Sunday, October 16, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups

Book Garage

On any given job site or farm; in any given work zone, or neighborhood driveway, you are likely to see a Ford F-Series. The truck is a mainstay of the American landscape, reflecting both the labors of hard work and the rewards such pursuits bring.

Trim levels like the XL and XLT reflect a certain forthright virtue in the ability to get work done; there’s a job to do, and therefore, we do it. Simple as that. Higher grades like the King Ranch and Platinum reflect an element of rugged luxury. It’s one thing to handle the toughest jobs, it’s another to provide style and class while doing it.

Unconventional Tactics

Ford has really, in the last five years, swung for the fences with the F-Series. In 2011 for example, the EcoBoost was introduced in the F-150. In a world of eight cylinders, it was hard to imagine a 3.5 displacement could match something as storied as a small block V8. More recently, its the use of military grade aluminum, now comprising the entire body of all F-Series trucks, including the muscular F-150 Raptor. Now, a 10-speed automatic transmission enters the picture for the 2017 F-150.

In some respects, this makes Ford trucks anything and everything but traditional. Then again, if we closely examine the history of the F-Series, we might say that’s always been the case.

Through The Years

The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups details the rise of this infamous, best-selling vehicle. The book documents crown jewels like the very first F-1 pickup in 1948 and the first 4×4 in 1959. Workhorses like the 1953 F-100 are showcased, complete with its 8-foot bed for maximum cargo hauling. The engines, transmissions, and various trim levels through the years are highlighted, and the accompanying photos make for a nice touch.

The old brochures and product ads will take you back to another era – it’s interesting to compare those to the current F-Series commercials on TV. My personal favorite is the one that uses the term “driverized” to describe the trucks. At the time, Ford was designing the cabs for both safety and comfort, not unlike how today’s F-Series trucks are engineered.


Dan Sanchez has been in the automotive media for more than 20 years. His work has appeared in Mustang Enthusiast, Popular Hot Rodding, Hot Rod, and many other magazines. Sanchez is at home in Corona, California.

Bleeding Blue Ovals

If you are a loyal Ford guy or gal, you will want a copy of Sanchez’s book. It’s something all Ford enthusiasts, fans, and collectors will find value in. If you just like trucks, regardless of make or model, then you will appreciate the history within. The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups: Every Model From 1948-1976 is available through Amazon and Motorbooks.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan

The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups Gallery

The idea behind the F-series was to offer a line of trucks with increasing capabilities. The F-5 shown here had more cargo capacity and a dually rear axle. The 1948 F-1 was not only a completely new body style for Ford trucks, but also brought along a new way of thinking about how pickup trucks were used. A major styling change occurred with the introduction of the 1951 F-1. The front grille was more prominent and stretched across the entire face of the truck. The 1952 F-1 pickups were identical to the previous models. Ford, however, did build different vehicles on the same platform, including this Five-Star Extra panel version. In 1953, the F-250 was 2 feet longer than the F-100 and utilized an 8-foot bed. Note the heavier-duty wheels that were attached to a 2,600-pound capacity front axle. The F-250 was built on a 118-inch wheelbase chassis and was available with the 239-cubic-inch flathead V-8. Note the driver’s side taillight. The passenger side taillight was an option. Ford placed a lot of emphasis of a more comfortable cab design. This was an outcome of more people switching from station wagons over to pickups. Sales brochures touted the “Driverized” cab as the safest and most comfortable of all pickups. The popularity of the Styleside bed increased dramatically, but in the midst of a recession, sales were still sluggish overall. The body lines of the Styleside bed allowed the use of two-tone paint schemes, which were very popular at the time. Because fleets were a big part of the market, Ford continued to produce panel trucks in the new F-100 body style. The rear tailgate of the ‘58 Ford F-100 had the Ford lettering outlined across the sheetmetal. Although Ford continued to push the F-100 very heavily in its marketing, the company continued to manufacture its larger commercial line of vehicles. It included the F-100 among these trucks in various photos, to imply it was just as capable and reliable. The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups by Dan Sanchez. All 4x4 models still used a two-speed Spicer transfer case and heavy-duty axles, but were in much less demand than the twowheel- drive models.

Last weekend in the Automoblog Book Garage we went on a barn find adventure.

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