QOTD: The Greatest Generation?
The hazy year of 1981 brought the world many things, among them, yours truly. It was also a year that sent bullets flying through the air towards several world figures; a year that saw interest rates soar to new heights (while horsepower values fell to dismal lows), and brought what was arguably the last year of true classic rock.
In the background, New Wave ominously gathered strength.
Also gathering strength? The Ford F-Series’s popularity, as the model line donned the hat of best-selling vehicle in the U.S. that year. The F-Series traces its lineage to the Truman administration, and we now have a new generation to ooh and aah over.
That’s the new 2021 F-150 pictured above, by the way. Identification can be a problem, so Ford saw fit to ensure following drivers have no misconception about what’s driving in front of them.
With the latest Ram 1500 and now the fourteenth-generation F-150, the Chevy Silverado truly becomes the ugly duckling in the full-size class. In this writer’s eye, Ford really got the design right, ensuring no prospective buyer steers clear of the dealership due to design disagreement. Ford’s efforts to turn this generation of F-150 into a workshop (with mobile generator), home, and office, is similarly commendable.
And yet nostalgia is a powerful thing. There exists among some people a desire to get back to basics, return to the past, and live and let live — possibly with the lever of a three-speed column shift in their hand. So this becomes our question today.
Taking into consideration design, emotion, and personal preference, which generation of Ford F-Series pleases you the most? For yours truly, it has to be the sixth-generation model — a classic pickup once seen everywhere, built from the 1973 to 1979 model years. This was the first F-Series this writer ever laid eyes on, and was the one that seemed indestructible in TV shows and movies of the ’70s and ’80s. My dad owned one. It remains, in my mind’s eye, the truckiest of all trucks. Nothing touched it in terms of purity of mission. No one can fault the design. I love it.
Out for a walk the other night, I happened across one parked in the city; from it emanated an aroma of various essential fluids, wafting in all directions in the still, humid air. It was an intoxicating scent.
Runner-up for me would be the following generation, built from 1980 to 1986. A new, more modern Ford for the ’80s, this generation put on a fresher face while keeping some of the old hardware we now pine for. I’d avoid the 255 Windsor model of my birth year, as would anyone else, and the weakened frame compared to later years of that generation would be food for thought. Still, it was a Ford pickup you could get with an inline-six base engine and three-on-the-tree manual. Amusingly, a buyer could spring for three Ranger trims (Ranger, Ranger XLT, Ranger Lariat) and an Explorer trim during the first two years of production.
Nice things are nice, and it certainly looks like the latest F-150 has what a lot of buyers crave. Perhaps I’ll soon lust over a base XL with optional PowerBoost. Maybe I already am. But for today’s question, we imagine many of you will think to the past.
Which generation of Ford F-Series tickles your fancy more than any other?
Jeff S on Jun 28, 2020
Well let me say in the last 20 years manuals have gotten better but yes they are a unicorn. Regular cab have become a unicorn as well and even extended cabs are not as numerous on new trucks. The new Ford Maverick compact pickup to be released late 2021 will only have a crew cab and an 8 speed automatic.
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