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ford f-150 in dallas, tx

History of the Ford F-150

Posted at Thu, Jul 13, 2023 10:15 AM

Did you know that since the Ford F-150 debuted in 1975, it has remained one of the best-selling pickup trucks ever? What makes this beloved truck so popular? People continue to buy the F-150 for several reasons, including its iconic styling, high reliability, and safety ratings. These trucks are built “Ford Tough,” whether you use them to haul supplies to the job site or to pull a boat to the lake for a family vacation. Let's look at the history of the Ford F-Series and the development of the F-150.

The Beginnings of the Ford F-150

ford f-150 in dallas, txFord began building pickup trucks in 1917 with its Model TT chassis cab based on the Model T car. By 1928, they had created the Model AA and Model BB trucks before launching the Model 50 pickups between 1935 and 1941. Ford halted most production of civilian pickup trucks by 1941 to focus on making vehicles for World War II. Then in 1948, they made the first generation of the F-Series pickup truck.

First Generation: 1948-1952

Ford called the first-generation pickup trucks the F-Series Bonus Built trucks, which included the half-ton F-1 and the heavy-duty cab-over F-8. These trucks had round headlights, a foot-plunger windshield washer, and driver- and passenger-side windshield wipers.

Second Generation: 1943-1956

By 1953, Ford redesigned the F-Series truck with an updated chassis, more powerful engines, and luxury features such as a radio and dome light. In 1956, the F-100 had a wrap-around windshield instead of the familiar sloped one, and seat belts became an option for all F-Series models.

Third Generation: 1957-1960

The third-generation F-Series sees a modern body design. The front fenders became integrated with the body in a clamshell-like appearance with a wider stance. This look lasted almost 20 years. In 1959, four-wheel drive became an option for the F-Series pickup trucks. 

Fourth Generation: 1961-1966

Ford introduced the Twin-I-Beam front suspension system for the F-series and the first four-door crew cab model. In 1965, you see the Ranger trim was added to the F-Series lineup, which Ford kept until they discontinued it in 2011. The Ranger brought a touch of luxury to the pickup trucks with carpeted floors, power brakes, power steering, and air-conditioning.

Fifth Generation: 1967-1972

The design of the F-Series becomes more modern during the fifth generation. By this time, the truck had a heavier frame, a new front grille design with integrated headlights, and four more inches of room in the cab.

Sixth Generation: 1973-1979

The sixth generation was pivotal for the F-Series. In 1975, Ford introduced the first F-150 pickup truck. By 1978, you could get rectangular-shaped headlights on select upper trims, and by 1979, they were standard across the F-150 lineup.

Seventh Generation: 1980-1986

Ford gave the F-Series a new design for the seventh generation. The automaker added pleasant features such as power windows and doors, a tinted windshield, and interval windshield wipers. Drivers no longer had the option of three-on-the-tree manual shifting, as Ford discontinued this feature in 1986.

Eighth Generation: 1987-1991

In 1991, we saw the appearance of the Nite Edition model for the F-150. In addition, Ford gave the F-150 a standard 5.0-liter V-8 engine and a rounder look for the front end. In 1989, the F-Series became the nation's best-selling truck.

Ninth Generation: 1992-1996

The ninth generation of the F-Series gave the F-150 a new look with a FlareSide bed option. Technology improved with a driver's side airbag, remote keyless entry, and a compact disc player.

Tenth Generation: 1997-2003

Ford made the F-150 separate from the others in the F-Series lineup in this generation. The F-150 became more of a personal-use truck, while the F-250 and F-350 branched into more heavy-duty industrial or commercial use. We also saw a major redesign of the exterior of the F-150 with a more aerodynamic appearance. Ford replaced the Twin-I-Beam suspension system with a torsion-bar system.

Eleventh Generation: 2004-2008

The F-150 gets an interior makeover in this generation with more room and features to make driving and riding in this vehicle more comfortable. In addition, Ford gives all F-150s four doors with the SuperCab and crew cab. In 2004, the F-150 earned the North America Truck of the Year award for safety and reliability.

Twelfth Generation: 2009-2014

You can begin to see the future design of the F-150 in the twelfth generation. Ford gave this pickup truck a bolder, more aggressive appearance with a prominent grille and squared-off style. In 2011, the F-150 gets a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Off-road drivers embraced the F-150 SVT Raptor with its rugged suspension and a 5.4-liter V-8 engine pumping out 320 horsepower with its introduction in the twelfth generation.

Thirteenth Generation: 2015-2020

In 2015, Ford gives the F-150 adaptive cruise control as part of the truck's safety features. The truck also gets 750 pounds lighter when Ford switched the frame from all steel to all aluminum. We also see the new Raptor 2.0 with a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine delivering a massive 510 horsepower. Additionally, Ford gives the F-150 lineup innovative technology features, such as an advanced infotainment system, more driver-assist features, and remote capabilities.

Fourteenth Generation: 2021-Current

Ford continues to upgrade the F-150 in the current fourteenth generation. This truck has more technology, five engine options, and a hybrid powertrain. In 2021, Ford debuted the all-electric F-150 Lightning with an estimated driving range of 240 to 400 miles, depending on the battery pack size. At Planet Ford Dallas, we look forward to seeing what modern changes Ford brings to the F-150 in the coming years.

Take the Ford F-150 for a Test Drive

This iconic full-size pickup truck has a rich history and a bright future. The team here at Planet Ford Dallas invites you to stop by our state-of-the-art showroom and the dealership to learn more about the history of the Ford F-150. We'll be happy to show you our inventory of new Ford F-150s and let you take one for a test drive. Once you find the perfect F-150 trim to fit your lifestyle, our professional finance team will help you get the ideal auto loan.

Ford F-150 by Nguy?n Hoàng Kha  is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

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