Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks: 1953-1956Ford celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1953, and a revamp of its F-Series trucks was an important part of the year's celebrations. The new look came with revised names, with the F-1 transitioning to F-100 (and F-2 and F-3 trucks following the lead to become F-200 and F-300).
F-Series second generation changes went beyond a face lift. Ford put an expanded wheelbase on the trucks, with longer front and rear leaf springs to improve ride quality while still maintaining hauling ability.
Truck exteriors were completely redesigned, starting with a large hood that flowed into bulging front fenders. To help with visibility, Ford installed a new windshield with a broader expanse of curved glass. The truck's rear glass was also enlarged.
Inside, bench seats became wider, had more adjustment opportunities, better springs and more padding. Ford grouped the instrument cluster, making it a single unit, and relocated switches, bringing them within easier reach.
An automatic transmission was added to the 1953 options list, and while many were skeptical of how well an automatic would work in a pickup, Ford’s own testing showed it to be superior to a manual tranny in many situations.
Engine choices remained the same in 1953, and buyers could choose either an Overhead Valve 6-cylinder or a Flathead V8.
1954: New V8 EngineFord introduced its new Overhead Valve V8 engine in 1954, the culmination of about six years of research and development -- and an engine that laid the groundwork for the future of Ford’s V8 engine program.
1956 Brought Design ChangesAt first glance, The 1956 F-100 looked similar to its predecessor, but there were a few important changes. The car-like Full Wrap windshield extended over to a vertical door post, increasing the field of vision. A Full Wrap option was also available for the truck's back window.
The 1956 F-100's interior sported a raised instrument panel to improve its visibility while driving. The truck also featured Ford’s Lifeguard Steering Wheel, which had a deep-dish design to put greater distance between the center hub and the driver's chest. Other new safety items include double grip Lifeguard door latches and optional seat belts.
The new V8 was tweaked in '56, growing in displacement from 239 cubic inches to 272.
Photo Gallery: 1053-1956 Ford F-100 Pickup Trucks
Vintage Advertising MaterialsRead a 1953 Ford Truck Ad for a 1950s perspective of the new truck.
Ford F-Series Trucks History
- 1948-1952 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1953-1956 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1957-1960 F-Series F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1961-1966 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1967-1972 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1973-1979 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1980-1986 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1987-1996 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 1997-2003 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 2004-2008 F-Series Pickup Trucks
- 2009 F-Series F-Series Pickup Trucks