The Ford F-150 has remained the most popular vehicle in North America for 39 years. Offering rugged capabilities, sophisticated styling, and the latest technologies, this pickup was first developed in 1948 as the F-Series F-1 model. Now, over 68 years later, the F-150 has come to dominate the market and set new standards for automotive engineering.
The first F-Series models included the F-1 half-ton truck, the F-2 three-quarter ton, and the F-3 heavy-duty truck. These models were set apart by their smooth, curved bodies, integrated headlights, and powerful engines. By the 1950s the F-1 underwent some cosmetic changes, now bearing the name F-100, and added more luxurious interiors. By 1957, the modern truck design was implemented, with a lower hood and unified appearance. This style quickly became a standard for trucks everywhere.
The 1961 Ford F-100 underwent a complete redesign, with a lower build and increased capabilities. New engines included an inline six-cylinder design that provided up to 170 horsepower, and by 1965 a V8 was implemented to provide 208 horsepower. By the end of the 1960s, the Ford F-100 had a mono-beam front suspension and it introduced the first crew cab (four-door pickup) design in 1969.
In 1975, the Ford F-150 was officially introduced. This model has a substantial frame and build, and was now offered to fill the gap between the F-100 and F-250. A whopping one-third of truck sales for the F-Series range were the new F-150 models, and the design proved to be incredibly popular. Aside from cosmetic changes, the F-150 offered the perfect balance of power and practicality, making it ideal as both a work truck and an everyday commuter vehicle. Fuel economy was also greatly increased at this time with smaller engines due to the gas crisis, and the F-150 also became more aerodynamic.
The 1980s and 1990s saw some design changes, including a whopping 7.5-liter V8 available in select trims. By the end of the 1980s the F-150 had become the standard for automotive engineering, and it had been the most popular vehicle in the US for nearly 10 years. The generation of models introduced at the new millennium gave the F-150 its contemporary design and looks.
What about now? The 2016 F-150 still remains the best-selling vehicle in the country. This model comes with an intelligent aluminum body that sheds weight to increase performance and fuel economy. It also has a max-towing capability of 12,200 pounds, and a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Intelligent new features include the Pro Trailer Backup Assist, SYNC 3 entertainment, BLIS and other driver assist technologies, and an available 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engine.