Ford F-Series sixth generation

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Sixth generation
73-75 Ford F-350.jpg
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1972–1979
Assembly Dearborn, Michigan, USA
Edison, New Jersey, USA
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
San Jose, California, USA
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Wayne, Michigan, USA
Cuautitlan, Mexico
General Pacheco, Argentina (Ford Argentina)
Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Oakville Assembly)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size pickup truck
Body style 2-door pickup
4-door pickup
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Related Ford Bronco
Ford B-Series
Engine 240 CID (3.9 L) I6
300 CID (4.9 L) I6
360 CID (5.9 L) FE V8
390 CID (6.4 L) FE V8
460 CID (7.5 L) 385 V8
351 CID (5.8 L) 351M V8
400 CID (6.6 L) 335 V8
203 CID (3.3L) Perkins 4.203 4-cylinder Diesel (an option exclusive for the Argentinian-assembled F-100)
Predecessor Ford F-Series fifth generation (1967–1972)
Successor Ford F-Series seventh generation (1980–1986)

The sixth generation Ford F-Series is a line of pickup trucks and medium-duty commercial trucks that was produced by Ford Motor Company from 1972 to 1979. These are the last generation of trucks to use the F-Series chassis introduced in 1965. After a decade as a compact SUV, the Bronco was redesigned as a shortened version of the F-Series. This generation of F-Series also marks the introduction of the F-150, today the most popular model.

This generation is noted for the durability of the body panels as Ford used extensive amounts of galvanized sheet metal to fight corrosion. In 1976, the F-Series became the best-selling truck in America, a position it has continued to hold ever since.

Design history[edit]


1973–1975 Ford F-100 XLT

In 1972, a new model was offered, the F-350 SRW (single rear wheel) pickup. These were new heavy-duty pickups made with contractors and camping enthusiasts in mind. The trucks rode on a longer-wheelbase chassis but were the same overall length as an F-100 or F-250 pickup. Ordering the Camper Special package on an F-350 SRW made it a Super Camper Special which was designed for the much heavier slide-in campers coming on the market at that time.

For 1974, the F-Series became available in an extended cab for the first time. Dubbed SuperCab, it offered the 6-passenger seating of the crew cab in a slightly shorter length. For 1975, the F-150 was introduced; as part of an effort to circumvent upcoming emissions requirements, the F-150 was designed with a heavier maximum payload (2,275 lb (1,032 kg) when properly equipped) than the F-100. With the half-ton F-100 still in production, the new F-150 was referred to as the "heavy half-ton."


1977 Ford F-150 Explorer

In 1975 (1976 model year), this familiar "split-grille" design was facelifted slightly to feature black accents around the headlights and a refined appearance overall.

1977 models received a redesign of exterior trim, with the cowl insignias made smaller and moved near the windshield. It also would be the final year of the medium-duty F-500.


1978 Ford F-100 Custom

For 1978, the appearance of the F-Series was changed the most since 1972 when the split grille was overhauled in favor of a single-piece grille insert design. Much larger than before, the grille no longer incorporated the headlights and turn signals. The headlights were placed in housings beside the grille, and the park/turn signal lamps were now placed below the headlights. Additionally, a new chrome-plated "F O R D" letter set could now be seen on the hood immediately above the grille. In 1977 (1978 models), the round headlight design was retained for the regular Ranger and Custom trim levels. A luxury Lariat trim was also introduced for 1978; Ranger XLT and "Lariat" trim levels incorporated rectangular headlights with optional chrome headlight doors and chrome grille insert. For 1979, the round headlights were completely replaced by rectangular headlamps and the surrounding grille insert that framed the headlamps was now available in either black, or chrome to match that of the aluminum grille frame.


  • F100 F101 F102 F103 F104 F105 F106 F107 F108 F109 F10N: 1/2 ton (4,550–5,700 GVWR max)
  • F110 F111 F112 F113 : 1/2 ton (4×4)(5,250–6,500 GVWR max)
  • F150 F151 : "heavy" 1/2 ton (6,050–6,200 GVWR max)
  • F140 F141 F142 F143: "heavy" 1/2 ton (4x4)(6,050–6,500 GVWR max)
  • F250 F251 F252 F253 F254 F255 F256 F257 F258 F259: 3/4 ton (6,200–8,100 GVWR max)
  • F260 F261 F262 F263 F264 F265 F266: 3/4 ton (4×4) (6,500–8,400 GVWR max)
  • F350 F350 F351 F352 F353 F354 F355 F356 F357 F358 F359 F35P: 1 ton (6,000–10,000 GVWR max)
  • F-360: 1 ton (4×4) (8,550 GVWR max)

The GVWR ratings for these trucks was tied to a combination of wheel, spring, axle and brake combinations. The series code on the ID tag denotes which model and from that it can be determined what weight rating each vehicle has. 4×4 trucks can also be identified by the Vehicle Identification Number and on the ID plate as a serial number. For example, F10 is an F-100 2-wheel drive, but F11 is an F-100 4×4, and so on. Serial numbers beginning with an "X" are SuperCab models.


  • Custom
  • Explorer
  • Ranger
  • Ranger XLT
  • Lariat (1978-1979)


Engine Years Power (SAE net) Notes
240 CID Straight-6 1973–76 1973-1974 in Australian market also
250 CID Straight-6 1974–79 Australian market only
300 CID Straight-6 1973–79 117 hp (87 kW) 1973-1974 in Australian market also
302 CID Windsor V8 1973–79 130 hp (97 kW)
302 CID Cleveland V8 1974–79 Australian market only
351 CID Cleveland V8 1978–79 Australian market only
360 CID FE V8 1973–76 143 hp (107 kW)
390 CID FE V8 1973–76 161 hp (120 kW) 1975 390-4V, also available as 2V
460 CID 385 V8 1973–79 200–239 hp (150–162 kW)
351 CID 351M V8 1977–79 156 hp (116 kW)
400 CID 400 V8 1977–79 169 hp (126 kW)

Australian production[edit]

1978–79 Ford F100 Custom XLT, with right-hand drive in Australia

Ford Australia assembled right-hand drive sixth generation F-Series that were fitted with a lineup of locally sourced engines.


Initially they were available with US sourced 240 and 300 CID Straight-6 engines. From August 1974 the 240 CID engine was replaced with locally sourced 250 CID Straight-6 and the 300 CID was replaced by the locally sourced 302 Cleveland V-8 engines. The 302 Cleveland was a destroked 351 Cleveland built using tooling exported to Australia after the closure of the Cleveland production line.


The 250CID Straight-6 was upgraded with a new crossflow head and rebadged as the 4.1 litre, increasing power and lowering emissions to meet new legislation being introduced.


In 1978, the 351 Cleveland V-8 replaced the 302 Cleveland in the F-250 and F-350. The 302 Cleveland continued alongside the 351 Cleveland in the F-100. The 4.1 litre continued to be sold across the range. In 1979, the F-250 and F-350 had an automatic gearbox as an option for the first time in Australia.

Ford Bronco[edit]

Main article: Ford Bronco
1978-1979 Ford Bronco (modified)

Starting in 1978, Ford redesigned their Ford Bronco and based it upon the F-150. The Bronco was now nearly identical to the F-150 with the addition of a removable camper shell. The new Bronco incorporated design characteristics which eliminated leaky roofs and body flex associated with other full size removable top utility vehicles of the era. This allowed Ford to compete better with the Chevrolet Blazer by offering a larger and more luxurious SUV while minimizing production costs since many (especially the most complex and expensive) parts were shared with the F-series trucks. The Bronco was only offered with the 351M and 400 V8 engines.


See also: Ford B-Series
1976 Ford F600 Custom Cab in use as a fire pumper

Largely unchanged since 1967, medium duty-trucks saw little change during the 1970s. Post-1973 models are most easily distinguished by their larger headlight surrounds in the grille in comparison to 1967-1972 models. In 1977, a 370 cubic-inch version of the 460 V8 replaced the previous FE engines. Shared with the L-Series trucks, the Caterpillar 3208 V8 became an option in F700 and F800 models; diesel-powered trucks were distinguished by an extra "0" (i.e., F-7000/F-8000). The lowest-GVWR F-500 was discontinued after 1977.

Appearances in media[edit]

The television series Arrested Development prominently features the Bluth family driving a 1978 (mostly) Ford F-350 airport stair car after they had to sell the company jet and the new owners didn't want it. The stair car is featured in many gags throughout the show, including an inmate trying to use the stairs to escape over the fence when the Bluths visit their dad, who was incarcerated in prison. A mid-1980s model F-350, and a 1967-72 F-350 updated with a late '70s grille have also been used. The stair car was also used by Netflix in public appearances to promote Arrested Development's 2013 resurrection.[1]