1961 Ford F-100 Specifications

1961 Ford F-100 Specifications

Last Updated January 19, 2022 | Meghan Drummond
Contents

The F-100’s fourth generation kicked off in 1961. While there was some resistance to a few designs, these trucks were, and continue to be, popular. Part of the reason for their continued popularity is the wide selection of trucks available.

Ford worked to diversify their pickup truck options for this generation to create a truck for everyone. Advertisements even included a “job selector” so you could pick the truck for your needs. This translated to huge changes in equipment, appearance, and options.

Because Ford used to destroy their order forms once a vehicle was produced, we have no exact production numbers. It’s possible that some unique or limited-edition trucks were produced with equipment not listed here. Here’s all the equipment we do know about that was more of a standard offering.

1961 Ford F-100 Specs
Performance
Engine HP Torque
223 CID 6-Cylinder 135 hp 200 lb-ft
292 CID V8 160 hp 270 lb-ft
Wheelbase
Model Wheelbase
Shortbed F-100 114"
Longbed F-100 122"
Weight Capacity
Spec 1961 F-100
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 5,000 lb
Standard Front Axle Capacity 2,600 lb
Standard Rear Axle Capacity 3,300 lb
Standard Front Spring Capacity 1,145 lb
Standard Rear Spring Capacity 1,180 lb
Axle Codes
Code Gear Ratio Differential/Axle Type
11 3.70 Ford 9"
12 3.89 Ford 9"
13 4.11 Ford 9"
A1 3.73 Dana/Spicer 44.1 and Locking Differential
A2 3.92 Dana/Spicer 44.1 and Locking Differential
A5 4.10 Dana/Spicer 44.1 and Locking Differential
F-100 Prices
Model Price at Time of Sale Adjusted for Inflation
Shortbed Flareside $1,921 $53,665
Longbed Flareside $1,956 $54,648
Shortbed Styleside $1,936 $54,081
Longbed Styleside $1,971 $55,066
Color Codes
Color Code
Raven Black A
Caribbean Turquoise B
Starlight Blue D
Monte Carlo Red J
Holly Green L
Corinthian White M
Mint Green S
Academy Blue V
Goldenrod Yellow X

Exterior Changes from the Previous Generation

With a new generation came a bold new look. The Ford F-100 began its slimdown in the fourth generation and lost some of the bubbly-roundedness of older models. While the hood still has a distinct rounded appearance, it’s significantly shorter than third-gen F-100 trucks. There were several other major exterior changes.

A picture of a 1960 f-100 and a 1961 f-100

The Unibody Truck

1961-1963 Styleside bed pickups are often called “unibodies." But that’s a little misleading since the bodies are still bolted to a ladder frame. They did have a sleeker look, though. And Ford intended for these pickups to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd.

Unibody pickups didn’t have a space between the cab and the bed. Instead, the cab and bed were integrated into a single unit, hence the name. This was a serious progression of the styleside pickup (which was still new) and focused on a smoother-looking exterior. Unfortunately, that gap between the cab and bed was crucial for carrying heavy loads.

Pictures of flareside and unibody pickup styles

Unibody pickups have a hard time hauling anything heavy without becoming damaged. With no space for flex, the entire body would often bow under the weight, causing the doors to get stuck. This design only lasted for a couple of years.

You might think that these trucks would be chalked up as a disaster. But really, they ushered in the style of pickup that’s still popular today. And their unique looks make them desirable collectibles.

Unibody vs Styleside vs Flareside
MeasurementUnibodyStylesideFlareside
Box Length Shortbed: 6.5’
Longbed: 8’
Shortbed: 6.5’
Longbed: 8’
Shortbed:6.5’
Longbed:8’
Inside Length 78.2” and 98.2” 76.4” and 94.4” 78” and 80”
Inside Width 76.6” and 76.6” 73” and 73” 49” and 54”
Tailgate Opening 64.5” 51.6” 49” and 54”
Height (Floor to Top of Walls Inside Box) 65.1” and 79.7” 56.1” and 70.6” 45” and 65.4”

Simpler Headlights

In the third-gen, Ford trucks had a quad headlamp setup. Two lights were present on each corner. In ‘61, these lights were replaced with one larger square setup.

Wheels and Tires

F-100s came with standard black wall bias ply tires. Some dealerships dressed up the trucks with whitewalls, but those weren’t manufacturer equipment.

Standard cabs came with painted hubcaps (white or silver) with “Ford” in red letters.

Custom Cabs had stainless steel hubcaps with black “Ford Letters.”

Engine Information

For 1961, the F-100 was available with two engines. The base six-cylinder and an optional V8, referred to as the Y-block.

The engine code can be found on the data plate, along with the net horsepower. Though engines at the time were usually measured in gross horsepower, most owners found net horsepower more useful. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) agreed and made net horsepower the standard in 1972.

1961 F-100 Engine Options
Spec223 6-Cylinder292 V8
Engine Code J D
Compression Ratio 8.4:1 8.0:1
Gross Horsepower 135 hp @ 4,000 RPM 160 hp @ 4,000 RPM
Net Horsepower 114 hp @ 3,600 RPM 135 hp @ 3,800 RPM
Gross Torque 200 lb-ft @ 1,800-2,400 RPM 270 lb-ft @ 1,800-2,000 RPM
Net Torque 186 lb-ft @ 1,600-2,000 RPM 245 lb-ft @ 1,800-2,000 RPM

Interior Options

There weren’t many options available for Ford truck interiors. Even though trucks were starting to be mainstream, they were still built mostly for work. As a result, the interiors were utilitarian.

Standard Cab

If you opted for the standard package, you’d get these features:

  • Brown basket weave pattern vinyl seat upholstery with dark brown vinyl bolster and seat facing
  • Deep-dish collapsible steering wheel (referred to as a “lifeguard” model)
  • Safety double-grip door latches
  • Dome light
  • Driver’s side sun visor
  • Ash tray
  • Dispatch box
  • Windshield
  • Theft-retardant ignition switch
  • Sound deadener on floor and rear panel

Custom Cab

The “Custom” cab package came with all the standard cab features plus a few extras:

  • Twill stripe woven plastic seat upholstery with brown woven-in bolster
  • Perforated insulated headlining
  • Chrome-trimmed instrument cluster
  • White steering wheel with chrome horn ring
  • Coat hook
  • Door locks on both doors
  • Foam rubber in seat cushion and back

The Custom Cab also came with a few exterior features:

  • Bright metal grille and headlight assembly
  • Bright metal windshield molding
  • Custom Cab emblem

emblem with the words “custom cab”

Major Mechanical Adjustments

Besides the obvious physical differences, there were some mechanical improvements that made a big difference in drivability.

New Steering Box

The F-100’s cam and lever steering box from 1960 was replaced with a recirculating ball system with a 20:1 steering ratio. This improved the responsiveness of the steering and made it more durable.

Upgrading to a rack and pinion steering system is a popular mod for F-100s. But this upgrade is less urgent with a good recirculating ball steering box. These systems are still in use today, and can be kept in working order with little maintenance.

Transmission

A mechanical clutch linkage replaced the hydraulic system. This meant less pedal effort and less maintenance. The transmission was also made sturdier for smoother transmission shifts.

Better Cooling

A heavy-duty metal radiator with lock-seam construction resulted in fewer coolant leaks and better cooling. New fans were used in both available engines, and the crankcase’s ventilation was improved. Overall, this made the engine less likely to overheat.

Popular Modifications and Restorations for 1961 F-100s

A black F-100 cab, lowered

While the unibodies will never be great for heavy-duty hauling, they are stylish and perfect for restomod builds. When lowered, these trucks are especially eye-catching.

All classic vehicles can benefit from a brake upgrade, and F-100s are no exception. Added stopping power makes these trucks better equipped for daily driving and is necessary for drag builds.

Creating a drag truck is another popular build goal. Engine swaps are a popular mod for these builds. Partly because the engines at the time weren’t very powerful, but also because the original engines tend to have a lot of miles on them.

For restorations, just replacing some of the more iconic pieces, like the tailgate or hood emblems, can help restore some shine to this truck.

1961 F-100s

No two F-100 projects look the same, and that’s because this truck ended up being the perfect platform for a wide variety of builds. Whether you want to do a period-correct restoration that’s show-ready or create a hot rod capable of hitting the track, there’s no wrong way to update your F-100.

In many ways, Ford was successful in its fourth-gen goal. They created a truck that can be right for everyone and anyone.

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About the Author

Meghan is a Classic Mustang geek with a soft spot for four-eyed Foxes. She has over 300 in-depth articles to her credit that have been cited by some of the top news sites in the US. Read full bio →

Sources: How to Decode Your 1961-62 VIN, Fordification | At $12,000, Could This Primer-Patched 1961 Ford F-100 ‘Unibody’ Be A Prime Deal?, Jalopnik | Ford F-100/F-150 Pickup 1953 to 1996: America’s Best-Selling Truck, Robert Ackerson

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.

1961 Ford F-100 Specifications

Wondering what specifications your 1961 Ford F-100 had when it was new? Here’s all the equipment and options that were available on these trucks when they came from the factory.