Few things are around long enough to see a one hundredth anniversary. But thanks to the revolutionary vision of Henry Ford, his trucks are one of them.
We are celebrating a century’s worth of Ford truck models for toughness and innovation. Let us take a moment to reflect back on the legacy, from the Model TT – the first purpose-built Ford truck chassis – through modern times, which include a four decades-long reign as the best-selling pickup truck in America.
A Legend Is Born
With almost a decade of Model T production under his belt, Henry Ford answered the call from customers for a vehicle that could handle heavier loads and provide greater flexibility for work. And on July 27th, 1917, the Ford Model TT was introduced.
Using the base Model T cab and engine, the Model TT was outfitted with a longer wheelbase and a one-ton payload. To provide customers with enhanced functionality, the Model TT could be modified with third-party beds and cargo areas to enhance its utility as a delivery vehicle.
While only 209 Model TT trucks were sold that first year, Henry Ford knew he had a winner, especially in rural areas where the trucks started to find a home. As a result, we sold over 1.3 million Model TTs in a little over a decade, before it was replaced with the Model AA in 1928.
The Competition Heats Up
By 1932, with an established truck market and competitors attempting to gain a foothold, we improved our truck offerings once again with the Model BB. This iteration was even more capable than its predecessors and many went on to perform the honorable tasks of delivering mail, freight and even transporting sick and injured people to hospitals.
In 1941, with over 4 million pickup trucks sold, we went to work for Uncle Sam. While the changeover to war production hurt consumer sales, we learned some new tricks in our effort to design and build the heavy-duty machines that helped U.S. forces on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific.
In 1947, with the troops home and civilian life returning to normal, we put our war experience to work and began producing the next generation of trucks for our customers.
The first-generation F-Series trucks offered a wide range of capabilities, from the half-ton F-1, to the much larger F-8 cab-over truck. Through the 1950s, we upped the ante, offering pickups with more engine power, capacity and capability. During this time, we rebranded the series, introducing the F-100, F-250, F-350 and C-Series commercial trucks.
Built Ford Tough® (and Comfortable)
Throughout the 1950s, we steadily increased the capability of the F-Series lineup, raising the bar with enhanced style and amenities. Gone were the days of spartan utilitarian trucks. They were replaced with models that had two-tone paint, automatic transmissions and improved creature comforts like radios and improved heaters.
By the 1960s, Ford trucks, including an upscale Ford Ranger package, offered improved interiors, power steering and brakes, as well as a lower profile. Even F-Series advertising was tweaked to emphasize comfort as well as capability.
The 1970s, though, marked the beginning of the storied sales run., and in 1977, F-Series pulled ahead in the sales race and has left the competition in the rearview mirror ever since.
That same year, the iconic “Built Ford Tough” slogan was penned by a copywriter for a Ford truck magazine. These three words have so perfectly captured the essence of F-Series trucks and ushered in a new era for the brand. The tagline isn’t just words, it’s a promise to its owners.
Always Listening, Always Evolving
With all of our pickup offerings grounded in the Built Ford Tough®, we have also continued to evolve the F-Series to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers. Whether that be the heavy-duty capability of the Super Duty® line, or premium trim versions like the Platinum or King Ranch®, Ford trucks have something to offer nearly anyone.
Over the years, the Ford pickup truck has evolved from being just a beast of burden into a family vehicle, work companion and even off-road warrior. It has managed to stay a step or two ahead of the times.
When the price of gas became a burden on owners’ wallets, Ford was there with the EcoBoost® engine, which saved gas without sacrificing power. Indeed, the past decade has been one of incredible leaps forward in technology, which is evident in the latest generation of F-Series trucks. Available navigation and information and entertainment systems, Pro Trailer Backup Assist™, 360-degree cameras and lighter-weight high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy bodies are among a few of the innovations in Ford today’s pickups.
With over a hundred years (and counting) of toughness and innovation under our belt, we’re working hard to make sure that Ford F-Series trucks will help hardworking folks get the job done for a long, long time to come.