Tag: F series trucks

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

Ford Builds 40 Millionth F-Series Truck – Sean Tucker @KelleyBlue Book

The first Ford F-series truck rolled off the assembly line late in 1947. The 40 millionth, yesterday.

The best-selling vehicle in America for more than 40 years, the F-Series has been through 14 generations. It’s just the second vehicle to cross the 40 million milestone, and it has a long way to go to catch the first. Toyota built its 50 millionth Corolla sometime last summer.

F-Series number 40,000,000 is a 2022 F-150 Tremor in Iconic Silver. It’s a Super Crew, short-bed model powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, making 400 horsepower – 305 more than the flathead 6-cylinder in that first F-Series.

You might expect Ford to keep it for sentimental reasons, but the company says, “It’s headed to a customer in Texas to get to work, because that’s what Ford trucks do.”

Ford F-Series Through the Years:


Ford spent the second World War building everything from bombers to tank engines but kept building the same cars it had designed before Pearl Harbor was bombed. In late 1947, it introduced its first new product since 1941 – the first true consumer pickup. Every prior pickup had been built on a car frame. The Ford F-1 Bonus Built used a chassis specifically designed for a consumer pickup, and America has never been the same. It introduced rare luxuries like a driver’s side sun visor. Buyers could opt for a newfangled windshield wiper for an added fee; the driver pumped a foot plunger to make it work.


In 1953, Ford introduced the three-digit number nomenclature it still uses today. The basic work truck was called the F-100. Heavy-duty models up to F-350 were offered. A straight 6-cylinder engine making 101 horsepower came in the base model, but buyers could spring for a small block V8 making an almost-modern 300 hp. The wide bench seat was adjustable, and by 1956, available with seat belts for an added fee


By 1957, Dodge and General Motors had built trucks on dedicated truck chassis, and Ford needed to up its game. The truck took on modern lines, with the fenders integrated into the hood. By 1959, you could order one from the factory in 4-wheel-drive for the first time (though many older F-Series trucks had been modified to turn all four wheels by post-war mechanics who had learned on Army Jeeps


Pickups started growing in this generation, as Ford significantly lengthened the truck for the first time. Ford also introduced a unibody design, with the bed and cab built as a single piece. It didn’t sell as well as expected. Ford wouldn’t build a unibody truck again until today’s 2022 Maverick.


Ford updated everything but the chassis for this generation, adding shoulder and headroom by increasing the dimensions of the greenhouse. After 25 years, the base model engine had only increased its output to 105 horsepower, and the most powerful option made less than earlier generations – it was a 205-horsepower V8.


Still riding on a chassis two generations old, the “dentside” model had a concave body line down the sides housing the turn signals. In 1974, Ford introduced a higher-payload version of the F-100, called the F-150. In 1977, it became the best-selling truck in the U.S. – a position it has never given up.


With competition heating up, Ford finally redesigned the entire truck, including the chassis. Post-oil-crisis, this one was wind tunnel tested for aerodynamics. Ford moved from an inline 6-cylinder to a V6 for the base engine, and by 1984, dropped the F-100, making the F-150 the base truck.

Read on

Built, Ford Stuff: A history of Ford F-Series pickup trucks – Matthew Guy @Driving


These hardworking half-tons have been around since the end of the Second World War

With the introduction of a new Ford F-150 for the 2021 model year, we thought it a good time to walk back through the Blue Oval pages of history and examine some of the important changes the company has thrown at its stalwart pickup over the last seven decades.

1948 Ford F-1 (source: FleetLogging.com) https://fleetlogging.com/longest-living-trucks/

First Generation: 1948 – 1952

With a style all its own, the very first F-Series pickup truck marked the departure of car and truck design at Ford. Changing the configuration from a variant of pre-war vehicles to its own distinct design drove the notion that these were something more than an afterthought in the product catalog. Still there were little in the way of creature comforts. There was a bench seat, a steering wheel, manual transmission pedals — and that’s about all.

Its naming convention sounded for all the world like a bunch of tornadoes, starting with the F-1 as the half-ton truck, followed by F-2 and F-3 pickups that were three-quarter ton and one-ton, respectively. A number of engines were made available in this run, including the flathead V8.

1953 Ford F-100 (source: FleetLogging.com) https://fleetlogging.com/longest-living-trucks/

Second Generation: 1953 – 1956

As with most things during the post-war American boom, bigger was better — even in terms of names. This was the first time the familiar format we see today was used, with the F-1 being rechristened the F-100. Typical of the era, body styles were changed as frequently as underwear, with the 1956 model being unique in its looks, for example.

An automatic transmission popped up for the first time, marking the long march to making trucks accessible to a wider audience. These were still basic machines, to be sure, but options like seat belts and colour-matched seats signaled the company’s desire to make this model something more than a bare-bones work rig.

Read on

Ford’s Twin I-Beam Front Suspension -Craig Fitzgerald @Hemmings


One of the long touted reasons behind the continued success of the Ford F series of truck has been the quality of the ride. One of the reasons behind this was the introduction of the Twin I-Beam front suspension in 1965.

Craig Fitzgerald’s article here at Hemmings explains how it all works and why.

Originally published in the June, 2008 issue of Hemmings Motor News.