Ford’s F-series truck lineup first appeared for 1948. Five years later, as trucks were becoming more stylish and comfortable, Ford introduced a newly redesigned F-Series line for 1953. Models in the 1948-’52 F-Series spanned from the light-duty F-1 pickup through the heavy-duty F-8 cab-over-engine tractor. During the 1953 redesign, Ford updated the truck model names to the F-100 to F-900. Ford’s F-series truck line provided a wide array of hauling capacities and configurations, from a regular bed to a stake bed to just a chassis and cab for those buyers who intended to install a specially constructed cargo carrier. There was also a panel version, and available four-wheel drive on some F-series models.
The 1953 design was replaced with a new design for 1957, which in turn was replaced by yet another redesigned series for 1961. The generation of F-series that arrived in 1961 would remain in production through the 1966 model year.
More style, more comfort
The 1961 through 1963 F-series offered a Flareside model with a step-side pickup box and a Styleside model with a flush-fitting, integral cab and bed. The latter was limited to the two-wheel-drive F-100 and F-250 series. Ford engineers determined that 4x4 drive was not suitable for the integrated cab-and-bed Styleside due to the extra twisting forces that would be imposed during heavy usage. Starting with the 1962 models, the Styleside could also be had with a separate cab and bed, and this type proved to be more popular with buyers. There had been reports of heavily loaded, integral-cab-and-bed trucks flexing during use, resulting in doors being hard to open and close, thus causing doubt about its design among Ford pickup buyers. For 1962 and 1963, the separate Styleside bed was a modified version of the 1957-1960 bed, despite the fact its side creasing did not align with that of the cab. For 1964 through 1966, the Styleside was offered only with a separate cab and bed, and finally with a matching bed. Other styles offered for light-duty trucks included stake, platform and chassis-cab models.
Beginning with the 1965 model year, the F-series received a new forged-steel Twin-I-Beam axle arrangement in front that softened the ride, improved handling characteristics and provided for mostly easier maintenance. Ford sales literature boasted about the Twin-I-Beam independent front suspension being a first for pickup trucks, and that it was engineered to be very durable. Ford said its I-beam suspension had a “combination of radius rods and independent axles locks in wheel alignment, castor, and camber like never before.” The design was said to virtually eliminate the need for normal castor and camber adjustments. In back were progressive leaf springs, meaning that the upper leaves cushioned light loads, but as loading increased, causing the upper leaves to deflect, stiff lower leaves gave increasing support.
Ford said its “exclusive Twin-I-Beam front suspension and progressive rear springs provide superior riding balance that must be felt to be believed. You can detect virtually no front-end dive when brakes are applied, no ‘mushing out’ on curves, no loss of steering control when you need it most!” The Twin-I-Beam system was rugged and had few moving parts. Its drawbacks were few, but it was heavy and front-end alignment, when needed, was more difficult.
In addition to the revised suspension, the 1965 Ford also had a new grille, redesigned dash, a lower brake pedal to make the transition from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal easier, a new flex-joint steering column to insulate the steering wheel from road shocks, and wide, deep-cushioned foam seating to make up to three passengers comfortable and to reduce road noise. Furthermore, Ford’s 1965 light-duty trucks offered more powerful engines: two new inline six-cylinder types and a V-8 displacing 352 cubic inches. The six-cylinder engines were the standard 150-hp, 240-cid and an optional 170-hp, 300-cid unit derived from the 240 with the difference being the stroke length. The 208-hp 352-cid V-8 was not a new engine, but rather new to the F-100 and F-250 trucks. It was a part of the FE (Ford-Edsel) series of engines first offered for the 1958 model-year passenger cars as a 332 and 352 in Fords and as a 361 for Edsels. Incidentally, the 240 was shared with the full-size passenger car line.
Transmission choices included a fully synchronized three-speed manual unit with or without overdrive, direct-drive four-speed manual and a three-speed dual-range automatic transmission.
Outfitting an F-series
As trucks became more car-like in terms of comfort and conveniences, more optional equipment became available. Options other than the engines and transmissions already mentioned included dealer-installed air conditioning; a choice of two types of fresh air heaters (standard and deluxe); dual air horns; various outside rear-view mirrors; a padded dash; limited-slip rear axle; various axle ratios; two-tone paint; the “Ranger” package which included bucket seats and a console; the Custom Cab; and many others.
The Custom Cab option included a bright, plated grille; bright metal molding around the windshield; matched key locks on both doors; chrome-plated horn ring on the steering wheel; cigar lighter; side-mounted spare tire carrier; red or copper-tone vinyl seat bolster and facings; foam-rubber filled seat; headliner; sound deadener on the floor and rear cab panels; fiberglass insulation in the firewall; driver’s side armrest; twin sun visors; cigar lighter; and dome light.
The featured 1965 F-100 Flareside is equipped with the Custom Cab option group. It also has the 8-foot pickup bed (versus the 6-1/2-foot type), 352-cid V-8 and the four-speed transmission. This combination of features was not especially common when the truck was new, and the passage of time, has made this particular truck a rare find today. The owner of the featured F-100 is Ronald Shore of Longview, Texas. He obtained it in the mid 1990s in Dallas. Even though it was in good condition with little rust, Ron decided to perform a full body-off restoration. Surprisingly, the bed was in like-new condition, so there was virtually nothing needed to be done to freshen it. Additionally, the upholstery remained in like-new condition. Ron did much of the work himself, but hired a local shop to handle the body and paint work. The engine and transmission were fully rebuilt and are original to the truck.
Ron occasionally drives his F-100 around town, but otherwise it is kept out of the elements along with other Fords in his collection, which includes another 1965 F-100 Flareside pickup, also with the Custom Cab option.
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