Ford’s Revolutionary New Design – the Bonus Built Series

Bonus Built Ford F1 pickup trucks, New for '48The marketing people called them Bonus Built. The designers spent a huge amount of money to develop Ford’s first post-WWII design. The directors of the Ford Motor Company expected to challenge General Motors domination of the market with an all-new line of trucks.

Introduced in early 1948, the Bonus Built design began with the 1/2-ton model F-1 and continued through a 3-ton F-8. In between were heavier duty pickups, stake beds, delivery panel trucks (the first with a larger capacity), and large haulers. This was the start of Fords F-series trucks which are still in production more than six decades later.

The cab is what gave Bonus Built its edge. It brought back a single piece windshield, a larger and taller cab, more comfortable seat, and a larger rear window. The grille featured horizontal bars when the 47 trucks had vertical ones. Underneath it was much the same as 1947 models, but the 226ci six-cylinder introduced in passenger cars the year before showed up in F-series trucks beginning 1948. A full listing of model year specs can be found here.


1949 F-1 Owned by Jack and Sue Dunigan

So why call these wonderful trucks “Bonus Built”? It was meant to refer to the many extras Ford trucks, extras you could not always get in other makes. In 1951, Ford added even more in their Five Star Extra cab. Inside you could order two-tone upholstery, armrests, and Deluxe door trim panels. The dash was redesigned and the pickup bed floor became wood once again instead of steel. is a dynamic site, not static. New features will be added, old features will be redesigned and reformatted. The Bonus Built Beacon, a monthly ezine is available through a free subscription. Sign up in the frame to the right.


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