1956 Ford F-100: The Start Of A Revolution
Updated July 8, 2012
The F-Series is a series of full-size pickup trucks from Ford Motor Company which has been sold continuously for over six decades. The most popular variant of the F-Series is the F-100’s. It was the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 24 years, currently the best-selling truck for 34 years, and the bestselling vehicle in Canada, though this does not include combined sales of GM pickup trucks.
The first F-Series truck (known as the Ford Bonus-Built) was introduced in 1948 as a replacement for the previous car-based pickup line introduced in 1941. The F-Series was sold in eight different weight ratings, with pickup, panel truck, cab-over engine (COE), conventional truck, and school bus chassis body styles.
The second generation trucks were given their now familiar names: The F-1 became the F-100, the F-2 became the F-250, and the F-3 became the 1-ton F-350.
During the post-World War II era, smaller Canadian rural communities had access to either a Ford dealer or a Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealer, but not both; a Mercury-badged version was sold at Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealers there from 1946-1968. Other than the grilles, trim, and badging, these trucks were identical to their Ford counterparts.
The Y-block V-8 (1954) opened the way to performance. More creature comforts and improved styling (1955) gave the truck a civilized air. As with its cars, Ford emphasized safety in the 1956 Ford F-100 pickup, with such standard features as an energy-absorbing steering wheel and double-grip door latches. Also new was a 12-volt electrical system.
Styling changes introduced with the 1956 Ford F-100 pickup included another new grille, fashionable wraparound windshield, and optional wraparound back window (just $16 extra). The dashboard, with its car-derived hooded instrument panel, was a neat if spartan affair.
The year’s major option, as in 1955, was the Custom Cab package comprising 14 “luxury” accessories and snazzier trim. The pickup’s base price had risen considerably, to $1,580. That sounds like pocket change by today’s standards, but customers thought it was expensive in 1956.
The 1956 Ford F-100 pickup also had a new optional V-8, bored and stroked to 272 cid as in Ford cars. Rated at a potent 167 horsepower, it made the 1956 F-100 the most powerful pickup in Ford history.
Sales sagged in 1956 generally, and only 137,581 pickups were built. Still, Ford held a healthy 27 percent of the truck market.
In 1957, a brand new design came along — lower, sleeker, and available with flush-fender pickup box (Styleside) for the first time. Somehow, it wasn’t the same, and countless fans were sorry to see the 1956 Ford F-100 pickup go.
Categories: Production Cars