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.
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.
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.