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Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks, 1961-1966

History of Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

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1961 Ford F-100 Truck

1961 Ford F-100 Truck

Photo © Dale Wickell

Ford F-Series F-100 Trucks, Fourth Generation: 1961-1966

1961 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

In 1961, Ford introduced a new team of F-Series pickup trucks. One of the most dramatic changes to the series was the Styleside, an all-new integrated cab and box -- a feature destined to be phased out within a couple of years.

To create the look, the Styleside was extended forward to become part of the cab. The new configuration eliminated the gap between the bed and the cab, removing an area where trapped dirt, mud snow led to corrosion. Ford felt the new design would offer a cleaner appearance and increased strength.

The new truck's cargo area was 9 cubic feet larger than the previous generation's, and the open tailgate became longer, now extending almost 13 inches.

Ford relocated the windshield posts, creating enough room for a 22-percent increase in the windshield itself. Other changes included a heater with more output, thicker seat padding, door locks on both doors and a recirculating ball-type steering box.

Ford also offered its traditional Flareside pickup in 1961.

1962 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

F-Series trucks received a few significant changes in 1962:

  • The old Fordomatic transmission was replaced with the stronger Cruise-O-Matic.
  • A non-integrated Styleside bed became available, at first only on 4WD trucks; by the end of the model year it was available on all F-Series pickups.

Ford also tweaked the truck's grille and trim in 1962.

1963 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

F-Series experienced some significant updates in 1963:

  • The standard three-speed transmission was now fully synchronized.
  • Both engines had standard positive crankcase ventilation (PCV).
  • The trucks' warranty was increased from 12 month/12,000 miles to 24 months/24,000 miles.

Ford also expanded the use of galvanized metal and zinc primer in a number of areas subject to corrosion.

1964 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

In 1964, after a couple of years of poor sales, Ford eliminated the integrated Styleside box. (There have been some rumblings over the years that the trucks are prone to body flex, but I haven't driven one so I can't offer an opinion. Have you owned an F-Series with an integrated bed? Tell us what you think of the model.)

Ford recognized that many pickup truck buyers were using the trucks as a second car. Advertising began to focus on comfort and ride as well as big truck durability.

The new Styleside bed now featured double wall construction, which increased its strength and helped keep shifting cargo from denting the outer bedside. The tailgate was also double walled and now had a latch mechanism with a center release handle (rather than the chains with hooks to hold them used on previous trucks).

1965 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

On its surface, the 1965 F-100 didn't look much different than the previous year's truck, but there were important changes under the sheet metal. Ford introduced its Twin I-Beam front suspension on all 2WD models, giving the trucks a more car-like ride while maintaining work-truck strength.

Front leaf springs were replaced with coil springs, and the twin axles were held in place by large-radius arms. Splitting the axles allowed each wheel to travel over bumps and potholes independently, resulting in a much smoother ride.

Seat belts became optional on 1965 bench seat trucks.

In 1965, Ford replaced its long-used 292 cu. in. V8 with a 352 cu. in. FE series engine rated at 208 hp. and 315 lb./ft. of torque.

The name Ranger was first used in 1965, and referred to a package featuring bucket seats, carpeting and an optional console, all geared toward the increasing number of buyers who were were looking for a pickup that was comfortable and sporty as well as functional.

1966 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

In 1966, a new "Low Silhouette" pickup featured a single speed transfer case and mono-beam front axle. The truck sat lower than a typical 4WD pickup, but had a 2 inch higher break-over point. The mono-beam front axle used coil springs and large radius arms similar to the twin I-Beam set used on this generation's 2WD trucks.

Other changes for 1966 were minor, and primarily cosmetic.

F-Series Trucks History

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