Ford F-350: Embrace the Bulky

I remember probably ten years ago when I started seeing photos of the Ford Tonka Concept. The thing was revolutionary, and captivated my attention as a kid. It was the toughest looking truck a human being was capable of imagining, with cues from the Tonka trucks we used to play with as kids, unreservedly built to look like it could go anywhere and pull anything. It was the kind of concept that, even as a kid, stuck with me.

The current generation of Super Duties is the result of that concept, and the design is awesome.

Starting with the front end, the F-350 immediately tells you that it’s here to take care of business. The grill inserts, on my version decked out in chrome, are big and broad enough for me to see my reflection completely and serve as the frame for a blown-up, bulky Ford oval logo. It’s like a monster heading full-speed to devour its prey. The grill dominates the front end and, along with the humongous bulge in the hood, assures onlookers that whatever sits under that hood is big enough to need a whole lot of air. The headlights, whose height and width preaches the same bulky sermon, require the remaining width of the truck’s nose. A long, chrome bumper with inset fog lights and tow hooks juts out and completes the picture: don’t mess with me.

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The rest of the body, while remaining seemingly untouched over the years, is accented by the same epic grandeur that the front end so perfectly presents. The wheels, now standard 20″ on most trim levels, are housed in ridiculously large wheel wells and watch over by dauntingly large fenders, the kind of stuff you used to only see on war vehicles. Mirrors have been updated to large, tall rectangles on telescoping connectors, also highlighted with chrome. To add to the aforementioned tease at engine size, Ford has added a vent in front of the mirrors on both sides which proudly boasts the F-350 badge. And finally, a badge on the driver’s door tells the world the exact number, 6.7 liters, in the form of this gigantically beautiful gear-shaped PowerStroke badge.

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The whole truck screams big, bulky, and tougher than all toughness, a logical symbol of the beast that sits under the hood and its capabilities.

I’m glad Ford went after the Tonka concept. I’m glad that design language lives on. It tells the Ford story perfectly and beautifully.

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