Ford introduced its latest, burliest Super Duty pickups in a trial by
fire and ice. The ice was in the form of a storm that closed south Texas
highways and airports, and the fire was courtesy of the shotguns the Blue
Oval boys provided for journalists to mercilessly slaughter clay pigeons.
Shotguns not only smoke impressively in cold weather, but the warm barrel
works as a hand warmer!
to Ford for having the guts to order up an ice storm for truck testing.
Full-size pickup truck manufacturers will go to no end in search of new
gimmicks designed to reinforce the impression of tough capability for
their trucks. Pull locomotives? Done. Dropped from the sky? Done. Churn
through mud in slow-mo? Done.
pioneered new frontiers of effort by arranging for journalists to sample
the first of its burly new Super Duty pickups during a raging ice storm.
That’s tough! Obviously, Ford had already used its weather control
technology to verify the trucks were up to the challenge, because they
performed perfectly in the slick conditions, both on- and off-road.
the seemingly insatiable demand by truck buyers for ever tougher, more
capable trucks, in 1998 Ford remade its heavy-duty line with the introduction
of the Super Duty trucks. These are built on their own, stronger, chassis
rather than using the same foundation as the high-volume F-150 half-ton
pickups. The company now sells 380,000 of its work-ready heavy-duties
each year and sales are growing because of increased use of the trucks
by “personal use” drivers who might tow boats or horse trailers.
has expanded the beachhead it established in the niche between light-duty
pickups and medium-duty commercial trucks with stronger-than-ever F-250
and F-350 pickups. But Ford’s ace in the hole is a new F-450 pickup,
a model never previously available, with a gigantic 24,000 lb. towing
capacity. The company predicts it will sell 10,000 of these uber-pickups
each year. The F-550 continues to be available only as a chassis cab.
Duty receives an all new 350-horsepower, 650 lb.-ft., 6.4-liter PowerStroke
diesel V8 and carries over the 362 horsepower, 457 lb.-ft., 6.8-liter
Triton gas V10. The diesel is the focus of attention, and the company
promises that the new PowerStroke, with a common-rail injection system
and piezoelectric injectors, leaves behind all the headaches of the old
PowerStroke’s injection system.
to more payload and towing capacity, and more powerful engines, the new
Super Duties also provide that key “Built Ford Tough” macho
feature: more comfort amenities. The new trucks are better-riding, the
seats are wrapped in rich Chaparral leather, and there is a nifty fold-out
step built into the tailgate that makes it easier to climb into the bed.