The Ford C-Series
was a medium-duty cab over
Cab-over, also known as COE , cab forward, or forward control, is a body style of truck or van that has a vertical front or "flat face", with the cab of the truck sitting above the front axle...
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...
built by the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...
between 1957 and 1990. While advertisers boasted of its versatility, it was used primarily for local delivery, and fire apparatus. Many of the fire trucks came merely as cab and windshield models.
C-Series COE (1948-1956)
Like other automotive manufacturers that built cabover trucks before the 1960s, early Ford C-Series trucks were helmet-shaped cab-forward trucks that shared components with the existing F-Series trucks. From 1948-52, they were simply cabover versions of the F-5, F-6, F-7, and F-8. By 1953, they were designated C-Series trucks, but still were little more than helmet-shaped versions of the F-Series trucks.
Models consisted of the C-500, C-600, C-700, C-750, C-800, C-850 and C-900. Like the F-900, the C-900 also included a "Big Job" model. Trucks with diesel engines had an extra zero in the model designations.
As Ford started squaring off its vehicles in 1957, they finally gave the cabovers their own designs separate from the rest of the Ford Truck lineup. The truck looked almost like an angst-filled Fisher-Price
Fisher-Price is a company that produces toys for infants and children, headquartered in East Aurora, New York. Fisher-Price has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel since 1993.-History:...
toy in appearance. It featured a small grille near the front bumper, with a four-pointed star emblem on each end, the word "F O R D" spelled out below the windshield, and had a cog-and-lightning bolt crest emblem between the headlights. Variations of this emblem were found on many other Ford Trucks during the 1950s and into the 1960s. The C-Series held onto this logo the longest. As with the cab-forward C-series, models consisted of the C-500, C-600, C-700, C-750, C-800, C-900, and the C-900 "Big Job" model.
Some historians have erroneously referred to the Ford tilt-cab as the "Budd" cab, implying that it was an off the shelf item available to anyone. The C-Series cab was designed by Ford, tooled at Ford's expenses and built by the Budd Company to Ford Motor Company specifications. Other truck manufacturers had to obtain Ford approval before purchasing it. The exception was Mack, which bought most of the major cab stampings from Budd and assembled them itself on a floor pan of its own design. In Canada, the Ford "C" had an identical twin - the Mercury "M" Series offered from 1957 to 1972.
At least four truck makers utilized the Ford C-Series tilt cab. Best known was the look-alike Mack model "N" which was produced between 1958 and 1962. The Four-Wheel-Drive Auto Company used some Ford "C" cabs which bore the FWD emblems, and Yankee-Walter used C-series cab components on some of its large airport crash trucks. In Canada, the Thibault fire truck manufacturer of Pierreville, Quebec, also used C-series parts for their Custom (i.e. non-commercial chassis) trucks.
Like the Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...
, changes to the C-Series trucks through the years were very subtle. Most of these changes could be found in the cowl insignias, if anywhere. Between 1958 and 1960, the C-Series used a quad-headlight fascia. This was helpful for fire departments who wanted to use the extra headlight bezels for emergency flashers, an option that was offered exclusively to fire, and other emergency vehicles after 1960.
In 1961, Ford reverted back to the dual-headlight design; the regular C-series cab closely resembled the 1957 version. A new Super Duty
The Ford Super Duty engine was a truck engine from Ford Motor Company.The Super Duty was introduced in 1958 along with the FE and MEL series V8 engines. The Super Duty was available in displacements of , , or . These engines appeared in medium and heavy-duty trucks of the time and were large,...
model was added. Another option included a small sleeper cab.
Two Story Falcon
Another new model was introduced as Ford moved into the Class 8 cabover market. Ford raised the C-Series cab and added a bigger grille (similar to the T-Series
(including Heavy-Duty F-Series) and upcoming N-Series
trucks); the front axle was moved forward. These would be known as the H-Series
trucks, which were commonly referred to as the "Two Story Falcon." It was Ford's first entry into the heavy duty cabover engine market, and would last until 1966 when it was replaced by the W-Series
C.O.E. trucks. The 1961 HD-series with Cummins
Cummins Inc. is a Fortune 500 corporation that designs, manufactures, distributes and services engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission control and electrical power generation systems...
engines were the first Ford diesel trucks.
For 1963, the C-Series was updated with the same cowl insignias used by the rest of the Medium and Heavy-Duty truck line up. The logo had the word FORD on top of a trapezoid with the model number designation. This insignia was used until 1967. Also in 1963, Ford introduced diesel versions of the C-series as well as the N-series and Heavy-Duty F-Series
The F-Series is a series of full-size pickup trucks from Ford Motor Company which has been sold continuously for over six decades. The most popular variant of the F-Series is the F-150...
In 1968, federal regulations required all automotive manufacturers to add side marker reflectors or lights, which Ford was able to add to the new cowl insignia used on the F-Series since 1967. That same year, Ford decided to add this insignia on the doors of the C-Series as well. Unlike the Ford F-Series, which removed them for 1973, the C-Series would retain them until the end of production in 1990. After 1972, the Canadian Mercury version of the C-Series was discontinued, becoming the last Mercury truck until the 1993 Mercury Villager.
1974 was the last year for the cog-and-lightning bolt crest that graced the front of the trucks from the beginning, and other Ford Trucks since the 1950s. In the 1980s, as Ford began adding their blue oval logo to all their models, it was added to the C-Series in 1984.
In 1981, Ford began selling the Ford Cargo
The Ford Cargo is a cab-over-engine lightweight truck model formerly manufactured by Ford. It was originally launched in 1981 by Ford of the United Kingdom....
built by Iveco
Iveco, an acronym for Industrial Vehicle Corporation, originally an alliance of European commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Fiat , Unic and Magirus. Iveco is now an Italian truck, bus, and diesel engine manufacturer, based in Turin...
. By the time the Cargo was imported to North America, the existing C-Series cab looked like a dated design. The last C-Series trucks were built in 1990.
- American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide: 1920-1985, by Tad Burness.
- Ford Trucks Since 1905, by James K. Wagner.
- Ford Heavy Duty Trucks 1948-1998, by Paul G. McLaughlin.
- Ford Truck Chronicle, by the Auto Editors of the Consumer Guide, with Paul G. McLaughlin.
- Enjine!-Enjine! 2001-2: "Let's Hear it for the Tilt-Cab Ford". Walter McCall