Nicked here, inscribed with rust there, this ’60 Ford pickup is still on the go

I came from a Ford family and have always loved Ford trucks. They looked purposeful yet had personality. Chevy and Dodge trucks were too fussy; I was never a fan of carlike styling for pickups. Studebaker Champs that looked like Larks put me off, too. International Harvester trucks were somewhere in between, and I had no particular objection to them. But from the very first, every Ford had an appeal, and this continues to the present: I’m nuts for the Maverick compact truck.

The F-100 series from 1957 to 1960 was my favorite when I was a youngster. The previous F-100 series from 1953 to 1956 looked a bit old-fashioned with their semi-pontoon fenders. When hot-rodders got hold of any of them, it was a different story. That shape begged for amplification from customizers.

The full-fendered 1957 model and its successors made more sense to me. There was something of a big-truck look. The 1960 model with quad lamps was the best of the bunch.

I stumbled on this example Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Palm Springs Vintage Market. Looking it over inside and out, I was struck by the simple steel stampings. You might say “cheap”–and price was an important consideration in the day before $100,000 electric pickups. The 1960 models spanned the $1,850 to $2,250 range. Buyers wanted attractive design, for sure, but utility was paramount.

Among merits of the ’57 F-100, it was wider and lower than its predecessor. Various improvements were adopted in the chassis (new spindles and kingpins) and suspension (longer, wider leaf springs). The wider windshield wrapped around at the corners. The driver benefited from pedals that were suspended from the dash rather than being floor-mounted. Buyers could choose from 10 colors. Flareside and Styleside models were available with steel or wooden bed decks.

It looks as though sales came in at about 110,000 units in ’57, which is trifling compared to today’s figures. But back then, no one was buying a pickup as a lifestyle accessory.

The quad lamps were introduced in 1959. For 1960 the front was restyled with sturdy-looking bar connecting the headlamp pods. Below is a grille with rectangular grillwork.

My reference book, Standard Catalog of American Light-Duty Trucks, says “improvements were made to the springs, door seals, electrical and exhaust systems.” Among included luxury feature were the dome light, driver-side sun visor, coat hook, and white plate covering the instrument cluster. The Lifeguard steering wheel with spokes that would flex and the double-grip door locks were safety advances. Forget about an automatic transmission, although four-wheel-drive was optional.

The best-seller was the Styleside at 113,875 units.

Lots of innovation was occurring in the truck market. In 1960, Ford introduced the Falcon Rachero pickup and the next year ushered in the Falcon Econoline van, station bus, and pickup.

You have to love the intact F-100 that was at the the Palm Springs Vintage Market. Somebody’s practically a genius for leaving it in original condition. Too bad there aren’t hubcaps though.

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