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The History of Ford’s F-150

A chronological look at Blue Oval’s best-selling fullsize pickup, from its beginning to today.

Jul 22, 2020
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On Thursday June 25, 2021, Ford Motor Company introduced its redesigned F-150: a pickup truck that company officials say is "purpose-built to be the toughest, most productive F-150 ever, and targeted to be the most powerful truck in its class."
This newest generation joins a long legacy of full-size Ford rigs that includes: F-1, the truck that launched the F-Series in 1948; F-100, "Power King" of the 1950s; heavy-duty F-250 (1965) and F-350 (1979). However, the half-ton F-150's formal introduction (by badge designation) came in 1975.
As legend goes, and with the truck rolling out just as the U.S. was recovering from a major fuel crisis, F-150—with a GVWR of 6,050 pounds—was positioned between F-100 (4,700 to 5,650 pounds, depending on wheelbase) and F-250 in order to somehow circumvent emissions restrictions by being categorized in the heavy-duty truck class with less stringent rules.
The play proved to be successful, as F-150s didn't need to have catalytic converters, smog pumps, or other parts, and they could still burn "regular" leaded gasoline, while F-100 was relegated to using only unleaded fuel.
Although the two trucks were theoretically FlareSide or StyleSide "twins" during their simultaneous production years (F-100 was finally discontinued in 1983), F-150's heavier suspension made it about 1 inch taller. And, while a regular cab, shortbed first-generation F-150 is highly coveted, the numbers are extremely limited. For whatever reason, not long after F-150's debut, Ford required shortbed models be built as SuperCabs. Thankfully, that configuration restriction was lifted in later years and the standard cab/shortbox setup is still available today.
To date, the iconic truck has experienced a 46-year production term that has seen many styling changes—rounding the body in 1997 to mimic Super Duty and pioneering the use of all-aluminum exterior panels in 2015 are probably the most notable—as well as engine improvements (the advent of 4.6L, 5.4L modular, 5.0L Coyote V-8, 3.0L diesel, and 3.5L EcoBoost and hybrid V-6 engines), special editions (50th Anniversary NASCAR, Harley-Davidson, SVT Lightning and Raptor), different trim levels (XL, XLT, Lariat, FX2, FX4 etc. ), and a host of accessories and option packages.
With inclusion of the F-1, F-2, F-3, and F-100 that precede F-150, the trucks are now in their 13th generation. However, from a pure F-150 perspective, the 2021 rig is the latest flagship of Gen 8. Here is a pictorial look at F-150 from 1948 to now, including mention of notable changes and updates to the platform through the years.


1948 to 1952 (1st gen F-Series)
Photo 2/14   |   001 History Of Fords F 150
1948 F-1
1953 to 1956 (2nd gen F-Series)
Photo 3/14   |   002 History Of Fords F 150
1955 F-100
Notable Changes
Complete redesign
Chassis update
239 V-8 (1953)
279 and 317 V-8 (1954)
Full wrap-around front windshield (1956 only)
Optional power steering, seat belts, radio, cigarette lighter and dome light
F-1 renamed F-100 (F-2 and F-3 renamed F-250, F-4 renamed F-350)
1957 to 1960 (3rd gen F-Series)
Photo 4/14   |   003 History Of Fords F 150
1960 F-100
Notable Changes
Clamshell front end
Four-wheel drive (1959)
1961 to 1966 (4th gen F-Series)
Photo 5/14   |   004 History Of Fords F 150
1963 F-100
Notable Changes
Twin I-Beam front suspension (1965)
"Ranger" trim level introduced (1965)
4.9L I-6 engine (1965)
1967 to 1972 (5th gen F-Series)
Photo 6/14   |   005 History Of Fords F 150
1968 F-100
Notable Changes
Updated frame
Factory-installed air conditioning
302 V-8 engine (1969)
Camper Special introduced (1972)
High-line XLT introduced
Optional AM/FM radio
1973 to 1979 (6th gen F-Series, 1st gen F-150)
Photo 7/14   |   006 History Of Fords F 150
1973 F-150 Ranger
Notable Changes
Front disc brakes
Four-wheel-drive for SuperCab
Additional galvanized steel
460ci engine discontinued
1980 to 1986 (7th gen F-Series, 2nd gen F-150)
Photo 8/14   |   007 History Of Fords F 150
1981 F-150
Notable Changes
First full interior/exterior redesign in 25 years
High-output 5.8L V-8 engine (1984)
Fuel-injected 5.0L V-8 (1985)
Three-speed manual transmission discontinued (1986)
Power windows, door locks, mirrors, inside locking hood release, and other options available
1987 to 1991 (8th gen F-Series, 3rd gen F-150)
Photo 9/14   |   008 History Of Fords F 150
1990 F-150
Notable Changes
Improved aerodynamics featuring rounded front fascia and bed
All-new interior
Fuel injection for 4.9L I-6 engine (1987)
Five-speed manual overdrive transmission (1987)
FlareSide bed discontinued (1987)
E4OD Four-speed automatic transmission (1989)
1992 to 1996 (9th gen F-Series, 4th gen F-150)
Photo 10/14   |   009 History Of Fords F 150
1995 F-150 Extended Cab
Notable Changes
Complete facelift (fenders, grille, lower hood)
FlareSide bed reintroduced
Interior upgrades (dashboard, airbag)
Cab-mounted third brake light
Remote keyless entry, passive alarm, power driver's seat, CD player available
SVT Lightning introduced (1993)
SVT Lightning discontinued (1995)
1997 to 2003 (10th gen F-Series, 5th gen F-150)
Photo 11/14   |   010 History Of Fords F 150
1997 F-150
Notable Changes
Body streamlined/improved aerodynamics improved ride quality and fuel economy
4.9L I-6 engine replaced by V-6
SVT Lightning re-introduced (1999)
Harley-Davidson Edition introduced (2000)
2004 to 2008 (11th gen F-Series, 6th gen F-150)
Photo 12/14   |   011 History Of Fords F 150
1998 F-150 50th Anniversary
Notable Changes
New chassis
SVT Lightning discontinued Again (2004)
Flex-fuel 5.4L 3-valve Triton V-8 engine (2006)
Optional navigation system (2006)
2009 to 2014 (12th gen F-Series, 7th gen F-150)
Photo 13/14   |   012 History Of Fords F 150
2013 F-150 FX4 SuperCab
Notable Changes
5.0L Coyote and 6.2L V-8 engines
Three-bar grille
SVT Raptor (2010)
Twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 engine (2011)
6R80 six-speed automatic transmission
Bigger interior
Electric power-assisted steering
2015 to 2021 (13th gen F-Series, 8th gen F-150)
Photo 14/14   |   013 History Of Fords F 150
2021 F-150
Notable Changes
All-aluminum body (2015)
Super Duty-style exterior treatments (lights, grille)
Adaptive Cruise Control
Start-stop feature
3.0L turbodiesel engine
Twin-Turbocharged 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 engine
Ten-speed automatic transmission


Ford Motor Company
(800) 392-3673