A Century Plus of Greatness in the Ford F-Series
The Ford F-Series has been one of the most successful series of trucks in history, and in recent years, the Ford F-150 has been stealing all of the limelight. Its life began over 100 years ago, as the truck hit the scene as one of Ford’s models of trucks that consistently sought to innovate with the times to serve every Ford driver.
Initially, the truck was available with a flathead V8 engine. It then added Twin I-Beam front suspension. In more recent times, the F-series was the first in the industry to use aluminum. It has also moved to smaller, supercharged turbo engines.
The TT chassis cab first appeared in 1917, and now the F-Series is available in everything up to four-door luxury trucks with interiors resplendent in leather.
The Model TT was the beginner for the F-series, and it first arrived in July 1917, almost a decade after Ford released its Model T, the first vehicle it made available to the American public.
The TT series combined the T’s cab with a much sturdier and tougher vehicle frame. The TT had a payload of one ton and a lot of pickup-bed configurations from third parties.
The first TT series sold at $600 and Ford sold 2,019 in the first year.
In 1925, Ford debuted a pickup-body Model T to join the TT, which was the beginning of assembly-line Ford pickup trucks.
By 1928, Ford had issued 1.3 million TT trucks and improved upon them with the AA and BB models.
The Beginnings of Customization
In 1935, the Ford Model 50 became all the rage. It featured a lot of stylistic upgrades to the brand. Ford installed a flathead V8 in this model.
In 1941, production halted due to the progression of World War 2. Ford moved its production into war efforts, but by that point, it had already produced over four million trucks.
Varying to Meet the Needs of Every Driver
The F-series debuted in 1948 and carried through to 1952. The trucks ranged in capability and size from the F-1 half-ton pickup to the cab-over F-8. This was the start of Ford’s effort to make a series of trucks that adapted to the needs of its varied consumers.
The next generation was in 1953 through 1956, when Ford issued the F-100, F-2, and F-3 trucks, which later became the F-250, F-4, and F-350. These heavy-duty models created Ford’s commercial truck range. The trucks focused on luxury, with sun visors, armrests, dome lights, and optional automatic transmissions available around this time.
The V8 Flathead became an overhead-valve eight in 1954. In 1957, Ford redesigned the trucks’ exterior, showing the first signs of a squared-off style that would be prevalent at Ford over the next several decades.
In 1959, Ford added the 4-wheel drive feature to its F-series. This made the trucks even better off-road, which is something Ford became known for with its tough truck series.
Refining an Idea
The fourth generation came in 1961 through 1966 when Ford made a solid-axle suspension, along with the Twin I-Beam set up in 1965. The truck was available in 2- and 4-wheel drive, but the suspension was aimed at making a more limber, lithe truck that drove like a car. The Twin I-Beam suspension was a great innovation, but drivers lamented the heavy wear on tires.
The first four-door crew cab built in the factory showed up in 1965 in the F-250 as a custom order. In 1966, the highest-level Ford Ranger became available to consumers with air conditioning, power steering, carpeting, and power brakes.
All of these changes modernized the Ford F-Series, as it issued its fifth generation from 1967 to 1972. This generation displayed the FORD logo in giant letters on the hood, with a grille that had integrated headlamps and a cab that added shoulder room. Ford was bringing further luxury and comfort to trucks made for work, and it became the line that Americans would trust through modern times.
Pressing into the Future
Ford issued several more generations, including its Sixth from 1973 to 1979, its Seventh, from 1980 to 1986, Eighth (87-91), Ninth (92-96), Tenth (97-03), Eleventh (04-08), Twelfth (09-14), and finally the Thirteenth iteration running from 2015 to the present.
The Ford F-150 brought plenty of changes in its 2015 redesign, too. It is now a mostly aluminum body atop a traditional steel frame. The new body is both lighter and more rust-resistant than previous versions. Safety is also highlighted and the truck earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.
With the 2020 Ford F-150, the F-Series remains on top after over 100 years of innovation and change because Ford values its drivers and considers all of their feedback in the continued pursuit of excellence with its F-Series.
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