America’s Favorite Truck: A History of the F-Series, Pt 1

First Generation (1948-1952)


In late 1947, Ford announced their first new model of truck since the war, and in early 1948, they released the Ford Bonus-Built, also known as the F-1. It featured a single piece windscreen, an optional four-wheel drive by Marmon-Herrington and was rated to a half ton. The F-Series line would expand to include full-sized trucks, cab-over-engine commercial vehicles, and even school buses. Heavy-duty models, labeled as F-7 and F-8, were conventional designs based on larger versions of the F-1.

Under the hood, the first F-series trucks came with either a 226 cubic inch inline six or a 239 flathead V-8. These engines had a few upgrades throughout the generation, but the option of six or eight cylinders remained.

The F-1 saw minor changes in its first few years, save for a taller cab and the shifter moved from the floor to the column. In 1951, the F-1 got a facelift: the built-in headlamps and horizontal bars of the grille were traded for a single bar supporting the lights with vertical supports in the center, the rear window grew to be a few inches, and Ford introduced the five-star cab, which had an overhauled dash. The bed of the box changed from steel to wood as well. This first restructuring of the truck was an early indication of the generational direction Ford would be taking their trucks in the coming years.

(2 of 8)