Ford has been at the forefront of truck manufacturing for over 70 years now. That's a heck of a long time to be putting out a product. And if sales are any indication, they've pretty much mastered it. The Ford F-150 continues to be the most popular pickup truck on the market and has held that spot for years. The company has really revolutionized the truck world and has had an incredible influence over all the other designs and manufacturers over the years. They're so big you just can't deny how important they are.
There have been some major ups and downs in that 70 years of manufacturing, and one of the most important decades for not just Ford but trucks, in general, was the 1970s. This was a huge decade that saw environmental concerns change the way trucks performed, as well as the evolution of the truck from a tool for work to an actual family vehicle. At Ford, it was the explosion of their dominance in the truck market. If you know anything about truck history, this is the decade to know about. So how much do you know about Ford trucks in the 1970s? This quiz is not for the faint of heart, but if you think you have what it takes, buckle up and see.
Though the F-Series of trucks had been popular for years, it wasn't until 1976 that it became the nation's best-selling truck. The F-series has actually retained that title ever since, which is pretty impressive.
The Kentucky Truck Plant was the official name of the plant that produced the L-series for Ford. The plant was more informally known as the Louisville Plant and was the home of the Louisville Line, also known as the L-Series.
"Built Ford Tough" showed up as a slogan in 1979. The slogan is still in use all these years later, which is unusual for any kind of ad slogan or copy. Even though Ford has used different slogans now and then, they tend to always come back to this one.
Front bucket seats were standardized in the 1971 model of the Ford Bronco. It was also given a 12.7-gallon fuel tank that year and a heavy-duty axle as well. Banner year for the Bronco!
The F-150 is still a popular model to this day. At the time it appeared, there was an F-100 and an F-250. The F-150 actually sat right in the middle in terms of payload capacity for people who wanted a little more than the lighter 100 but not so much as the 250.
The F-350 Super Camper Special was manufactured for 6 years. It existed from 1973 to 1979. The truck itself was a large, powerful pickup intended for serious campers who needed to haul a lot of stuff.
The F-150 was introduced, in part, as a way to deal with emission control restrictions in the '70s. This model was smaller than trucks like the F-350 and less polluting overall, making it a more emissions-friendly model.
In 1973, the sixth generation of Ford trucks was unveiled and it lasted until 1979. The first generation of F-Series trucks dates all the way back to 1948. They were significant because they were built on a designated truck chassis, not just a re-purposed car chassis.
The Supercab was first introduced in 1974. At that time it was only available in 2-wheel drive. In 1978 it was upgraded to the 4-wheel drive version.
The state of California was the only state where you couldn't get the V-8 option for two-wheel drive vehicles at the time. That same year Ford also brought back the 300 cu.in. 6-cylinder engine that they had retired for a couple of years.
The catalytic converter became standard in 1975. The exhaust device helped convert harmful pollutants in the exhaust into less harmful ones. Along with this change, a shift to using unleaded fuel became the norm.
Ford's fifth generation was just coming to an end in the first few years of the 1970s. The F-series trucks got a cosmetic upgrade in 1970 with four trim categories available including Custom, Sport Custom, Ranger, and Ranger XLT.
California has long been at the forefront of trying to make vehicles conform to environmental standards. That's why F-series trucks in 1971 were all outfitted with exhaust emission control systems in the state.
The rear window defroster became an option in 1977. We take it for granted that it's standard on most vehicles these days, but before 1977 if you were rocking a truck in the cold, you were scraping that window yourself.
In 1977, rectangular head lamps became standard on Ford F-series trucks. Before that, they had been using the typical round lights that most cars used.
Free-Wheelin' Ford was an option package that gave you things like a blacked-out grille and cooler looking custom interior. The commercials really made it seem like driving one of these was like driving a party around town.
In 1970 Ford had three models of the F-series trucks available - The F-100, the F-250, and the F-350. The very popular F-150 was not introduced until 1974. The N-series were actually tractors made by Ford.
The gross vehicle weight, or GVW, of the Ford F-150 back in 1975 was listed at 6,050 pounds or so. This was about 500 pounds heavier than the F-100 model. The beefier truck was instantly more appealing to buyers than the 100 had been.
There were a number of colors available in 1976 but you had 3 blue options. Those included "Bali Blue," "Bahama Blue" and "Midnight Blue Metallic." In 1948, for the first series of Ford trucks, blue wasn't even an option.
1971 is the year that gave drivers the egg crate grille. It had a vertical split in the middle but also a long horizontal one that split it into sections making it resemble an egg crate.
Thanks to increased emissions standards across the industry, Ford had to make some significant changes including the use of catalytic converters, which led to the switch from leaded to unleaded fuels. These kinds of changes led to a decrease in overall horsepower.
The fuel tank moved from behind the seat to beneath the body and between the frame rails. This move was done for safety reasons and also to increase the room in the cab overall.
The glove box got a significant upgrade in 1973. Ford was doing their best to accent comfort in their 1970s models, to get people to stop thinking of them strictly as work vehicles, and part of that including offering more space. Even the glove boxes reaped the benefits.
1977 was the first year CB radio was an option from Ford in its F-Series trucks CB radio was getting big in the '70s and numerous CB-themed movies were becoming popular around this time frame as well such as "Smokey and the Bandit," "Convoy," and "Breaker! Breaker!"
You had 16 different options for your paint job back in 1970. That included two different shades of white, two different yellows and several greens and blues. The only shade of red available was "candy apple red."
Ford sold a total of 864,000 trucks in 1978. According to Autoweek, in the year 2017 Ford was selling a truck literally every 30 seconds.
The 1974 SuperCab offered rear bench seats or the side jump seats. It was possible for a family of 5 to fit fairly comfortably in a SuperCab to go on road trips, making it a viable option when compared to traditional cars in terms of family vehicles.
Due to changing standards, 1972's horsepower wouldn't be matched again until 27 years later. In 1972 the best horsepower you could get was 255. 27 years later you could get the 260-horsepower 5.4 liter Triton V-8, and its 360-horsepower supercharged variant for the SVT Lightning performance truck.
Ford offered a wide range of colors throughout the '70s, but Wimbledon White was always an option. Most years, but not all, saw "pure white" as an option as well.
There was a faulty brake push-rod that led to a fairly substantial recall in 1979. The problem with the rod was that it had the potential to disengage from the brake pedal.
Most cars contained an ashtray in the dash and door ashtrays for many years. They were standard in Ford models in 1975 and for a few years afterward. Of course, just about no one produces ashtrays or cigarette lighters in cars anymore.
Dodge released their extended cab truck back in 1973. That's believed to be what inspired Ford to do the same the following year, offering up an additional 22-inches of space, which was more than enough for a bench seat in the back.
Ford's tagline to sell trucks in many commercials was that 93 out of 100 built since 1963 were still on the road. Most of the commercials showed Ford trucks undergoing some incredibly strenuous abuse that no normal truck would ever have to take.
The Twin I-Beam Suspension was developed in the '60s. Ford pushed it very strongly in the '70s in an effort to demonstrate that trucks weren't just work machines, they could also offer a smooth ride for the whole family to enjoy.
Thanks to concerns over fuel economy and emissions standards, the '79 Fords were somewhat larger and heavier than later models. The 1980 Fords were a bit narrower and lower while also weighing less, all to help improve fuel economy.