Surprising Things You Didn't Know About the Ford F-150

Ford F-150 pickup trucks in dealership parking lot.


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2020 Ford F-150 Pickup Trucks

In It for the Long Haul

Stop us if you've heard this one: The rugged, reliable Ford F-150 is the bestselling truck in America. And it's been that way since the White House was occupied by a man named, well, Ford. Despite parts and supply chain issues in 2022, sales of the F-series trucks, including the F-150 pickup, exceeded 640,000 trucks last year, Ford said making it the bestselling truck line for the 46th consecutive year (and bestselling vehicle for 41 years). From its roots more than 100 years ago to the electrified F-150 Lightning that's now selling for thousands more than its initial $40,000 starting price, there are some things you might not know about America's favorite vehicle. 

Related: 32 Most Reliable Trucks of All Time

Ford F-150 Lightning display. Ford offers the F150 Lightning all-electric truck in Pro, XLT, Lariat, and Platinum models.

The Ford F-150 Lightning Is Now Less Affordable

When Ford unveiled the F-150 Lightning in May 2021, its $39,974 starting price made it one of the most affordable all-electric vehicles available in the U.S. market. Since then, however, supply chain issues and rising martial costs have forced Ford to raise prices again for the second time in nearly as many months. The base price for the F-150 Lightning Pro, the entry-level model, now sits at $51,974 for 2023 model-year vehicles with prices going as high as $97,000 for top-of-the-line versions.

Related: Every Electric Truck and SUV on the Market – and More Expected Soon

F-150 Lightening
The Ford Motor Company

The F-150 Lightning May Soon Help Power Homes and Cities

The electric F-150 Lightning is a powerhouse, literally. Ford and Pacific Gas & Electric, the major electric utility in central and northern California, are partnering to evaluate how the truck can help PG&E restore power to city grids during an outage. The F-150 has bidirectional charging, which means it can return energy to a home or another source. The hope is that the EV could help provide power during peak hours, then charge up again at off-peak hours, helping lighten the load on the power grid. PG&E is also partnering with GM for a similar program. 

Related: 33 Greatest American Trucks of All Time

1925 Model TT Truck
1925 Model TT Truck by Geni (CC BY-SA)

The Ford F-Series Has Roots Dating Back to 1917

In 1917, just nine years after Henry Ford’s Model T put mainstream America on the road, Ford created its first truck. Called the Model TT, it was available in several configurations and could tow a full ton of cargo. It wasn’t, however, a truck in the modern sense. The TT was built on the chassis of a car.

1951 Ford F3 Pickup Truck

The F-Series Changed Everything

Ford shut down automotive production during World War II to configure its factories to contribute to the war effort. In 1948, however, the post-war boom was on, and Ford unveiled the F-Series of trucks. They would prove to be game-changers for the future of the American automobile. Unlike earlier incarnations, they were built on dedicated truck platforms, not car chassis.

1953 F-100
1953 F-100 by Mister Falcon (CC BY-SA)

The F-Series Was the First Modern Truck Lineup

There were eight different models available in the first generation of F-Series trucks, which ran from 1948-1952. They had different towing capacities, payload capacities, and different body styles. Named in sequence from F-1 through F-8, it represented the first modern lineup of options in a model series of trucks.

Ford F150

The ‘150’ Deals With Payload Capacity

Eventually, the numbering scheme changed to reflect the payload capacity for each truck in the F-Series line according to tonnage. An F-100 could tolerate a half-ton (1,000 pounds). An F-200 has a payload capacity of one ton (2,000 pounds). The vaunted F-150 is in the middle with 1½ tons (1,500 pounds).


1975 Ford F 150 Ranger XLT
1975 Ford F 150 Ranger XLT by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden (CC BY)

It’s Been America’s Bestselling Truck for Decades

In 1975, when the F-Series was in its sixth generation, the world met the F-150, which quickly jumped the F-100 as the most popular truck in the F-Series. Within just a year or two, the F-150 became the bestselling pickup truck in America and has held that title ever since. It has remained at the top of the throne uncontested for an astonishing 43 years straight through 2019. It would soon become America’s favorite vehicle — period.

Related: Why Ford Pickup Drivers Wouldn't Be Caught Dead in a Chevy

1999–2001 Ford F-250 SuperCab
Wikimedia Commons

In 1998, The F-150 Slimmed Down

For generations, the F-Series has been a mainstay on construction sites, farms, quarries, and tough, demanding job sites of all stripes. To differentiate between work trucks and consumer trucks, Ford introduced in 1998 the Super Duty line of medium-duty trucks for commercial use, assigning the F-150 to light-duty use.

2015 Ford F-150 Snow Plow
The Ford Motor Company

The F-150 Remained a Working Truck

The Super Duty is the truck of choice for huge majorities of workers in the waste management, government, and highway and street construction industries. But the arrival of the medium-duty commercial truck didn't spell the end for the F-150 as the hard-hat, lunch-pail truck of choice. According to Ford figures from 2015, 72.7% of electric services workers, 61.2% of water, sewer and pipeline construction workers, and 56.3% of crude petroleum and natural gas workers use Ford F-150 trucks.

2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
The Ford Motor Company

An F-150 Shares a Shop With Supercars

The Ford Performance Division is responsible for the brand’s supercars and racing cars such as the Ford GT and GT MK II, as well as the storied Shelby Mustang lineup. In the mix in that elite shop and racing team is the F-150 Raptor, a powerful beast of a truck. Its 24-valve, 3.5-liter twin-turbo engine is good for a roaring 450 horsepower.

2015 Ford F-150
The Ford Motor Company

The F-Series Is in Its 14th Generation

The F-Series has evolved plenty since those blocky earliest versions rolled off the production line. The seventh-generation (1980-1986) saw the elimination of the F-100, which made the F-150 the lightest pickup truck on the market. The previous generation in 2015 saw a change from steel to an all-aluminum body, which allowed the F-150 to shed 750 pounds. The weight reduction was a significant accomplishment, especially considering that the frame is still made from high-strength steel, which allows it to retain its durability.

2020 Ford F-150 Pickup

It Is the Lifeblood of Ford

Ford, General Motors, and Ram depend on pickup trucks, which they sell in numbers that, according to Auto Week are “figures so staggering they’re difficult to believe” — but none more than Ford. Ford sells 2,452 F-Series trucks every single day. That’s 102 trucks an hour, which means that nearly two people buy an F-150 every minute of every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Ford F-Series
The Ford Motor Company

Ford Sold More Than 900,000 F-Series Units 4 Times

In 2019, the F-Series sold 896,526 units. (The coronavirus pandemic and global supply chain and microchip shortages took a toll on 2020 and 2021 sales figures.) For context, the bestselling car of the year (and every year, it seems), the Toyota Camry, sold 336,978 — but even that wasn’t the lineup’s record. The year before in 2018, Ford sold 909,300 F-series trucks. In fact, the F-series broke the 900,000 mark four times, including in 2004, when it sold 939,511 units.

2020 Ford F-450
The Ford Motor Company

Ford Has Sold More Than 26 Million F-Series Trucks

For generations, the Ford F-Series has been America’s truck of choice — and vehicle of choice in general, for that matter. In 2017, Ford sold its 26 millionth F-Series truck in the 40 years since 1977 alone.

Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition
Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition by Alexander Migl (CC BY-SA)

There Have Been Several Special Editions

Capitalizing on the F-150’s popularity, Ford released several awesome special editions. In 2000, the automaker partnered with Harley-Davidson to make a special truck in homage to the legendary U.S. motorcycle brand. In 1991, the blacked-out F150 Nite made its debut. The single-cab, short-box SVT F-150 Lightning was offered 1993-1996 and in 1998, the F-150 NASCAR special edition featured special race car rims.

2020 FORD F-150
The Ford Motor Company

The 2023 Model Starts at Under $34,000

Part of the F-150’s unrivaled popularity is due to the fact that it’s affordable for a big, powerful, reliable, full-size truck. The 2023 model starts at $33,695. There are eight models, including the Raptor, with trim packages that boost starting prices all the way up to $76,775. The 700-horsepower Raptor R starts at about $109,000, including destination fees.

2020 Ford F-150 Super Duty
The Ford Motor Company
Bigfoot #1, with Jim Kramer. May 12, 2009
Bigfoot #1, with Jim Kramer. May 12, 2009 by BigfootFan (CC BY-SA)

The First Monster Truck Was an F-Series

In the 1970s, truck aficionado Bob Chandler made history when he built the world’s first monster truck. He obsessively modified his truck to become bigger, badder, and louder than any other civilian truck on Earth. Chandler’s nickname was Bigfoot, which he painted on the side of his outsized Franken-vehicle. Bigfoot remains the first and most famous monster truck of all time. The truck he built it on was a regular 1974 Ford F-250.

Related: 43 Most Over-the-Top Trucks You Can Buy

Ford F-150 All-Electric Lightning
Bill Pugliano/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

The F-150 Lightning Could Shift Automobile Paradigms

In May of 2021, Ford debuted the F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of the F-150, and the media coverage was lavish, to say the least. President Joe Biden even made an unscheduled stop at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center the day before to test drive one, remarking, "This sucker's quick." Given the historical popularity of the F-150, some pundits are theorizing that its electric truck could change the game in much the same way — and even beyond — the Model T did in the early 20th century. "Ford has a lot at stake in the new vehicle’s success," wrote The New York Times the same day the truck was unveiled. "If it can turn the F-150 Lightning into a big seller, it could accelerate the move toward electric vehicles, which scholars say is critical for the world to avoid the worst effects of climate change."