On December 1, 1913, Henry Ford made history by firing up the first assembly line in a brilliant move that truncated the time it took to assemble a Model T from 12 hours down to just two and a half. Ford famously quipped, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." His concept of simplicity, however, would soon make way for more colors and many more models, including Ford's popular workhorse, the truck.
In more than a 100 years since the first Model T hit the roadways of America, Ford has produced an impressive string of trucks, starting with the Model T, or the one-ton truck chassis in 1917. Since then, Ford has introduced a string of trucks meant to be both utilitarian and eye-catching. Here are just a few of the finest Ford trucks to show why this beloved brand has engendered such praise and admiration over the years.
1938 Pickup Truck
It's hard to believe this curvaceous beauty was intended for hard labor, what with the elongated fenders, wide running boards, and artistic, oval grille. Yet, the half-ton truck with a V8 engine was definitely built for hauling, despite its pleasing exterior. At the time it was released, this vehicle was the cheapest in the Ford lineup, with an original sale price of just under $600. Today, a restored version might sell for anywhere from about $40,000-$60,000.
1940 Half-Ton Pickup Truck
The shape of Ford pickup trucks didn't change significantly between 1938 and 1940, but there are enough subtle differences to make this an entirely new model. The fenders took on a rounder shape and the hood narrowed somewhat, with a more pronounced taper to the nose. As for the grille, the oval was replaced with a cleaner, more aggressive V-shape that opens up along either side of the nose of the truck. It looks more like a locomotive cow-catcher that a car grille.
This model also featured a wider cab, more comfortable springs, and wipers mounted on the cowl instead of above the windshield. Today, these trucks often sell for $40,000+ at auction, with truly exceptional, prize-winning models potentially boasting price tags 3-4 times as high.
1953 F-100 Pickup Truck
If cars had faces, this one would feature a giant, push-broom mustache a la Magnum P.I. Granted, Tom Selleck was only eight years old, and still several years away from his famous 'stache when this truck first hit the blacktop, but all you have to do is look at this classic today to see the uncanny resemblance. In truth, there's no way to describe the head-on appearance of this truck except to say that it's rather strange.
The wide, flat grille merges seamlessly with side fenders, and the headlights have become part of the grille instead of residing in the front of the fenders. This leaves the narrower hood and cab looking like parts of a smaller truck that were thrown on top. The split windshield of older models has been replaced with a single pane of glass. The overall effect is stocky and squat. And yet, the 1953 F-100 has remained hugely popular, making this cult classic one of the most sought-after Ford models, especially among the hot rod set.
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