Yesterday Ford looked to the future of its pickup truck line with the Atlas concept, but today the automaker is looking back to the start of the F-Series line. On this day in 1948, Ford revealed the F-1 pickup — the first of 32 million F-Series trucks sold over the past 65 years.
On January 16, 1948, Ford revealed the F-1 and touted the new pickup range as the company’s first all-new post-war vehicles. The narrow trucks, with giant round headlights and a hood that was narrower than the front grille, quickly became successful and popular across the nation. The lineup of models with gross vehicle weight ratings up to 21,500 pounds, were badged F-1 through F-8 in ascending order of capability. Today Ford labels its pickup trucks from F-150 through F-750.
The original press release for the 1948 Ford F-Series trucks shows just how far the pickup segment has come. Back in 1948, only two-ton and larger trucks had power brakes. Engine choices comprised a 95-hp 3.7-liter inline-six, a 100-hp 3.9-liter V-8, and a 5.5-liter V-8 with 145 hp. The least-powerful engine in a 2013 Ford F-150 is a 3.7-liter V-6 with 302 hp. And the next-generation EcoBoost engine shown in the Ford Atlas concept will have a stop-start feature to save fuel; the future truck’s body uses several active aerodynamics features to further reduce consumption at high speeds.
The Ford F-Series range has continued to be a mainstay of the truck segment. The model has been America’s top-selling truck for the past 36 years, and the top-selling vehicle overall for 31 years.