1978 Ford F-150 Information

by Rob Wagner

The 1978 Ford F-150 pickup truck is a member of the sixth generation of F-Series trucks out of a total of 12 generations produced by the Ford Motor Company since 1948. The F-150 pickup truck was so rugged and versatile that the frame and overall design was used in 1978 to develop the Ford Bronco line of sport utility vehicles.

Origins

The F-Series trucks debuted in 1948, with the famed F-100s appearing in 1953 with a wider windshield, more room in the cab and a modern look that served as a template for all light-duty pickup truck designs for the next decade. The F-150, which denotes a 1/2-ton payload capacity, was launched in 1975 and is part of the 1973 to 1979 sixth generation of Ford pickups. The F-250 was the 3/4-ton version and the F-350 was the 1-ton pickup, according Edmunds.com.

Longevity

The popularity of the 1970s Ford F-150 lies in the fact that styling did not radically change from model year to model year. The 1978 F-150 did not look much different than the 1973 and earler pickups. This allowed owners to drive a relatively timeless truck. Unlike passenger cars, with an average lifespan of about five to seven years, the lifespan of a pickup is considerably longer, at 15 to 20 years. Even more than 30 years after the 1978 Ford F-150 appeared in showrooms there are many examples still on the road today.

Models

The F-150 was offered in 1978 as the base Ranger, the mid-range Custom, the higher-end Ranger XLT and the top-level Ranger Lariat, which was new for 1978. The SuperCab was available as the extended-cab offering from Ford that allowed storage inside the cab as well as in the cargo box. A 4-door crew cab was available only on the F-350. Body styles included the Flareside, which had a short bed with the rear fenders extended over the rear wheels and a step placed between the cab and the rear fenders, and the Styleside, which had single-piece slab-sided cargo box which covered the rear wheels and came long or short versions.

Size and Changes

The 1978 Ford F-150 sat on a 108-inch wheelbase. It benefited from a stronger frame and a larger cab introduced in 1973. Turn signals were integrated under the headlamps and a new single-piece egg-crate grille gave the F-150 a clean, no-nonsense nose. The side panels were concaved from front to rear and a variety of two-tone paint schemes and chrome options were offered.

Power

Four engines were offered in the 1978 Ford F-150: the base 114-horsepower, 300-cubic-inch, in-line 6-cylinder, and 460-, 351- and 385-ci V-8s. The big optional 460 generated 200 horsepower when it debuted in 1973, but by the 1978 model year it was wielding 220 horsepower. The 351 provided 163 horsepower. The 385 had 169 horsepower. An automatic transmission was optional.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.