When it comes to the quintessential American pickup, nothing beats the Ford F-150. A variant of the Ford F-Series line of full-size trucks that date back to the middle of the 20th century, the F-150 has been the best-selling automobile in the US for 30 consecutive years. And the secret to its resounding success is in its capability to become a rugged workhorse that adapts to various tasks. So whether it is for hauling, towing, or simply getting from point A to point B, the Ford F-150 is the vehicle of choice for millions of Americans.
1948-1975: The F-Series
The Ford F-150 can trace its lineage back to the first F-Series truck - the Ford Bonus-Built - manufactured in 1948, but it was not until 1975 that the F-150 was formally introduced. Filling in the gap between the Ford F-100 and the F-250, the F-150 was meant to replace the former as the standard F-Series truck due to stricter emissions requirements. The first F-150s were outfitted with straight-six engines, though these were eventually replaced by the Ford FE, Windsor, and 335 V8 in later years.
1980 -1990: Further improvements
In 1980, the F-150 underwent a major redesign with a larger, more aerodynamic form. The hood was slanted more to the rear, the grille with a cleaner appearance, and the sides with a more chiseled look and a flatter accent groove. The interior also received an upgrade with 10% more interior space. The F-150 saw further changes as well in 1987, with anti-lock brakes as a standard feature and a power-boosting fuel injection system. The exterior was also upgraded with flush headlights, a simpler grille design, and more streamlined front fenders, hood, and bumper, while the interior received a revised dashboard design with more readable gauges and a larger glove box.
With more focus shifting to aerodynamics, the 1992 model of F-150 had evolutionary changes particularly in its exterior. The nose was smoothed out with the front light clusters and bumper ends angled to the rear'
Aero mirrors and a revised tailgate design completed the new F-150. The interior didn't escape scrutiny either, with new instrument panel configuration, plush seats, door trim, and standard three-point rear seatbelts. The F-150 received interior safety upgrades in 1994 with driver's side airbags, side door beams, and center-mounted third brake lights.
1990-present: More and better
In 1997, Ford took a gamble and replaced the F-150's classic chiseled look with a more jelly-bean like appearance. But despite its softer appearance, the F-150 was given a trio of powerful new engines: a 4.2-liter 202hp V6, a 4.6-liter 231hp V8, and a 5.4 liter 260hp V8. A wide variety of F-150 configurations was also offered, from the Regular Cab to the SuperCrew version that caters to passenger transport.
The current F-150, in its 11th generation, is offered in nine trim levels, from the base XL to the stylish Harley Davidson Edition and the off-road specialist SVT Raptor. There are also plenty of engine choices as well, such as a 302hp V6, a twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 and a 411hp 6.2 V8. All of the engines are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.