It’s easy to overuse “iconic” when discussing American steel, but if it fits, use it. And the word certainly fits here.
Ford Motor Co. held on to prewar car and truck designs in its hurry to answer pent-up public demand for any kind of transportation following World War II. But even as plants in Dearborn and elsewhere stamped out body panels that were unchanged from 1941, the guys in the lab coats were busy at their drawing boards. In late 1947, they showed off their hard work when the first truly revised half-ton pickup rolled off the assembly line. It was so different from its predecessors that Ford called it the F-1 – the first of a line of trucks that continues to this day.
It was wider, longer, heavier. The new truck could seat three (so long as they were skinny) comfortably. It had a one-piece windshield! And this: Under some of those heavy steel hoods lived a flathead eight-cylinder engine. Chevy, Dodge and Studebaker offered only six.
The new truck was a hit, and was produced for six years with minimum changes until a new brute, the F-100, replaced it in 1954. And that truck, as you surely know, made way for the most ubiquitous hauler of them all, the F-150. Perhaps you have one in your back yard?
This F-1, needing paint and a prayer, was built in 1951. It rests on the flat earth stretching far and away outside of Tecopa Hot Springs, California, 2,035 miles west of Atlanta.
(Photos by Senior Junkyard Correspondent Harold “Tex” Colson)