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A white 2016 Ford F-150 Limited is shown towing a boat after leaving a used truck dealer.

10 Fun Facts About Ford Trucks

Ford is an automaker with a long and storied history, stretching all the way back to 1903 and the very earliest days of the automotive industry. So while you may think you’re looking at a variety of different model years while browsing the F-150s at a used truck dealer, you’re really just scratching the surface. Today, we’re going to dive into the history of Ford, from yesterday to yesteryear, and dig up ten fascinating facts about its trucks.

1. Ford’s First Truck Was Based on the Famous Model T

Just about as soon as automobiles started rolling off Henry Ford’s famous assembly lines, people saw their utility for hauling loads, making deliveries, and even performing difficult tasks on family farms. The original Model T wasn’t really built for this kind of work, so people would customize their cars to suit their needs. But the demand for better capability eventually made its way up to the top, and Ford released its first purpose-built truck, the Model TT, in 1917.

The Model TT used the same cab and engine as the Model T but had a more heavy-duty frame and a chassis that was able to accommodate third-party beds and accessories. It was able to carry a full ton of payload, which was plenty impressive for the time. Its replacement, the Model AA, started Ford’s long-running tradition of constantly striving to improve upon its stats by upping that capacity to 1.5 tons.

A red 1980 Ford F-100 is shown parked next to an ocean.

2. The F-Series Has Been Around Since the 1940s

The earliest Ford trucks were strictly utilitarian and didn’t offer many choices or aesthetic features. But after World War II, Ford saw that many rural Americans were taking their pickups with them as they moved out to urban and suburban areas to look for work, so the next generation of trucks would need to cater to people in all kinds of environments. Thus in 1948, the F-Series was born, originally ranging from the half-ton F-1 to the massive F-8. For the more powerful second generation, the F-1 became the F-100, the F-2 and F-3 merged into the F-250 line, and the F-4 became the F-350. It wasn’t until the sixth generation in 1975 that the F-100 was dropped and replaced with the nameplate we all know and love today: the F-150.

3. The F-150 is the Best-selling Truck in America and Has Been for Decades

Decades of innovation led up to the F-150’s creation, and it has constantly been evolving since. That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for generations of Ford designers and engineers. But in the end, it’s all paid off, as the F-150 has had a truly impressive run as a best-seller. It has now been not only America’s best-selling truck but America’s best-selling vehicle for the past forty years, outselling not only other pickup trucks but also the most popular sedans, crossovers, and SUVs on the market.

4. The Ranger Started Out as an F-150 Trim

Like other vehicles, trucks usually have multiple trim levels for drivers to choose from. Every once in a while, one of those trims takes on a life of its own and becomes so popular that it gets spun off into a distinct model. That’s what happened with the Ford Ranger, which started out as a top-level F-Series package in 1967, featuring things like carpeting, air conditioning, power brakes, and power steering, which made it quite a luxurious truck for its time.

5. A Ford Truck has Served as Popemobile

For Pope John Paul II’s 1979 trip to Ireland, a Ford D-Series was customized to carry the religious leader down the streets. Some believe that this vehicle was the first to be popularly known as “the Popemobile.” It was decked out with an open-air platform where the Pope could stand and wave, as well as room in the back for those accompanying him on his trip. In later years, the truck was rented out by the Dublin Wax Museum, giving it a second life as a party bus.

6. A Special Department Created in the ’90s Led to the F-150 Raptor

Ford’s Special Vehicle Team, or SVT for short, was conceived in 1991 to learn more about niche vehicle markets so that Ford could make trucks that catered to a wider variety of driver needs. The early SVT vehicles were all about improved performance with specialized engines. But the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor had all kinds of specialized equipment, from a rough and rugged body to long-travel suspension meant to handle rocky off-road conditions. This factory-made off-road truck was the start of a successful lineup for Ford, one which has been embraced by adventurous drivers looking for a pickup capable of tackling OHV trails.

7. The First Monster Truck was a Ford

People have been customizing trucks with lifted suspensions and larger wheels in order to get hard jobs done for decades now. But in 1975, Bob Chandler went beyond the practical when he tricked out his Ford F-250 with four-foot-tall tires in 1975. This truck, Bigfoot #1, has gone down in history as the very first monster truck. It drove over two cars in Missouri in 1981, crushing both of them in the first recorded monster truck car crush. Chandler went on to build several other iterations of Bigfoot, and his creation has inspired plenty of other monster truck builders and enthusiasts.

8. In 2018, Ford Sold Over 1 Million F-Series Trucks

It’s no secret that Ford’s F-Series is popular. By 2018, the truck had already been a best-seller for decades. But there were still new benchmarks to hit, as this was the year that the F-Series sold over a million units worldwide. Break that figure down, and it means that, on average, Ford sold an F-Series truck every thirty seconds that year.

9. Ford Trucks Have Been Part of Some Weird World Records

Flip through the Guinness Book of World Records, and you’ll find a few Ford trucks populating its pages. Since people often get creative in order to carve out a unique niche for themselves, many of these records are downright bizarre. For instance, measuring 22 feet and 10.5 inches long, a customized 1993 Ford F-150 is currently the record-holder for the “longest custom banana car,” with a sculpted fiberglass fruit taking the place of the traditional cab and bed on top of the truck’s chassis.

A Ford P100 pickup was modified to run on coffee chaff pellets, a waste product left over after coffee production. Driving at a top speed of 65.536 mph, the truck set the record for the fastest coffee-powered vehicle in 2013. But if you’re looking for a truly impressive speed, look no further than the record-holder for the fastest jet-powered fire truck, a 1940 Ford that earned its title in 1998 with a top speed of 407 mph.

A close up of the grille of a 2022 Ford Lightning is shown at night.

10. The F-150 Lightning was the First Electric Truck to Pace a NASCAR Race

The F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of the F-150, made its NASCAR debut in April of 2022, serving as a pace vehicle for the NASCAR Cup Series. This wasn’t the first time that an OEM EV had served as a NASCAR pace vehicle (that honor belongs to a Ford Focus that paced the field in Richmond, VA, ten years earlier), but it was the first time that an electric truck had done so. If this pattern holds, we’ll have to check in in 2032 and see what futuristic Ford will make NASCAR history next.

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