The Ford F-150 is the most celebrated pickup truck of all time. It’s the most popular variant of the Ford F-Series lineup, the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the past 32 years, the best-selling pickup for 43 years, and even the best-selling vehicle in Canada.
In other words, if you’re driving anywhere in North America, odds are you’ll see a Ford F-150 more than you’ll see any other nameplate. But how did that start?
When the first F-Series pickup trucks were launched in 1948, they were originally called the F-1, F-2, and F-3. They featured fresh styling and powerful engines that produced 100 horsepower.
In 1953 came a new naming scheme. The consumer pickups were named the F-100 and F-250, while the heavy-duty version was named the F-350. A “Power King” V8 was built to produce 130 horsepower and Ford introduced luxury options like armrests, sun visors, and cigar lighters.
After more than two decades of improvements, the F-150 finally appeared under that name in 1975. It was a half-ton pickup created to fill the gap between the F-100 and F-250. It surged in popularity and quickly took up a third share of all F-Series sales. That same year, it became the best-selling vehicle in America.
In the 80s, the truck took on a more aerodynamic design, swapped the “FORD” letters for the actual oval logo, and received engines with more torque for heavy hauling and towing duty. In 1984, the F-150 became the base truck for the F-Series lineup.
Throughout the years, Ford continued to evolve and improve the F-150, keeping it as the best choice in the market for anyone who was in need of a truck bed and hauling power. The most recent and significant change came with the 2015 Ford F-150, which was totally rebuilt from the ground up with a significant amount of aluminum parts. This allowed it to shed several hundred pounds of weight without sacrificing performance; already, it is setting a new standard in pickup truck engineering. But then, that’s no surprise—that’s what it has done all these years.