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7 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About The Ford F-Series

Ford F Series is one of the most successful truck lines of all time

As the most popular vehicle in America, you’d think we’d all know more about Ford F-Series pickups. Here are some secrets about the F Series we’ve uncovered.

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The First F-Series

Ford introduced the F-Series for the 1948 model year. Unlike earlier light trucks (going back to the Model T) the F-Series was built on a chassis specifically designed for the application. In that first year, two engines were offered: a 226 CID inline six rated at 95 horsepower and a 239 CID Flathead V8 that produced 100 hp.

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The Unibody Fiasco

Ford planner took notice of the fact that by the early 1960s light truck buyers were purchasing pickups for light duty use and even just as personal transportation. For the 1961 model year Ford determined that by combining the cab and bed into a single assembly (referred to as the unibody, the truck required fewer stampings, fewer welds and was less complicated to paint. It also increase load space by 16 percent. What owners found is that when the bed was heavily loaded, it would twist the body structure, doors might pop open, or even jamb shut. Ford hurriedly put a separate cab/bed combination into production and the unibody went away after the 1963 model year.

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Twin I Beam Innovation

Ford was the first domestic manufacturer to offer an independent front suspension on its pickup trucks, starting in 1965. While it was a very simple arrangement – it consisted primarily of two long beams swinging laterally that connected the wheel to the chassis. A coil spring was utilized in lieu of the leaf springs most commonly used on pickups. Compared to an unequal length dual a-arm suspension, the Twin I Bean set-up is rather crude, but offered the best ride of a truck of its era. In fact, the Twin I Bean suspension was in use on the F-150 until the 1996 model year.

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The First Ranger was an Edsel

In fact the first time Ford used the Ranger name it was on an Edsel. The Ranger was the entry-level Edsel range from 1958 through 1960 model years. Ford recycled the name in 1965 and applied it to the highest trim level version of the F-Series. The Ranger name was used on the F-Series until 1982 when it was reassigned to Ford’s compact pickup.

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The 1967 F-Series was produced in Brazil until 1992

The fifth-generation F-Series was introduced in Brazil in 1971, where it remained in production until 1992, twenty-one years! It received a series of changes and updates over the two decades of production, eventually being fitted with a 4-cylinder MWM X-10 4.1 L diesel engine available in both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions.  For gas engines the  F-100 retained the  Y-Block 272 V8 (dating back to 1954) and the 2.3 L  OHC four cylinder, available in both gasoline and dedicated-ethanol versions.

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Mercury M Series Trucks

Mercury pickup trucks? Yep. As odd as it seems it was a marketing strategy in Canada from 1948 until 1968. In many parts of the country, towns are small and far apart. Each of these small towns may have a Ford dealer or a Mercury dealer but not both. In order to make certain that Ford would be able to sell pickup trucks across Canada, they badged the existing F-Series as a Mercury M-Series.

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Why is it called an F-150 anyway?

The half ton ’48 Ford pickups were designated the F-1. Ford made upgraded the name to F-100 name in 1953,some claim inspired by the introduced of the F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter aircraft, also launched in 1953. The F-150 nomenclature wasn’t introduced until 1975. The reason? At just over 6,000 lbs. gross weight Ford was able to bypass EPA rules requiring catalytic converters and the use of unleaded gasoline by smaller vehicles.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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