This month I’d like to focus on the 1950’s Ford pick-up trucks. I am the owner of a 1956 Ford F100 pick-up truck, which I purchased from a friend in Wingdale and have owned for almost 10 years. After World War II, the American auto makers started to concentrate again on building vehicles for the civilian market. In 1948, Ford introduced the F-series line of truck and promoted them as the Bonus Built truck. The F1 was a half-ton model, the F2 was a ¾ ton, and the F3 was a one-ton model. Ford made these models up to the F8 models, which were the heavy duty line of trucks.
By the end of the 1940s, Ford’s F series of trucks had become popular, and Ford had its best production year of trucks since the late1920s. In 1953, Ford celebrated its 50th anniversary and issued a newer design of the F series trucks and the last year of the flathead V8. The F1 would become the F100 half-ton model, the F250 would become the ¾ ton model, and the F350 the one-ton model. In 1953 Ford also offered a more spacious cab and a wider coil spring bench seat that could fit three people comfortably. The cab was mounted on the frame and various rubber bushings were used to make the trucks ride more comfortably and quiet. The Ford pickups were no longer considered just a work vehicle; they were also being used more as a family vehicle. A significant engine change occurred in 1952 with the introduction of the overhead valve, 215CID 6-cylinder engine. It was rated at 101 HP, and the six-cylinder was only five horses behind the Flathead V8’s 106 HP.
There were very few changes to the F series of trucks from 1953 to 1956. An automatic transmission was also a new option for the F100 model in 1953. Ford also introduced the overhead valve Y block design engine in 1954. Although the motor had the same displacement, it would produce 30 more horse power. Ford also introduced the 223 CID six-cylinder engine that produced 139 hp and a 272 V8 that produced 171 hp.
In 1956, the wraparound windshield design was introduced and combined with the optional wraparound rear window made the 1956 Ford one of the more stylish trucks of its time. The 1953 to1956 Ford pick-ups with their flared fender look, step sides and running boards, were not only very popular for their time, they are still sought after to this day by restorers, collectors, and street rodders.
I am a member of the Harlem Valley Car Club. We have a weekly cruise night beginning in April through October on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. until whenever at the Valley Diner on Route 22 in Wingdale, New York. If you would like to see and talk classic cars, please come out and join us. You can also visit our club web page at www.harlemvalleycarclub.com. I hope to hear from some of you with your classic car, truck, or motorcycle stories. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe and happy motoring
Photo courtesy of Tina Quatroni