The Ford F-150 Can Stand The Test Of Time: These Models Prove It

When Henry Ford released the F-series in January 1948, do you think he ever imagined it would become be the best-selling vehicle in North America? On Canadian home turf, the Ford F-150 has over 50 years of sales leadership, and they’re on track to lap year eight as Canada’s best-selling vehicle.

It’s comes as no surprise. Ford has continuously made adjustments to ensure their trucks are “built Ford tough,” while also being cognizant of style, engine power, utility and fuel savings. If it’s not broken, they don’t fix it, and it’s a mentality that’s landed them in the driver’s seat. From the King Ranch to specialized Harley editions, we take a look through time and showcase some of the most iconic F-150s. Which one is your favourite?

1977: This was the year of personalization and flashy graphics, attracting younger buyers and maintaining Ford’s already strong reputation. The model didn’t change much from 1976 (when it became the best-selling truck in America), though the four-wheel drive “Shorty Flareside” had a variety of accessories and a smaller six and a half–foot cargo bed.

1982: While little changed on the truck from 1980 to 1981, Ford was ready for a splash in ‘82. The blue oval Ford logo was slapped onto the front grill, replacing the original Ford lettering that graced all models prior. With a strong focus on fuel economy, this model came with a new 232 cubic-inch V-6. Trucks were also becoming trendy as regular passenger vehicles, and the Super Cab models allowed for a three-passenger bench seat in the back or twin jump seats.

1984: Here’s the year we can truly welcome the Ford F-150 we know and love to Ford’s lineup. With the company dropping the F-100 at the end of 1983, the F-150 became Ford’s base full-size pickup truck, and the lightest pickup available on the market.

1987: Ford got a bit more streamlined in ‘87, and after being the best-selling pickup in America for nine years, it became even more maintenance-friendly. Perhaps the biggest functionality change was the flush headlights, allowing just the bulb to be replaced rather than the whole headlight; the fuse box and simplified belt replacement for the alternator also made maintenance more accessible.

1995: The good ‘ol Eddie Bauer edition reared its head in ‘95, furthering Ford’s attractiveness to a younger, adventurous crowd. Not only did this beauty have power, it had all the fancy additions to make for a comfortable camping trip (or off-roading trip). Complete with air conditioning, two-tone paint, stereo with cassette player and power everything, this was the first big step into a future of luxurious F-150’s.

1999: If power is your selling point, the SVT F-150 Lightning’s return in 1999 (previously produced in ‘93 to ‘95) may just be a winner. With a number of suspension modifications, a supercharger and 360hp, this truck was designed for speed.

2000: The year 2000 didn’t just bring in a new millennium — it also brought in Ford’s impressive Harley Davidson edition of the F-150. With special leather trim, black and orange accents, Harley Davidson emblems on the side and massive 20-inch wheels, there was no missing this beauty. Jay Leno recently auctioned off the first one ever built, reminding us just how gorgeous this truck is (along with how nice of a guy Jay Leno is). In 2002 they added a supercharged version of the 5.4 liter V8, along with flame-styled pin striping and a billet-style grille insert.

2001: One of my personal favourites is the King Ranch, named after a massive cattle ranch in Texas. The trim level features chrome trim and the best gadgets — but for me, the interior is the selling point. The super soft Mesa Brown Chaparral leather emulates a saddle, and is complete with gorgeous stitching and cowboy decals that make you feel as though you’re right on the ranch.

2010: The SVT Raptor F-150 got a throwback to the 80’s, with F-O-R-D spelled out on the grill of the high-performing truck for the first time since 1983. The truck is an undeniably powerful machine, serving as one of the best off-road production vehicles Ford has ever produced. The model finished third-in-class at the Baja 1000, a major feat for a 6000-pound pickup truck.

2015: The 13th generation F-150 was dramatically redesigned with a military grade aluminum alloy body, reducing its weight by nearly 750 pounds. The majority of the frame remained high-strength steel. Ford added further features to the F-150 including the Pro Trailer Backup Assist in 2016 and SYNC Connect remote access technology in 2017, emphasizing the truck’s adaptability for both city driving and off-road adventuring.

10 Comments
  1. As the F-series celebrates a milestone by celebrating the golden anniversary as during the flat nose era the automaker went to quartz halogen headlights as bulb change became simpler when just the bulb itself had to be changed rather than the whole assembly for the latter. The big change during the era was the carburetor was dropped in favor for EFI. A few years later the first generation SVT lightening became available as prior to the millennium a Harley-Davidson edition F-150 was made available as a year later a king ranch package was also available. By ’10 when the raptor was available as a throwback to the 1980’s when FORD was embossed into the grill as a nearly stock model finished in the top five in its class at that year’s BAJA 1000. Just last year when military grade aluminum was used in construction making for a weight reduction of 750lbs compared to last years model.

  2. I had a 1967 ford F-100 and would give a kidney to have it back.It was a straight six three on the tree.My Father who passed away gave it to me but I lent it to my brother and he crashed it.
    I miss that truck almost as much as I miss my Dad
    I would love to have one to remember my father my best friend and mentor who I loved

  3. The ’77 are my favourite F150 models. Amber lights above the Chrome Grille & plastic inner fenders (lessen the rot). 78’s the grille changed & 79’s went to square headlights. The 80’s punched the frames… Hello!
    Newer trucks are quantity, not quality. . .%*%#ing JUNK

  4. The toughest Ford was the ’67 thru ’72 model. Our family had 4 of them; they COULD NOT be broken! Most attractive would be a ’78 or ’78 Lariat; I don’t think anyone has built a better looker, inside or out.

  5. The 1987 Maintenance-Friendly??? How about all the silver paint peeled off after 12 months, and they refused to do anything about it, then after I painted it at a body shop, the recall came out and they refused to do anything about it because it had been altered outside of the ford dealership!
    How about this single cab 2 wheel drive XLT used more fuel than any vehicle I owned before or since! It had two tanks because it needed 140 litres of gas to get anywhere over 700km!
    Oh and the wiring harness and fusebox, had to be all replaced because they were not weather proof for Canadian winters!!
    Worst vehicle I ever owned.

  6. My 2004 F/150 Lariat in spite of regular maintenance, change oil twice a year new plugs etc…the pain and huge cost of having the original 3 piece spark plugs removed.
    At just over 100 000 miles(163 000 kilo-meters to be exact)the engine a 5.4 triton 3 valve began miss firing. So I brought it in to Woodridge Ford to have it looked at. After they ran their tests at a cost of $200 I was told I needed a new engine do to low oil pressure caused by engine block twisting. WOW this truck was driven lightly 10,000 miles/16,000kms a year rarely off road with regular maintenance.
    I had been buying,driving and enjoying the huge longevity of Ford F/150 pick ups for over 20 years,but do to the huge failure of Ford to offer any recalls on this engine this is my last Ford truck and or car!
    William.
    williamameunier@hotmail.com

  7. The most important changes made have been those of quality control. Longevity and investment retention value are driven by lengthened operation. Detroit somehow has never been able to perceive these facts. Detroit has always insisted that built in obsolescence promotes more and quicker sales. This is why they have lost ground to manufacturers who focus on longevity and higher quality. The buying public has become wiser than they once were. Bubblegum cosmetics no longer dictate and dazzle over wisdom.

  8. Seriously? The fact that you omitted the 1953-56 F100 in the all time greats just baffles me. This was the ALL TIME favourite body style of classic truck collectors everywhere. Even today these are the most coveted F100 or M1(Mercury)trucks.

  9. I have a 2003 Ford Windstar van and two weeks ago the motor broke away from it’s cradle leaving me without steering while driving home. NO control over the wheels. It’s lucky for me I was going slow when it happened.

    I’ve talked to Ford and even though the part has been recalled on “some” Ford vans of that type and vintage, they say because there’s no recall on it they’re not liable to fix it.

    Cheap steel was used in the construction of the parts that were welded to the body, they broke away, and Ford isn’t liable to fix it.

    If you know anyone driving an older Ford van, advise them to check on this, and whatever you do, DON’T BUY FORD VANS.

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