The Ford F-Series continues to be the best-selling vehicle in the United States, but before the F-Series there was the Ford Model TT in 1917. 100 years later Ford has plenty to celebrate, since the F-Series has been the best-selling truck for the past 40 straight years and the best-selling vehicle for the past 35 years.
One hundred years ago, Ford introduced its first truck, the 1917 Ford Model TT, which would forever change the industry. Nine years after the introduction of the Model T, buyers needed a vehicle that they could haul heavier loads with, which lead to the introduction of the Model TT. The Model TT came with a heavier-duty frame capable of carrying one ton of payload. The factory price was only $600 and a mere 209 were sold that year.
By 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TTs before replacing the truck with the more capable Model AA with a 1.5-ton chassis. Just like the Model TT, the Model AA featured a chassis cab offered in two lengths, with new powertrain and axle options. To keep ahead of the competition the Model BB was introduced in 1933 and two years later, Ford introduced the 1935 Model 50 pickup, powered exclusively by its Flathead V8 engine.
“After the war, a lot of rural Americans moved to urban and suburban centers looking for work, and many took their Ford pickups with them,” said Bob Kreipke, Ford historian. “Ford saw this as an opportunity, and began work on the next generation of trucks for 1948, what came to be known as F-Series Bonus Built trucks.”
The first-generation F-Series covered Classes 2 through 7 capacities – from the half-ton F-1 to the much larger F-8 cab-over truck. With the arrival of the second-generation F-Series for 1953, Ford increased engine power and capacity, and rebranded the series. The F-1 became the F-100, while F-2 and F-3 trucks were integrated into the new F-250 line. F-4 became F-350.
In 1961 Ford introduced the fourth-generation F-Series that debuted the Ford’s new twin I-beam front suspension. A larger SuperCab option was introduced in 1974 that featured more comfortable seating. In 1975 the F-100 name was replaced by the F-150 and in 1977 the F-Series pulled ahead of General Motors in the sales race and Ford hasn’t looked back since.