How Ford’s Eighth-Generation F Series Directed Modern Age Trucks

1991 Ford F150 Truck
With good looks, modern amenities, and refinement Ford’s eighth-generation F Series raised the bar for everyday use.

The eighth-generation Ford F Series ushered in the modern era of trucks. Built from 1987 to 1991, it carried over its chassis and a lot of its design from the seventh-generation model. But starting with those good bones, Ford added refinement and modern features like:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • A wider range of overdrive transmission options
  • OBDI computer-controlled engine management
  • A revised interior with a more ergonomic dashboard

1989 f150 red longbox
1989 Ford F-150 Red Longbox

The eighth-generation F Series looked more modern with its flush headlamps and aerodynamic front end. It also drove more modern. Ride and handling improved thanks to a revised suspension with gas-charged shocks. Combined, these changes made the trucks sold by Dodge and Chevrolet look and feel old. In fact, both the Chevy and Dodge were old. Both trucks debuted during the Nixon administration. Compared to the Ford they looked more dated than polka music on America’s Top 40.

The new looks and changes also improved functionality and maintenance. Changing headlamps and other bulbs no longer required tools. The 4.9 and 5.0-liter engines used a serpentine belt for easier replacement. Maintenance schedules had longer intervals and fewer items. And corrosion protection and vehicle warranties improved as well.

During this time, Ford introduced their EEC-IV computer control system. This OBDI system revolutionized engine and drivetrain management. While primitive today, these early computer controls reduced maintenance and improved drivability. Anyone who’s chased a vacuum leak can attest to the improvements of electronic engine management. Gone were the mess of vacuum hoses that looked like a nest of snakes in an Indiana Jones movie. (Although to be fair, three decades later, EEC-IV engines can still send you on a hunt for a vacuum leak, hahaha.)

1990 Ford F-150 truck
1990 Two-Toned Ford F-150

But it was the interiors really set the eighth-generation F Series apart from the competition. The cab became more comfortable and car-like. Also, the interior was quieter thanks to the redesigned front end and additional sound deadening. Features like power windows, locks, and stereo cassette became standard on higher trim levels. And for trim levels like the XL, you could add most of these features as options.

Ford continued to refine and improve it. They knew trucks were no longer basic work vehicles and were becoming more mainstream. People increasingly used their trucks for regular transportation. They started commuting in their trucks to work, running errands, and taking the family out for pizza. As a result, Ford trucks started showing up everywhere from the livestock barn to Pottery Barn.

Today, trucks are more common than cars in most parts of the country. They are far more capable than their ancestors at hauling and towing. And they also offer good ride and comfort. You can even deck your truck out with the luxury of a Lincoln. And there are special edition trucks like the SVT Lightning and Harley Davidson Edition. There’s no question trucks were headed in this direction. But the eighth-generation Ford F Series led the charge.

Source: Ford Truck Enthusiasts



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