Ford Tough, But Easy to Read
Authors: Patrick Foster
Publisher: Motor Books
Price: $50.00 / £35.00
It’s almost funny to think about the history of the truck. In my mind, their history is parallel to the history of the car, developing at the same pace and for the same reasons. And while much of that belief is true, Patrick Foster’s Ford Tough, 100 Years of Ford Trucks, delves so much deeper into what makes a truck a truck, and how that impacts the history of the world.
Over one hundred years ago, Ford Motor Company made their official debut into the truck market, starting what would be a long and challenging century of success, failure, political, social and economic impact that often gets glossed over, when we discuss the history of the automobile. But old Hank Ford was a farm boy himself, and he knew just how far a truck could go to changing the world– or maybe he didn’t know but, as Foster explains, he sure as hell changed it anyway.
Ford Tough is not only a fascinating exploration into a part of automotive history that is both fundamental and rarely discussed. It a beautiful, easy to comprehend history of the world, as Foster leads us through the earliest eras of trucks, starting in 1917, to the rivalry between Ford and GM that lead to Ford’s use of the V8 engine, after the Great Depression. The book discusses the role of Ford Trucks on both sides of the WWII effort, after German soldiers occupied factories in Holland and Germany and follows the path of the ever-present F-100, a piece of Americana since 1953.
Trucks, perhaps even more than cars, are an indicator of economic and political times. When the Prohibition lifted, truck sales rose, as farmers once again began catering to a burgeoning alcohol market. When the oil crisis hit, Ford, and the other truck producers, were forced to reevaluate their role and respond to consumer demands. Foster does a remarkable job stringing the history of the world through the history of the truck. His research and attention to social, political and economic detail gives the reader an in-depth understanding of just how important these seemingly-alway-present Ford trucks truly were to history.
And even if you don’t read a page of the book, though I highly suggest you do, the photographs and images culled from early newspapers, magazines, dealerships, manuals and archives, are a remarkable montage of American history, a passing of time demarcated by the size of grilles, the height of wheel wells and the fashion on the illustrated models sitting on the open bed.
Oftentimes, classic cars books run the risk of repetition, with their glossy images and tiny type. And though we love those books, about Mustangs and F1 racing, they aren’t all that unique. Those are the sexy, romantic eras of automotive history.
But trucks are as, if not more, important. The workhorses of America, they are a guide to the way we used to buy, work and live, a still accurate ledger, as the F-100 and other Ford trucks continue to dominate the market. If you’re looking for a book that doesn’t say the same thing, that gives new insight and an interesting perspective on the servants of the car world, Ford Tough is the one for you.