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The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon

The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon

An illustration of the 1st Ford pickup truck, the 1917 Design TT.

It might appear to be that Ford has usually built pickups because it builds the bestselling pickup in the world.

But it didn’t usually. 

In fact, it took 12 a long time ahead of the company launched its initially pickup. But this 7 days in 1948, Ford unknowingly gave delivery to a dynasty with the introduction of the F-1 pickup truck, the very first F-Collection truck.

Truck ancestors

For nearly a decade soon after the introduction of the Ford Product T, customers asked for a vehicle that had more utility and the skill to haul heavier cargo. Ford responded with the Product TT in 1917, mainly a Model T cab and engine with a heavier-gauge steel body capable of carrying 1 ton of payload at a selling price of $600 and created to accommodate third-social gathering physique configurations. But it was a tough rider as only entrance shocks ended up available and they had been optional. Even so, by the time manufacturing finished in 1928, Ford experienced marketed 1.3 million Model TTs. 

Till the F-1, Ford pickups ended up largely derived from passenger automobile platforms, and appeared it. Earlier mentioned, a handsome 1935 Product 50.

It was changed by the 1.5-ton Model AA, provided only as a chassis cab in two lengths. Next it was the Model BB in 1933. The all-new Design 50 in 1935, driven by a Ford Flathead V-8 and hunting much like Ford’s car or truck line. By the time production finishes in 1941, Ford has sold extra than four million pickups.

As Ford switches to wartime generation, 1 of its major assignments was to aid provide the war hard work with Jeeps, a army automobile created by Willys-Overland based mostly on a design originated by American Bantam. Ford’s experience in creating the Jeep would assist them when advancement operate started on their new pickup truck.

But the business struggled during Globe War II, specifically soon after the death of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, in 1943. Now in his 70s, Henry Ford attempted to run the privately held business. But its significantly perilous economical situation led to Henry Ford II to suppose manage by 1945.

When he did, his just one aim was to beat Chevrolet in sales, which include in the truck industry, where by Chevrolet experienced relished a huge direct given that the 1930s. 

A new Ford at the helm

Henry Ford with Henry Ford II, his oldest grandson.

With Henry Ford II in charge, the enterprise went about redesigning its vehicles even as it developed marginally facelifted variations of its prewar versions to satisfy a booming postwar sellers’ marketplace as shoppers snapped the very first new autos readily available considering the fact that 1942. As it turns out, the all-new Ford F-1 was the automaker’s initial new postwar product or service. It arrived out very first just mainly because pickups took less time to create than autos. 

“After the war, a lot of rural People in america moved to city and suburban centers searching for perform, and a lot of took their Ford pickups with them,” explained Henry Ford promoted his early trucks seriously in rural parts, in accordance to Ford Historian Bob Kreipke. “Ford observed this as an chance, and started function on the upcoming era of vehicles for 1948, what came to be acknowledged as F-Collection Reward Created vans.”

Introduced Jan. 19, 1948 starting at $900, the F-1 was out there in each and every sizing from the rom the half-ton F-1 to the a few-ton F-8, it was a massive improvement from earlier Ford get the job done vans. Notably, it was the to start with Ford pickup truck engineered with a certain truck frame and chassis prior Ford light-weight vans were being based on passenger automobile platforms and employed entrance and rear transverse springs, which Henry Ford favored. As an alternative, the new F-1 had parallel leaf springs, double-acting tubular shock absorbers, an open driveshaft and Hotchkiss generate. 

Styling saw a longer, wider and taller truck, a person that highlighted a a single-piece windshield. Chrome trim could be extra to the hood and grille for $10. Ford designers paid out unique awareness to the interior, which it marketed as the “Million Dollar Taxi.” Seven inches broader than just before, it incorporated a entire established of gauges and the luxurious of fresh air heat, sunlight visors, armrests, an ashtray, doorway-mounted vent windows and a column-mounted 3-velocity handbook shifter, allowing for for additional passenger place

New alternatives under the hood

The legendary F-1 pickup, starting the F-Series legacy of rough vehicles.

Engines have been new as well, as the F-1’s electricity arrived from a standard Rouge Six, a 3.7-liter L-head inline-6 launched in 1941 and rated at 95 horsepower. A 3.9-liter Flathead V-8 was accessible, and rated at 100 hp. Much larger F-series vans could be fitted with a new 5.5-liter flathead V-8 that would later be used in the redesigned 1949 Lincoln. By means of 1954, Ford was the only corporation to supply V-8s in its pickups. 

And it could haul, many thanks to a 6.5-foot-lengthy pickup box with an all-metal flooring with pressed-in skid strips and a hardwood subfloor. A reinforced tailgate, stake pockets, and 45 cubic feet of load area. If you preferred an 8-foot mattress and 160.3 cubic ft of cargo place, you had to opt for the F-2 or F-3 pickup.

The Ford F-1 was also supplied in Canada as the Mercury M-1, as several towns in Canada did not have the two a Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer.

The F-1 was restyled for 1951 and soldiered on an additional year before the arrival of its alternative, the 1953 F-100.

Fourteen generations afterwards, the F-1’s descendants reign as America’s most preferred vehicle for additional than four a long time. And it all commenced on this week, 75 a long time in the past.