Photos by KGP Photography
We’ve just heard from one of our favorite spy shooters, and they think they’ve seen some of the early prototypes of the next-gen Ford F-150 or something just a touch smaller. We know Ford is pretty smart about doctoring up its test trucks to throw spy photographers off the scent, but our spy might have something here. Here’s what they wrote to us:
We caught a small convoy of heavily camouflaged Ford prototypes running the streets of Dearborn, Mich., possibly revealing one of two things: 1) These are the first prototypes for the 2015 Ford F-150, or 2) perhaps this is our first look at the Ford F-100, a smaller new product.
Caught in both SuperCrew and SuperCab configurations, the prototype trucks hide most of their styling details while also making it difficult to draw size and packaging conclusions. However, as these photos suggest, this truck is smaller than an F-150, pointing to the real possibility of a new, small Ford pickup. Here’s what we’re left with:
One of the prototypes was wearing wheel caps that suggest a lighter-duty, five-lug pattern instead of the F-150's six-lug specification. One prototype’s caps show there are five small protrusions, suggesting five lug nuts in a pentagon pattern.
Diesel Exhaust Set-Up?
The SuperCab prototypes had a split two-tip exhaust, similar to Ford's Power Stroke Super-Duty trucks, suggesting that this may have a smaller diesel engine — possibly the 3.2-liter turbodiesel inline five-cylinder that will be available in the 2014 Ford Transit vans.
Evidence of a Narrower Track?
Viewing the prototype trucks from the rear, it appears the camouflage adds some width, giving a false sense of the trucks’ actual size. The tires appear to sit well within the arches, suggesting a narrower track and smaller overall footprint than an F-150.
The fact that Ford's future truck programs are now moving beyond the mule stage is undeniable. These prototypes were out braving very sketchy weather and road conditions all around Dearborn. The subtle cues that suggest that these trucks are slightly smaller and a bit less robust than a full-fledged F-150 are consistent with reports that an F-100 is in the works. It’ll be around a 9-to-10 scale F-150; it’s also likely to use many new lightweight materials and offer much greater fuel economy. An all-aluminum F-100, with a lighter-duty suspension, wheels and other components, would realize significant fuel-economy gains while satisfying the needs of most truck buyers. And don’t forget a truck like this would greatly help Ford meet the stricter corporate average fuel economy standards in both 2016 and 2025.