The Incredibly True History of Ford’s F-150

History of Ford’s F-150 TSC Ford Specialist DenverFord’s F-150 truck didn’t just roll off the assembly line and onto the roadways in recent years. To get a better look at its history, you’ll have to go all the way back to 1948.

Today, TSC Ford Specialist in Englewood, Colorado is here to shed a bit of light on this incredible history.

We’re confident that you’ll see why this truck is one of the best-selling trucks in America. There are just so many good reasons. It’s tough, rugged and durable with everything truck owners are looking for.

How Did We Get Here? The History of Ford’s F-150


1st Generation of the F series truck. Ford named this the “Bonus Built Line,” which covered a wide range of models with different cab and chassis combos.

This line up started with light-duty 1/2-ton-rated pickup trucks to the Extra Heavy-Duty three-ton-rated F-8. The cab was redesigned with all-new front-end sheet metal, and the same cab served both conventional and Cab-Over-Engine models.

With fresh new lines and styling, this 1/2-ton was labeled the F-1. The squared front fenders wrapped smoothly into the front fascia, which carried an “in your face” horizontal bar-like grille. Rear fenders matched the profile of the front fenders, and the windshield was one piece.


This in-between year in the history of Ford’s F-150 brought a few tweaks:

  • Modified grille, front fenders, grill
  • Hoods, cabs, and dashboard
  • Larger, better visibility rear window
  • 2 levels of cab trim: 1. Standard 5 Star Cab. 2. Deluxe 5 Star Extra Cab which boasted padded foam seats, metal trim around windows and windshield, sound proof material, argent finished grille bar, locks, and armrests, 2-toned seat upholstery, dome light, twin horns.
  • Wood floor versus steel for lighter weight
  • 239-cubic-inch flathead V-8, 100 horsepower


Enter the Second Generation in the history of Ford’s F-150. Ford’s Golden Anniversary brings a completely redesigned look and the first one of its kind since 1948. What’s new:

  • Longer hood that blended nicely into the front fenders
  • Horizontal grille bars
  • New cab with more glass area.
  • Known as the “Economy Truck “
  • New hood emblem
  • An automatic transmission option
  • Final year for the flathead V-8
  • Ford also added “00” to all its monikers. (Instead of F1, it is now F-100, and so on)


Here, we see quite a few more changes:

  • Y-block engine
  • 239 cubic inches but a whopping 15% more horsepower
  • Automatic transmission expanded to F-250 and F-350s
  • Prominent vertical guards on the grille
  • New hood badge


In the history of Ford’s F-150, this model year became the most popular truck of the time with these added features:

  • Another grille change, now a V-shaped dip in the upper bar
  • Tubeless tires and power brakes


Ford modernizes their style somewhat by giving them wraparound windshields and restyled dashboards.


The Third Generation in 1957 brings a whole new modern look that is more squared and curvy:

  • Wider cab
  • Hidden running boards
  • Flush-mounted front fenders
  • Wider, full-width hood
  • Choice of two pickup beds: the traditional Flareside, and the new Styleside
  • Ford truck engine options included a 223-cubic-inch six, with 139 horsepower, and a 272-cid V-8 with 171 hp


Ford introduces their SuperDuty trucks. V-8 engines with a crazy 534 cubic inches, and some interior changes such as contoured dashboards and instrument panel changes.


This is the year where you could buy a Ford 4×4 right off the lot, previously you would have to go to a specialized 4X4 shop to have it done. The 8-foot truck bed is also gaining popularity with truck buyers, and it eventually surpasses the shorter bed in sales.


Ford F-150 Styleside pickup beds designed. Available in 61/2 and 8-foot lengths.


Ford gives yet another grille change by changing the FORD lettering in the middle with crossbars. The Stylesides also came with a separate cab and bed.

1963 Ford F-100s offered with three different bed designs: Styleside; Flareside; and a Styleside integrated with the cab (which would eventually be discontinued later that same year).


New gas engines for the medium and heavy-duty Ford truck lines. The grille gets yet another slight change in design, and they added air conditioning and two-toned paint jobs.


  • Enter the Twin I-Beam front suspension with coil springs
  • Twin I-Beam logo on the front fender
  • The name “Ranger” is introduced to the F series trucks as a styling package


For the Fifth Generation, Ford restyles the truck series, except for the heavy-duty ones.

1968 It is now required for all automotive manufacturers vehicles to add side marker reflectors or lights, so Ford redesigns the hood emblems with reflectors. Also:

  • 360 and 390 cubic inch engines introduced
  • Heater controls
  • Armrests
  • Interior door handles and window cranks
  • Upper trim molding on models so equipped
  • Rear side marker reflectors added due to regulations


Contractors Special package is introduced and includes side boxes for the bed as well as an under hood 110-volt generator. F-Series grilles took a slight change as well.


People are looking for more comfort in their trucks, and Ford delivers:

  • Ranger XLT trim for certain F-Series models arrives
  • Wood grained tailgate appliqué
  • Full-length lower-body moldings
  • Cloth-and-vinyl upholstery
  • Carpeting
  • Extra-cost vinyl roof covering


  • 1/2-ton F-100 range with colorful upholstery and bright trim
  • Ford Custom introduction
  • Spicier front axle


With the Sixth Generation in the history of Ford’s F-150, the first extended cab is introduced, and a new facelift to the grille and headlamp bezels appears. Plus:

  • F-100 Shorty emerges for younger buyers who want to customize
  • Luxury Lariat Trim launched in 1978
  • “Built Ford Tough” slogan appeared in 1979


For the Seventh Generation the Twin-Traction Beam independent front suspension is introduced, Ford commits to generating better gas mileage and more:

  • Lots of custom trim packages available
  • Ford lettering replaced with a blue FORD oval
  • The F-100 is dropped as the base model and replaced with the Ford F-150


The Eighth Generation offers 9-liter inline six fuel injection and:

  • 150 horsepower
  • 5-liter V8 fuel injection
  • Automatic hub locks
  • Many aesthetic changes inside and out


The Ninth Generation includes big changes in the history of Ford’s F-150:

  • Front end restyles with smoother lines
  • Ford F-150 Lightning introduction
  • Lots of safety upgrades
  • Truck of the Year award from Motor Trend magazine in 1997
  • Rear half door introduced
  • 2-liter overhead-valve V-6, and overhead cam V-8s of 4.6 and 5.4 liters
  • Ford enters the sleek new F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series


The Tenth Generation is rolled out, and in 1998, the F-Series truck celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since then it becomes one of the number one bestselling trucks in America, offering:

  • 25 more horsepower for the available 5.4-liter V-8
  • New engine that increases low-end torque, horsepower, and fuel economy
  • More comfortable ride
  • Fully boxed frame and suspension changes
  • Hydro-formed steel panels with additional built-in crush zones for safety

Ford decides to go where no other pickup truck has gone, and that is a fact. You now know all about the history of Ford’s F-150, 1948 until present day, and with this bit of information under your belt, you can also have TSC Ford Specialist as your go-to service center for all your maintenance and repair needs and well as excellent customer service and superior knowledge.


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