like Ford’s car line. By the time production ends in 1941, Ford has sold more than four million pickups.

As Ford switches to wartime production, one of its primary assignments was to help supply the war effort with Jeeps, a military vehicle designed by Willys-Overland based on a design originated by American Bantam. Ford’s experience in building the Jeep would help them once development work began on their new pickup truck.

But the company struggled during World War II, particularly after the death of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, in 1943. Now in his 70s, Henry Ford attempted to run the privately held company. But its increasingly perilous financial condition led to Henry Ford II to assume control by 1945.

When he did, his one goal was to beat Chevrolet in sales, including in the truck market, where Chevrolet had enjoyed a huge lead since the 1930s. 

A new Ford at the helm

With Henry Ford II in charge, the company went about redesigning its vehicles even as it built marginally facelifted versions of its prewar models to satisfy a booming postwar sellers’ market as consumers snapped the first new cars available since 1942. As it turns out, the all-new Ford F-1 was the automaker’s first new postwar product. It came out first merely because pickups took less time to develop than cars

“After the war, a lot of rural Americans moved to urban and suburban centers looking for work, and many took their Ford pickups with them,” said Henry Ford marketed his early trucks heavily in rural areas, according to Ford Historian Bob Kreipke. “Ford saw this as an opportunity, and began work on the next generation of trucks for 1948, what came to be known as F-Series Bonus Built trucks.”

Introduced Jan. 19, 1948 starting at $900, the F-1 was available in every size from the rom the half-ton F-1 to the three-ton F-8, it was a huge improvement from previous Ford work trucks. Notably, it was the first Ford pickup truck engineered with a specific truck frame and chassis; previous Ford light trucks were based on passenger car platforms and used front and rear transverse springs, which Henry Ford favored. Instead, the new F-1 had parallel leaf springs, double-acting tubular shock absorbers, an open driveshaft and Hotchkiss drive. 

Styling saw a longer, wider and taller truck, one that featured a one-piece windshield. Chrome trim could be added to the hood and grille for $10. Ford designers paid particular attention to the interior, which it marketed as the “Million Dollar Cab.” Seven inches wider than before, it included a full set of gauges and the luxury of fresh air heat, sun visors, armrests, an ashtray, door-mounted vent windows and a column-mounted 3-speed manual shifter, allowing for more passenger space

New choices under the hood

Engines were new as well, as the F-1’s power came from a standard Rouge Six, a 3.7-liter L-head inline-6 introduced in 1941 and rated at 95 horsepower. A 3.9-liter Flathead V-8 was available, and rated at 100 hp. Larger F-series trucks could be fitted with a new 5.5-liter flathead V-8 that would later be used in the redesigned 1949 Lincoln. Through 1954, Ford was the only company to offer V-8s in its pickups. 

And it could haul, thanks to a 6.5-foot-long pickup box with an all-steel floor with pressed-in skid strips and a hardwood subfloor. A reinforced tailgate, stake pockets, and 45 cubic feet of load space. If you wanted an 8-foot bed and 160.3 cubic feet of cargo space, you had to opt for the F-2 or F-3 pickup.

The Ford F-1 was also offered in Canada as the Mercury M-1, as many towns in Canada didn’t have both a Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer.

The F-1 was restyled for 1951 and soldiered on another year before the arrival of its replacement, the 1953 F-100.

Fourteen generations later, the F-1’s descendants reign as America’s most popular vehicle for more than four decades. And it all started on this week, 75 years ago. 

Source The Detroit Bureau

This Lola Mk6 GT Prototype Made The First Ford GT40 Possible – Patrick Stevenson @Petrolicious


Imagine pulling the cover off this incredible mid-engine prototype Lola GT in 1965 and buying it for only $3,000. Well, Allen Grant did just that in England over 50 years ago and this freshly restored 1 of 1 Mk6 prototype is that car. There was no way Grant or anyone else could have known how special or significant this race car prototype would be today: this very car would be the design inspiration for the infamous Ford GT40.

In 1963, Eric Broadley debuted this same Lola Mk6 GT Prototype at the Olympia Racing Car Show in England. It was designed to be raced in the FIA’s new Experimental Grand Touring Class. The mid-engine V8 was cradled in a steel monocoque chassis and surrounded by stunning fiberglass bodywork. It was the hit of the show, and it’s not hard to see why, and if anything it only commands more attention in 2018. Built to go racing, this prototype ended up competing at Silverstone and the Nürburgring 1000km in 1963, while the first production chassis, which had an aluminum monocoque, raced at the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans. At this race Ford took notice of the little Lola and decided it would be a great start toward beating Ferrari.

Ford acquired the Lola GTs and hired Eric Broadley to start development on the GT40 program. The prototype and the aforementioned chassis #1 would become test mules for the design of the fast Ford. This marriage was to be short lived though, and Ford and Broadley parted ways in 1964. After the split, the GT prototype was returned to Broadley and stored in the corner of the Lola factory under a tarp. Time moved on and so did Lola, as development of the new T70 chassis began

Grant headed back to the States to finish college in 1966, and the Lola GT found itself in storage once more. As with many project cars, the Lola took a backseat to the priorities of adult life. In fact, as Grant started his successful career as a home builder, he used the Lola as collateral for his first project. Over the years Grant chased the money and time needed to complete the GT, but was never able to have both at once until finally, in 2005, he started the restoration which included the amazing teal interior. Unfortunately the 2008 recession put a halt on the project again, and it sat in pieces until May of 2016. Ford was going to be displaying the new GT road car at Monterey Car Week, and they wanted to have the Lola GT as part of the show.

Read on

Here’s What Makes The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt Such A Big Deal – Alvin Reyes @SlashGear


American automaker Ford was lording over Chevy and fellow automakers with its magnificent Y-block flathead V8 engine during the mid-50s. In response, General Motors and Chevrolet introduced its small-block V8 engine in 1955 — the precursor to the brand’s lineup of LS V8 engines that we know today. Ford debuted its Fairlane lineup of full-size coupes and sedans that same year, equipped with an inline-six or Y-Block V8.

But as the muscle car scene grew traction in the 1960s, Ford experimented with a two-door Fairlane hardtop explicitly built for drag racing. According to Motor Authority, Ford wanted a Fairlane equipped with its next-gen FE series V8 engine that could win professional drag races and take home an NHRA title. 

Based on a fourth-generation Ford Fairlane coupe, the Fairlane Thunderbolt was born to conquer the drag strips, which it did. It won the 1964 NHRA Top Stock award in its first year of production, further cementing its reputation as the baddest of track-only 60s muscle cars.

Ford’s ready to race

The 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt is a bare-bones machine typical of race-prepped production cars. It may resemble a standard Fairlane from the outside, but the Thunderbolt is a different car underneath its body shell. It had a reworked front and rear suspension with modified traction bars and asymmetrical leaf springs. It had no radio, heater, back seats, or sound insulation, and Ford engineers utilized fiberglass for the doors, hood, and bumpers to save more weight. Moreover, the initial batch of Fairlane Thunderbolts had Plexiglass windows to reduce heft (per Motor Authority).

Read More:

Other mods include a trunk-mounted battery, a set of drag radials by Goodyear and Mickey Thompson, an electric fuel pump, tubular exhaust headers, a locking differential, and an aluminum scatter shield. According to Modern Driveline, an automatic-equipped four-speed Fairlane Thunderbolt ran the quarter-mile at Lions Drag Strip in November 1963 and posted 11.61 seconds at 128 mph, tremendous numbers for a factory-prepped drag car.

[Image by PMDrive1061 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0]

Read on




A sparsely worded newswire release was issued on May 22, 1963 noting, “Ford Motor Company and Ferrari wish to indicate, with reference to recent reports of their negotiations toward a possible collaboration that such negotiations have been suspended by mutual agreement.”

The GT40s entered in the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The flurry of negotiations between the companies had ended, but Ford’s desire to become a player in performance motorsports remained strong. A month later, the High Performance and Special Models Operation Unit was formed with the mission to design and build “A racing GT car that will have the potential to compete successfully in major road races such as Sebring and Le Mans.” The unit’s resulting work, the GT Program book, circulated internally on June 12th and contained the initial design concepts for the GT40.

The high performance team included Ford’s Roy Lunn, who already developed a preliminary design in the GT Program Book, along with Carroll Shelby and a few other Ford officials. Their first job was to identify a team that could build the cars. As project engineers, they chose Eric Broadley, whose Lola GT was considered groundbreaking, and John Wyer, who had won Le Mans with Carroll Shelby driving for Aston Martin as the race manager. This established a four-pronged team with Lunn and Broadley designing and building the cars, Wyer establishing the race team and Shelby acting as the front man in Europe. With ten months until the 1964 race, a workshop was established in Broadley’s garage in Bromley, south of London. But when established as Ford Advanced Vehicles moved the operations to Slough.

As one of the major design features, Roy Lunn had lowered the height two inches from Broadley’s initial Lola to a mere 40 inches and work on the cars began. Interestingly, the first seven produced had a VIN number beginning with Ford GT, while the cars after those had a VIN beginning with Ford GT40. New Zealander Bruce McLaren was the initial test track driver as the car was put through its paces. Early issues with the car were apparent as the Ford Motor Company team tried to accomplish in 10 months what Ferrari had perfected over decades. By April the first car was completed, and was quickly shipped to New York to be used for a press conference prior to the Mustang launch. During the time trials in Le Mans in mid-April, the car’s speed was tremendous, but the aerodynamics needed work as it was difficult to control at high speeds. With McLaren doing the development driving, a spoiler was added and other modifications made. The car was now as ready for racing as it could be for the 1964 season.

Disappointments were soon to follow. While the Ford GT40s were undoubtedly fast, endurance was an issue at all of the races. The suspension let loose in Nuremburg, and while they led for a portion of the race at Le Mans and driver Phil Hill set a lap record, the Colotti gearboxes gave out under the strain of the speed and number of shifts required to complete the loop. All three Ford cars were out of the race 12 hours into the required 24. Further disappointments culminating in a disastrous showing in Nassau in December left the program in shambles, and the decision was made in Dearborn to move the work back to the US, with Carroll Shelby given operational control and Roy Lunn engineering control.

Source Ford Motor Company

9 Classic Ford Cars That’ll Soon Be Worth A Fortune – Peter Akpejeluh @HotCars


Ford has been in the business of large-scale automotive manufacturing since the early 1900s and churned out some of the most iconic American cars over the decades. Fords like the 1965 Shelby GT350R, 1966 GT40 Mk II, 1967 Shelby GT500, and 1970 Boss Mustang 429 are very valuable, commanding 6–7 figures if you can manage to find them.

For enthusiasts and collectors who don’t have millions of dollars to spend, there are many other Ford classic cars with big engines that don’t cost an arm and a leg. But with the increasing demand for these Ford classic vehicles, the best time to get one of the Blue Oval classics is yesterday, and the next best time is now.


1940 Ford Standard Fordor Sedan

The Standard and Deluxe are some of the most iconic models produced by the Ford Motor Company. The cleaner one-piece grille on the Standard is the most striking difference between both models. With about 151,000 units of the 1940 Ford Standard Fordor Sedan built, you can still find many around today for about $21,500.

Powering the Standard Fordor is a 221-cubic-inch flathead V8 with a rating of 85 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a three-speed manual.


1951 Ford Deluxe

Upon its introduction in 1949, the Ford Deluxe was the first car to be built from scratch since World War II. Everything about the Deluxe was new, save the powertrain and wheelbase. This first-generation “Shoebox” Ford outsold the Chevrolet and Plymouth, making it a popular choice for first-time or budget-conscious collectors today.

The 1951 Ford Deluxe Business Coupe is up 6.% with a current value of $13,900. Power comes from two engines: the 226-cubic inch 95-hp straight-six or the 239-cubic inch 100-hp Flathead V8.


1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner

The Ford Crestline is an affordable way to get a view of the mainstream 1950s American automotive landscape. The 1954 Crestline is available as a Fordor Sedan and Skyliner, with the latter being rarer. The Crestline Skyliner is a two-door hardtop featuring a tinted Plexiglas panel over the front end of the roof.

With only about 13,144 examples of the 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner available, the value has seen a steady rise recently, with a current valuation of $15,900. The 239-cubic inch V8 in the 1954 Crestline Skyliner generates 130 hp.


1958 Ford Del Rio Ranch Wagon

While Ford discontinued its premium Parklane just after only a year in production, it still wanted to stay in the two-door sport wagon market pioneered by the Chevrolet Nomad and Pontiac Safari. This led to the introduction of the Del Rio in 1957. Based on the two-door Ranch Wagon, the Del Rio was quite inexpensive, unlike the Nomad.

The Del Rio features a two-piece tailgate, which is better than GM’s steeply raked rear gate with a self-storing window, which is plagued with water leaks. With only 12,687 examples of the 1958 Del Rio available, the sport wagon has seen a 35% spike in price, pegging the current value at $21,600.


1959 Ford Country Sedan

The Ford Country Sedan is a full-size station wagon that ran from 1952 until 1974. Unlike the range-topping Country Squire, the Country Sedan was distinguished by its plain body sides. The passenger capacity of the full-size station wagon is nine. You will find items of both the Ranch Wagon and Fairlane on the Country Sedan, including two sun visors, armrests, and a horn ring rather than a horn button.

Sales-wise, 1959 was the best year for the Country, selling 123,412 units. It seems collectors are starting to see the true beauty of the 1959 Country Sedan, as the value is up by 35.2%, with a current valuation of $19,200.

Read on

Getting dirty and making memories – this is what 50 years of off-roading in a 1972 Bronco looks like – Jeff Koch @Hemmings


On and off the trail with the Mixed Nuts four-wheelers

Recently we ran the story of Vern Pfannenstiel’s 1972 Ford Bronco factory-built with all sorts of 1973 Ford goodies. We also included a handful of his vintage off-road shots from Colorado and Utah, along with his memories of these four-decade-plus-past off-roading adventures. By popular demand—well, the Bronco piece was one of the most-read Hemmings online pieces that week, anyway—we asked Vern for some more shots, and to conjure up some memories of his time on the trails. Having seen the Bronco up close, it seems hard to believe that this is an original-paint truck, particularly after looking at Vern’s off-roading scrapbook. The Bronco is retired from off-road duties—it’s now a show pony in the greater Flagstaff, Arizona, area—but Vern was keen to relive the memories that helped make this Bronco his forever machine

“That’s Ed Keller’s Bronco; he’s the guy who knew about the ’72 Rangers, he’s the one who convinced me to get a Bronco, and he was the leader of the Mixed Nuts Four Wheelers crew in the ‘70s. It looks pink in this picture, but it’s really silver. He did the flares on my Bronco; he was an excellent mechanic, a great four-wheeler, and he helped me so much getting set up and teaching me how to be a good off-roader. You can see in this shot that the Bronco has a rollcage; it doesn’t anymore. I ddn’t want to use it but thought I’d better have it. Here it’s wearing 15×8 steelies and 31-10.50 tires. They looked good on there. Later I traded for 15×8 white-spoke wheels. The slot mags it wears now came along about five years ago.”

Read on

National Ford Tool Collectors Website (NAFTCO)

Ford V8 Head Puller

Really interesting site based around Ford OEM and special tools

Focus-Mission Statement

Sharing information about the tools that were furnished with original domestic and export Ford automobiles, trucks, farm tractors, agricultural and industrial equipment, military vehicles, and specialty tools that were used to service these tools.

NAFTCO was founded on three basic principles:

1.    Be an educational and informational resource for members to learn about Ford tools, their usage and their role in the Ford Motor Company history.

2.    Provide a forum for members to exchange information and ideas as well as buy, sell and swap tools.

3.    Promote camaraderie among members.

NAFTCO is open to any individual interested in Ford tools, whether you are a serious collector or you just have a casual interest and want to learn more about Ford tools. Enjoy the benefits of being a NAFTCO member and being in contact with other Ford tool collectors throughout the world.

NAFTCO publishes a quarterly newsletter entitled “FORD TOOL TIMES” that features articles about Ford tools and tools made by outside vendors that were used to service Ford products, letters from members, a swap and sell section and a listing of resources for locating Ford tool

You can find the site here

Twofer deal includes a gowjob racer and a 1931 Ford Model AA crewcab to carry it – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


Heavy-duty underneath, stock-looking inside

The incredible thing about this 1931 Ford Model AA listed for sale on isn’t so much the fact that it was built as a crewcab with a tilting flatbed to haul around the included Model A speedster, rather that it hasn’t been given the typical tweed-and-small-block street-rod treatment. Instead, it features an interior that looks like it largely came from the LeBaron-Bonney catalog and a built Model A four-cylinder engine. True, the engine grunts the truck and the speedster along with the help of a modern transmission and updated chassis, but this certainly wasn’t the easy solution to building a hauler. The dually tires on the speedster in some of the pictures in the listing point to the same out-of-the-box thinking that created the hauler, making it a suitable passenger along for the ride. From the seller’s description:

Truck, Speedster, and both Engines built by Ron Kelley (RK Designs)

1931 Super AA Ford Truck. Long wheelbase with addition 36” added to length. Stock rear axle with highway gears 5.17 to 1. Late model new process 5 speed transmission. 5th is 20 percent overdrive. Stock mechanical brakes with mustang brake booster. Front axle stock. Steering box 1956 Ford truck. “Fordor” truck cab build with truck cab parts. Truck bed built with tilt and rollback feature similar to late model wrecker. Lots of storage for spare tire and parts under bed. 12 volt electrical system. A/C with R134 Freon. Model A block with billet girdle and billet 5 main crankshaft and billet rods. Steve Serr cylinder head. Custom intake and exhaust. 2 BBL Rochester carburetor. GM HEI Ignition system. Engine is full pressure with filter. Too many small details to list. Must see to appreciate.

1929 Model A Ford Speedster. Custom Body. Custom Ignition System. Flathead – Custom Valve Seat Design. Stroked Crankshaft. 2 Carbs. Stock Chassis

See the listing here

This 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor is streamline moderne goodness that’s ready for the road – David Conwill @Hemmings


It’s my personal opinion that the 1939 Ford Deluxe—specifically the Tudor two-door sedan body style—is one of the best designs to ever roll out of Dearborn. The pontoon fenders, fastback body, grille that looks like the bow crest of a Blue Riband liner, and even those industrial-looking wide-five wheels are all highly evocative of that moment just before World War II when a lot of 1930s trends reached their zenith. The style came back after the war, sure, but by then they were just placeholders for the futuristic designs everyone knew were on the horizon.

Ford’s 1939 iteration of its 1938-’40 two-door sedan body is the quintessence of the streamlined style of the 1930s and ‘40s. Additions like seatbelts, an electric fan, and an alternator will make modern drivers feel more at home.

This 1939 Ford Deluxe listed for sale on, nicknamed Ruby by its current owner, retains its original 85-hp, flathead V-8; floor-shift three-speed gearbox; and “banjo” rear. It also features a lot of subtle updates to make operation feel safer on modern roads, or as the ad puts it, to make “an excellent ‘driver’” and a “dependable, beautiful car that you can drive and not just show.” In fact, it’s said to be “recently driven on a 1,000-mile trip.”

The 85-hp, Ford flathead V-8 was a legend in its day and is still very much up to the task of propelling the 2,900-lb Tudor. The seller says it “cruises nicely all day long at 55 mph.”

The hidden updates, or as we sometimes call “road ready” changes to classic cars, include radial tires that look like stock bias plies; a repaint of the original Garnet Maroon color with two-stage paint; a six-volt alternator and a 12-volt inverter to feed a power port for things like GPS and phone charger; tubular shock absorbers in place of the lever-arm Houdaille units; a rear anti-sway bar; dual exhaust with glasspacks (a great sound for a flathead, it’s worth noting); an electric fuel pump “for back up” controlled by a dashboard switch; LED turn signals and emergency flashers; a manually controlled electric fan on the radiator; sealed-beam headlamps; and a fresh overhaul of the hydraulic brakes (1939 was Ford’s first year for them).

Read on