We've been working with our spy shooters for the last few months regarding Ford's next-generation Super Duty pickups and, based on how camouflaged the trucks have been, whether they will include the same type of aluminum body panels on the new F-150 that's been getting so much attention. Here are some photos, a video and a note they just sent us.
"We have conclusive proof that Ford is doubling down on its aluminum trucks, going the F-150 route on its all-new Super Duty pickups."
Will It Magnet?
"A slew of Super Duty prototypes have been testing in the Rocky Mountains, and an F-350 dualie pulling a fifth wheel [was] parked for the day, leaving its truck bed uncovered and exposed. We decided that it was time to make a little introduction: 'Magnet, meet Super Duty. Super Duty, say hello to Magnet. Let's see if you two are attracted to each other.' The end result is captured on video and shows that the magnet exhibits ZERO attraction to the prototype surfaces — even its exposed metal — suggesting that the next Super Duty is following the F-150's lead and going aluminum.
"Look at our textual breakdown of the video material for the full context of its contents. In addition to the video, we have compiled a megaset of photos showing the Super Duty prototypes testing in a wide variety of body configurations, including crew cab, super cab, regular cab and crew cab chassis cab. We also have a small glimpse at the Super Duty's interior through a long lens."
"The Super Duty prototype subjected to the magnet was 80 percent covered, with its bed uncovered due to the fifth-wheel trailer that remained attached while the test truck was parked. We placed the magnet over various sections of the covered truck and then reached an uncovered portion, clad only in marine vinyl camouflage near the rear wheel arch. The magnet showed no attraction to the prototype, but since portions of the prototype were covered with a car cover, the video is not 100 percent conclusive. We did some tests after the fact, applying the magnet to a current steel-bodied F-250 and found that the magnet would still show attraction even when a 1/4-inch piece of foam core board was placed between the truck and the magnet. This helps alleviate some concerns over the covered portion of the prototype and its reaction to the magnet.
"In another test, we placed some marine vinyl similar to automotive camouflage between the magnet and a current F-250. Here, it stuck like glue. On a portion of the Super Duty prototype that wasn't obscured by the car cover, the section covered only in vinyl camouflage exhibited no magnetism, which is highly suggestive of aluminum body panels.
"Finally, we placed the magnet against that truck bed's bare metal, and still, there was absolutely no magnetic effect. It's here that we can say conclusively that Ford is using aluminum in a large portion of its next-generation Super Duty prototypes. If it is using aluminum here, in the key punishment point of a heavy-duty work truck, it stands to reason that aluminum is being used throughout the rest of the Super Duty prototypes — just as it's used on the 2015 Ford F-150."
Two Versions of the Video
"We have supplied two versions of the video proving the aluminum makeup of the Super Duty prototype. A shorter, raw version contains only the video of the magnet's interplay with the Super Duty prototype (click here). A second video edit (below) includes portions of our tests of the magnet's reaction to various materials and a current, steel-bodied F-250. The added material helps put the raw 'prototype' video in a proper context."
A New Super Duty So Soon?
"When we caught the first Super Duty prototypes testing back in mid-March, many analysts expressed surprise that prototypes had appeared so early and out of nowhere. Our analysis suggests that Ford has accelerated development on the next-generation Super Duty to make the most of its 'aluminum edge' — technology that Ford executives were touting as 'game changing' at the F-150 debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. If competitors are planning to counter Ford with aluminum-intensive trucks of their own, Ford's decisive move to create an aluminum Super Duty will help it leverage its current advantage as much as possible before competitors can react."
KGP Photography images and video