Ford’s F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for 35 years — here’s how it’s changed

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Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, Ford announced that it sold 820,799 F-Series trucks in 2016.

That makes the truck the best-selling vehicle in America in 2016. Just like it did the year before. And the year before that. And 32 years before that.

In total, the F-Series has been America’s best selling truck for 40 consecutive years and its best selling vehicle overall for the past 35 years.

To give some background: since introducing the F1 in 1948, Ford has produced 35 million F-Series trucks. In the 21st century, Ford sells a pickup for every single minute of the day. In 2015 that number was closer to a truck and a half per minute.

Lets have some more fun with those numbers:

Assuming the average weight of all F-series pickups to be about 4000 pounds, (they have varied quite a bit, so we stayed conservative) the total weight of all of those trucks would be something like 140 billion pounds.

Here’s that number again: 140,000,000,000 pounds. That’s the weight of 192 Empire State Buildings or 680 Nimitz Class aircraft carriers.

God bless America.

Let’s take a look at the 68 year-long run of the best-selling car in American history: the Ford F-Series.

William Fierman contributed to this story.


The 2016 F-150. The 68th iteration of the best-selling car in American history.

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Ford

The latest model comes loaded with new features including first-in-segment trailer backup assist.

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Ford

Buyers can choose from a whole range of turbocharged V6 or V8 engines and a line of limited-edition models like the King Ranch, Platinum, or this luxuriously appointed F-150 Lariat:

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Ford

Anything above the F-150 is called a SuperDuty by Ford. The first of these is the F-250, pictured here in King Ranch spec.

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Ford

… and for some very serious hauling power, there’s the F-350 ‘Dualie.’

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Mongo only pawn in game of life.
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Ford

For commercial buyers, the F-650/750 serves as the basis for hundreds of utilitarian vehicles including dump trucks, flatbeds, tow trucks, and ambulances.

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Ford

If you’re in a hurry, there’s the F-150-based, 500 horsepower SVT Raptor — now built under the umbrella of the newly-formed ‘Ford Performance Division’ (also responsible for their GT supercar).

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Ford

But, if that’s not enough for you, you can turn to Hennessey, who will bolt on a supercharger and call it the VelociRaptor 650. As in 650 horsepower. You know, about the same as a Ferrari 488 GTB.

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Hennessey

There’s even a LEGO Raptor! It may be the cheapest version, but it comes standard with trailer and hot-rod, which is a good deal.

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Ford

All of this started with the first F-series: the humble 1948 Ford F-1.

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Ford

The line caught on quickly. The easy-to-fix simplicity of the trucks — like this 1956 Ford F-100 pickup — made them essential farm equipment to many.

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Ford

1950’s car design carried over to the pickups, and they became utilitarian works of art. We’re not sure how this 1957 Ford got to Germany, but we’d love to hear about it.

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Wikimedia Commons

Owners manage to keep their beloved trucks on the road for decades. This 1961 F-150 (gotta love the racing stripes) is still going at almost fifty years old…

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Wikimedia Commons

… and this 1973 model, the first year of the sixth-generation F-series, is not far behind. Why they don’t still offer two-tone paint jobs is a mystery to us.

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Wikimedia Commons

The F-150 on construction duty is a sight as American as apple pie.

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The tradition continues today. Ford claimed last year that 81.7% of workers in the waste management industry, 78% of government workers, 53.7% of highway and street construction workers, 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 all use Ford trucks.
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Wikimedia Commons

And this 1980 Ford F-250 has a bed the size of an Olympic swimming pool. We’re not so sure of the brown-on-brown paint job, though.

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Wikimedia Commons

There were even a few models available only outside the US, like this (rather interesting) F-1000 ‘Galáxia’ from Brazil.

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Wikimedia Commons

In 1989 — 41 years in — the F-150 was still a common sight where it had started out: on the farm.

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Ford

Starting in 1978, Ford Broncos were based on the F-Series chassis. This one is from 1994

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Ford

Trucks at the top-end of the range — like this Ford F-350 XL SuperCrew ‘Dualie’ — kept getting bigger and longer.

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Wikimedia Commons

The SVT Lightning was an attempt at a “high-performance” pickup with sportier handling, built from ’99 to ’04 …

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Ford

… with the same engine used in the GT supercar.

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Ford

Already, the 21st century has played host to generations 9 through 13 of the F-series, like this 2006 Ford F-150 from generation number 11.

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Ford

For the 2015 model year, Ford switched to aluminum for most of the truck’s body. It required a massive investment in retooling, but made their trucks much lighter and economical.

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Ford

The move was bold, but not without controversy. Chevrolet, maker of the second highest-selling truck, the Silverado, has run heavy advertising focusing on the steel vs. aluminum issue.

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Chevrolet/Youtube

Ford is moving forward, however, and was very happy to advertise the use of this 2015 F-150 SuperCrew in the construction of The Dallas Cowboy’s new practice complex.

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America’s favorite truck and America’s team: the combination is enough to bring tears to any Ford PR person’s eyes.
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Ford

The number of ways clients have modified F-Series trucks for work over the years are too numerous to count. Here’s a 1961 Ford fire truck that served the town of Liberty, Wisconsin…

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Wikimedia Commons

… and an ’87 model still on airport duty …

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Wikimedia Commons

… a 1995 snow plow …

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Ford

… this NYPD tow truck …

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Wikimedia Commons

… even New York’s Bravest make good use of this F-350 ambulance.

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Wikimedia Commons

Of course, F-Series trucks are also modified for play, like this mean-looking ’55 …

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Wikimedia Commons

Or this equally slick hot-rod — also a 1955 F1.

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Wikimedia Commons

Here’s ‘Cyborg,’ an F-150 based monster truck …

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Wikimedia Commons

… and the F-250-based ‘Big Dawg,’ seen here acting out what happened to Lincoln in 2009 …

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Wikimedia Commons

Automotive nutcase Ken Block decided wheels were for suckers. Meet Raptortrax:

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Hoonigan Racing/Youtube

… we’ve been told it does well in the snow.

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Monster Energy/Youtube

And to think, all of this began with the humble F-1.

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Wikimedia Commons