From the Model TT pickup of 1917 to the F-150 Raptor of 2017, Ford has completed a century of building pickup trucks. Here’s a brief history lesson.
Pickup trucks have become an integral part of America and its car culture. Thanks to Henry Ford, who decided to add a cargo bed to the back of a Model T, barely nine years after the iconic car was launched, Ford’s foray into business of making pickup trucks began. From the Ford Model TT of the past to the high-performance F-150 Raptor of today, the carmaker and its lineup of utility/performance pickups have come a long way. And now, Ford has crossed the 100th year of building trucks.
When it was launched in 1917, the Model TT was capable enough to carry a ton in payload and had a heavy-duty frame in place to deal with its new role of transporting goods and not just people. Henry Ford also saw to it that the chassis allowed customers to integrate third-party equipment and cargo beds. Customization-friendly machines a century ago? Now that’s something for which one has to admire Henry’s visionary thinking.
Ford sold 209 units of the Model TT in its first year. Though that number may sound like nothing today, do note that this was 100 years ago when automobiles for the masses was a concept still in its infancy. By 1928, the Model TT’s sales grew exponentially to cross 1.3 million in total and Ford went on to replace the ageing pickup with a more potent and capable Model AA. The Model BB and the Model 50 followed it up later and all of them met with strong sales and acclaim from customers.
Ford listened to its customer feedback and never stopped innovating during the 100 years of making pickups. That’s why the F-Series is still the best-selling vehicle in America.
By 1941 Ford had sold more than 4 million pickup trucks. Though the war slowed it down in terms of civilian truck sales, the experience garnered while making robust military-focused vehicles allowed Ford to build better consumer pickups in the years that followed the war.
And thus in 1948 that familiar name came into existence – the F-Series.
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Ford’s pickup truck range received a massive boost in image, capabilities and sales since then. Over the years, the range diversified to such an extent that now there is an F-Series truck for everyone and every purpose. There are the workhorses to move heavy cargo to something as wild and crazy as the F-150 Raptor and the SVT Lightning which can make some of the sports cars out there sweat and pant in order to catch up. The Raptor can also go insanely-fast off the road, making it one stellar leisure activity vehicle.
Somewhere during its many generations, the Ford F-Series got that punchline which went on to define the brand itself – Built Ford Tough. And that continues to be the main driving force even today. With the introduction of new tech, features and engines – like the EcoBoost powerplants – the trucks have evolved with time too.
So, what’s in the near future for Ford’s range of pickups? The Ranger moniker is coming back after seven years and we’ll see that in 2019. Now that’s going to be an interesting machine to check out.
Source: Ford MediaCenter