The Features of the 1987 Ford F150
While Ford stayed committed to the best things in their F150 (engine, suspension, payload), they needed to entice buyers who were growing more sophisticated in their tastes and wants. American buyers were growing up. So, Ford concentrated its efforts on revamped interiors and attractive front fascias.
The most significant change in the new generation of F-series was the streamlined look. The front fascia was reimagined with horizontal headlight/parking lights, a smaller front egg-drate grille, and rounded fenders. The interior was upgraded with a bold, more practical look, and the Custom trim was reintroduced as the base model.
Ford had introduced electronic fuel injection a couple of years prior, and now after two years, truck owners had resigned themselves to the benefits of a computer-controlled engine. Ford continued to offer a naturally aspirated high-performance 5.8L V8, although it was not allowed in California due to emissions regulations.
Ford rebirthed the Custom nameplate for the base trim, replacing the word Standard. The trim lines were Custom, XL, and XLT Lariat.
The 150 Ford truck came in 4 x 2 and 4 x 4 versions. There were Regular Cab and Super Cab versions and owners could choose between a Styleside or Flareside exterior look. (the Flareside was offered briefly in 1987, as Ford used up old parts and quickly phased it out).
The front of the 1987 Ford F150 was redesigned with more aerodynamics and composite headlights/turn signals. Instead of vertical housings, the new F150 saw the parking lights increase in size. Ford moved them to the side of each headlight, wrapping around the front quarter panel. The front was more rounded, which also helped with airflow. The egg-shell grille was decreased, and a blacked-out version was offered on the Custom and XL models, eliminating the Chrome accents that had been such a part of previous models. While the chrome bumper was more rounded, a black accent strip across the front on the XL and XLT Lariat trims matched the blacked portions of the grille and gave a rather sophisticated look. The XLT Lariat also included sport wheel covers.
The distinctive accent line Ford had been known for continued to adorn the sides while the side reflector lights were eliminated. Fenders and wheel wells were rounded and lifted (again aiding airflow around the truck).
The straight-lined Styleside beds were 6 ¾ ‘ short or 8’ long beds. Most of the units built for 1987 were Regular Cab Stylesides with an 8’ bed.
For 1987, eleven color choices were included (Colonial White, Medium Silver Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Alpine Green Metallic, Chestnut, Raven Black, Dark Canyon Red, Dark Shadow Blue Metallic, Desert Tan Metallic, Bright Canyon Red, and Light Regatta Blue were the choices).
Rear Anti-Lock Brakes
Ford instituted a new rear anti-locing braking system in 1987. While they were the first to fashion rear anti-locking brakes, Honda Preludes and the Ford Scorpio were some of the first cars to institute an ALB system. The new feature sent other competitors scrambling to design their anti-skid systems.
Ford had introduced the EFI engines the previous year, and little did Ford know it, but they created a legend. (Hotrodders particularly loved the 5.0L V8 EFI engine). While early EFI engines did have some issues, Ford remained committed to the new technology and expanded it to their 4.9L inline-six. The six-cylinder engine had been the standard powerplant on the F150 for over twenty years (1965), and now computer controls would only make it more bulletproof.
To keep old-timers happy, Ford offered a naturally aspirated engine, the 5.8L HO. The engine had a 4bbl carburetor. Many ranchers and farmers preferred the simpler workup and opted for the higher engine outputs.
The 3-spd manual that Ford had used for so many years was discontinued and replaced with a 4-spd manual with overdrive. The 4-speed manual with overdrive was standard for SuperCabs and four-wheel models. An automatic with overdrive (SelectShift) was the most popular choice.
Four-wheel drive units had three transmission choices: a 4-spd manual, a 4-spd manual with overdrive, or an automatic SelectShift. Ford used the Borg-Warner 1356 Series 2-speed transfer case for four-wheel drive models, replacing the 1345 it had used for years.
Interior and Trim Lines
The interior of the F150 was redeveloped in 1987. The instrument panel was revised to center the speedometer directly in front of the driver. Heating and air controls were compartmentalized in the center of the dash, within easy reach of the driver. The glove box was deepened, and air vents were integrated into the dash.
If you wanted black in your interior, the Custom trim offered plenty. While a vinyl bench seat (most were grey) came with black rubber flooring, a black steering wheel, black seatbelts, and matching black accents were standard features. It came with an AM radio with speakers in both doors as an option.
The XL trim level offered a cloth/vinyl bench seat. Dome lights were activated by switches in either door, and aluminum scuff plates were installed at the base of the door entrance. Wood grain appeared on the dash. Color-keyed headliners and floor mats were also included.
The XLT Lariat was the height of luxury with color-coordinated cloth seats. The high-pile carpeting looked terrific until the first time it got dirty. The soft-wrapped steering wheel with wood-tone inserts accented the heavy use of wood-tone on the dash. While an AM/FM radio was standard, owners could opt for the AM/FM stereo with cassette player and digital clock.
What Are The Specs For The 1987 Ford F 150?
What Is a 1987 Ford F150 Worth Today?
According to Hagerty, a 1987 F150 in good condition is $11,500, depending on the options. (Vehicles in very good condition or excellent condition are worth more). For a review of free listings of 1987 F-Series trucks from classic car dealers across the country, see classiccars.com
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My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane