Today In Ford History--jan. 16
On Jan. 16, 1948, Ford introduced its post-war lineup of light, medium and heavy trucks called the F-Series. With its modern design, “Million Dollar” cab and ten-year life expectancy, the F-1 quickly became a best-seller. Fifty five years later, the hugely popular F-Series pickup has surpassed the Model T and VW Beetle to become the best-selling vehicle in automotive history.
More than 27.5 million have been sold since 1948, when the F-1 fed a pent-up post-war demand for civilian trucks for industrial, commercial and agricultural use. More than just a pickup, the versatile F-Series is a favorite of small-business owners, tradesmen, tow- and dump-truck operators, and utility, government and commercial fleets. The F-Series is also extremely popular for recreational use with RVs and towing boats, snowmobiles and horse trailers.
F-Series production began at Ford assembly plants in Norfolk, Va. and Atlanta, Ga., then quickly expanded to 14 others. Total production for 1948 was 290,000—Ford’s highest truck volume since 1929. Current production sites include Norfolk, Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Oakville, Ontario; and Cuautitlan, Mexico.
The 1948 lineup of eight trucks ranged in size from the most popular F-1, with a half-ton capacity, to the F-8, which could carry up to 21,500 pounds. With its 6.5-foot bed, the lightweight F-1 was heavily promoted as “Master of 1,001 light delivery jobs!”
Ford has used some variation of that numbering system ever since, with current trucks ranging from the base F-150 to the F-650/F-750 series. For 2003, the F-150 is available in a choice of seven body styles and six powertrain combinations; the commercial F-650/F-750 trucks offer a choice of three diesels and capacity up to 11 tons.
The all-new 2004 F-150, introduced in Jan. 6, offers four doors for easy access in all configurations and five distinctive series to match the unique needs of its many customers.
The original 1948 design, which remained unchanged through 1952, featured broad fenders and a horizontal grille that gave the F-Series a huskier, more substantial look, matching the durability promised in the “ten-year life expectancy” promotion. Under the hood, the F-1 featured a 95 hp six-cylinder introduced in Ford’s 1947 passenger cars and an optional V-8. Ford spent an estimated $1 million to design and tool the truck’s new roomier, more comfortable cabs.