The Features of the 1990 Ford F150
Ford was a victim of its success. Instead of boldly pursuing the changing tastes of a new generation (Generation X), Ford chose to sit on its laurels and let the world pass them by. Every one of the Big Three lost money as vehicle sales dropped over 15%. American consumers were jittery, unwilling to spend money on vehicles that were simple rehashes of things before. Honda was bashing Ford’s brains out in auto sales, and new entries like the Chevy Silverado were gobbling up the market share for trucks. Ford needed to do something to woo back buyers. Instead, it raised prices to make up for lost revenues.
To Ford’s credit, they did acknowledge that their pickup was being utilized for different purposes. The sales brochure acknowledges that some Ford F150s might be used as work trucks, family vacation trucks, or even “to the suburbanite as a practical second vehicle for hauling anything from firewood to furniture.”
Ford changed virtually nothing, deciding to keep the same truck they had built in previous years. One change that did occur late in the model year was the Sports Appearance Package (a direct counter to the new Silverado SS 454). The new package had detailed body striping down the sides (over the rear fender well) and a new wheel treatment. It was a weak attempt to entice buyers, and most were not impressed.
Trim Levels and Cab Configurations
Ford continued its existing trim levels as the Custom (base), XL, and XLT Lariat. (These had been in use since ‘87). The truck was offered in Regular or Super Cab (extended cab) configurations, with the choice of a 6 ¾‘ short bed or an 8’ long bed. Two-wheel and four-wheel drive models were available.
Ford continued with the slight redesign of the front fascia that it had enacted in 1989. The blacked-out grilles of the early eighth-generation 150s (Custom and XL trim) were replaced with something more aesthetically pleasing to the eye (vertical chrome in the grille). A black bump strip adorned the front bumper of the XL trim, breaking up the monotony of the chrome. The F150 was looking tired, and buyers were growing tired of it.
As it had for years, the Super Cab offered families a rear bench seat or inward folding jump seats. While Ford trumpeted the 31 cubic feet of storage space as enough room to haul six people, that was not the case. Drivers could store lots of gear, but the rear bench seats were unsuitable for anyone taller than a child. Owners could also choose a pair of Captain’s chairs up front with a center console.
The F150 had double-walled construction in its cargo area and could handle a heavy payload.
Ford could still outhaul the competition with a max payload of around 2505 vs. 1975 on the Silverado. The total GVWR was 6,250 lbs, no matter your cab configuration.
For 1990, Ford continued the twelve color choices it had offered the previous year (Colonial White, Medium Silver Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Alpine Green Metallic, Light Chestnut, Dark Chestnut Metallic, Raven Black, Dark Canyon Red, Dark Shadow Blue Metallic, Desert Tan Metallic, Bright Canyon Red, and Light Regatta Blue were the choices). Most interiors were Charcoal or Light Chestnut, although you could get a blue or red interior occasionally.
By the time 1990 rolled around, EFI engines were in use in almost every vehicle on the planet). Ford continued to offer the 4.9L inline-six as the standard, with the 5.0L V8 and the 5.8L V8 as options. Most owners opted for the V8s because they provided better horsepower and torque.
The five-speed manual transmission was standard for the F150, while most owners opted for the four-speed automatic. Ford offered the E40D with its electronically controlled inputs as their automatic transmission. (Overdrive features helped with highway mpg in a big way).
Ford reverted to the Borg-Warner 1345 Series 2-speed transfer case for four-wheel drive models, having dabbled with the BW1356 the previous year. In addition, off-roaders were very excited when Ford made automatic locking hubs become standard equipment the previous year. (Manual locking hubs were still an option)
Interior and Trim Lines
The interior remained the same in 1990. Ford kept the A-shaped steering wheel with command controls integrated within easy reach of the driver. The instrument panel was unchanged, with distinct areas for the audio and environmental controls.
The Custom trim was the base trim with a very ordinary pickup interior. The trim featured a vinyl bench seat and black rubber flooring. To Ford’s credit, most of the buttons on the dash were black, which made the truck look better than previous generations, but it was still a “no-frills” standard truck.
The XL trim level offered a black rub strip on the front bumper (primarily to help tell the difference between it and a Custom trim level). The interior featured a cloth/vinyl bench seat with matching seatbelts. Wood grain inserts rimmed the instrument panel and comfort/convenience section. Color-key headliners and floor mats were also included.
The XLT Lariat included color-coordinated cloth seats with extra padding, making the interior luxurious. Rich color-coordinated carpeting stretched over the flooring, and a soft-wrapped steering wheel gripped nicely in drivers’ hands. Plenty of wood-grain touches permeated the cabin, primarily encompassing the dashboard and accenting the steering wheel.
Lots of accessories and options were available. Owners could opt for a Preferred Equipment Package that included air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with cassette sound system, extra insulation to decrease road noise in the cabin, and power locks or windows. Captains Chairs with a center console on the SuperCab models were another option.
What Are The Specs For The 1990 Ford F 150?
What Is a 1990 Ford F150 Worth Today?
The market for used cars and trucks from the 1990s is increasing. (Note that careful research should be done whenever investing in a classic car or truck). Hagerty states that a 1990 F150 in good condition is worth $11,300. (Vehicles in excellent condition are worth more). For a review of free listings of 1990 F-Series trucks on sale and their vehicle history, see classiccars.com website.