QOTD: The Greatest Generation?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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?

[Images: Ford]

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2 of 58 comments
  • Jeff S 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.

  • Super555 Super555 on Jun 28, 2020

    What is the 2004 Super Duty considered? 10th gen?

  • Parkave231 Doghouse engines always make me (I'm sure unreasonably) uncomfortable. Obviously they work, and the covers are obviously designed to contain noise, heat, and belts that may fly off of a machine turning at 2,000 rpm. Still, it's *RIGHT THERE* next to your legs.
  • Michael Dalia My first car was a 1966 Pontiac Lemans. I also owned a 1972 Catalina and an 1988 6000LE. Currently I drive a 2007 G6 GT convertible which which I love and probably will have until I can no longer drive. Pontiacs are great!
  • Damage The mobile TV is a hoot. There wasn't a single thing on TV in the 70s that was good enough to justify the trouble and expense of putting a TV in your truck.
  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share