1951 FORD F-1 PICKUP TRUCK
Vehicle Identification No. B1AT27369
Dark Blue with blue vinyl interior
Engine: V-8, 239ci, single 2 barrel carburetor, 100bhp at 3,800rpm; Gearbox: three speed transmission; Suspension: solid front and rear axles; Brakes: four wheel drum brakes. Left hand drive.
The best-selling vehicle in the US for decades has been the F-Series truck from the Ford Motor Company. This impressive record began with a truck which became a legend itself. In 1948, Ford introduced the Bonus, which was also known as the F-1 pickup. It was the company's first truck designed as such from the ground up, rather than an adaptation of a car chassis. It was an up-to-the-minute design, with a one-piece windshield and headlights smoothly fitted into the fenders. The bold three-tooth grill was both dramatic and simple. Produced from 1948 until 1952, it established Ford as a leader in the small truck market.
The F-1 was also designed to make the truck a more pleasant place to be. The cab, called by Ford "The Million-Dollar Cab", was seven inches larger across than its predecessor's was and offered additional head and leg room. The doors were also wider and when you entered, you found new features such as sun visors, an ashtray and easier to read, more prominent instruments. Individually padded coil springs in the now adjustable bench seat made it more comfortable and vent windows and a dashboard ventilator, combined with the available heater and defroster made the F-1 ready for use in all types of weather.
Available with both a 6-cylinder as well as Ford's familiar flathead V-8 engine, the 1/2 ton rated F-1 had a 4,700lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The entire production was built in Ford's Highland Park, Michigan factory.
Like the other cars in musician Max Weinberg's collection, this Ford truck has a personal connection to him. "My father owned and operated a summer camp, so farm vehicles always appealed to me. Trucks, dump trucks, jeeps, the whole thing." Another influence was television. Growing up in the fifties, an era when TV was "a destination" with four or five channels, he was addicted to the program "Lassie". On that show, the grandfather drove a 1951 Ford truck and the memory of that truck stuck in Max's mind. Of course it didn't hurt that the truck featured was a 1951, for that was Max's birth year. "Over the years I had a number of beat up '51 trucks, but they didn't really do it for me. A guy down in Florida had this truck, which had been very well taken care of, and I had to have it."
The 1951 Ford F-1 Christie's is selling on behalf of Max Weinberg is a superb example of the model. Finished in deep blue, with a blue vinyl interior, it's the kind of truck a farmer or workman might have saved for special trips into town. A stock example, the F-1 is equipped with the V-8 engine, chrome bumpers and whitewall tires, and is certainly not a worn out work horse. The stainless steel trim is in excellent condition and the interior appears as new. But it's not just a precious display piece. The Ford has been prepared and maintained to drive and is said to drive quite well.
Fords were always known to be durable and capable of taking great punishment and this first purpose-built Ford truck was no different. As Weinberg's other great interests, besides music, are art and architecture, it's not surprising that this vehicle held such appeal for him. The Ford F-1 is a great example of form following function, a strong workhorse given style without extraneous decoration or frills, very similar to the style of music Max has so adeptly contributed to over the many years of his career.
It is rare to see an early Ford pickup such as this one in this condition. Many were used up during their working life and others have been modified beyond recognition. This is a chance for someone who appreciates these uniquely American icons to own a great example of the truck that started a dynasty.