The F-Series lineup of models has been in existence for over six decades. The Ford F-100 was first introduced in 1953. Prior to that, the model was known as the F-1. The Ford F-100 is a half-ton pickup truck which can carry loads of up to 5,000 kg.
In fact, the F-100 was able to maintain this rating until it was discontinued in 1983 after 6-generations. Along the way the model was very successful and was among Ford’s bestselling vehicles for many years.
Design and changes over the years
The Ford F-100 saw the introduction of two cargo trays and discontinuation of the Cab-Over Series on the F-1.The first was referred to as Flareside and had a traditional body with a separate fender. The second was known as Styleside and had a smooth shape compared to the former.
Being the smallest of the F-Series, the F-100 had a more utilitarian interior than its siblings. The early models interior was full of cheap plastics and lacked many interior basic features. However, with time and courtesy of the changing technology the models got more basic features such as radio and air conditioning. The plastics were also improved over time. Though the cabin was spacious offering plenty of headroom and legroom, the middle passenger legroom was constrained by the transmission tunnel that ran through the middle of the cabin.
Later, the model received a uni-body styling that integrated the cab with the cargo tray. This continued until 1963. In 1965, a twin L-beam front suspension was introduced. The model remained largely unchanged until 1977 when a new grille design was introduced. It was also hooked up with rectangular headlights in place of the rounded ones. Also, it featured new disc plates, coil springs on its suspension and longer cab length for more passenger space.
In 1980, the last generation of the F-100 was produced with a new chassis and a larger body. The model was more aerodynamic and had a better fuel efficiency. In 1982, Ford added the famous “Blue Oval” logo at the center of its grille and finally in 1983 the half-ton F-100 production run spanning 6 generations came to an end.
The downfall of the F-100 was as a result of the introduction of another half-ton pickup truck, the F-150 which stole the limelight from the former. The F-150 was introduced in 1975 and immediately tore into the sales of the F-100 leading to the latter’s demise in 1983.
Fast forward to 2016 and you will find the F-150 sitting pretty at the top of this segment as others play catch-up game particularly in the US market.
Ford F-100 Engine and performance
The Ford F-100 was powered by a straight -6 engine which produced 75 kW (101 hp) of power. For 1954 and 1955, the vehicle was hooked up with an optional Y-block V8 engine that produced 97 kW (130 hp) of power which was tuned to 125 kW (170 hp) in 1956.
The two engines continued with the second generation but were tweaked for more power for the third generation from 1961 to 1964. The 262 CID I-6 produced 98 kW while the V8 produced 130kW. After 1964, the I-6 was tweaked to produce 110 kW. The V8 was hooked up with fuel injection which helped it produce 155 kW (207 hp) and pumped the power to 160 kW (215 hp) in 1968.
For 1969 Ford replaced the V-8 with a Windsor V8 which delivered 153 (204) kW. Lastly for 1973 the I-6 was downgraded to produce 97 kW (130 hp) while the V-8 power also reduced to 107 kW (143 hp).
Throughout, the I-6 remained strong and reliable. The engine could accelerate fast enough from standstill and could overtake other models in open roads. However, for fully loaded F-100’s, the I-6 engine experienced some difficulties which the V-8 readily solved. The V-8 offered a boost in acceleration and overall performance. It was the choice for those who wanted a more exciting ride even when carrying huge loads of cargo.
On the down-turn, the vehicle had a poor stability and could often be taken off track by crosswinds. Its steering was also a bit loose. These features were improved in the comprehensive redesign of the 1980.
Ford F-100 Competition
Back then, Ford trucks barely had any competition. The F-100 roamed the countryside without much care as there were no other comparable models. This might sound weird but believe you me it is only in 1971 that the F-100 faced considerable competition from the Nissan B120. This vehicle had a better fuel economy but it lacked the F-100’s cargo capacity and power.