In The Beginning


This is a 1948 Ford F-1. The Wikipedia page for the F-1 consists of four paragraphs briefly outlining the truck’s design followed by some charts and a few pictures. It’s pathetic, really, as Wikipedia pages go, especially considering how expansive the website’s coverage of “socialist hair” is. This, I’d just like to say, is a shame.


The Ford pickup truck (called the “F-Series”) is, by far and away, the best selling vehicle in the United States. The F-Series has held that title for the past 32 years, and the title of “best selling pickup” for the past 43 years. Introduced as the first postwar Ford truck, the fittingly-named F-1 started all that.


Under the hood you’ll find a 239 cubic inch flathead V8, developing only 100 horsepower, mated to a three speed manual transmission. The cockpit (it’s the little room where the driver and the passenger sit, but that’s not important right now) was made entirely out of steel and mounted on a system of bushings. Why? Well, Ford engineers figured that the people who bought their truck would generally be farmers or construction workers of some kind, and that meant they’d be spending a fair deal of time on dirt roads. Problem was, dirt roads were decidedly bumpy, which made driving a car over them decidedly uncomfortable. The bushings allowed the frame of the truck to absorb the bumps while allowing the cab to remain relatively level. Pretty clever, if you ask me.


In the late 1940s and 50s, you could buy an F-Series for around $1200, and many did just that. The F-Series is about to enter its thirteenth generation, and to date they have sold over 33 million of these things. That means that there are two F-Series pickup trucks for every one person who lives in the Netherlands. All those Netherlandians are pretty spoiled for choice too, as you could, in 1948, have an F-1, an F-2, an F-3 all the way up to an F-8 (the larger numbers indicated larger size, towing, and cargo capacity). From that point on, we have the F-100, the F-150, the Harley Davidson Edition, the Raptor, the F-650 and 750, the Lightning, the King Ranch, the Platinum Edition, the Tremor and countless others. And it doesn’t stop there.


There have been F-series fire engines, monster trucks, buses, SWAT transports, ambulances and camper vans. Some companies have fitted a railroad conversion to them. The US Border Patrol uses them. So does the Secret Service. So does Wikileaks. People have even taken them racing. Chances are that if you have purchased something in the last 24 hours, its production and delivery has somehow, at some point along the line, involved an F-series vehicle. The Ford pickup truck is inherently linked to American infrastructure. It is a seemingly simple concept that we have, as a nation, collectively adopted as our tried and true workhorse. An F-series can be, and for many is, the tool for every job. And it all started here, with the F-1. This is the beginning of it all; this is Genesis. Doesn’t that deserve a little more than four paragraphs?

Additional Thoughts:

  • The F-Series is also the best selling vehicle in Canada.
  • So I may have gotten a little carried away with the links in this one. Sorry for all the tabs!

3 thoughts on “In The Beginning

  1. Pingback: You There Boy, What Day Is It? | Forgotten metal

  2. Pingback: Philosophy And Pickup Trucks | Forgotten metal

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