Showroom rivals to the GM Advanced Design trucks, Ford’s first all-new post-war vehicle (preceding the all-new 1949 Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln car lines) not only saw the start of future sales success, but also the start of an easily identifiable nameplate that has evolved into the F-series Ford uses today.
Unveiled in January of 1948, Ford's new postwar pickup line started off with the F-1 half-ton. Labels read F-2 for ¾-ton trucks, F-3 for 1 tons and so on. Numbering ran all the way up to F-8 for the biggest rigs. Promotional people didn't call these machines “Bonus Built” for nothing. Ford reportedly spent $1 million to give buyers more truck for their money than ever before. Increasing driver and passenger friendliness was a main goal; the wider, taller “Million Dollar Cab” offered a “living-room” feel, and its improved seat delivered “easy chair comfort.”
From 1948 through 1950, the F-Series trucks were all but cookie cutter identical, available either with a flathead V-8 or flathead inline six under the hood. The 1951 model year saw a restyle, focusing primarily on a new large bar grille, which became a styling theme for Ford throughout the rest of the decade in two subsequent platforms. Under the hood was a new overhead-valve inline six (beating every other Ford product to market with an overhead-valve engine design). That hood saw the only changes for 1952, with some mild trim shuffling and the OHV six beneath it increasing in displacement.
Nearly as popular as the Advanced Design, but coming in second-place in overall sales when new, the Ford F-1 had been under most enthusiasts’ radar over the last few decades, playing second fiddle to the 1953-56 “Effies” for Ford fans. Not so of late, however, as more and more have been surfacing on the collector market, and owners have dedicated serious time and money to high-quality restorations.