The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon

An illustration of the to start with Ford pickup truck, the 1917 Model TT.

It may appear that Ford has usually developed pickups considering the fact that it builds the bestselling pickup in the entire world.

But it didn’t constantly. 

In reality, it took 12 a long time prior to the enterprise launched its initially pickup. But this 7 days in 1948, Ford unknowingly gave birth to a dynasty with the introduction of the F-1 pickup truck, the first F-Series truck.

Truck ancestors

For approximately a 10 years following the introduction of the Ford Product T, customers requested a car or truck that had extra utility and the means to haul heavier cargo. Ford responded with the Design TT in 1917, fundamentally a Design T taxi and engine with a heavier-gauge metal body able of carrying 1 ton of payload at a rate of $600 and built to accommodate third-occasion system configurations. But it was a tough rider as only entrance shocks had been provided and they were being optional. Nonetheless, by the time output finished in 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Design TTs. 

Right up until the F-1, Ford pickups were being mostly derived from passenger motor vehicle platforms, and looked it. Previously mentioned, a handsome 1935 Model 50.

It was changed by the 1.5-ton Product AA, presented only as a chassis taxi in two lengths. Adhering to it was the Model BB in 1933. The all-new Product 50 in 1935, driven by a Ford Flathead V-8 and searching a lot like Ford’s car line. By the time production ends in 1941, Ford has bought much more than four million pickups.

As Ford switches to wartime creation, one of its primary assignments was to assistance source the war energy with Jeeps, a army vehicle made by Willys-Overland based on a style and design originated by American Bantam. Ford’s knowledge in building the Jeep would support them as soon as progress get the job done began on their new pickup truck.

But the corporation struggled throughout World War II, significantly following the dying of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, in 1943. Now in his 70s, Henry Ford tried to operate the privately held firm. But its significantly perilous economic problem led to Henry Ford II to think regulate by 1945.

When he did, his one particular intention was to defeat Chevrolet in profits, like in the truck sector, where by Chevrolet had appreciated a big guide considering the fact that the 1930s. 

A new Ford at the helm

Henry Ford with Henry Ford II, his oldest grandson.

With Henry Ford II in demand, the business went about redesigning its automobiles even as it built marginally facelifted versions of its prewar models to fulfill a booming postwar sellers’ industry as shoppers snapped the 1st new vehicles obtainable considering that 1942. As it turns out, the all-new Ford F-1 was the automaker’s initial new postwar products. It arrived out 1st basically for the reason that pickups took much less time to create than cars and trucks. 

“After the war, a lot of rural Individuals moved to city and suburban facilities searching for function, and lots of took their Ford pickups with them,” claimed Henry Ford promoted his early trucks greatly in rural places, according to Ford Historian Bob Kreipke. “Ford saw this as an option, and commenced operate on the up coming technology of trucks for 1948, what arrived to be known as F-Series Bonus Designed trucks.”

Released Jan. 19, 1948 starting up at $900, the F-1 was offered in every sizing from the rom the fifty percent-ton F-1 to the three-ton F-8, it was a huge improvement from past Ford function trucks. Notably, it was the 1st Ford pickup truck engineered with a certain truck body and chassis preceding Ford light-weight trucks have been dependent on passenger car or truck platforms and made use of front and rear transverse springs, which Henry Ford favored. Rather, the new F-1 experienced parallel leaf springs, double-acting tubular shock absorbers, an open up driveshaft and Hotchkiss generate. 

Styling observed a lengthier, broader and taller truck, just one that featured a one particular-piece windshield. Chrome trim could be added to the hood and grille for $10. Ford designers compensated specific notice to the interior, which it promoted as the “Million Greenback Cab.” 7 inches broader than ahead of, it integrated a comprehensive established of gauges and the luxury of contemporary air heat, sun visors, armrests, an ashtray, door-mounted vent windows and a column-mounted 3-velocity manual shifter, allowing for for a lot more passenger space

New possibilities below the hood

The legendary F-1 pickup, beginning the F-Collection legacy of tricky vans.

Engines were new as properly, as the F-1’s energy came from a standard Rouge 6, a 3.7-liter L-head inline-6 introduced in 1941 and rated at 95 horsepower. A 3.9-liter Flathead V-8 was obtainable, and rated at 100 hp. More substantial F-collection vehicles could be equipped with a new 5.5-liter flathead V-8 that would afterwards be utilized in the redesigned 1949 Lincoln. By means of 1954, Ford was the only enterprise to give V-8s in its pickups. 

And it could haul, many thanks to a 6.5-foot-extended pickup box with an all-metal ground with pressed-in skid strips and a hardwood subfloor. A bolstered tailgate, stake pockets, and 45 cubic feet of load place. If you wanted an 8-foot mattress and 160.3 cubic ft of cargo place, you experienced to choose for the F-2 or F-3 pickup.

The Ford F-1 was also offered in Canada as the Mercury M-1, as lots of towns in Canada didn’t have both of those a Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer.

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

Fourteen generations later on, the F-1’s descendants reign as America’s most preferred motor vehicle for more than four decades. And it all started on this 7 days, 75 a long time back.