Ford pickup turns 100
Century of Ford trucks
Ford’s pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicles in America for the past 40 years, but it’s been building them a lot longer than that.
It wasn’t long after its launch in 1913 that people started turning the Model T into a pickup, but on July 27 1917 Ford introduced a version specifically engineered for the purpose: The Model TT.
Initially sold only as a cab chassis, the Model TT had a beefed up frame capable of carrying one ton and cost $600, about $12,000 in today’s money.
Ford knew it had a good thing going, so when it replaced the Model T with the Model A it also introduced the Model AA truck, which was rated at 1.5-tons and had a four-cylinder engine with a whopping 40 hp.
Ford’s truck started to become even more distinctive from its cars in 1935, and more powerful with the adpotion of its new Flathead V8 engine.
The first true F-Series went on sale in 1948 and post-war America couldn’t get enough of them. Since then Ford has sold over 40 million F-Series trucks, making it the best-selling American vehicle of all time.
The second-generation F-Series arrived in 1953 with a new name, F-100, and its first 3-speed automatic transmission. Today, the F-150 is avaialble with a 10-speed, and you can’t even buy one with a manual. In 1954 it switched from the tried and true flathead V8 to the overhead valve V8 that’d been used in Ford cars since 1952.
In 1965 Ford added a revolutionary Twin I-Beam independent front suspension to its rear-wheel-drive pickups to improve their ride and handling, making them even more suitable for everyday use. Fifteen years later 4x4s would follow suit with an idependent front suspension.
Ford added the F-150 model in 1975 and a year later the F-Series became the best-selling truck in America. In 1980 it would become the best selling vehicle of all, and has been ever since.
F-150 SVT Lightning
Performance pickups are common these days, but the 1993 F-150 SVT Lightning was Ford’s first. The street-tuned machine was developed with input from F1 legend Jackie Stewart and powered by a then-impressive 240 hp 5.8-liter V8. (The least-powerful V6 today has 282 hp.)
As more and more buyers started to use their trucks for personal use, Ford rolled out the most car-like version yet in 1997 with a comfortable cabin and aerodynamic body.
Ford went all-in with its most important vehicle in 2015 when it swtiched the light duty F-150 to a radical, lightweight all-aluminum body. Super Duty models would follow in 2017.