More Than A Car: The Ford F-series

More Than A Car: The Ford F-series

While cars are meant to take you from point A to B, certain vehicles feel like they are more, jam packed with nostalgia and influence. Each generation has a car that elevates a daily chore to the experience of driving an extraordinary work of art. These cars carve themselves into the minds of the consumer, impacting their dreams and aspirations in a way that is unexpected coming from a hunk of metal with four wheels and an engine.

Instead of focusing on a singular vehicle, this article will focus on a legendary line up within automotive history. A line up which crafted the American automotive scene not only for those within the car community, but countless others. The Ford F-series truck.

History of the Automaker

The Ford Motor Company was officially founded on June 16, 1903 in Detroit, Michigan by Henry Ford. The company was one of the few frontrunners in American automakers. Ford produced their first car in 1903, the Ford Model A. The Model A had a simple two cylinder engine which was the beginning of Ford’s legendary combustion engine.

Henry Ford was the president of the company from the time he founded it until 1919. However, this was not the last time he would assume this position. He re-assumed the reins of the motor manufacturer again in 1943 until 1945. He died just two years later in 1947 at the age of 83. His dedication to the manufacturing of high quality and reliable combustion engines transformed into his best-selling American automaker for more than 47 consecutive years.

Long history of the Ford F-Series
Ford Model TT

The Ford F-series had its humble beginnings in 1919 with the Ford Model TT which had a retail price of $600, equal to over $10,800 dollars today. The Model TT was based on Ford’s previous car, the Model T, but it had a longer wheelbase and a heavier construction. The model TT was powered by a 4-cylinder engine capable of producing 20 BHP (break horse power) which was paired with a Planetary 2-Speed transmission. The most important addition from the model T came later, its truck bed was added in 1925, making it Ford's first ever pickup truck. In 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TTs.

The Ford Model 50 pickup

The second vehicle in the F-Series lineup came in 1935. The Ford Model 50 pickup came with many aesthetic updates from their previous truck with the rounded look common in this era. It was also the first Ford truck to be sold with a 3.6 liter V8 engine which was able to produce 85 BHP and 153 ft/lbs of torque and was paired with a 3-speed manual transmission. The Model 50 remained in production until 1941.

Ford F-series Pickup

After World War II, Ford came out with another truck which was officially a Ford F-series Pickup. It was named the first generation F-series which was sold with a MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of only $1,287. It was sold with a various selection of engines, the 3.9L flat head V8, 5.5L flathead V8 or a 4.6L Y-block V8. The BHP ranged between engines, from 95 to 145BHP. 

F-Series 2nd Generation

The Second Generation F-series came in 1953 and was produced until 1956. It marked the beginning of the OHV (overhead valve) V8 which replaced the flathead V8 from the previous models. Additionally, 1956 was the year Ford introduced different size options, each size of the second generation became the F-150, 250, and 350. The second generation was able to produce all the way from 100 to 170 BHP depending on which trim the customer chose.

F-Series 3rd Generation

The Third Generation F-series came in 1957 and was made until 1960. It was the first Ford truck which came from the factory with a four wheel drive system which demonstrated the usability, something Ford still holds as a major principle. The Third Generation’s power ranged from 137 BHP in the base model all the way to 245 BHP.

F-Series 4th Generation

In 1961, Ford released the fourth generation of the F-series. The Fourth Gen was produced until 1966 and had many cosmetic updates. It had a lower and wider cab and looked more in line with modern pickup trucks. With the Fourth Generation more engines were introduced, a 4.9L straight-6 and a 5.9L FE V8 which was able to surpass the 200 BHP mark with 208 BHP. Ford gave the Fourth Generation a slogan which well represented the truck “Drives like a car, works like a truck”. It both drove smooth like a car and could work like the Ford F-series was meant for. 

F-Series 5th Generation

Right after the discontinuation of the Fourth Generation came the Fifth Generation in 1967. It was made until 1972. The Fifth Generation began to morph more into the beloved square body truck we recognize today. With this new lineup of trucks, a new Ford engine was born, a 5.8L V8 which was placed in the medium duty specification and was able to produce 200 BHP.

F-Series 6th Generation

The Sixth Generation was known for its strip which was made using a long dent which earned it the name “Dentside Ford” to enthusiasts. This truck quickly became the bestselling truck in America, a title Ford has held ever since. It was released in 1973 and was produced until 1979. The Sixth Gen had a total of 14 engine choices. In 1975, the sixth generation produced the legendary Ford F-150. Additionally, this generation of the F-series leaned farther into the square body styling popular in its era.

F-Series 7th Generation

The Seventh Generation F-series was made from 1980 until 1986. Even today the desirability of this generation still remains within the car community. This is due to the extreme reliability of them along with the well designed square body chassis. Additionally, this generation came with countless options of engines customers were accustomed with from Ford's previous F-series trucks.

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Long History of the Ford F-Series (continued)
F-Series 8th Generation

The Eighth Generation was the depiction of the square body truck. It was released in 1987 marking the fifteenth year anniversary of the Ford F-series. The Eighth Generation came standard with a 5.0L V8 but had many other options based on the customer's trim choice.

F-Series 9th Generation

The Ninth Generation started production in 1992 and went until 1996. It remained very similar to its predecessor only with some small changes; however, a new trim was added to the F-series lineup. The SVT lighting was born. The lighting was made to be a lighter and more powerful F-150. It was powered by a special 5.8L V8 engine producing 240 BHP. These engines were also equipped with hypereutectic pistons which improved the response, output, and reliability of the engine.

F-Series 10th Generation

The Tenth Generation was produced from 1997 until 2003. Its design started drifting away from the square body look making it appear more sleek and aerodynamic. It also was lighter than its predecessor with the addition of a more sporty suspension. The Tenth Generation also continued the Lightning making a new generation of it which was not only updated in design but also power. It produced a whopping 360 BHP.

F-Series 11th Generation

The Eleventh Generation made from 2004 until 2008 marked a revolutionary year for Ford. They sold a record-breaking 939,511 trucks. This year once again offered a wide variety of engines including a powerful 6.8L V10 in the F-250. The Eleventh Generation came with a base automatic transmission, but could still be bought with a 6-speed manual transmission. This generation focused more on storage and comfortability making it a good everyday driver along with an excellent work truck.

F-Series 12th Generation

Starting production in 2009 until 2014 was the Twelfth Generation Ford F-series. This truck was focused more on its work origins and has a more aggressive design. Additionally they released a brand new twin-turbocharged V6 engine for the truck. Towards the end of its production, Ford released the second rendition of their sports truck lineup, the F-150 SVT Raptor. The Raptor came with a 6.2L V8 which produced 411 BHP, the most of any Ford truck before it.

F-Series 13th Generation

The Thirteenth Generation F-series was produced from 2015 until 2020 and was constructed of mostly aluminum instead of steel making it more rust-resistant than ever. It was also the first F-series truck to receive a five-star NHTSA safety rating. This Generation also has a much more aggressive styling earning the nickname of “beer-can-body”. They also continued the Raptor trim producing the Raptor 2.0 now powered with a twin turbocharged V6 and a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds which is astonishing from a truck with its weight.

F-Series 14th Generation

The Fourteenth Generation F-series began production in 2021 and still remains in production in 2024. It remains similar in design, however it is more technologically advanced with a fourteen inch touch screen and a digital dial shifter. It has a large selection of trims including one with a 5.0L V8 and the choice between 4 V6 engines. Once again, Ford continued the Raptor now equipped with a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 producing 450 BHP and a Raptor R which a whopping 720 BHP. All of these Fourteenth Generation trucks are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

F-150 PowerBoost and the F-150 Lightning

Along with the Fourteenth generation trucks, Ford released the F-150 PowerBoost and the F-150 Lightning. The F-150 PowerBoost was a hybrid model of the previous trucks with a twin turbocharged 3.5L V6 and a Hybrid motor all together making 450 BHP. Ford also released an all electric version of the F-150, the Ford Lightning.


The Lightning has a choice between a 452BHP 337kW and a 580 BHP 433kW battery. Despite being fully electric, these trucks are still astonishingly good at towing with 775 Ft/lbs of torque. However towing with the Lightning drastically decreases its range which is a downside of going electric.

What Makes the F-Series So Iconic? 

F-series trucks have become a staple within American culture ever since the start. The extremely adaptable and versatile build of these trucks has allowed them to infiltrate a variety of workplaces, such as construction to emergency medicine. 

Even if you are not a Ford fan, it is important to realize how much their trucks have impacted modern day society, creating strong competition which pushes its competitors to build stronger and better trucks. These trucks play a large role for blue collar work responsible for our country’s infrastructure.

Additionally, the F-series has planted itself within popular culture and the car community alike. They have made appearances in countless tv-shows and movies furthering the notoriety of the brand. Their appearance in the car community is prevalent, from often hated on squatted trucks, to modified power-houses and decked-out off road machines.  

Another factor in the truck’s popularity is its customizability. All of the different trims and specs the customer can choose from — and the many different personalities who choose to drive them — creates many variations, all personalized to one’s wants and needs.

These are all reasons why the F-series was able to create the best selling truck in the United States, the F-150, “America’s Truck”. 

From ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks, trash trucks to just an everyday grocery-getter, Ford has built a truck for it, earning them the slogan “Ford Built Tough”. 

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