The History of the Ford F-Series

October 30th, 2019 by

2020 ford f-150

Ford has several extremely memorable cars, trucks, and SUVs. The Mustang, for instance, remains a famous movie car, driven by young, beautiful models and actors. The Model T, on the other hand, is recognizable even to those who don’t care about cars. It changed the very nature of car ownership and purchase in the early 1990s. The Model T also spurred the creation of another set of trucks that have become American car legends – the Ford F-Series.

The Ford F-Series has been consistently noted as one of the top-rated pickup trucks in the United States alone. Worldwide, it is almost as famous. For a car, it gets reasonably good gas mileage – as much as 22 miles per gallon in the city and as much as 30 miles per gallon on the highway. It has a spacious interior and bed, which makes it a draw-in for families. Additionally, its towing capabilities and horsepower are incredibly high, which is optimal for people who use trucks to move things around for hobby or for a living.

It’s not an extraordinarily over-the-top vehicle, although its trims – like the King Ranch and Lariat – can give it the extra edge of comfort.

Here’s a history of one of the most beloved trucks on the market.

From One Of America’s Favorites

The Model T is easily one of the most beloved cars ever made. Nearly a decade after the release of the Model T, Ford Motor Company released the Model TT – the first-ever affordable pickup truck.

This pickup truck was built with the cab of a Model T, but with a higher payload and a much more capable frame for taking on large loads. In the first year of its production, it sold just over 2000 cars. This might not seem like much, but it spurred the creation of many different truck models through Ford – Including the F-Series.

The Start Of The F-Series

The first-generation F-Series was released in 1948, following the Second World War. During this time, men were returning to work after having served overseas, and Ford took this to heart when creating and showcasing the F-series. The first generation had eight different weight classes, designed to do different things depending upon the weight. Weights ranged from one-half ton to three ton carrying capacities.

After the war, the production of American goods increased. Everything from the number of livestock produced for food each year to the amount of home goods like sugar doubled in size. As American men came home, the population rose up again, and the population increased, which caused this increase in products. Ford created the F-series as a result of the rise in productivity, towing capacity needs, and family sizes.

This was only the beginning of the changes Ford made to its trucks. The F-series would continue to push the bar and make innovations to the F-series.

Second Generation Through Sixth Generation

1953-1979 saw significant changes to the structure of the F-150, though Ford did it incrementally enough to keep consumers on-board with the chances.

The second-generation F-series is the generation that so many antique automobile collectors have dubbed “the classic.” This was also when the hundred markers came about (eg, F-100, F-350, etc.). Before this time, most cars, including the Ford F-series, were fairly basic. The second generation began to introduce the basic amenities that come standard with every truck today – including a dome light, sun visors, and more.

The third generation of the F-series was when the classic shape of the F-series began to evolve. Instead of the classic second-generation shape, the body started to expand and grow wider. It also was the first generation of the F-series trucks to adopt four-wheel drive. Generation four saw significant upgrades to the frame of the vehicle, and the F-250 trim came optional for the first time ever with a four-door option.

Generation five saw significant updates to the design, including the exterior, inclusion of the brand name on the front, and the room in the car. The 6th generation, though it looked similar to the fifth, gently updated some of the safety features (like the backing lights) and got the truck ready for the significant changes the next generations would bring.

Sixth to Current Generation

The seventies pushed many boundaries, including the way that the car functioned. The 7th generation was dubbed by Ford, “the first new car of the seventies.” It focused on aerodynamics, something that was very important during the gas crisis. After the 50th anniversary of the F-series, in 1987, the truck was given features like power brakes and power steering, among other things.

Although the ninth generation produced some exciting changes to the truck, the 10th generation presented the most striking structural modifications to the F-series trucks. It was during this time that the F-150 began to be marketed more toward the casual, everyday user rather than those who used trucks out of necessity. This was a massive shift in the way vehicles, in general, were marketed, and was integral to the auto industry.

Eleventh and twelfth generations only increased in size and comfort, leading to the thirteenth generation – what we use today. The most significant update was shifting the body makeup to aluminum on a steel frame. Keeping the frame steel kept the durability and towing capability of former generations, but improved upon the gas mileage of the truck.

What Has Kept the F-Series So Popular?

It might be hard for those who don’t know much about cars to understand how the Ford F-series remained so popular. After all, if you put the first generation next to the thirteenth generation, you’d have a hard time drawing up similarities.

There are many instances where things and people remain iconic across decades, just like the F-series trucks. Consider David Bowie. He was dubbed “the Chameleon of Rock and Roll” because of his ability to remain relevant over four decades. His music was never the same – he went from glam rock in the seventies to new wave in the eighties to industrial rock in the nineties. But even with the changes in overall sound, he still made music that everyone could love.

The Ford F-Series is just like that. It’s dynamic, but it keeps the integrity of the first generation. Zeck Ford is proud to sell new and used Ford F-series trucks at affordable prices. Stop by our Leavenworth location to find out more about Ford trucks and get your next Ford vehicle from a company you can trust.

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