Ford Trucks is 100 Years Old
1917 was an eventful year in America. It marked the start of U.S. involvement in World War I; it remains the coolest average year over the contiguous United States in mean temperature; and American jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, and Thelonious Monk were born. It was also the birth year of the Ford Model TT, which Ford claims to be the world’s first purpose-built truck.
The Model TT was built by popular demand, nine years after the successful Model T passenger car was released. Americans wanted a vehicle that could move things—other than passengers—for work and delivery purposes. The Model TT kept the cabin of the original T but was built with an upgraded frame, one that could haul heavier loads. It sold for $600, which is roughly $12,561.79 in today’s money.
Ford’s Model TT was later replaced by the Model AA, which featured a 1.5-ton chassis. The then-new automotive segment in the United States saw rapid innovation in the truck market. Ford’s Model BB replaced the Model AA in 1933 and saw frequent use as a shipping and freight vehicle.
After World War II, Ford’s truck offerings showcased the technology used in its production of heavy-duty military trucks for the war. The introduction of the F-Series platform came in 1948, offering a range of variants from the F-1 to the F-8 work truck.
Ford’s responsiveness to the needs of its customers resulted in a more refined-looking truck, with more creature-comfort options becoming standard on most models. Armrests, dome lights, and sunvisors all came standard on the 1953 F-100, which also featured a more aerodynamic design.
As American culture shifted, so did Ford. Trucks became a legitimate option for families who wanted that “go anywhere, do everything” vehicle to suit their needs. It was in the ’70s when we saw the introduction of more luxurious trim levels and optional packages, like the Lariat (which is still produced today). It offered features like air conditioning, leather, and power windows.
The 100-year history of an American icon like the Ford pickup truck can’t be covered in a page or two, but our overview wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the 1998 Ford Super Duty line, which set a precedent for the heavy-duty truck market and its present-day power wars.
Ford’s commitment to its customers’ needs and wants has been part of its philosophy as a manufacturer from the first Model TT, which might be why so many of our Truck Trend editors have owned or currently own Ford trucks. Further, in our list of 12 pickups that revolutionized truck design, Ford takes four of those spots, and not to mention the then all-new F-150 won our 2015 Pickup Truck of the Year shootout.
Happy birthday, Ford. We look forward to the next 100 years.