Strap on your seatbelts! It’s a long ride today through the history of the Ford truck world! The Ford F-Series and Super Duty are reliable, easy to maintain and collectible. It’s beefy, macho looks have been judged to be some of the best ever truck designs over recent years. Their bulging hoods hint at the reliable, steady power underneath. The Ford F-Series and Super Duty have been the best-selling trucks in the U.S. for 34 years. 24 out of those 34 years, they were the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. Over 2 million have been sold. The best-selling variants are the F-150 and F-250. Ford’s sister company, Mercury, also made badge-engineered Ford trucks until the 1970’s. Ford’s luxurious sister company, Lincoln, also built luxury F-150’s until a few years ago.
The Ford F-Series was first introduced way back in 1948 as the Ford Bonus-Built. Americans were clamoring for newer trucks than the old, rickety Model T and A trucks. All versions of the Bonus-Built could be optioned in “Marmon-Herrington” All-Wheel-Drive. The first generation was produced from 1948 through around 1953. The first generation is one of the most collectible Ford trucks ever made, prized for its newer design. Who doesn’t want one of those old, loud bulbous trucks bumping along? My mom does!
The second generation really got Ford out there. It was considered to have good value for the money. It was produced from 1953 to 1956. It used the same engines and transmissions as the F-Series to keep the cost down. The base-model F-Series, called the F-100, had a Mercury twin called the M-100.
The third generation was produced from 1957 to 1960. The third generation got some serious design changes: it was boxier and had a choice of engine styles which were more powerful engines and more fuel efficient. This is typically the type of old Ford trucks that are used for current-day off-roading. In 1960, a van variant of the Bonus-Built (it was called the F-Series in 1959) called the Econoline was built on the F-Series platform. It used the same engines and transmissions as the F-Series to keep the cost down. In 1959, the Four-Wheel-Drive drive-train, which was previously sourced from Marmon-Herrington was produced in-house by Ford.
The fourth generation F-Series was produced from 1961-1966. The original 223 CI (look in my Geeky Speak post for info on CI) was still available and a very popular option. In 1965, the “Crew Cab” option was available for the first time and turned out to be a success. A crew cab is a truck that has a backseat and four doors. It was very popular with construction workers, as they could transport workers to a jobsite. Also, in 1965, the “Ranger” trim line was offered. It had Mustang bucket seats and special paint (candy red or banana yellow).
The 5th generation (1966-1972) sold so well that Ford had to open a new plant in Mexico to keep up with all the requests. The Camper Special was trim line that was geared towards families on the road. It came with heavy duty suspension and towing gear. The top trim level was the Ranger Custom XLT. It was also one of the most popular F-Series’ ever.
The 6th generation F-Series was produced from 1973-1979. In 1978, a luxury trim, Lariat came onto the already extensive amount of trim levels. The Lariat trim line had interior amenities like: leather upholstery, AM/FM radio and dual glove-boxes. Ford introduced the largest V8 out on the market: it was 460 CI! That is 7.5 liters! It was also the quickest and most powerful truck out on the market!
The 7th generation F-Series was produced from 1980-1986. It had looks that were boxier than before and had less engine options and the 7.3 Liter “Powerstroke” V8 Diesel that had Direct Fuel injection and a HUGE 34 gallon fuel tank. It produced 220 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. The Powerstroke was Ford’s first large diesel.
The 8th generation F-Series was produced from 1987-1991. In 1982, the Ranger trim was dropped, as the new compact Ranger was replacing the aged Essex pickup. Also, a new trim line “Explorer” was added to the lineup and was geared to those who liked to explore the great outdoors. In 1983, a Mazda M50D five-speed manual was added to the transmission options. The F-Series was still available with the old and heavy Borg-Warner four-speed manual. The Ford F-Super Duty was basically a beefed-up F350 that was named F450. The F450’s came with dual fuel tanks with a toggle switch to go between the two tanks.
The 9th generation F-Series was produced from 1992-1996. The Explorer trim line had been dropped in 1991, when the SUV came out. In 1993, the “Eddie Bauer” trim line was shared with the Explorer. It had Explorer seats and gold trimming. Also, in 1993, the “Lightning” performance trim level was available for the first time. It had a 351 CI (5.8 Liters) V8 that produced 240 horsepower.
The 10th generation was produced from 1997-2004. Ford made a big decision in the 10th generations styling: it was more car-like than ever before. Ford was afraid that the redesigned trucks wouldn’t be a huge sales success, so the new trucks were produced and sold alongside the previous generation for a couple of months. It turned out that Ford didn’t need to: it became one of the best-selling trucks ever made! Over 555,000 were sold within the first three years. The new F-150 was chosen as Motor Trend’s 1997 Truck of The Year.
The 11th generation F-Series was produced from 2004-2008. It was probably the most popular F-Series generation because it had big, macho looks and was tough. There were over 1 million sold! In the fall of 2007, Ford introduced the Foose Edition F-150. It used a Roush-developed 5.4 Liter V8 with a supercharger slapped on. It made 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque.
The 12th generation F-Series is basically the same truck as the 11th generation, but with all-new engines and transmissions. The 12th generation started production in fall 2009 and is still being manufactured. The 12th generation introduced the SVT Raptor trim line, which is a purpose-built desert racer. Ford recently redesigned the Super Duty, which now has Fords’ 6.2 Liter gas V8 and all-new “Scorpion” 6.7 Liter Turbodiesel V8.
The Ford F-Series has been in production for 63 years and still going strong. Way to go for Ford! My dream Ford would be the SVT Raptor with the Scorpion Diesel. Why not?
Take heart! I promise a shorter post next time!