Trucks & Heavy Equipment | 10 July 20151948 F-1 Pickup Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The 1948 Ford F-1 pickup was all-around more accessible to everyone and offered new options that drivers would come to expect as standard. Read about it in this excerpt from Dan Sanchez’s book The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups. The 1948 F-1 was not only a completely new body style for Ford trucks, but also brought along a new way of thinking about how pickup trucks were used. Source – The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups After World War II, it took some time before passenger cars and trucks were put back on the production line and were made available to the public. By the time Ford was able to get back into truck production, it was manufacturing the same model truck it had been producing since 1942. So soon after the ’47 model was released, the company was determined to design a completely updated truck that would not only be marketed to farmers and fleet companies, but a new, friendlier model that would appeal to a wide variety of Americans who could use it for more than just a single purpose. Making the truck easier to drive, more comfortable, and a value for customers was priority. So in November 1947, the first F-series pickup rolled off assembly lines from the Highland Park, Michigan, and Richmond, California, plants. Then on January 16, 1948, Ford announced its newly designed Ford F-1 “Bonus-Built” pickup truck. The new F-1 was built on a 114-inch wheelbase and had a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,700 pounds. But the idea for building a series of trucks went beyond a half-ton, light-duty pickup. The idea for the F-1 designation meant that there were heavier-duty models in the series as well. F-2 trucks were 3/4-ton models, F-3 were 1 ton, and so on. In addition to the F-1 half-ton pickup was an F-1 panel and F-1 flatbed stake model, based on the same chassis. Compared to the previous model half-ton trucks, the F-1’s cab was 7 inches wider and provided more headroom. The front fenders were also wider, taller, and designed to look like a single piece that wrapped around to the front and surrounded the headlights and grille. The rear fenders were no longer teardrop shaped. Instead they were more rounded and continued the side body lines of the truck from the front all the way to the rear. Previous models had a vertical grille, but the new F-1 was distinctly different with a wider five-bar horizontal grille. The turn signal lights integrated into the top grille bar. The familiar long, pointed hood connected the F-1 to the lineage of trucks up to this point, but it now incorporated bold Ford lettering at the nose, with two openings above it. The sides of the hood still had a long vent, but now featured two chromed bars and the Ford logo in block lettering. The doors on the ’48 were moved forward three inches, making it easier to enter and exit the cab. In addition, the doors now extended below the cab’s floor. This new design allowed for the use of weather seals that would protect the interior from dust, moisture, and drafts. Ford also added vent windows to the F-1, which were a part of the truck’s three-way ventilation system that consisted of the two vent windows (driver and passenger) and an additional vent located at the cowl. With a 6.5-foot long bed, the ’48 F-1 provided 45 cubic feet of cargo room. It also had an all-steel floor with a hardwood subfloor that was used to keep it from getting dented. Source – The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups All the improvements Ford made to the new cab were based on careful design and development. The company called it the “Million Dollar Cab,” which reflected the amount of money Ford had spent in research and tooling. Ford’s magazine advertisements touted that the interior design of the 1948 F-1 provided the biggest contribution to driver comfort in more than 20 years. In the past, trucks were considered utilitarian, with no need for comfort items like those on passenger cars. But Ford’s forward thinking on the F-series provided a host of interior improvements. One of the most notable was the move to using a one-piece windshield that was 2 inches higher than that of previous models. Combined with a new larger rear window, the F-1 could give drivers a better view of the road, which increased the safety aspect of the truck. The idea of making pickups more appealing to new customers meant the interior also had to be more comfortable and have some passenger car amenities. So Ford added more cushioning to the bench seat and wrapped each seat spring to provide additional support. Rubber pads and rubber insulated bolts were used to secure the cab onto the frame in order to insulate road vibrations and noise to the driver. The interior had some standard features that one would normally find in a car, including an ashtray, glove box, and a driver’s side sun visor. Operating the truck also had to be easier for a new breed of truck owner, so Ford increased the steering ratio, which made the F-1 easier to turn. Ride was further improved with direct-action shock absorbers, while heavier-duty construction and a new channeled steel front bumper, attached directly to the extended frame rails of the truck, gave the ’48 more structural rigidity to provide a smoother ride. The bed of the new truck was 6.5 feet long and provided 45 cubic feet of cargo room. It also had an all-steel floor with a hardwood subfloor that was used to keep it from getting dented. The skid strips on the bed were now stamped into the steel so they would not come loose, as they had on previous models. The tailgate was also stronger than before. It was reinforced using a rolled edge with a tapered truss. The anti-rattle chains allowed for quiet operation and were long enough to allow the tailgate to open flush to the floor of the bed, making it easier to slide cargo in and out. The standard paint colors offered on the new F-1 were Vermilion, Medium Luster Black, Birch Gray, Chrome Yellow, and Meadow Green. Wheels were painted black, as were the bumpers and running boards. Hubcaps were considered an option if they were available from the dealer. Early production models also had the grille and headlight inset painted Tucson Tan, but this changed to silver-painted bars with a red stripe on later models. To power the new F-1, Ford introduced three new engines that year. These included a 226-cubic-inch six-cylinder that produced 95 horsepower, and a 239-cubic-inch V-8 engine (L-head flathead) that produced 100 horsepower. The six-cylinder featured new plated-aluminum alloy pistons with four piston rings for improved oil sealing. The engine had a 6.8:1 compression ratio and a high-lift camshaft that provided more power. Both six-cylinder and V-8 engines incorporated new pressure-sealed cooling and weatherproof ignition systems with spark control for improved reliability and easier maintenance. Drivetrains available on the ’48 were a three-speed manual as standard equipment, and a three-speed heavy-duty (HD) and fourspeed manual were offered as options. Ford used a semi-floating hypoid rear differential that delivered quieter operation and outfitted it with a 3.73:1 ratio rear axle that was a good combination for daily driving and hauling small loads. For towing or heavier cargo, a 4.27:1 axle ratio was available, which, according to Ford, provided up to 14 percent greater towing capability. Because Ford priced the new F-1 as a “bargain,” it didn’t leave much margin for dealers to make money selling the truck. In a November 24, 1947, pricing memo to dealers, the base price for a six-cylinder-equipped model was listed as $1,144. V-8 models were listed starting at $1,164. But later pricing numbers changed to $1,112 for the standard six and $1,143 for V-8-equipped trucks. So to help dealers, Ford prompted them to sell various options on the truck. These included a passenger side windshield wiper (a driver’s side wiper was standard), a right-hand side rear taillight, an eight-tube radio, a heater/ defroster, and a heavy-duty engine fan. Along with the F-1 half-ton pickup, Ford also produced an F-1 panel truck with an 8-foot bed that featured solid plywood floors with steel skid strips. The seat in the panel truck was mounted to variable rate coil springs and had a hydraulic shock absorber. Along with this work truck, Ford also produced an F-1 platform stake truck that had hardwood stake racks and an interlocking hardwood floor with steel strips. The F-2 was also Ford’s first 3/4-ton truck that the company had produced since World War II and was identical to the F-1 with the exception of larger-diameter tires, a 4.86:1 ratio rear end, and was only available with a four-speed manual transmission. The F-2 was built on the 122-inch wheelbase chassis and was also available with either the 226-cubicinch six-cylinder or the 239-cubic-inch V-8. Production reached 108,006 units, and Ford sold a total of 289,971 trucks that included F-1 through F-7 models. Nineteen forty-eight was the best sales year for Ford since 1929, and much of it came from extensive marketing of the truck. Ford used what it could to promote that customers would get the best value from Ford pickup trucks. Ads included statements such as “Life insurance experts approve that the Ford trucks last 19.6 percent longer!” At the bottom of several ads, Ford added two license plates. One with the word Ford, and the other with the word Trucks. But each plate had a different date on it. The Ford plate read 1948 at the bottom, while the Trucks plate read 1958. The subliminal suggestion was that Ford trucks lasted 10 years. While the trucks were well built, competition was stiff and the truck market was only beginning to grow. The F-1 was a great start, but it still had a long way to go before it would be a leader in truck sales. 1948 F-1 Trivia The first F-series truck rolled off the Ford assembly line on November 1947. Ford’s “Million Dollar Cab” reflected the amount of money the company put into redesigning the truck’s interior. The only way to tell a ’48 model from ’49 F-1 is that the ’49 models had wheels painted to match the body color, and the red stripe on the front grille bar is removed on the ’49. By 1949 California had the highest number of Ford trucks registered in the entire country. Texas and New York were second and third. In 1950 Ford offered a Marmon-Herringon Ranger, a converted F-1 Panel with windows and four-wheel drive. It was Ford’s version of a Chevrolet Suburban. Ford’s marketing division was officially formed on February 11, 1949. 1951 and 1952 were the only years Ford used the large “Dagmar”-style grille on the F-series pickups. The Korean War slowed the production of F-Series trucks, due to limitations on raw materials. In 1952, the Clipper Six inline six-cylinder engine offered on the F-1 was just as powerful as the flathead V-8 and provided 14 percent more fuel economy. The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups: Every Model from 1948-1976 Author: Dan Sanchez Learn all there is to know about the most popular vehicles in history. Ford’s F-series pickups are simply the most popular vehicles ever. The F150 set a modern-day single-month sales record for the industry with 126,905 trucks sold in July 2005, the most sales of any single nameplate in any month since the days of the Ford Model T. The F-series has been the best-selling vehicle in the world for most of the past forty years, and to date Ford has produced nearly fifty million models. The Complete Book of Classic Ford F-Series Pickups covers all the classic models in Ford’s popular line of light-duty trucks, from the first F-1 pickup of 1948 through 1976. Buy from an Online Retailer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.