The date was 16th June, 1903. After a long period of deliberation, an ambitious industrialist named Henry Ford finally joined forces with a small group of associates to establish the Ford Motor Company. The firm did not was time producing their very first car – a two cylinder Model A – which was quickly followed by 3 new entrances: the two-cylinder Models B and C, and the four-cylinder Model F. The demand was exceedingly overwhelming, with a total sale of more than 2000 vehicles by the end of 1904. Determined to establish a new niche in the automotive industry for his company and products, Henry Ford ended up creating one of the most popular and successful cars in history – the Model T.
Introduced in 1908 for the 1909 production car, buyers instantly fell in love with the venerable Model T. It featured a simple design that was available in a variety of styles, with two or five passenger seats. The company also cancelled its previous lineup to focus on the “T”. This facilitated a boost in production and ultimately saw Henry Ford become an automotive icon. Let’s take a look at the top ten Ford pickup trucks of all time.
1925 Ford Model T Runabout
The Ford Model T Runabout was introduced on April 25, 1925, becoming Ford’s very first production pickup truck. The roadster type pickup boasted an all-steel bed that was 13” high, 40” wide, and 56” long. It also had an adjustable tailgate and pockets for stakes at the side, and was offered in an optional Model TT version for those who needed a longer heavy-duty pickup truck. The Ford Model T Runabout turned out to be extremely popular in 1925, with at least 33,800 examples being sold that year.
1927 Ford Model A
Introduced on 2nd December, 1927, the Ford Model A pickup came in an Open Cab design and benefited from a completely new body design courtesy of Briggs Manufacturing. A non-retractable soft top was incorporated, in the form of mica and canvas curtains, to keep out the elements. Although the cabs were new, they employed the same pickup boxes from the Model T. However, they were equipped with new features such as new wheels, new frames, new transmission, new engine, and a new body. Their new four- cylinder engines generated 40HP at 2200rpm and displaced 200 cubic-inches of torque. These were backed up by new 3-speed manual transmissions with a standard “H” shifting pattern. As it turned out, these were much easier to control than the 3-pedal planetary transmissions used in the previous Model Ts.
1932 Ford V-8 (Model 18)
Although Ford had been manufacturing factory-made pickup tracks from 1925, the most revolutionary changes in the pickup truck lineup were made in 1932 and would go on to establish the automaker as a producer of strong and powerful and work vehicles. These changes occurred mostly under the hood. In an effort to fight off stick competition from Chevrolet’s six-cylinder engine, Ford took a leap and launched their newly-designed Ford Flathead V-8 in the Model 18. This decision proved to be very popular with the buying public. The model 18 made history as the first low priced production car to house a V-8 engine – a significant breakthrough in the U.S automotive industry.
1938 Ford pickup truck
The 1938 Ford pickup truck took a completely different path from its predecessors. It received a significant facelift, particularly the re-skinned half tonners with an oval grille that was strangely reminiscent of certain Chrysler products. In addition, it featured longer fenders (like those found in typical cars), a larger cargo box, and a more spacious cab. With a price tag of just $590, it was the cheapest pickup truck in the lineup at that time. It was integrated with a black spare tire hubcap, crinkle finish interior door panels, and small V8 insignia on hubcaps.
1940-1941 Ford half-ton pickup
Considered one of the most popular pickup trucks of the ‘40s, the 1940 half-ton pickup was characterized by beautiful styling and enhanced engineering. The crisp clean styling was inspired by the 1939/1940 passengers cars, which were designed by E.T. “Bob” Gregorie – Ford’s chief designer during that time. That look has aged beautifully and managed to maintain its freshness and distinctiveness, just like the cars. In addition to the new face, the half-ton pickup benefited from a wide range of mechanical improvements. These included wider and sturdier cabs, as well as the introduction of cowl-mounted wipers on the windshields. It also incorporated mattress-type springs (which provided additional comfort) and new sealed-beam headlamps.
1953-1956 Ford F-100 Pickup
The 1953 Ford F-100 pickup was introduced in 1953 to celebrate the company’s golden anniversary. As a result, the new addition featured a clean and more modern styling, with a prominently truck-like appearance. It was tough, sturdy, practical, and crookedly handsome. Sales skyrocketed and the pickup truck developed a cult-like following as a collector vehicle. To add to the appeal, the F-100 was furnished with a nicely designed cab with convenient controls and a comfortable driving position. The only setback was that it used the 110hp flathead V8 and 101hp V6 engine from the previous years, which significantly affected its power. This changed in 1954 when a new overhead valve V8 engine generating 130hp was introduced. Its subsequent generations would produce an impressive 176hp.
1957-1959 Ford Ranchero
During the ‘50s, Ford was experimenting with new, exotic body styles. One of the pickups that benefited from this venture was the 1957 Ford Ranchero. In essence, this was a two-door car/pickup that paid tribute to Ford’s Australian “Ute.” The rear part of the roof was cut off and a bed-liner incorporated over the floor plan. It had a slight resemblance with the 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express, whose design involved sawing off the rear section of the old family Buick’s roof. Traditionally, some “horseless carriages” would also integrate detachable rear tonneaus to accommodate small pickup boxes.
1951 Studebaker 2R5 Pickup
This pickup was part of Ford’s first postwar truck design in the Studebaker 2R series. The lineup was popularly referred to as “The ‘49er’and was designed to replace the M series. Originally, the 2R came in four models with wheelbases ranging from 112 – 195 inches. The 1 ton 2R15 pickup and the half ton 2R5 had an 80bhp L-head Champion six under the hood, while the 2 ton 2R7 and 1 ½ ton 2R16 were powered by a 226-cid Commander engine generating 94HP. The Studebaker 2R pickup was unique due to its styling, courtesy of Robert Bourke.
1990-96 Ford F-150/250 Pickup
In 1980, Ford introduced their first full size pickup trucks in 3 series: F-350, F-250, and F-150. The company had dropped their Flareside trucks in 1988, and the new F-Series models were dubbed “Styleside”. The F-150 was equipped with a 6 3/4ft. cargo bed and 116.8 inch wheelbase. It was powered by a 4.9-L inline 6 with an allowance of V-8 options. Buyers could also order for a 4-wheel drive version.
1999 Ford Lightning
Launched in 1999 as a continuation of the first 1993 Ford Lightning, this pickup employed every speed and handling trick the firm’s special vehicle team could come up with in a much better platform. When the car finally hit the streets, it could sprint from zero to 60 in just 5.2 seconds and achieve a maximum speed of 147mph. As a result, this made it the fastest production truck in the world that time. Living up to its name, the Ford Lightning was not only fast, but it also came with some pretty impressive aesthetics.