|H SERIES FORD
By Michelle Cole
|The history of Ford and big trucks can be traced back to the 1920s and probably earlier. Ford gradually started building bigger and bigger trucks. The first cabovers came on the scene in the late thirties. When the new models came out for 1948 the trucks GVW also increased with the all new F series. Ford introduced the first tandem axle trucks in 1954. It was apparent that Ford was vying for a slice of the class 8 market. The 1958 model year marked the first year for the all new Super Duty Ford truck engines that came in 401, 477, and 534 cubic inch sizes, this marked another escalation in the truck size war.
Then with the 1961 model year came the H model Fords, or two story Falcons as they were affectionately called. This was Fords first serious attempt to enter the class 8 truck market. With the introduction of these trucks also came the introduction of the Ford truck dealer network that sold exclusively trucks and no cars. Ford wanted to promote these trucks as a serious contender for the big truck market and thought they could do so more effectively with a network of dealerships that specialized in trucks only. Thus the Ford truck dealer sales and support network was born. The H series was a different looking truck to say the least. It consisted of a C series cab raised by several feet with fiber glass cowling around the bottom of the cab. The wheel well in the original C series cab was replaced with a tool box. These trucks came with either a 401, 477, 534 gas powered engine or you could get a Cummins Diesel.
I was exposed to these trucks and the handsome N series trucks in the 1960s when my dad was a mechanic at one of these Ford truck dealerships. There was one salesman there that I got to know quite well and eventually bought several trucks from over the years. I always liked picking his brain about the H and N series trucks. He once related a quite interesting story to me about the H series trucks. He said that when the truck first came out and the dealership was new, that quite a few truckers would come by and look at the new Ford trucks but none would buy. He said they were a hard sell at first, and he had to get innovative in his selling approach. He said that when he had someone that he thought was serious about buying a truck that he would make them an offer. He would take a truck to the potential customer with his packed suitcase in hand and get under the truckers loaded trailer and the two of them would make the trip with the new Ford. He said sometime it was only a couple of hundred miles and sometime it would be cross country and back. He said the idea was to let the trucker know that the truck could and would do the job, he had to sell the idea that the Ford could do the same job as an International or other class 8 truck. Apparently his selling approach was right on target because he was one of Fords most successful truck salesmen ever. Johnny Clark died in 1988, but he will always be remembered for the large number of Ford trucks he sold.
The H model was produced until May of 1966 when it was replaced with the more traditional looking square cab W series Fords.
If it weren't for my dad this page or the N series page would not have been possible. He has to be the most patience man in the world to have answered the numerous questions, some of which had to be stupid questions and putting up with me looking over his shoulder for all those formative years of me growing up, and on into my twenties. I followed him around like a puppy always wanting to know what he was doing, or asking him how something worked. He never lost is cool and was always there for me. He passed away in 1986 and though he is gone, he is certainly not forgotten.
I would also like to thank fellow ATHS mender and friend Bill McCullough for supplying me with many of the H model pictures. He is a # 1 trucker.
|My dad posing in front of an H model in 1964|
|CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE|
|This H model met an untimely fate. I made this picture in 1965 in Austin Texas. The truck was used to haul livestock.|
|Note the chrome handles on the front of the cab. I think these was added, I have never seen another one with this type of handles.|