Ford L-Series Trucks

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Ford L-Series Trucks
FordLTL9000Truck.JPG
1982-1996 Ford LTL-9000 dump truck
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1970 - 1998
Body and chassis
Class heavy-duty truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine Various Cummins Units, Caterpillar Units, and Detroit Diesel Units; 240 and 300 inline-6 gasoline engines, FT 331 and 391 gasoline engines, 385-series 370 and 429 gasoline engines; and Super Duty 477 and 534 gasoline engines
Chronology
Successor Sterling

Ford L-Series trucks was a long-running series of heavy-duty trucks built by Ford Motor Company between 1970 and 1998. It was distinctively styled with a bold hexagonal grille at its introduction. It was built in a new plant which was called the Kentucky Truck Plant, but its location near Louisville, Kentucky gave rise to the popular name of Ford Louisville line trucks, as well as the "Louisville Plant" [1]

These heavy-duty Ford trucks replaced the short conventional N-Series, along with the heavy-duty F-Series trucks (but not the medium-duty F-Series trucks; which have soldiered on through production, and are still being produced to this day), and related tandem-axle T-Series. The Louisville Line encompassed a wide range of models serving the medium-, heavy-, and extra-heavy-duty truck ranks. The line would become one of the most popular series of trucks Ford ever produced.[1]

Designations[edit]

The designation L Series is for the base truck. Designations for variants are listed below:

  • LT=Tandem Axle.
  • LN=Short Nose (compact hood) Same WB as LS except shorter hood.
  • LNT=Short Nose Tandem Axle
  • LS=Set Back Front Axle. Shorter WB than L series.
  • LTS=Setback Front Axle with Tandem Rear Axles.
  • LTL=Tractor-Trailer. Long hood.
  • Aeromax=Aerodynamic version of the L-Series.

There were four size ranges, all available with gas (3 digit model number) or diesel (4 digit model number) engines. The 600/6000 and 700/7000 ranges, with a special short hood and single rear axle, were used in medium duty strait trucks. The 800/8000 range, available in most variants, had a mid-range drive line and was primarily used in heavy duty strait trucks. The 900/9000 range, available in all variants, had a heavy duty drive line and was primarily used in semi-tractors.

Styling[edit]

Ford L-9000 in use as water tanker.

Ford L-Series truck styling would influence other Fords. In 1972 the Ford Torino and Ranchero were redesigned with a hexagonal grille that resembled the L-Series. In 1974, the W-Series Cab-Over-Engine trucks would inherit chrome L-Series grilles. The 1978 Ford F-100 pickup would also incorporate a hexagonal themed grille. In 1996, The Louisville Line was redesigned with a sloped windshield and rounded front contours, and had lost the hexagonal front profile.[2] No models with set-back axles would be made after 1996 either. However; production of models with set-back axles eventually resumed after the entire heavy-duty truck division was sold to Freightliner, and the trucks were rebadged as Sterling Trucks.

LTL-9000[edit]

In 1976 Ford added the LTL-9000, a truck marketed toward cross-country truck drivers. Two years later, the LTL-9000 would have its own grille and headlight arrangement. The same year Ford introduced the CLT-Cabovers which had identical grilles with the LTL-9000.

Aeromax[edit]

In 1988, the basic L-Series truck design was repackaged into the AeroMax. This truck introduced new innovations in class-8 aerodynamics. A setback front axle made possible swept-back front fenders and a smoother form-fitting front bumper. It also had wraparound headlights, tank skirts and an available "Aero Bullet" sleeper unit.[2] The first models were known as the Aeromax 9000. Later in 1992, when the Aeromax 120 was introduced, the Aeromax 9000 was renamed the Aeromax 106 (for the BBC (Bumper to Back of Cab)). In 1996, they were joined by the Aeromax 9500 which was based on the new cab of the Louisville Line.

The year-span of these newer versions would be short-lived, though. In the late 1996 Ford sold its entire heavy-duty truck division to Freightliner Trucks. The trucks were rebadged as Sterling, a former division of White Motor Company in 1998.

Resources[edit]

  • American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide: 1920-1985, by Tad Burness.
  • Ford Trucks Since 1905, by James K. Wagner.
  • Ford Heavy Duty Trucks 1948-1998, by Paul G. McLaughlin.
  • Ford Truck Chronicles: by the Auto Editors of Consumers Guide.

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]