I just couldn’t pass up this 1957 Ford F100 posted at the Cohort by Fred Oliver. First off, it’s a vintage of the F series we’ve never done before. And it’s a six, which are instant points here at CC. And it’s…purple.
The ’57 F Series trucks looked mighty new, although in reality they were really juts new bodies on mostly unchanged ’53-’56 chassis. A few things give that away: the same 110′ and 118′ wheelbases. The same set-back front wheels, which was presumably done to improve weight distribution. The same tall cab height. An all new F-Series pickup would have to wait until 1961, when the lower “unibody” (integrated cab and bed) generation arrived.
But that’s not to say the ’57 wasn’t plenty new for the times. And certainly plenty stylish. In fact, they rather made the concurrent Chevy/GMC pickups, which had first come out in mid-year 1955, look rather outdated. Chevy and GMC wouldn’t get a new truck until 1960. This boxy Ford looked pretty fine for 1957.
There’s very little doubt in my mind that this generation of Ford pickups was the model for the very popular Tonka pickup. I did a CC on a 1960 F250 a few years back that’s almost the exact color of this Tonka, and made note of the similarities then.
But I’ve never seen a purple one before, in either full size or Tonka size. No, it’s obviously not original, and from the patina, it appears that this repaint was undertaken some time ago. Maybe in the late ’60s?
They did a nice job on the tailgate letters even.
This bed would outlast this generation of truck, as it ended up being used in the subsequent one, as a replacement for the structurally deficient “unibody”, as well as on all the 4x4s. No, it doesn’t exactly match up to the new lower cab, but it had to do. Full story here.
Of this generation, I like the front end of the ’57 best: clean, single headlights, unfussy. This is the best, although these always seemed a bit sparse on the road even back in the day. The Chevys sold better when new, and always seemed to have more of a following as they aged.
The lack of a V8 emblem in the center of the grille marks this as a six; the 223 CID “Mileage Maker”, an engine that acquitted itself quite well in terms of its reputation. It was an enlarged version of the 215 six of 1952, Ford’s first ohv engine. It was replaced by the all-new 240/300 “Big Six” in 1965.
The V8 versions used the 272 and 292 versions of the Y-Block.
Count me as another who thinks of Tonka on the rare occasions when I see these. You have made me think, and it is true that these never seemed to be seen that often. But then again, most trucks in the city were fleet-owned back then and got turned over more frequently. Perhaps if I had lived in farm country. Then again, 1957-60 has to have been one of the shortest runs for a postwar pickup design ever.
That Styleside bed may have been one of the most enduring pickup truck innovations ever. Although looking at it from the rear there was precious little style there.
Amazing to think about how much Ford had stewing all at once in this era…
A new pickup, and matching big truck. A new tilt-cab. An all-new Ford car. Thunderbird, Mercury, Edsel, Lincoln. A retractable hard top. Two new families of car engines, a new Super Duty truck engine. A new rear axle, and more.
I to just picked up a purple F1. I snagged a 64 F100 this Sat and love it.. planning on doing a father and son restore..
If so then look up the FTE forum and go down to 1961-1966 F-100 and Larger F Series Trucks. You can learn everything there is to know about them, restoring them, and fixing them. I’ve been on it since 2006. You may even run into NumberDummy, a Ford parts man for 30 years, whose knowledge of his years is unsurpassed. It is the place to be for anyone restoring a Ford truck.
Thanks for using my photos, Paul, and giving this truck some attention and context. This one got my attention first because of the purple, and then because I like the body style and couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a Ford pickup of this vintage. In my area there are quite a few 73-79s, considerably fewer 67-72s, a couple 61-66s, but none of this vintage that I can recall, despite the presence of some from even earlier times. Perhaps, as you alluded to in your article, they were slow sellers. That’s too bad, because they are good looking vehicles to my eyes.
I hadn’t looked very carefully before, and thus didn’t realize that this bed, designed for the older cabs, was the one used in the (non-unitized) 61-66 trucks, and that it doesn’t quite match the cab of the newer trucks. I will notice that every time I see one of them from now on. In thinking about it some more, I may have seen some trucks of this vintage, but, glancing at the bed, mistook them for later model ones.
It’s a little sad that this one isn’t on the road, and it’s getting pretty crusty. The fact that it is parked out front rather than rotting away unnoticed gives me hope that it might find a new home in the hands of an ambitious passerby if it is not attended to by its current owner.
Obviously “looking over” is no longer a selling point for trucks of today unless you count looking over with just your head and shoulders.
I don’t follow.
Ah, try loading a box into a truck over the bed rail as in the advertisement shows above. I can do it on my 65 but can’t on trucks now.
I just did it on my old man’s ’16 F-150. Yes, it was slightly taller, but it wasn’t over my head. A modern HD, yes, that’d be tall.
The survival rate of those 1957-’60 Ford trucks in the northeast is virtually nil. They were as terrible rust-buckets as the ’57-’58 Ford cars were. Rust formed in the rear of the cab floors to the point the doors wouldn’t close tightly anymore. Bottoms of the doors and inside step, rear edge of the front fenders and the mounts for the hood hinges savaged with rust damage were common by the time these were six-ten years old. Saw hundreds of them in junk yards
Another fan of the 57-60 f100. They all were not rust buckets. Like most anything else condition is directly related to care. Photo of my 58 223 f100.
Numbers say this block is a 1964,. I think I like the dual headlights and chrome of the 58 photo of the 223.
That’s sweet, Mike Neely, nice.
Thanks for posting it.
I believe that’s the first “hopped” 223 I’ve ever seen.
The head is older than ’64. I forgot the year but somewhere along the way the “stud” valve cover was changed to bolts at the perimeter.
There was a big 262 in the same engine family too.
Yeah always liked those, I had the Tonka version as a kid,
This is an interesting find. I don’t recall seeing very many of these either-perhaps because in the next year Ford added those four headlights, so this is a one year grill. I find this design simpler and cleaner.
One key to seeing these as a re-style is in the doors, which from the inside look exactly like the doors on the ’56. Which were just like the doors on the ’55, except for lacking the wrap-around front window.
The 223 was a solid motor. Nothing fancy, just started every time with a little choke and a couple stabs at the gas and got the job done.
Wow, haven’t seen a 57 in years. My dad purchased one, just like the blue/white one in the ad. At the time he got it, about 1967, it was just an old truck, he paid $50 for it when he was driving down some country road, and saw it sitting next to a barn. It ran good, was a 292 three on the tree. 292’s made a certain sound I have never forgot, nothing else sounds like that. Dad used it for a truck to go to the drilling rig he had, always overloaded with drilling equipment. (He had a Bucyrus Erie 22W, if anyone remembers those)Dad cut it up with a torch about 1970, and made a trailer out of the bed. It was replaced with a 1964 red/white F-100 Custom cab, again with 292 and three speed, but was originally a 223 six cyl, the most gutless engine ever.. I remember riding down the road, sitting in the middle, between my brother and dad. Both are gone now.. Man, this post brings back memories, thanks for posting.
I wonder what the ratio of the plane jane painted grill version is to the “loaded up” version with the chrome grill and two tone paint was. I could imagine a working man wanting the most basic model he could get. My Father was that way with his trucks all of his life. Wanting the plane jane.
After watching the full series of Mad Men on Netflix, I see that beautiful advertisement in a whole new light. Great work
Non Tonka version of 1960 F-100 for reference.