FORD CELEBRATES 100 YEARS OF TRUCK HISTORY -- FROM 1917 MODEL TT TO 2017 F-150 RAPTOR
- Ford celebrates 100 years of leadership, innovation, capability and durability for its iconic trucks – from the Ford TT that kicked off this rich history on this day in 1917 to the new Ford F-Series lineup
- Henry Ford’s vision to create a vehicle with a cab and work-duty frame capable of accommodating cargo beds and third-party upfit equipment proudly endures a century later in the Built Ford Tough F-Series lineup – from F-150 to F-750 Super Duty
- F-Series reigns as America’s best-selling truck for 40 straight years and best-selling vehicle for 35 straight years, thanks to Ford listening to and understanding the needs of truck owners, developing customer-centric product innovations, and delivering purpose-built capabilities, features and configurations; Ford has sold more than 26 million F-Series trucks in the United States since 1977
DEARBORN, Mich., July 27, 2017 – One hundred years ago today, Ford introduced its first purpose-built truck, the 1917 Ford Model TT, forever changing the auto industry – and the very nature of work itself.
A century later, Ford trucks are among the most iconic vehicles in the world. F-Series is America’s best-selling truck for 40 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle for 35 straight years. In Canada, Ford F-Series has enjoyed 51 consecutive years as best-selling pickup and now marks seven straight years as best-selling vehicle.
Throughout this rich history, Ford continuously has worked to improve its trucks by listening to truck owners and developing new innovations that improve their ability to get the job done. These innovations give today’s Ford truck owners greater towing and hauling capability, advanced engines for improved efficiency, and driver-assist technologies that make it easier and more convenient to operate.
Birth of a legend
Nine years after the first Model T saw Ford customers asking for a vehicle that could haul heavier loads and provide greater utility for work and deliveries. On July 27, 1917, Ford responded with the Model TT, which retained the Model T cab and engine. The Model TT came with a heavier-duty frame capable of carrying one ton of payload. The factory price was $600; 209 were sold that year.
Similar to the Fordson tractor introduced in 1917, Henry Ford envisioned a chassis that could accommodate third-party beds, cargo areas and other add-ons to deliver the increased functionality needed to get work done. It was a formula for success. By 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TTs before replacing the truck with the more capable Model AA with a 1.5-ton chassis.
Henry Ford marketed his early trucks heavily in rural areas, according to Bob Kreipke, Ford historian. “Model AA trucks in particular had a certain class to them,” he said. “Customers could use them on the farm, yet still take them to church on Sunday.”
Like the Model TT, the Model AA was available exclusively as a chassis cab offered in two lengths, with new powertrain and axle options for greater capacity. To stay ahead in what had become a hotly competitive business, Ford replaced the Model AA with the even more capable Model BB in 1933. Many were outfitted as mail and freight vehicles, ambulances and stake trucks. Two years later, Ford introduced the 1935 Model 50 pickup, powered exclusively by its famous Ford Flathead V8 engine.
By 1941, Ford had sold more than 4 million trucks. Changing over to war production resulted in the loss of consumer sales but a gain in experience building heavy-duty military truck chassis and four-wheel-drive personnel carriers. A year after consumer production resumed in 1947, Ford leveraged that knowledge to provide even more innovations for its customers.
“After the war, a lot of rural Americans moved to urban and suburban centers looking for work, and many took their Ford pickups with them,” said Kreipke. “Ford saw this as an opportunity, and began work on the next generation of trucks for 1948, what came to be known as F-Series Bonus Built trucks.”
This first-generation F-Series covered Classes 2 through 7 capacities – from the half-ton F-1 to the much larger F-8 cab-over truck. With the arrival of the second-generation F-Series for 1953, Ford increased engine power and capacity, and rebranded the series. The F-1 became the
F-100, while F-2 and F-3 trucks were integrated into the new F-250 line. F-4 became F-350. Class 8 trucks were spun off into a new C-Series commercial truck unit that produced iconic C-, H-, L-, N-, T- and W-Series Ford trucks.
Throughout this period, Ford trucks started looking less utilitarian, sporting two-tone paint, automatic transmissions, and improved heater and radio offerings. New standard features debuted with the 1953 F-100, including armrests, dome lights and sun visors. Lower and with a wider cab, the new truck featured integrated front fenders and a more aerodynamic design.
Then, in 1957, Ford tested out a car-based truck – the Falcon Ranchero. Marketed as “More Than a Car! More Than a Truck!,” this light-duty truck brought car-like amenities to consumers.
National Geographic Documentary 2015 F-150 Mega Plant
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