Ford F-150 Is Going Retro
Drive past a Ford dealership and you might think you’ve gone back in time or that the dealership owner is a classic truck collector. In my hometown of Cincinnati, I have noticed an abundance of what looks like old-school Ford F-150s being prominently displayed out front of some car dealerships. A closer look at these and I realized that these were current model year F-150s made to resemble the styling from the Bullnose and Bricknose era of the Ford pickup truck.
Retro Ford pickup truck
The look is remarkably different from today’s current generation (13th Generation) of America’s number one selling vehicle. These retro-fit packages can be installed by the dealer with the purchase of any new Ford F-150. One of the features of the retro-design is a vinyl wrapped two-toned color scheme. This is reminiscent of the late 1970s and 1980s F-150. This era is where Ford started to dominate the market, so it’s only natural that there would be a nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling amongst Ford truck enthusiasts for these trucks. But of course, trucks from the Bullnose and Bricknose era were still quite crude inside.
Conversely, today’s F-150 is lavishly luxurious. And that’s part of the appeal and charm of these retro F-150s. You get a throwback look with all of the modern amenities of today’s F-150. Other add-ons to customize your retro F-150 include smaller tires with thicker whitewalls and chrome wheel caps. This goes against the trend of today’s trucks which usually have 18 or 20-inch tires. Subtle nuances like this really add to the appeal of this throwback.
Additionally there’s a three-inch lift added to this throwback. But what really finishes off the look is the Black Horse chrome chase rack fitted with legendary KC Hi-Light halogens. In the 1970s Broncos, especially, and trucks had light bars for off-road adventures.
Today, light bars are rarely found except as aftermarket additions to some Jeeps. So the addition of this gives the truck a unique and customized look. Maybe Ford Motor Company should start making this an option at the factory level, instead of relying on dealers to customize it.
The Ford F-150 Customization Process
At Beechmont Ford, in suburban Cincinnati, they’re at the forefront of this process according to their marketing manager Charlie Watson who is also a Ford Performance enthusiast. Watson said the process for customizing a truck with the BFP Retro Fit is quite simple. He said you can even add it in at the point of purchase and the customization will be done on location at Beechmont Ford. Best of all, the entire package (two-tone vinyl, chrome, light bar) is less than $10,000.
Adding power to the F-150
Watson said most of the truck buyers who opt for the retro fit choose the F-150 with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine. This is the same engine found in the Mustang GT. Adding the growl to the truck just feels like the right thing to do, although trucks from this throwback era didn’t really have much power. Trucks didn’t enter the performance era until the early 1990s with the SVT Lightning. Watson said that’s why adding a Roush exhaust as part of the retrofit is so appealing to today’s truck buyer. With the Roush exhaust adding a nasty growl, the overall performance of the BFP Retro Fit F-150 is 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. There’s something aesthetically pleasing and viscerally appealing about this throwback truck with that distinctive growl. Is it a Mustang? No, it’s a truck with an old-school, but modern performance.
Throwback Truck options
This trend isn’t exclusive to Ford as many Chevrolet dealers are jumping onto this fad by offering old-school-looking pickups that resemble the old Cheyenne pickups. Likewise, with the re-emergence of the Jeep Gladiator which as is resembles the old Jeep Honcho pickup, there’s some customization and retro possibilities with that truck too.
Indeed today’s trucks have such mass appeal, but as such they tend to lose some distinction in the styling. And as the truck segment continues to boom in sales, the thirst for pickups has not waned. But the nostalgic vibe that many of today’s truck consumer have clearly resonates with this retro fad. Personally, I say if you are going to drop the money it takes to buy a truck today, you might as well customize it and make it what brings you maximum happiness. A throwback look with modern amenities and a powerful growl seems just about right.
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Image: Ford F-150 retro pickup truck from Beechmont Ford.
See you in my next story about the 2021 Ford Mach 1 replacing Mustang Bullitt and comparing Mach 1 to Mach-E.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy has been published in a compilation book about children growing up with disabilities, where he shared his own very personal experience. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.