Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks: 1973-1979

Ford pickup truck

Bull-Doser / Wikimedia Commons

Iconic American car manufacturer Ford made many changes to F-Series pickup trucks made from 1973 through 1979 -- check out the most remarkable highlights here.

1973 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

Ford changed the sheet metal used to build the 1973 F-Series redesign, but not so much that buyers wouldn't recognize the pickup. Sales were climbing, and Ford sure didn't want to lose momentum by introducing a totally different look.

Hood design was altered somewhat and a full inner structure was added -- both changes which helped reduce hood shake and vibration. Galvanized inner front fender aprons and zinc coating with rust-resistant primer helped prevent rust.

Inner bed and wheel wells were now stamped to minimize seams and provided rounded corners and sides to floor contours, which made for easier cleaning.

The trucks' former flat door glass became curved. Rear glass expanded by about a third and was tilted forward to reduce rear view mirror reflections during night driving. Intermittent wipers were offered as an option in 1973.

Ford moved the F-Series fuel tank from behind the seat to under the bed, enhancing safety and providing storage behind the seat.

Air conditioner vents were integrated into the dash, and the blower was moved to the engine compartment. The result: less noise in the cab and space for a much larger glove box.

F-Series rear wheel track was widened by 4 inches to match the trucks' front track, resulting in more stable handling. Two-wheel drive trucks were fitted with standard front disc brakes.

1974 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

In 1974, Ford made the 460 V-8 available in two-wheel drive trucks (except California). The 300 6-cylinder engine returned after a two-year absence.

Mid-year, full-time 4WD became available on trucks outfitted with the 360 V-8 and a Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

In June of '74, Ford introduced the SuperCab truck, with either center-facing jump seats or a forward-facing bench -- both types flipped up to increase cargo space when passengers weren't onboard (there were no rear doors on the truck). The SuperCab was only offered in two-wheel drive trucks with a 360 V-8 (and either a 3-speed manual or Cruise-O-Matic transmission).

1975 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

Catalytic converters were standard on all F-100 trucks, and unleaded gas was a must.

The F-150 pickup was introduced in 1974 as a heavier duty version of the F-100, with stronger front and rear axles and heavy rate springs. F-150s all had power brakes but were not fitted with catalytic converters.

All F-150s were two-wheel drive trucks, but available as either a regular cab or SuperCab body. Engine choices were the 300 6-cylinder, or either the 390 or 460 V-8.

1976 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

1976 saw the Flareside body style returned after a three-year absence. It was available on 2WD and 4WD F-100 and F-150 trucks, but only on a standard cab body. Front disc brakes became available on four-wheel drive trucks as well. Power steering changed from an external assist setup to an internal inbox design.

Ford offered the F-150 Special in 1976 -- a pickup with the F-250s heavier axles and suspension.

1977 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

Ford made no F-Series body changes in 1977 but updated trim, moldings and badging.

A rear window defroster was added to the trucks' options, and A/C (previously not available on 6-cylinder trucks and some V-8s) was available on all pickups.

The 360 and 390 V-8s were replaced with 351 and 400 2-barrel engines.

Ford also marketed the Free Wheelin' truck in 1977. Its unique look came from rainbow side tape stripes, a black front push bar with space for fog lights, a blacked out grille, black tailgate lettering with orange accents, black door panels with silver and red trim and black, silver and red seat trim.

Other 1977 F-Series updates included:

  • Radiator support was added to a growing list of galvanized steel parts.
  • Front and rear wheel wells featured plastic splash shields.
  • The front fenders, tailgate, lower radiator reinforcement, and rear cab corners were made from pre-coated metal.
  • Truck undercarriages were coated with zinc primer.

1978 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

Although body panels remained the same, the appearance of the '78 F-series was a sizable departure from other trucks in this generation. The grille became larger, with an egg crate design. It was surrounded by large, polished trim encasing turn signals and the rectangular headlights and signals. A contoured bumper completed the new look. Base model Custom pickup trucks still had round headlights with additional trim filling in the spaces around the lights.

More changes to 1978 F-Series trucks:

  • Tilt steering wheel became available.
  • Improved cab mounts and door seals reduced the in-cab noise level.
  • The F-150 SuperCab became available in 4WD.
  • A new 4-speed manual transmission became available on 2WD pickup trucks with the 4.9L 6-cylinder and the 5.0 and 5.8L V-8 engines.
  • The Free Wheelin' model returned. A tubular black rear bumper bar and chrome yellow styled steel wheels were added to its previous appearance package (white wheels were optional).

1979 Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks

This model year saw the addition of catalytic converters to all F-150 pickup trucks. Power steering became an option on 4X4 F-150s. Other changes in 1979 were minor and involved cosmetics.