Ford built an F-Series 'Lightning' pickup in 1953. Here's why

It wasn't an electric pickup

June 16 marks the anniversary of Ford's incorporation in 1903 and it's a very different company than it was 118 years ago.

The 1903 Ford Model A was the brand's first car. (Ford)

Back then it's only vehicle was the Model A, which was an open-top car with an eight horsepower two-cylinder engine that sold for $850, which is equivalent to about $26,000 today. It was nearly a month before the first order came in on July 15 to keep the startup afloat.

Now things are all about-trucks and SUVs and the future is the F-150 Lightning electric pickup, but it's not the first Ford to wear a bolt on its logo.

Along with the two previous editions of the Lightning, which were V8-powered performance trucks, the second generation 1953 F-Series debuted one on its hood badge.

The lightning bolt logo was launched with the second-generation F-Series. (Brian Welker/iStock)

It wasn't an electric truck by any means, but the new logo was special and meant to celebrate the brand's 50th anniversary.

According to a press release from March 11, 1953:

"Over a field of ribbed plastic, a gear has been mounted symbolizing power. Running diagonally across the gear from right to left is a bolt of lightning symbolizing speed."

Ford issued a press release in 1953 announcing the 50th anniversary badge. (Ford)

The badge would be used on various F-Series models until the fifth-generation was introduced in 1967 with F O R D lettering across the front of the hood.


"Power" and "speed" need to be considered in context, of course. The 1953 F-Series was available with either a 101 hp straight-six or a 100 hp V8 and two-wheel-drive, while the 2022 F-150 Lightning has a standard 426 hp dual-electric motor all-wheel-drive system that will make it quicker than some Mustangs … which are also available as electric cars, these days.