For a group that likes to call themselves car people, automotive enthusiasts have an odd affection for cars that look like trucks: The Chevrolet El Camino, the Ford Ranchero, and the Subaru Brat.
Whatever you call these oddities—car-truck, truck-car, cowboy Cadillac, ute—it’s tempting to say that they trace their lineage back to Henry Ford and the 1917 Model TT truck. Though early Ford cars and trucks are obviously related, the TT was a purpose-built utility vehicle with a more substantial frame and drivetrain. Typically, car-based trucks have gone in the other direction, borrowing their mechanicals from automobiles, not trucks, and tilting the utility/luxury balance more towards the latter.
So, if not the Model TT, which vehicle is the true founder of the car-truck line?
1924 Model TT stake bed Ford
Since I haven’t done a Marianas Trench–level dive into the subject, I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that it was independent automakers Studebaker and Hudson that first introduced actual car-based pickup trucks to the American market. However, I believe that the 1937–39 Studebaker Coupe Express and the 1941–47 Hudson Cab Pick-up (including the 3/4 ton “Big Boy” models) are among the very first American vehicles that combined pickups’ cargo beds with the styling, sheetmetal, and mechanical componentry of those brands’ passenger cars.
Introduced for the 1937 model year, the Coupe Express was based on the Studebaker Dictator. In case you’re wondering why Studebaker would choose a model name associated with despots, the Dictator nameplate was introduced in 1927, before Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and Stalin had solidified the word’s modern connotations. If the branding scheme is now awkward, it was at least coherent: Dictator was the entry-level Studebaker, below the midrange Commander and flagship President.
Power was supplied by Studebaker’s larger, 218-cubic-inch (3.6 liter) L-head inline six-cylinder producing 86 horsepower, driving through a three-speed manual transmission, with an optional Borg-Warner overdrive available. Typical passenger-car options like radios, heaters, and turn signals were available. You could even choose from two different styles of steel wheels. (Yes, young Padawan, things like heaters and turn signals were not always standard equipment, let alone air conditioning. Before the 1976 Honda Accord, cars were very much priced à la carte.) About 3000 units of the introductory Coupe Express were sold. Advertising touted the “passenger-car comfort and style … combined with useful business body types.”
For the 1938 model year, the cab of the Coupe Express was updated to reflect styling changes on the passenger cars. In this case, styling alterations made the vehicle more practical: They allowed for a slightly longer cargo bed, which featured a sharp-looking, backwards-sloped tailgate. Despite the styling changes, sales dropped by almost two-thirds to around 1200 trucks. Again, the 1939 models were restyled to reflect Studebaker’s cars, but sales of the utes dropped even more, to just about 1000 units. The Coupe Express was discontinued to be replaced in 1941 by a 1/2 ton model of Studebaker’s more conventional M-Series pickup in 1941.
Hudson, on the other hand, never developed a dedicated truck line. You could well argue that all of Hudson’s pickup trucks, in fact all of its light commercial vehicles, were car-based. This wasn’t a bad thing, since Hudson’s automobiles were regarded as robustly overbuilt; perhaps they were suited well for the task of being car-truck hybrids.
In 1929 Hudson’s Dover truck brand started selling a line of commercial vehicles based on the parent company’s Essex automobiles, equipped with pickup beds, side-express bodies, or custom bodies made by the Hercules company in Kentucky. The United States Postal Service was a major customer, buying 500 of the car-based trucks, presumably for mail delivery. One of those postal utes, shown below, long resided at the Hostetler Hudson Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana, which closed in 2018.
1929 Hudson Essex Dover US Mail Truck Flickr | Joe Ross
Hudson also sold those same vehicles under the Essex brand, with slight changes. In 1932, a new line of pickups and sedan deliveries were offered, based on the Terraplane. With the Great Depression going on, sales were modest and peaked at about 8000 units in 1937.
Crew cab trucks are common these days. In fact, there are more four-door trucks being built today than standard cabs. That was certainly not the case in the early ’60s, when more-door trucks were only built to be worked hard in government, farming, and hauling, and were largely available only to fleet applications. To meet these demands, the rigs were spartan and built with stiff, heavy-duty suspensions with little regard for comfort or amenities.
This ’60 Ford F250, which received the Goodguys Feature Pick at the 1st Meguair’s So-Cal Nationals presented by BASF, started its life at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base just north of San Diego. After serving with the Marines, the truck was bought at auction by a fellow who dabbled with the truck, sprayed it in primer, and stuck it in a barn where it sat dormant for years until David Tumino and his son Rajan brought it home about a decade ago.
David is a lifetime hot rodder and a recently retired body-and-paint pro who can pretty much do it all. With Rajan getting older, David felt that the big ol’ Ford would be a great way to start teaching his son the craft and the DIY ethos of building a unique custom truck.
With a custom chassis built to ride and perform, there was no reason not to put some serious power between the rails. The father and son duo decided on a 5.4-liter Modular engine sourced from a 2010 Mustang GT500, then topped it with a supercharger for a little more kick in the pants. Power estimates put the SOHC engine at about 700 horsepower! Combined with a 6R80E six speed transmission, the truck can seriously haul.
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
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.
As the humble pickup truck’s place in American culture steadily evolved from simple-but-valued tool to modern fashion statement, it gained a huge fan base. While admiration grew and trucks aged, restorers began returning some of them to showroom shape. Meanwhile, hot-rodders and customizers crafted their own interpretations of the classic pickup.
The years rolled on and certain models emerged as favorites, spawning a vast aftermarket blooming with reproduction and upgrade parts and kits. So widespread is this enthusiasm for classic pickups today that values of the most popular models have swelled substantially during the past decade or so. It’s good news if you already have one, but not so great for anyone on the hunt for a budget-friendly alternative to pony cars or muscle machines.
Consider the 1967-’72 Chevrolet trucks, popular from new and long adored by enthusiasts. Today, they’re nearly as sought after as the muscle cars of the same era, and values have followed suit, making them less accessible to the younger builders trying to get into a vintage project. More recently, the following generation of Chevy trucks— the 1973-’87 “square-body” era—has been following the same trajectory, with values escalating rapidly.
So, where does that leave the aspiring young builder on a budget? Or even the seasoned tinkerer looking to start a new project with a casual cash commitment? Fortunately, GM kept right on building pickups, and its next generation proved to be a winner.
For the 1988 model year, GM introduced a new line of light trucks under the internal designation “GMT 400.” To the public, the new generation of trucks was often referred to as the “C/K” series, combining the familiar C designation of two-wheel-drive models with the K of 4x4s. The new C/K line offered increased interior space, while appearing leaner and more svelte on the outside thanks to a “cab forward” design with a sloping hood and rounded prow. This was the first time GM had offered extended-cab variations on its pickups, and the traditional “step-side” bed was finally replaced with a new fiberglass Sportside interpretation.
Viewed today, the GMT-400 era of trucks was an excellent blend of then-modern technology merged with traditional pickup dimensions. Though some details are very of-the-period, like the mini quad headlamps of the earlier models and the plasticky dark-argent egg-crate grilles, GM’s stylists smoothed out many of the trim details as the generation evolved, and overall these trucks have aged well. Park a GMT 400 next to a 1967-’68 Chevy pickup and you might even wonder if GM’s stylists looked back for inspiration.
Design by committee doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean that a large team can’t come together and build something spectacular. In the August 2021 issue we introduced Project Artemis, this 1997 Ford F-250 crew-cab pickup whose ambitious build was undertaken by 41 partners, including Hemmings. Wisely, most of the detail choices were left to the discretion of Crystal and Kurt Lawrance at KTL Restorations in Danville, Virginia. They’re not big on titles at KTL, but Kurt is owner and president of the business that he founded with his late father, and Crystal is his wife and enthusiastic business partner.
KTL is just now expanding into overlanding builds from the muscle-car restoration and restomod field, bringing a fresh sensibility to what has become a rapidly expanding market. Partnering with KTL in this capacity was a decision that paid off, as the company’s vision pioneered not only several technical developments in the off-road/overlanding field but has sown the seeds for an expansion of that field into 1992-’96 (and early ’97) “Old Body Style” (OBS) Ford trucks.
That expansion includes both OE-style reproduction parts, notably from Complete Performance (aka CP Addicts), in Jasper, Texas; and in modified (by Kurt) off-the-shelf pieces from places like KC HiLiTES in Williams, Arizona, and Clackamas, Oregon-based Warn Industries
In case you hadn’t noticed, 1990s-’00s nostalgia is hot—both among the millennials who lived it and the Gen Z kids who wish they had. There was no question that the classic OBS elements had to stay in place among the state-of-the-art overlanding bits. Thankfully, the crew-cab F-250 was found (“on a little bitty car lot in North Carolina”) with almost preternatural speed. The dry, Southwestern truck needed minimal bodywork and was treated to BASF Glasurit paints in pearlescent white and two shades of blue. The underside was sprayed with blue-tinted Lizard Skin for a durable, yet attractive, undercoating. The mountain and stripes graphic package was initially conceived by Crystal’s 16-year-old daughter.
You’d have to be living under a sandstoneoutcropping in Moab to not notice that two-door 4×4 SUVs are among the hottest collectibles of the last decade or so. Led by the Ford Bronco, the classic two-door 4×4 SUV market has seemed to spur along the values of classic trucks as well.
As we explained in a story earlier this year in which we compared the values of wagon to their sedan counterparts, a longer roof is sometimes worth quite a bit more. We thought we might see the same when it came to pickups and their SUV relatives, so we asked James Hewitt, Hagerty Valuation Specialist, to run some numbers for us. The numbers mostly reflected our expectations, but there was one interesting surprise we saved for last.
1966–77 Ford Bronco
Whether it’s an uncut, all-original survivor or an orange-mocha-Frappuccino-seeking restomod, first-generation Ford Broncos are the king of the segment, with prices to match. In May of 2012, median #2 (Excellent) values for a first-gen Bronco and its contemporary F-100 pickup were separated by just four percent. By 2018, Bronco values had doubled while F-100 had barely moved.
Today, the median #2 (Excellent) Bronco is valued at $77,850—nearly five times its value from just ten years prior. Meanwhile, a 1967–1972 F-Series truck carries a #2 (Excellent) value of just less than half that, at $35,800. That’s a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, as the Bronco was not based on the same full-size platform as the F-Series, but that generation of Ford full-size trucks has some off-road racing history of its own. The F-Series is establishing itself as a collectible in its own right thanks to its good looks and utility, as are plenty of other trucks from that era.
1969–72 Chevrolet C/K Blazer (K5)
The SUV premium looks just a bit lower when comparing a first-generation K5 Blazer to the same-year K10 pickup. Seeking to cash in on the growing SUV trend kicked off by International Harvester and Jeep, Chevy was working its own entrant before the Bronco was even on the market. After considering a smaller model to compete head-to-head with the Scout, Chevrolet decided to go full-size and base the Blazer on its existing pickup line. Those 1969–1972 K5s are rivaling the Bronco when it comes to value, as #2 (Excellent) versions of 1969 K5s are currently valued at $78,200 on average, when equipped with a 350 V-8. A similarly equipped K10 is valued at 45 percent less.
1974–80 Dodge Ramcharger
Mopar’s entry into the full-size SUV segment, Ramcharger, arrived in 1974, and, like GM’s K5 Chevy Blazer and GMC Jimmy, it featured a full-length removable hardtop. The Dodge doesn’t have quite the following of the K5, making it one of the best bargains in the full-size two-door SUV market—especially if open-air driving is a priority. Median #2 (Excellent) examples of 1974–1980 Ramchargers are valued at $32,950, which is double what they were just four years ago. Meanwhile, Dodge D/W Series pickups have also doubled but remain even more affordable, with a median #2 (Excellent) value of $24,000.
The Ford F150 trucks were introduced to the United States in 1948 and they were known as the Ford Bonus-Built trucks. They were built on a dedicated truck platform unlike earlier versions that were built from car chassis during the war. Ford’s very first truck was built in 1917 and it was based off the Model T and named the Ford Model TT. The truck had a cargo capacity of one ton back in the day, which, if you can imagine, was no small feat for that era.
The First Generation was between 1948 and 1952.
The first generation F-Series trucks carried the designations of F-1 through F-8. They were rated by weight as panel trucks, conventional trucks, school buses, cab-over-engine, and of course, the pickup truck. Each truck was equipped with a manual transmission, and they featured driver and passenger side windshield wipers and a foot-plunger windshield washer. This was pretty high-tech stuff back then, as well as quite an accomplishment for Ford.
To signify the importance of the Ford truck history: The 1948 F-Series line was Ford’s first post-war truck which debuted a year before Ford’s first post-war car. Henry Ford shut down all civilian production during WWII in order to produce vehicles that would support our allies and our troops. When the war ended, the F-Series trucks, along with the veterans, were the first to be recognized
The Second Generation was between 1953 and 1956.
It brought about a complete redesign of the F-Series. They received new engines, updated chassis, roomier interior and exteriors, options such as a radio, dome light, arm rests, and lighter- and the Series also underwent an important name change. It was during this period that the F-1 became the F-100 and the F-2 and F-3 merged to become the F-250 and the F-4 became the F-350. These designations remain in place to this day.
The Third Generation was between 1957 and 1960.
The 3rd Generation brought about a new, modernized body style where the front fenders became a part of the truck’s body and the hood was integrated into the bodywork to create a clamshell design that would remain a prominent feature of the truck for the next twenty years.
The cab-over F-Series was discontinued and was replaced by a tilt-cab C-Series that many may remember was used as a fire truck and heavy-duty delivery truck beginning in 1957. The C-Series production was discontinued in 1990. As another milestone for Ford, they began production of four-wheel-drive pickups in 1959.
The Fourth Generation was produced between 1961 and 1966.
Once again, a new style emerged and the look was noticeably different. In 1965 the Twin-I-Beam front suspension changed everything and it remained a part of the F-150 up to 1996 and up to 2016 on the F-250 and F-350 4×2. The addition of the Twin-I-Beam allowed the front wheels to run independently of one another giving it greater maneuverability and a much smoother
An F-Series 4-door-crew-cab model emerged in 1965 to compete with passenger cars and the 300 cubic inch 4.9L straight six was introduced and it remained in the F-Series trucks until 1996. In 1965, Ford introduced the name “Ranger” to its lineup.
It was previously a base model of the Edsel and in keeping with Edsel tradition, this, too, was said to be a little ahead of its time for 1965. It featured bucket seats from the Ford Mustang, detailed styling, softer suspension, and it brought sophistication to the pickup trucks of the day. The Ranger underwent many changes throughout the years and the last one was produced in the U.S. in 2011.
The Fifth Generation lasted between1967 and 1972.
The cab was roomier by 3″ than that of competitors and the truck came with a heavier frame. Between these years, there were 3 trim packages available: Base, Custom Cab, and Ranger. New safety features were added to the exterior to include reflectors to the rear of the truck bed. This was the first generation to offer factory installed air conditioning as opposed to dealer installation.
A new grill design was added in 1969 and a 302 Windsor V8 engine was optional. Also during these years, a new trim for the Ranger XLT was added as the top of the line. Other options included AM/FM radio. Ford discontinued the Low GVWR versions of the F-Series but the Camper Special F-250 was introduced in 1972. Remember the era of “The Camper”?
It is probably safe to say that we all know someone who had a camper attached to the bed of their pickup truck back in the day. And it is probably safe to say that there are numerous stories that will be passed down from generation to generation about how great they were and all the wonderful experiences that were involved.
The Sixth Generation would be the one that changed truck history forever, 1973 – 1979.
Significant changes and upgrades were given to the Series that included larger cabins, front disc brakes, a relocated gas tank outside the cab, improved heating and air, and more galvanized steel. Also during this time, the 4-wheel-drive SuperCab made its debut.
In 1975, the F-150 was introduced and has since gone on to become the best selling truck ever. Now, that’s grounds for bragging rights. In order to avoid certain emission control restrictions back in the day, the F-150 debuted between the F-100 and the F-250 and the rest is history. The Ford Bronco was redesigned into a variation of the F-Series in 1978 and featured a removable camper shell. In 1979, the 460 big block engine in the half ton truck saw its final year.
The Seventh Generation occurred between 1980 and 1986.
This generation received the first complete redesign since 1965 from the ground, up. Improved aerodynamics and fuel economy and both interior and exterior modifications were made. In 1983, diesel power was added to the F-Series. In 1984, a new high-output version of the 5.8L Windsor was introduced and 1985 saw the first year of electronic fuel injection for the 5.0L V8. In 1988, all other vehicles switched over to electronic fuel injection. In 1983, the F-100 halted production, placing the F-150 as the lightest pickup on the market. In 1986, the F-150 no longer offered “3-on-the-tree” manual shifting.
This generation was the first to include upscale amenities such as power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, interval windshield wipers, tinted windshield, locking gas cap, inside locking hood release, and so many other options and standards were available during this new, technologically-charged generation.
The Eighth Generation was between 1987 and 1991.
In the first year of this generation better aerodynamics included a rounded front clip and softer lines around fender arches and the rear bed and it sported an all new interior. The first 5-speed manual overdrive transmission was introduced in 1987 and 4-speeds were discontinued.
In 1989, a C6 3-speed automatic was replaced as a base automatic transmission by an E4OD, 4-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive unit. In 1987, the F-Series 4.9L inline 6 was converted to fuel injection and in 1988, the Ford F-150 became the first pickup truck that was sold as a non-carbureted engine. In 1989, the F-Series had been established as being the nation’s best selling vehicle.
The Ninth Generation was between 1992 and 1996.
The F-150 received a new facelift. The FlareSide bed was reintroduced since its retirement in 1987 as an option, and a lower hood line, more advanced aerodynamics, newly designed fenders and grille changes and interior upgrades were notable. This generation marked Ford’s 75th anniversary of its 1917 Ford Model TT and Ford offered an anniversary package on its 1992 F-Series that included a 75th Anniversary Special Logo.
The 1994 models offered an updated dashboard with the addition of a driver’s side airbag in the F-150. Also, a high mount, third brake stop light was included in the new look. New hi-tech options included remote keyless entry with alarm, power driver’s seat, and a compact disc player. By 1996, Ford had overtaken combined sales of Chevrolet and GMC for the first time in a decade by reaching the 800,000 mark.
The Tenth Generation occurred between 1997 and 2003.
This is where Ford made some major changes to its F-Series lineup and was basically split into two categories: F-150 became a contemporary personal use truck, while the F-250 and F-350 became classified as working class trucks. The 1997 F-150 would be re-introduced with the aerodynamics given to the Ford Taurus of 1986, making it much more streamlined for a better ride and greater fuel economy. The 4.9L inline 6 was replaced by a standard V6 engine.
Ford didn’t let the 50th Anniversary of the F-Series pass unnoticed, with numerous promotions depicting the inaugural 1948 version beside a new 1998 model.
A fully independent front suspension was added, and a new chassis shared only the transmission from previous years. Greater rear seat access was achieved by adding a rear-hinged (curb-side) door to all models. In 1999, the SuperCab had a fourth door added to it. As another Ford first, in 2001, the F-150 was the first of its size to offer four, full size doors. Motor Trend Magazine named the new F-150 as Truck of the Year in 1997 and sales of the F-150 surged from 750,000 to over 900,000 in 2001.
The EleventhGeneration was between 2004 and 2008.
The F-150 received an all new platform in 2004. Also in this generation, all F-150s were given four doors, regardless of their cab type. The Triton engine was also introduced in this year and a flex-fuel version of the 3-valve 5.4L Triton V8 became available in 2006. A navigation system became available for the first time as an option in 2006 on some models, including the Harley Davidson Special Edition trim.
The Ford F-150s of this generation not only received a “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Frontal Offset test-they also received “Best Pick.” They went on to earn the North America Truck of the Year award for 2004, was Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year for 2004, and won Car and Driver magazine’s Best Pickup Truck for 2004, and 2005.
The Twelfth Generation F-Series was produced between 2009 and 2014.
Beginning with 2009, there were many new upgrades to the interior and the exterior featured a new three-bar grille, roomier interior, a lighter weight chassis made from high-strength steel and a greater towing capacity. A V8 engine was standard on all F-Series models for the first time in history and no 6-cylinder was available.
In early 2011, a 3.5L direct-injected twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 was offered in the F-150 and all engines came equipped with a new six-speed 6R80 automatic transmission. Other notable changes included the previous generation’s short, rear opening doors that were replaced by standard length doors, and electric power-assisted steering became available on all models with the exception of the 6.2.
The Thirteenth Generation ran from 2015 to 2020.
Another Ford first was accomplished with the 2015 F-150 model when it became the very first pickup to receive Adaptive Cruise Control. This feature offers radar sensors embedded on the front of the truck that monitors the distance between the vehicle in front of you and yourself. If it senses you are too close, speed will automatically be decreased, forming a safe barrier.
The Ford F-150 also underwent a radical change in 2015 by dropping 750 pounds by switching from a steel body to that of all-aluminum. This was quite an accomplishment, considering nothing “looked” physically changed; however, the bulk of the frame remains high-strength steel.
Along with dropping a few pounds, a more efficient base engine was added to include a 3.5L V6 and also introduced for 2015 was the 2.7L EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 and the 3.5L version. For those wanting more power, the 5.0L V8 is still available. Ford says the 2016 all-aluminum F-150 will be the most fuel-efficient truck ever. See-you can have your truck and drive it, too.
The Fourteenth Generation was launched in 2021
The fourteenth generation Ford F-Series is a range of produced by Ford, introduced for the 2021 model year.This was the first generation to include a fully electric pickup truck among the offerings with the F-150 Lightning model that will enter production in 2022.
Sharing a strong visual resemblance to the 13th generation, the 2021 F-150 underwent a redesign of 92% of its parts, carrying over only its cab and pickup box structure. Along with exterior design changes to enhance aerodynamics, many changes were made to the interior, adding fold-flat front seats and larger touchscreens (including a fully digital instrument panel).
The powertrain line is largely carried over from the previous generation, with a 3.3-liter V6, 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6s, a 5.0-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter diesel V6 However, the 5.0-liter V8 receives a new cylinder deactivation system, called Variable Displacement Engine technology, similar to GM’s Active Fuel Management and Chrysler’s Multi-Displacement System. The six-speed automatic is dropped, with all engines paired to a 10-speed automatic.
Dubbed PowerBoost, an optional gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain was introduced for the first time in a Ford light truck, pairing an electric motor with the 3.5-liter V6.
You may know that the Silverado is one of the most popular Chevy trucks for sale right now, but you might not know that the truck shares its name with a trim level that was first introduced back in 1975. The Chevy C/K pickup and the Suburban SUV both offered a Silverado trim before the name was transferred to the new truck that would take the place of the old C/K.
While facts like these might seem like little more than interesting trivia, they actually help you gain a more complete understanding of the history of the Chevy Silverado, which can help you understand how it has evolved to become the quality truck it is today. Then when you go shopping for Chevy trucks for sale, you have a better appreciation for the value the Silverado offers.
Here’s what you need to know about the history of the Chevy Silverado:
The Chevy Silverado was first introduced as a light-duty pickup truck in 1999, with the GMC Sierra as its mechanical twin. The C/K pickups, which the Silverado was meant to replace, continued in production through 1999 and 2000 for light-duty models and heavy-duty models, respectively.
The first generation of the Silverado is referred to as the “classic” body style. It came with three cab styles (a two-door standard cab, an extended cab, and a four-door crew cab) and three bed lengths (short, standard, and long). However, the only options for the first model year were a regular cab and a three-door extended cab. Chevy gave the Silverado a facelift a couple of times during the first generation, including updates to its exterior styling in 2003 and 2006.
Three engine options were available for the first year: A Vortec 4300 V6, Vortec 4800 V8, and a Vortec 5300 V8. Additional options were added in later years: A larger Vortec 6000 V8 and the massive Vortec 8100 V8. All engine options were powerful enough for off-roading and hauling. In 2004, Chevy even introduced a mild-hybrid version of the Silverado, making this legendary truck the first GM hybrid passenger vehicle.
Several variants of the Silverado were offered during the first generation, including a high-performance SS model that was introduced in 2003 and boasted 345 horsepower. A special edition Intimidator SS in 2006 honored Dale Earnhardt, and fewer than 1000 were built, making it a particularly rare version of the Silverado
The second generation of the Chevy Silverado was introduced in 2007, and it received an all-new design and some new engines. The new Silverado got a new interior and exterior, a new frame, and new suspension. Since the production of this generation ended in 2013, these trucks make a great way to get behind the wheel of a Silverado at an affordable price.
The new Silverado offered the same cab configurations as the previous generation, and it came as either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It received the Generation IV small-block V8 engines, and the LTZ trim offered a new high-performance 6.2-liter V8 engine. The entire lineup was more powerful.
The second generation of Silverado was also made to be tougher. The truck received a new frame made of higher strength steel, improving the stiffness of the body by a whopping 92 percent. New rear springs, hydraulic body mounts, and other changes improved the durability of the truck while also improving the ride. The new Silverado could stand up to tough road conditions and carry heavy loads. In fact, the new front axle ratings on the truck allowed the four-wheel drive versions to handle a snow plow as well as tow heavy trailers.
The Silverado’s second generation racked up accolades. It received top safety marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it was named the North American Truck of the Year and Motor’s Trends Truck of the Year for its inaugural year in 2007.
The current generation of the Chevy Silverado was introduced in 2014, and it saw several improvements while maintaining the same quality that had made it such a success up to that point. With the introduction of the third generation, the Silverado got three new engine options: a 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V6, a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8, and a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8. They offered 285 horsepower, 355 horsepower, and 420 horsepower, respectively. Buyers can get all the power they need from a used truck with these engines and enjoy improved efficiency as well.
Structural changes were made that increased the strength of the new Silverado, including a steel frame produced with hydroforming technology and a high-strength steel frame in the bed of the truck. The steel used in the bed is roll-formed instead of stamped, reducing weight to improve the performance and fuel efficiency of the truck. Aluminum is also used on the hood, engine block, and control arms to save weight.
Numerous tech features were also added to the third generation of the Silverado. Examples include the MyLink infotainment system with touch screen, Bluetooth technology for streaming music and making hands-free phone calls, an optional Bose premium audio system, OnStar navigation, and USB ports for charging smartphones and tablets. These more modern additions make a used third generation Silverado the perfect choice for the driver shopping for an up to date truck on a budget.
The new Silverado also got its first luxury model, the High Country special edition. This upgraded model included special leather upholstery, subtle exterior styling changes, and special badging throughout. With the 2015 model, the Silverado received a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 engine with an eight-speed 8L90 transmission. The new transmission allows for faster shifting and acceleration and improved fuel efficiency.
Amid the energy crisis of the 1970s, automobile manufacturers set their sights on designing more fuel-efficient vehicles. Among these was the first compact pickup truck to be built in the U.S. by a “Big Three” automaker, the Chevrolet S-10, which was released in 1982. While this little truck underwent some big changes over the course of its life span, it remained popular for more than 20 years, until it was discontinued in 2004, and to this day, the model still boasts many satisfied owners.
Chevrolet S-10 Through the Years
1982: Chevrolet introduced the S-10 pickup truck to the world. This model was slightly larger than the Chevy light utility vehicle, or LUV, manufactured between 1972 and 1982. However, the S-10 was considerably smaller than the Chevrolet C-10 (5.1 inches narrower, 13.7 inches shorter, and 8.6 inches lower as well as a little less than 1,000 pounds lighter) and was manufactured domestically. This first-year model featured two-wheel drive only. Standard features included a 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. Another option included a 2.8-liter V6 engine. The truck had a bench seat with dual outside mirrors.
1983: Chevrolet kept the outward appearance of the S-10 with the 1983 model, but consumers also had an option for an extended cab with this model year. The 1983 model S-10 trucks were also available with four-wheel drive, and consumers could also opt for a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
1984: Again, Chevrolet did not make changes to the body of the S-10. However, a new sport suspension became available for the models with regular cabs and two-wheel drive. Chevrolet also updated the clutch to feature hydraulics instead of the cable included with previous models. A 2.2-liter diesel engine was also made available for two-wheel-drive trucks.
1985: In 1985, Chevrolet decided to change the fender emblems on the S-10. These newly designed emblems featured a big, red “S,” and they were larger than the former badges. The standard engine offered in this year was a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and it had throttle-body injection.
1986: With the 1986 model year, Chevrolet introduced a new instrument cluster. The 2.8-liter V6 engine models also added the option for throttle-body injection.
1987: The 1987 model year did not involve any obviously visible changes to the S-10, but there was one small tweak under the hood. Chevrolet added a serpentine drive belt to replace the standard V-belts for both the 2.5-liter and 2.8-liter engines.
1988: As time went on, Chevrolet began to expand the available options for the S-10. In 1988, a sunroof would be added to the list of possible features for those seeking to buy one of these pickups. A new 4.3-liter Vortex V6 engine was another option made available in 1988.
1989: Chevrolet began installing standard rear-wheel anti-lock braking systems in every S-10 starting in 1989, a piece of safety technology that had yet to become standard in many vehicle models. This year also featured a special Cameo body package for the S-10, and only 2,198 Cameo vehicles were produced. An electronic instrument cluster was a new option available with this model year, and it included a speedometer and tachometer as well as a voltmeter and gauges for fuel, oil pressure, and engine coolant temperature.
1990: Front tow hooks became standard on the S-10 in 1990. Every four-wheel drive model had a standard 4.3-liter V6 with a Hydramatic-built five-speed manual transmission sporting a fifth-gear overdrive.
1991: The body of the 1991 S-10 was enhanced with new body-side moldings and emblems and a new grille that gave the S-10 an updated and sleek appearance.
1992: Chevrolet introduced a four-wheel-drive entry-level model, dubbed the EL. All four-wheel-drive models except the EL had the option of a new electronic shift transfer case.
1993: Automatic S-10s received a new heavy-duty cooling system, which included an engine oil cooler and a transmission oil cooler. These trucks also had the option for the new 4L60-E Hydramatic four-speed automatic transmission.
1994: After more than a decade, the S-10 was ready for a change, which came with the introduction of the second-generation S-10 in 1994. Features were added that were designed to enhance the vehicle’s comfort, value, and performance. The outside of the pickup truck was modified to have a forward-sloping hood with a wraparound grille. The trucks grew slightly larger, with regular-cab models measuring 63 inches tall, a little more than 17 feet long, and about 68 inches wide. They also had 20 percent more glass than older models for enhanced visibility. The S-10 was available in both a base model and an LS trim model. Two-wheel-drive models featured a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, while four-wheel-drive models had a 4.3-liter V6 engine.
1995: Chevrolet made driver’s-side airbags and daytime running lights standard in the S-10 in 1995. Keyless entry was a new option offered in this year. Chevrolet also added backlighting to the switches for windows, locks, and mirrors to make them easier to find in the dark.
1996: The S-10 gained an interesting new option: a third door, on the driver’s side. All models also were updated to feature four-wheel anti-lock braking systems as a standard feature. Chevrolet also introduced the Sportside bed option in this year, which includes rounded fender wells that protrude from the sides.
1997: With attention to enhanced durability, Chevrolet made improvements to the frame and drive train of the 1997 S-10 pickup trucks. The automatic transmission shifter was repositioned to the floor for trucks with bucket seats. Also in this year, Chevrolet produced an electric S-10, the S-10 EV, which is considered to be the rarest S-10 variety ever made. This pickup was 100 percent electric-powered and had a range of about 45 miles after 2.5 hours of charging. The EV was primarily leased to utility companies for use in their vehicle fleets. Between the 1997 EV and an updated version made in 1998, only 492 were made, and around 60 of these were sold. The rest were recalled and destroyed once their leases were up to safeguard Chevy’s technology.
1998: This was a year of new styling enhancements for the S-10. The trucks received new grilles, composite headlights, and front bumper fascia. Dual front air bags became standard, with an option to deactivate the passenger side if desired. Every model also came equipped with the Passlock theft-deterrent system. Chevrolet also revamped the interior of the trucks with a new instrument panel, floor console, and seats. The four-wheel-drive trucks also came standard with rear disc brakes and Insta-trac, which allowed for shifting into or out of four-wheel drive on the fly.
1999: At the end of the decade, Chevrolet rolled out bigger folding rearview mirrors on all of its trucks, including the S-10s. The S-10 Xtreme was introduced, featuring a body that was two inches lower, a special sport suspension package, and a monochrome grille and bumpers. This model also sported 16-inch aluminum wheels.
2000: Chevrolet made updates to the base trim features for all extended-cab trucks in 2000. All four-wheel-drive trucks now came with a standard heavy-duty suspension system.
2001: The four-wheel-drive and automatic-transmission S-10s could now be purchased in a four-door crew-cab version. Four-wheel-drive standard-cab S-10s were discontinued.
2002: All S-10 models had air conditioning and a tachometer as standard features as of 2002. Leather seats were available with crew-cab models.
2003: Additional enhancements available in 2003 models included a power sunroof, bed rails, and graphics on the front fender and doors.
2004: In the final year of S-10 production, Chevrolet offered only a crew-cab 4×4 featuring a 4.3-liter V6 engine with automatic transmission. Chevrolet replaced the S-10 with the Colorado in subsequent years.
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.