Ford is a brand synonymous with American ingenuity and passion. Since 1903, Ford Motors has designed and manufactured some of the best selling vehicles in the US. But Ford's pride and joy of their lineup is their pickup trucks. In fact, Ford released the very first popular pickup truck in 1925, almost a century ago. Since then, the trucks have gotten bigger, more powerful, and added utility and agility. The pickup is the most used vehicle for the small business owner like a landscaper or plumber. The open bed offers modular storage, and there's nothing like the fun of tailgating from the back of an actual pickup. From the iconic films featuring kids hanging out in the back to the rough and ready builds of today's work trucks, Ford has an incredible list of success stories.
Continue scrolling to keep reading
Click the button below to start article in quick view
The Ford Shelby is the best of all pickups, not just Ford models. It delivers 500 horsepower and 480ft-lbs of torque, all in a convertible or hardtop. With a cargo capacity of 275L and rear-wheel drive, this truck was designed for work and play. The extended cab lets you cart around passengers and plenty of gear. Plus, it has the styling of a super snake GT500. What could be better than a heavy duty work truck with a sports car suit?
You can't argue with the numbers, and as one of the most popular trucks on the road, the Ford F-150 Raptor is a great truck. An increased ride height, better shock absorbers, and a totally redesigned engine make the 2018 Raptor a fun truck both on and off the road. It's lighter and has more power with 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque than older editions. For a truck that dances over dunes or dives down steep grades, drive the Raptor.
Super Duty is the name of the class for the Ford F-450, and this truck takes the best in class spot with ease. The massive tow capacity of 32,500 lbs is what lets it overhaul the competition. With V8 and V10 engine options or a V8 turbodiesel, you have plenty to choose from in terms of power. Stability control, 4-wheel ABS and plenty of other options round out the reasons why this truck is such a star for workmen everywhere.
When other manufacturers were going lower to offer an easier load height, Ford stuck with the higher clearance, creating a truck that was an offroad leader for its time. The F-250 Highboy had massive clearance, making it a fun ride for even the most rut-filled, bouncy trails. More clearance means you can soar right over obstacles that will tear up the undercarriage of a low slung model, and the Highboy delivered. For the offroad enthusiasts out there, the Highboy is one of the best Ford trucks from the 90s.
Sometimes a truck manufacturer gets it right, and that's what the 2015 F-250 Super Duty is — the proper setup, direct from the factory floor. It's 6.7L Power Stroke engine is reliable and pours out the power with 400hp and the important 800 lb-ft of torque. You use torque for towing, and this truck can tow. In fact, towing is such a part of this truck that the integrated trailer brake controller makes it easier than ever to hook up a trailer. It's great on the job or for tailgating, making it a top contender in two categories.
Released in partnership with Cragar Wheels, this updated look and performance on an F-150 base was a sweet ride. This limited edition model featured 330 hp in a 5.4L V8 engine. Classic wheel flares and a custom-designed tailgate panel created a one-of-a-kind look that seamlessly blends Old World style with modern luxury. If you enjoy a smooth and the throaty growl of a classic engine, the Cragar is a great combo. It delivers everything you want from a light duty truck in a seriously stylish package.
With only 500 of these limited edition trucks released, the Ford Chip Foose F-100 may not be easy to find, but it is a fun ride. The cat back exhaust system helps cut down on engine noise, making it a surprisingly quiet ride. The lower suspension means it's not ideal for off-roading, but it is smooth and sweet on the highways. With 450 hp under the hood, it has a lot of power packed into a throwback style.
Take a pickup and add bigger wheels, a seriously aggressive front, and rear bumper design and a stamped aluminum hood and you've got the exterior of the Ford Saleen S331. Now, imagine a seriously upgraded interior with silver satin trim and industrial gauges. The aluminum pedals and charcoal grey color palette create a look that is elegant and refined, all wrapped up in a reliable work truck. Creating a work truck that looks like a luxury vehicle would be a challenge for any automaker, but Ford delivered with the Saleen.
The Ford SVT Lightning hit the streets in 1999 packed full of features like rear wheel drive, a 4-speed automatic transmission and plenty of horsepower from the V8 engine. With a max tow capacity of 5,000 lbs and a total of three seats, this is a truck built for work, not carting the family around. Some trucks are built to be a fun wagon on wheels, but the SVT Lightning is a contractors dream. Tons of cargo space and reasonable tow capacity make it a top contender for the best truck since it checks all the boxes for work.
The Lightning was good, but the Ford Lightning XLT was great for the time. This 1993 addition to the lineup rolled with a 5.8L engine and 240 horsepower. A larger than stock throttle body and custom dual exhaust system added plenty of airflow through the engine, giving it the throaty growl of a hot rod, packaged in a pickup. The 4-speed automatic transmission delivers surprising reliability in an older model. The performance is what really sets it apart, making it a seriously solid truck. Nothing emits greatness more than staying power.
When you need a lot of power, tons of towing and want a seriously aggressive profile on the road, the F-650 is the truck to drive. It's big. Really big. And, it can handle a load of 29,000 pounds. It almost looks like an 18-wheeler from the front and might even sound a little like one too. The Straight Frame model comes with 22.5-inch wheels for an even more imposing height, making this one of the tallest F-Series trucks on the road, and one of the best.
Nineteen fifty-four was a turning point for Ford motors. It was the year the company introduced the V8 engine in their F-100 trucks, and that V8 engine has withstood the test of time. That engine still forms the basis for all other V8s coming out of Ford factories, so every time you turn on a truck and enjoy the growl, or speed down a track behind the wheel of a Mustang, give a shoutout to the 1954 original that made it all possible.
The Hennessey Velociraptor edition, released in 2010 along with the original Raptor, eclipses the competition in almost every way. Take all of the greatness of the original Raptor truck and upgrade it for off-road performance. That's what you get with the Velociraptor. The original Raptor has crumple zones that make it a nightmare on massive jumps, but that is not a problem in this upgraded version. Plus, as long you're willing to spend the $$, you can jump this version up to 810-hp.
The Roush custom supercharger kit takes a standard F-150 and gives it more power, more performance, and an incredible new look. It also makes it not legal in certain states. Don't drive around on the California streets in this upgrade, and you might need to check your local noise ordinances before turning the engine over when visiting friends or family. Of course, that just adds to the fun and hits the appeal point for the target audience. After all, Roush company is all about hot rods, and this is just a different kind.
Since 1975, Ford has created the best selling pickup in America, the F-150. It has enjoyed several updates, some stylish trims and plenty of features, but it all comes down to the fact that this is a great truck. The F-150 consistently performs well for the purpose that it is mostly used for--work. It combines solid towing with great braking and plenty of cargo space, making it an ideal choice for workmen. Plus, you don't have to go for a luxury model to hit the road. What's not to like?