When Henry Ford put his Model T on the road in 1908, the conceptual vehicle made history as the original consumer car. And after over a century, Ford's automaker empire has had no shortage of interesting vehicles, some good, some weird. But one particular concept truck stands out from the pack, though it's an oft-forgotten player in F-150 history. Slipping through the cracks between Ford's ninth and 10th generations, this vehicle deserves a lot of love for the lasting impact it would ultimately have on the automaker's future vehicles.
Making its debut in 1995, the Ford F-150 Triton was ultimately just a small blip in blue oval history. It's both a placeholder and a preview of the contrast between the square truck and Ford's transition in turning hardened heavyweight haulers into more family-friendly options. According to Jalopnik, the Triton marked the first major diversion for the automaker's truck in nearly 20 years.
What happened to it?
The Triton concept gave buyers a good idea of what they'd be getting when the latest iteration of the F-150 dropped in 1997. Motor Trend reports that then-design director for Ford, Gary Hass, said of the vehicle, "There are many styling cues and functional options on the Triton that you're likely to see in Ford's pickup trucks of the future."
Though it still featured a pickup bed, the front end of the vehicle — namely its softened grille — marked a massive departure from Ford's traditional trucks. However, as it happened, the 1997 F-150 wasn't all that markedly different from the Triton concept. However, this "soft" look ultimately didn't appeal to customers wanting a trucker's truck. Jalopnik notes that in 2004, Ford returned to its more angular status quo.
Although the vehicle faded quite quickly into obscurity, Triton became the moniker for Ford's 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V8 engines.