It might appear that Ford has all the time constructed pickups because it builds the bestselling pickup on this planet.
But it surely didn’t all the time.
In truth, it took 12 years earlier than the corporate launched its first pickup. However this week in 1948, Ford unknowingly gave beginning to a dynasty with the introduction of the F-1 pickup truck, the primary F-Sequence truck.
For practically a decade after the introduction of the Ford Mannequin T, prospects requested a car that had extra utility and the power to haul heavier cargo. Ford responded with the Mannequin TT in 1917, mainly a Mannequin T cab and engine with a heavier-gauge metal body able to carrying 1 ton of payload at a worth of $600 and made to accommodate third-party physique configurations. But it surely was a tough rider as solely entrance shocks had been provided and so they had been non-compulsory. Nonetheless, by the point manufacturing resulted in 1928, Ford had offered 1.3 million Mannequin TTs.
It was changed by the 1.5-ton Mannequin AA, provided solely as a chassis cab in two lengths. Following it was the Mannequin BB in 1933. The all-new Mannequin 50 in 1935, powered by a Ford Flathead V-8 and searching very similar to Ford’s automobile line. By the point manufacturing ends in 1941, Ford has offered greater than 4 million pickups.
As Ford switches to wartime manufacturing, considered one of its major assignments was to assist provide the struggle effort with Jeeps, a navy car designed by Willys-Overland based mostly on a design originated by American Bantam. Ford’s expertise in constructing the Jeep would assist them as soon as growth work started on their new pickup truck.
However the firm struggled throughout World Struggle II, significantly after the dying of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, in 1943. Now in his 70s, Henry Ford tried to run the privately held firm. However its more and more perilous monetary situation led to Henry Ford II to imagine management by 1945.
When he did, his one aim was to beat Chevrolet in gross sales, together with within the truck market, the place Chevrolet had loved an enormous lead because the Thirties.
A brand new Ford on the helm
With Henry Ford II in cost, the corporate went about redesigning its autos even because it constructed marginally facelifted variations of its prewar fashions to fulfill a booming postwar sellers’ market as customers snapped the primary new vehicles out there since 1942. Because it seems, the all-new Ford F-1 was the automaker’s first new postwar product. It got here out first merely as a result of pickups took much less time to develop than vehicles.
“After the struggle, lots of rural People moved to city and suburban facilities in search of work, and plenty of took their Ford pickups with them,” stated Henry Ford marketed his early vans closely in rural areas, based on Ford Historian Bob Kreipke. “Ford noticed this as a possibility, and started work on the following era of vans for 1948, what got here to be generally known as F-Sequence Bonus Constructed vans.”
Launched Jan. 19, 1948 beginning at $900, the F-1 was out there in each dimension from the rom the half-ton F-1 to the three-ton F-8, it was an enormous enchancment from earlier Ford work vans. Notably, it was the primary Ford pickup truck engineered with a selected truck body and chassis; earlier Ford mild vans had been based mostly on passenger automobile platforms and used entrance and rear transverse springs, which Henry Ford favored. As an alternative, the brand new F-1 had parallel leaf springs, double-acting tubular shock absorbers, an open driveshaft and Hotchkiss drive.
Styling noticed an extended, wider and taller truck, one which featured a one-piece windshield. Chrome trim might be added to the hood and grille for $10. Ford designers paid explicit consideration to the inside, which it marketed because the “Million Greenback Cab.” Seven inches wider than earlier than, it included a full set of gauges and the posh of recent air warmth, solar visors, armrests, an ashtray, door-mounted vent home windows and a column-mounted 3-speed guide shifter, permitting for extra passenger house
New selections underneath the hood
Engines had been new as properly, because the F-1’s energy got here from a typical 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 out there, and rated at 100 hp. Bigger F-series vans might be fitted with a brand new 5.5-liter flathead V-8 that might later be used within the redesigned 1949 Lincoln. Via 1954, Ford was the one firm to supply V-8s in its pickups.
And it might haul, because of a 6.5-foot-long pickup field with an all-steel ground with pressed-in skid strips and a hardwood subfloor. A bolstered tailgate, stake pockets, and 45 cubic toes of load house. For those who wished an 8-foot mattress and 160.3 cubic toes of cargo house, you needed to go for the F-2 or F-3 pickup.
The Ford F-1 was additionally provided in Canada because the Mercury M-1, as many cities in Canada didn’t have each a Ford and Lincoln Mercury seller.
The F-1 was restyled for 1951 and soldiered on one other yr earlier than the arrival of its substitute, the 1953 F-100.
Fourteen generations later, the F-1’s descendants reign as America’s hottest car for greater than 4 many years. And it began on this week, 75 years in the past.