The all-new 1957 Ford was a landmark truck for two related reasons. First was that it had the industry’s first all-steel full width pickup box and secondly that it was offered as standard equipment. While the mid-model year version of the 1955 Chevrolet Cameo was the first regular production styled pickup, it had Fiberglas fenders over a standard cargo box—along with being the highest priced half-ton in Chevy’s lineup. The new Ford F-100 put modern styling into the hands of every working man. The Flareside step-sided box was still available for those who felt like they didn’t need fancy styling or more cargo space.
Regardless of whatever cargo box the F-100 was equipped with (or none at all), these new Fords were also a major departure with the previous F-series in having upright, squared styling that featured a wrap-around windshield, a “Driverized Cab” with integral step, and integral front fenders. Like most other manufacturers, Ford went to four headlights in 1958, but little else was changed. For 1959, Ford offered factory-installed optional four-wheel drive (previously, Ford steered owners to Marmon-Herrington to perform conversions). Also the F-100 received a redesigned front bumper, which stayed in production until 1979. The final year of this generation—1960—saw a new grille structure and new hood.
While Ford went with an all-new F-series again in 1961, the this generation didn’t entirely disappear. The original Styleside box was still available until 1963 – either as an alternative to the Unibody Styleside or required Styleside on four-wheel-drives and one-tons.
In period, wags disparagingly compared the 1957 F-100 to a rolling refrigerator. Today, however, the model is recognized as a breakthrough design that signaled the arrival of a new era in pickup fashion. Although traditional “stepside” pickups remained the popular choice for years to come, Ford's flashier Styleside, along with its copycats from Chevy and Dodge, quickly gained popularity as truck buyers became increasingly more image conscious as the ’60s rolled on.