It’s a well-known fact that when the US nameplates get to a certain near-legend age (or, at least, a vintage state), the majors in the industry tend to get lazy and greedy and almost fully rely on the trademark to sell itself. Take a look at the Ford Mustang, for example, they’ve been putting the iconic muscler’s nostalgic qualities to use lately with the reintroduction in 2015 and the new Shelby GT350 and GT350R editions. Don’t get me wrong, I personally admire the work they’ve been doing with it, but folks will always have that ’60s champ in their minds when thinking about the current gen. Same story with Chevy’s Camaro and Dodge’s Challenger/Charger. Same is true with the upcoming Lincoln Continental 2017: not only will it have to be strong enough to compete with the modern-day leaders in the segment of luxury sedans, but also to try and live up to the nameplate’s status as the most respected, loved and desired luxury car in North America. And today we are going to talk about the Iconic F-150 Truck and the history behind it.
The F-Series Trucks: Unprecedented Level Of Finesse
However, if you take a look at the history of the Ford F-Series pick-ups and learn the story behind the iconic F-150 truck you’ll see that the people who make them are true modern-day heroes, and for all those years they’ve been gradually building up towards the near-perfect truck that the F-150 2016 is today. And the talent, the effort and the spark that have been following the F-Series put to shame every other brand in the world, not to mention the tremendous success and the astonishing commercial profits. With 67 full years behind it’s back the legendary line-up of Ford trucks has always been one of the leaders on the market, if not THE leader.
As a result, the Blue Oval brand has the strongest grip on the truck segment and everybody else in the industry is trying to keep up and perform on the same scale as the Detroit Giant. By the way, in multiple towns across the United States of A the Ford trucks from the ’50s era are still putting some work in, along with the contemporary tech-packed models.
And that’s the biggest testimony to the glory of the iconic F-Series pick-up trucks. Ok, let’s dig into the story behind the iconic F-150 truck, shall we?
The Story Behind The Iconic F-150 Truck – The First Steps
Before the arrival of the F-Series most trucks in America were car-based, meaning they were constructed upon the same platform. And Ford was the first who rolled out a pick-up, even though it was just a roadster with a tiny bed in the rear. You gotta understand that it was the ’30s, the Great Depression era and the age of the Model T. At the end of the decade trucks became more utilitarian, but they still couldn’t lend a significant helping hand to the hard workers all over the country. It was WW2 that pushed Ford towards uncharted territories and that’s when they decided to take a completely different road with their truck.
The 1949 F-Series model was the first brand-new post-war truck from Detroit and it was the real deal. In ’47 Chevy introduced its Advance Design models and practically changed the game. These trucks were 100% workhorses, and Ford had to act fast. So, the new pick-up had its own, unique platform. You had a 0.5Ton F1 and a 3Ton F8 truck and they both became instant hits in the US once the economy got back on its feet.
Rivaling With Chevrolet Since The Early ’50s – Gen 3 & 4
The Chevy trucks with the fancy Advance-Design beat Ford is sales, but the F-Series were equipped with V8 engines, and that was their main catalyst if you will. In ’51 the “F” went through a redesign and got a brand-new “respectable” grille and new sheet metal. Today, in the 21st century, the 51-52 models are wildly popular among hot-rodders, by the way. However, if you know the story behind the iconic F-150 truck then you’ll confirm that the F-Series entered the modern age only in the late 1950s, when the 3rd gen was introduced.
It boasted a fully integrated body design and actually defined the looks for several editions for decades. In ’59 the F250 was the first Ford truck with a four-wheel drive system. The fourth-gen came to life in 61, and it was probably the most trouble-packed one for the company.
Unibody construction was the next big thing at the time, and the F-Series trucks were equipped with a unitized cab where the bed was mounted right onto the frame. And even though this new architecture could save Ford millions in production, folks didn’t love it at all, so, in 1964 the engineers had to separate the body from the bed once and for all.
The 4th Decade In Production
In ’65 the 4th gen went through a mid-cycle refreshment and these changes set the ground rules for the next models in the series. That same year the Twin I Beam suspension system debuted that was a vital part of the F-150 truck up until 1996. The platform was updated as well, and the new edition was around until ’79. In 1967 a bigger cab was introduced, with a more up-to-date styling and a more comfortable interior (the cabin). When the 4th decade was on, the F-Series trucks became more user-friendly and tech-packed, with features like AM/FM radio, power brakes, air conditioning, and such. The sixth-gen made its debut in ’73 and was called by many experts the most important step in the story behind the iconic F-150 truck.
This new generation was super rust-resistant and used galvanized steel, which dramatically increased durability and reliability. In ’75 the outdated F-100 was replaced by the F-150, and in ’76 it managed to finally beat Chevrolet in a fair fight and become the best-selling truck in the United States. And the rally never stopped.
Taking It To The Next Level
So, the new decade gave us the first 100% new F-Series truck since ’65, with impressive fuel-efficiency and reduced weight. And even though there were some problems in the beginning, in 1982 this truck became the best-selling VEHICLE in America (aha, 6 years after becoming the best-seller among pickups). And nobody can beat it for 35 straight years. Tell me you’re not impressed! The story behind the iconic F-150 truck is full of amazing pages, but this right here is, no doubt, the brightest part. Ford proved that a truck can be the leader in the automobile market and today about 90% of profit in the industry is generated by trucks and SUVs.
And the team behind the original model never stopped: as the F-Series continued to amaze the crowd with staggering sales, the engineers continued to perfect it, with extra attention to comfort and utility. In 1987 the 8th generation bowed, and in ’92 we saw the ninth. The biggest achievement of both was the tremendous work on making the truck comfortable and cozy on the inside, which meant more potential buyers.
The Story Behind The Iconic F-150 Truck – Generation TEN
The F-Series trucks entered the 10th gen in 1997 and that meant a big redesign was in order. The square-shoulders design was gone and new styling looked a lot like what was going on with the other cars from Ford’s collection. The fun fact is, the heads at the company were kinda nervous about this big new changes and continued selling the 9th gen for a full year (that was a precaution measure to check the crowd’s reaction). However, there was nothing to worry about, because in 1999 the new gen became so popular that Ford was selling 900K units a year! The 10th gen was probably the biggest game-changer for the Blue Oval Brand and another bright spot in the story behind the iconic F-150 truck. A brand-new turbocharged 5.4-lit V8 was introduced (for the SVT Lighting model, one of the fastest trucks in history) along with a revolutionary third door which meant a pick-up truck could be more than just a workhorse and suit family needs as well.
America’s Best-Seller At Its Best
These ground-breaking changes carried over to the 11th gen, which was larger (bigger, taller) and a winner of the 2004-2005 Truck of the Year Award from Motor Trend. But the market of full-size pick-up trucks was crowded with talent, and in order to hold the #1 spot and beat Dodge, RAM and GM, Ford couldn’t ease up on the grip.
The powertrain was becoming stronger and stronger with each new edition; power, torque and hauling capacity were high like never before. The 12th gen introduced an even bigger model; plus, the Platinum trim was added, which made the Ford F-150 one of the first luxurious trucks.
But the real changes came in 2015. The 13th gen introduced the revolutionary aluminum-intensive architecture, the first on the market. This new construction allowed the truck to lose a lot of weight (about 700 pounds), and that meant better fuel-efficiency, better handling and mightier engines under that hood. Ford knew they had to do something crazy this time around, and they did exactly that – crazy. The public loved it, and so the company is getting ready for a proper celebration of the 33rd year as the best-seller.
So, that’s the story behind the iconic F-150 Truck for y’all. Of course, I could go on and on about it, and this was just an outline of the glorious history of America’s pride & joy. At least now you know that the F-150 in your/your neighbor’s garage is not just an awesome pick-up truck, but also one of the most iconic members of the big automobile family. Take care of your truck and it will take care of you. Drive safe and enjoy the roads. See ya!