1953 Ford F100 (Specs And Features)

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In 1953, Eisenhower won the presidency, Queen Elizabeth assumed the crown, and Americans paid 27 cents a gallon for gas for their new cars and trucks.

The 1953 F100 was the first of the second generation of F-series trucks (1953 - ‘56). The truck had several firsts, including increased capacities, an expanded interior, and a new optional automatic transmission. Engine options included a Cost Clipper 215 cu inline-six or a Y-block 239 cu V8.

The early fifties were a time of prosperity for many Americans. Returning GIs were applying their disciplined skills to building families, buying homes in the suburbs, and stretching their newfound economic power. Ford saw an opportunity to capitalize on the rising affluence of an expanding middle class by introducing the next generation of F-Series. The truck was a complete redesign aimed to perform tasks more efficiently with improved payload capacity and stiffer suspension systems. Ford expanded the interior, adding a new bench seat that sat three adults and equipped the truck with a new optional Ford-O-Matic transmission. Let’s explore this terrific truck in more detail to see why so many collectors search high and low for a chance to restore these classic Fords.

Table of Contents


The Features of the 1953 Ford F100

Ford touted the 1953 F100 as the “sweetest handling truck ever built.” As skeptical as that might sound, the claim might have been correct. With its new suspension, cushioned seats, and increased capacities, the designers focused on commemorating the Ford  Motor Company’s 50th anniversary by building a better truck.


Ford offered its F100 in three configurations, pickup, platform truck, and panel truck. The company had built an extensive fleet business for delivery services and platform trucks, so it didn’t want to lose this portion of its market share.


For the ‘53 model, the wheelbase was shortened to 110 inches (four inches less than previous models), and the front axle was moved toward the rear. The result was a truck with a lower profile that offered better steering with the front axle handling part of the payload weight. To compensate for the smaller size, Ford updated the suspension and rear springs to improve payload capacity to compensate for the smaller size. The cargo bed was expanded to 45 cu ft on a reinforced frame and deepened to 20 inches from the bed to the top of the sidewall. Ford only offered a 6 ½’ bed with a payload capacity of up to 1540 lbs. Ford lowered the tailgate height to help with cargo loading. Flared fenders gave the F100 a unique bulked-up appearance. A rugged front grill with chrome insert and recessed headlights matched the flat bumper from the front.

Ford offered seven colors for their 1953 model year trucks. Colors included Seafoam Green, Glacier Blue, Meadow Green, Sungate Ivory, Vermillion, Woodsmoke Gray, and Sheridan Blue.

Cargo Bed And Tailgate

The cargo bed was made of seasoned wood with steel anti-skid strips and reinforced edges to prevent snagging. The bed was only 6 ½ feet by 49 inches wide and 24 inches deep. The lower tailgate height helped workers load and unload their trucks since they didn’t have to lift as high as before.

The tailgate was stamped steel with overlapping sections. An anti-rattle drop chain kept the gate in place when laid flat, and a 4-inch rubber foam on either side of the tailgate minimized rattle when the tailgate was up. Ford moved the spare tire to the pickup’s rear, placing it on a new diagonal frame for easier removal.


Ford offered two engine choices on the 1953 model, with its usual standard inline six flathead, which it labeled as the “cost-cutter” six. As an option, a new Truck Y-block V8 was offered, although it didn’t produce much more horsepower or torque than the standard engine Ford had been using.

Engine Horsepower Torque
215 cu. Inline six 101 horsepower @ 3500 rpm 185 ft/lbs @ 1300 rpm
239 cu V8 106 horsepower @ 3500 rpm 194 ft/lbs @ 1900 rpm


Ford has a 3-speed Syncho-Silent manual transmission with a steering column shift as the standard powertrain, but owners could avail themselves of four other transmissions. A heavy-duty 3-speed, a 3-speed with overdrive, a new 3-speed automatic (Ford labeled this as the Ford-O-Matic), and a 4-speed Synchro-silent manual.

Transmission First 2nd 3rd 4th Reverse
Std 3-speed 2.78:1 1.62:1 1.00:1 3.65:1
HD 3-speed 3.71:1 1.73:1 1.00:1 4.59:1
3-speed w/OD 2.78:1 1.62:1 1.00:1 0.70:1 3.65:1
4-speed 6.40:1 3.09:1 1.69:1 1.00:1 7.52:1
Automatic 2.48:1 1.44:1 1.00:1 2.00:1

Ford has been using the Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission in its vehicles for a couple of years (since 1951. GM had been using an automatic transmission for several years). While pickup trucks rarely received an automatic, the quality transmission would form the basis for what would grow into the popular Cruise-O-Matic that Ford would use for years. This model year was the first time Ford offered it for a truck application. The transmission had a cast-iron case and could be started in second gear if needed. Ford touted the transmission as a fuel-saving entity that could handle 30% grades with ease.


The interior cab space was increased for 1953, which widened the windshield but offered much more room for driver comfort. Extra cushioning padded the bench seat, which could now seat three people.  New shocks were installed under the bench seat to help cushion road conditions, and a wider side door helped owners slide in and out with ease.

A Deluxe Driverside package with twin horns, sun visors, dual armrests, and a cigarette lighter. Other extras included 3-way vents, overlapping windshield wipers, and a heating defroster unit to increase driver comfort. Ford made a big deal about making drivers happy because they enjoy their work more” and a happy worker works harder. If owners wanted a windshield washer or radio, they had to pay extra.

The cockpit was padded with an instrument cluster directly before the driver.  Ford increased the size of the gauges to make it easier for quick-glance reads. A three-spoke steering wheel extended out from the base of the dash, with black rubber grooved flooring. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, Ford installed an emblem in the middle of the steering wheel just to remind owners of how special the truck really was.

The Specifications Of The 1953 Ford 100

The following table lists many of the specifications of the 1953 Ford F100.

Item Specification
Front Axle Capacity 2600 lbs.
Front Axle Type Modified I-beam
Rear Axle Capacity 3300 lbs
Rear Axle Type Hypoid- Semi - Floating
Brakes Two-shoe - Hydraulic - Drum
Rear Brakes Drum
Cooling Capacity 17 gallons (Inline Six)
24.5 gallons (V8)
Headlights Sealed Beam - Foot switch hi-beam
Engine 215 ci Inline Six
239 ci V8
Horsepower 101 hp @ 3500 rpm (inline six)
106 hp @ 3500 rpm (V8)
Torque 185 ft/lbs @ 1400 rpm (inline six)
194 ft/lbs @ 1900 rpm (v8)
Compression Ratio 7.0 to 1 (Inline Six)
6.4 to 1 (V8)
Bore 3.56 (Inline Six)
3.19 (V8)
Stroke 3.6 inches
3.75 inches
Oil Capacity 6 quarts (dry)
5 quarts (refill)
Steering Ratio 18.2 to 1
Steering Wheel Size 18-inch - 3-spoke
Tires 6.0 x 16 inches
Tie Rod Ball/Stud - Manual
Spring loaded - automatic
Transmission 3-speed manual (std)
3-speed OD
3-speed automatic
HD 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Springs 42 x 1 ¾ inch (front)
48 x 2 inch (rear)

What Is A 1953 Ford F 100 Worth Today?

According to Hagerty, a 1953 Ford F100 in good condition is worth $23,000, depending on the condition of the unit. While many collectors search for these classic trucks for restoration projects, the number of these vintage trucks is few and far between. Several 1953 Ford F100s are offered on classiccars.com for sale, with prices ranging from $35k to $138k. For additional information and data on classic car values, check out the website linked here.

Are Replacement Parts Hard To Come By?

While collectors love these classics, finding replacement parts can be challenging at times. There are plenty of aftermarket companies that produce parts, but if you need or want OEM parts, you may have trouble locating them. Due to the scarcity of part availability, the price for these classic trucks will only continue to increase.