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1997 Ford Powerforce Concept

The 1997 Ford Powerforce Concept could be viewed as a somewhat delayed response to the big rig looks of the Dodge Ram 1500, which had debuted just three years earlier and shocked the entire industry with its brawny personality.

With integrated bull bars, a chunky front end design, and a V10 engine of its own to go up against Mopar's three-quarter and full-ton ten-cylinder option, the Powerforce was dramatically different from the F-150 at the time. That was intentional because the Powerforce was intended to point the way towards what Ford's new Super Duty lineup of trucks would have to offer commercial customers and those who needed extra towing and hauling power.

Ford was serious about splitting its light-duty and heavy-duty truck lines along two different design forks. In that sense, the Powerforce previewed that the heftier pickups would look a lot less aerodynamic than their standard counterparts. The massive wheels, integrated tailgate lift, retractable running boards, hater stacks in the bed, and big bull bars weren't exactly on the wish list of most truck customers, however, and they were present in the concept to attract attention rather than point at what the production model would look like.

Strangely, a Ranger version of the Powerforce Concept was also built, even though a Super Duty compact truck was never once seriously considered.

The new and larger Super Duty trucks would debut for the 1999 model year, and they bore more than a passing resemblance to the Powerforce (including, for the first time, the use of the concept's drop-side windows on the front doors). However, many of the gee-whiz features found on the concept—the running boards, multi-function tailgate, reverse sensor system—would only appear further down the line on much more expensive pickups.

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