Back in the 50’s, when gas was 25-cents a gallon, people used to crave big, heavy cars. They thought all that “road hugging weight” gave cars better handling and kept them safer in a crash. To this day, people associate large, heavy cars with money, status and power.
But whatever lots of weight may do for your ego, the truth is that weight is the enemy of efficiency. Extra weight requires bigger, thirstier engines to move it forward, heavier frames to carry it around and beefier brakes to get it slowed down again.
Earlier this year, Ford shook up the truck world when it announced it’s iconic F-150, the best selling truck every year since the Eisenhower Administration, would be made largely out of aluminum, saving 700 lbs over its all steel siblings. Which is great for a prissy little half ton pickup, but what about the big boys, the F-250’s and F-350’s of the world? Surely Ford wouldn’t mess around with them, would it?
KGP Photography is famous for supplying the world motoring press with spy shoots of new models long before the manufacturers are ready to present them publicly. Recently Automotive News reported that Brian Williams, one of the KGP photographers, was at a test site in Colorado where a new F-350 was being put through its paces. He managed to get close enough to stick a magnet to the bed of the truck and……nothing.
Savvy buyers at car auctions use magnets to quickly determine if there’s a load of Bondo under the paint before the bidding begins. What Williams did shows that whatever the bed of the new F-350 is made of, it isn’t steel. Says Glenn Paulina of KGP Photography;
If they’re using aluminum here, in the key punishment-point of a heavy-duty work truck, it stands to reason that aluminum is being used throughout the rest of the Super Duty prototypes — just as they have on the 2015 Ford F-150.
If so, Ford seems determined to put all its vehicles on a serious diet, including its big Super Duty trucks.