ICONIC, LEGENDARY - THE ULTIMATE PICK UP
Re-designated as the F-100 in 1953 for Ford’s golden anniversary, the now legendary F-1 pickup truck has become one of the most sought-after collectors’ cars in the world. In 1984, motoring journalist Dave Emanuel summed up this iconic truck’s reputation when he memorably stated: “no other truck and damn few cars have ever inspired the almost maniacal fervour found in F-100 aficionados.”
History of the Ford F1 Pickup Truck
The Ford F-100 was another in a long line of classic American workaday driver/haulers but instead of focusing purely on hardiness, Ford looked closely at its style. It was rock-solid and ruggedly handsome for sure, but it was also so much more. The engineers, perhaps for the first time, paid particular attention to comfort, driving position and positioning the controls where they could be easily accessed, rather than a single-minded concentration on how much stuff it could carry.
They wanted to make the F-100 as close to a car as they could without compromising its primary ‘raison d’être’ and customers could choose from the standard cab or the ‘deluxe’ cab which included a headliner, passenger sun visor, armrests for the driver and passenger, a cigar lighter, twin horns and foam seat padding.
Between 1953 and 1956, Ford produced 505,184 F-100s with a choice of specification and engine types.
Bought new, punters could expect to pay around $1,500 and today, classically-restored and highly modified models can fetch anywhere up to an astonishing $250,000 – though you can get a decent doer-upper for around $7-$10,000.
The 1953 version, to coincide with Ford’s 50th anniversary, had a special gold rim on the horn button and, for the first time in Ford’s first half-century, buyers could choose automatic transmission known as the Ford-O-Matic. There were some initial concerns as to whether an auto box would be up to the rigours of a proper, all-American workhorse but testing proved that it was often much better than the existing manual transmission.
A year later, the overhead valve V8 engine was introduced into the F-100. It was dubbed the ‘Power King’ and power steering was available as an option.
The last of the second generation F-100s produced in 1956 offered a large, wraparound back window as a $16 option and, although it’s unthinkable today, seat belts were offered as an optional extra!