Spied: 2007 6-Door Ford F-150 "Tough Box"
By: Mike LevineOriginally Posted: 03-07-07 21:30 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com and PFA for Brenda Priddy & Company

Update #3: 03-09-07 09:30 PT

Additional information from Ford, following our earlier conversation this morning with spokesperson Wes Sherwood.

Customers will be able to order the Tough Box at Ford dealers by the end of March. Pricing will be subject to dealer discretion.

The Tough Box project came together in less than a year. In June 2006 Scotts Miracle-Gro, the well-known fertilizer company, requested an order for pickups to meet new federal regulations requiring the separation of liquid and granular fertilizer in the same space. Ford responded by delivering this new 'midbox' concept.

"We were able to do this so quick because it didn't require any structural configuration changes. We run a long wheelbase F-150 down the [manufacturing] line but instead of installing an 8-foot box we put a 5.5-foot box on instead, leaving a space behind the cab for the Tough Box. These trucks will be built at our Kansas City, Missouri plant and shipped to [second stage manufacturer] Decoma in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Decoma uses the existing frame holes to install the Tough Box where the end of the 8-foot bed would have been attached, then they are shipped to dealers," says Sherwood, describing the integrated three-step manufacturing and delivery process with Magna International subsidiary Decoma and Ford sales outlets.

Update #2: 03-09-07 07:45 PT

PickupTruck.com spoke with Ford Truck Communications rep Wes Sherwood this morning. Sherwood officially confirms that, "[Ford] will begin offering the 'Tough Box' this spring as a 2007 [model year] option."

"It's a very cool feature but also very functional. In addition to storage on the inside, you can also add sliding tool drawers that extend back into the bed. You can also install a cap over it and the rest of the bed. We're trying to offer as much flexibility as possible," says Sherwood.

Customers will be able to order the Tough Box option on 145-inch wheelbase regular cab pickups with a 5.5-foot box, or on 163-inch wheelbase Super Cab models with a 5.5-foot box.

We're waiting to hear back from Ford with the Tough Box option code to present to dealers when ordering and its cost. This information is expected later today.

Update #1: 03-08-07 11:32 PT

We've received information confirming several comments posted on Autoblog and Jalopnik in response to this article. In late January Ford gave a sneak preview of a new "midbox" or "Tough Box" option at its Claycomo, Missouri plant. Apparently what we're seeing in these photos is the production intent Tough Box expected to be available as an option for commercial buyers on the F-150 by late spring 2007 - not for model year 2009. Thanks to Brenda Priddy for this update and her contact that forwarded this information.

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Recent photos of Ford F-150 prototypes didn't capture anything as wild as this pickup - a super long wheelbase extended cab with six, count 'em, six doors!

Two side-access doors have been added to this mule's cargo box, immediately behind the cab. It's difficult to tell though what exactly the doors open to, or, rather, into. One of the photographs shows what looks to be a lock box lined-up flush with the extra portals. If so, the enclosed storage area might serve the dual purpose of protecting groceries and tools while helping to stiffen the truck's body, given the extra length and bed cutouts.

This isn't the first time we've seen such an idea. As recently as 2003 there was Chevrolet's Cheynne Concept Pickup that featured two side-access doors granting easy access to its open bed. The Cheyenne also bristled with all sorts of side-box storage options, but not a dedicated trunk like this mule. And if you go back far enough you'll also encounter the 1961 Corvair Rampside pickup that offered its owners a fold-down bedside ramp to allow all sorts of payload to be rolled or carried into the back.

It's interesting that Ford is running such a mule around without side cammo covering the rear doors. It's likely the Blue Oval Boys are out to hear what you have to say about a 6-door pickup!

For your comparison and enjoyment, here are some photos we took of the Cheyenne back at the 2003 North American International Auto Show.

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