October 25, 2017
Let’s begin with a quick question. Why was 1948 such a spectacular year for cars? We’ll give you the answer—this was the year Ford started its renowned and well-loved F-series of trucks. In fact, these trucks were so pivotal in the automotive world that one could even argue they form a chunk of American culture. For the past 35 years, this series represents America’s best selling truck. So today, let’s see just how far the automotive world has come in the past 69 years. By comparing the classic to the 2017 Ford F-150, we’ll see if we can crack the secret to understanding how this truck remains a modern and desirable vehicle after all these years.
When Ford released the F-series in 1948, the company offered eight different styles of this truck. These ranged from the half-ton F-1 pickup to the strong and enduring F-8.
Under the hood of these trucks rested a 226-CID flathead six-cylinder 95-horsepower engine. For those who wanted a bit more performance, Ford also offered an upgradable V8 engine with a full whopping 100 horsepower! Sound impressive? Well, maybe not by today’s standards, but keep in mind that, for the time, these specs were pretty spectacular.
The Ford F-150 Today
Let’s fast-forward 69 years to the 2017 Ford F-150. Remember that V6 95 horsepower engine? Well, over time, Ford upgraded that engine to the modern 3.5-liter V6 motor with 282 horsepower—and this is just the basic model. Today’s upgrades offer a 325 horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine, or even a V8 option if that’s what you prefer. And don't even get us started on that powerful V6 EcoBoost Engine with 450 horsepower from the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Back in the late 1940s, many of these modern engine terms and technologies weren’t even a thought in the minds of drivers and manufacturers. Furthermore, the 26 highway mpg on the 2.7-liter model would have offered fuel efficiency no one ever imagined. Add to this some of the off-road capabilities on models such as the 2018 Raptor, and we really can see how Ford evolved for the better over the past half-century.
Of course, not every strong improvement and modern tweak occurred under the hood. Back in 1948, most drivers regarded seatbelts as the only real safety necessity in a car. Keep in mind that safety belts weren’t even mandatory for manufacturers to include in their vehicles.
Needless to say, things changed quite a bit from “the good-old-days.” In Ford’s case, many of these changes were for the better good. Looking at the safety features, the modern F-150 is one of the safest trucks on the market. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the 2017 model with a full five-star overall safety rating—the highest any car can receive. Furthermore, IIHS ranked the safety features as “good” across the board—again, “good” is the highest rating a car can receive.
To give a better idea of some of the more modern safety tech, Ford includes ABS, brake assistance, blind spot monitors, lane departure warnings, and countless other convenient features. All in all, there’s no denying that the 2017 F-150 will not only keep you safe during an accident, but also offers all the technology to prevent as many as possible.
Why All This Matters
We’re not saying the classic Ford F-series were bad pickup trucks by any means. In fact, they were some of the best-constructed vehicles of their time. There’s a reason so many car collectors go weak at the knees when they come across one of these gems still running in decent condition.
But who can deny Ford kept this truck relevant, even in recent times. The specs and safety features alone prove this pickup stands well above most of its competition. Furthermore, we cannot wait to see how next year’s models will further innovate this beautiful American automotive masterpiece. If you want to have even more fun, try to imagine how Ford will keep this car relevant for the next 70 years.