The Ford Motor Company just keeps on truckin’. Its first truck, the 1917 Model TT, made its debut 100 years ago and Ford is celebrating with a look back at its successful centennial run.
That first Model TT was capable of hauling a one ton of payload and sold for $600 — about the cost of a paint upgrade today.
By 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million TTs before replacing it with the Model AA and its 1.5-ton chassis.
“Model AA trucks in particular had a certain class to them,” said Bob Kreipke, Ford historian, in a statement.
“Customers could use them on the farm, yet still take them to church on Sunday.” That kind of sounds like the King Ranch F-150 today.
In 1935 Ford introduced the Model 50 pickup, which featured the famous Flathead V-8 engine. By 1941, Ford had sold more than 4 million trucks.
After World War 2, the first generation F-Series was introduced in 1948, the range going from the iconic half-ton F-1 to the larger and funkier-looking F-8 cab over engine (COE) trucks.
“After the war, a lot of rural Americans moved to urban and suburban centers looking for work, and many took their Ford pickups with them,” said Kreipke.
“Ford saw this as an opportunity, and began work on the next generation of trucks for 1948, what came to be known as F-Series Bonus Built trucks.”
Ford rebranded the F-series in 1953 and the F-1 became the F-100, while F-2 and F-3 trucks were integrated into the new F-250 line.
During the 1950s, nifty two-tone paint offerings entered the scene along with automatic transmissions, better heaters, and radios. Standard features on the 1953 Ford F-100 included armrests, dome lights, and sun visors. Woo-hoo!
Things got interesting in 1957 with the introduction of the Falcon Ranchero, which offered a light-duty truck with car-like amenities. Note to Ford: we’d love to see a modern take on the Ranchero someday soon.
Ford introduced its fourth-generation F-Series with its twin I-beam front suspension in 1961. An upscale Ranger package first appeared in 1967 along with power steering and brakes, and a lower chassis profile according to Ford.
The roomier SuperCab option was introduced in 1974 and the following year, the sixth-generation F-Series arrived. Ford dropped the F-100 in 1975 and replaced it with a higher-capacity F-150 pickup.
An all-new compact Ranger was introduced in 1982 and later discontinued in the U.S. in 2011 — thankfully, it will be back on our shores in 2019.
EcoBoost V-6 engine technology debuted the following year and Ford’s high-strength aluminum-alloy body was introduced in 2015 for the F-150.
Today the F-Series truck is America’s best-selling truck for 40 consecutive years and Ford’s best-selling vehicle for 35 straight years. Not too shabby.