Meet the great-great-great grandfather to the modern Ford Super Duty.
Work trucks have come a long way in the last 100 years, and if you need proof of that, just look at Ford's first-ever heavy-duty truck, this 1926 Fordson prototype. Before this truck, Ford's work trucks were derived from the Model T, but this truck combined Ford Motor Company's knowledge of both passenger vehicles (Ford) and tractors (Fordson) to develop the prototype truck you see here.
This heavy-duty truck was auctioned last month by Mecum along with a number of other antique trucks, but this one proved to be truly unique with a sale price of $90,750 – that's about as much as a fully loaded 2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty!
Fordson was a brand of tractors from Ford Motor Company, so it only makes sense that Ford's first heavy-duty truck combined elements from its agricultural and automotive branches. In terms of its historical significance, this 1926 Fordson was the only truck like it to be delivered to a customer, and while it sounds like other Fordson trucks may have been built as prototypes, this one is believed to be the only surviving Fordson truck left in existence. This truck was previously displayed at the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) in Reno, Nevada before being auctioned off in 1983.
What made the Fordson special is that the drivetrain was based on that of a tractor to help deliver a two-ton payload capacity. While the engine and transmission were production units, the chassis was purpose-built for this heavy-duty truck. The Fordson prototype used Ford's standard beam axle, transverse leaf spring front end, but to handle the heavier payloads, the truck utilized a unique four-link rear suspension setup with inverted, cantilevered leaf springs.
Gallery: 1926 Fordson Prototype Is Ford's First Heavy-Duty Truck
The most unique element of the design, of course, is the fact that it's a cab-over truck with the engine positioned underneath the cab in between the seats. While the cab was sourced from a Model TT truck, it was modified to include a raked windshield and forward hinged doors. The fenders and headlights were from a Model T, but the squished face and exposed front portion of the frame give this truck an odd look.