Have you heard from classic Ford fans trucks refer to OBS pickups? The expression means “old body style”. It’s a loosely defined slang term, but usually refers to 1980 to 1997 F-Series vans. But don’t confuse it with the term square-bodied Ford, which may refer to a slightly different generation.
What does OBS mean?
The acronym OBS refers to the classic blocky pickups built before the curvier redesigns of the early 2000s. Most people will tell you that this acronym stands for “old style.” I’ve also heard it interpreted as “original body style”.
You often see Craigslist or eBay advertisements referencing OBS pickup trucks, including Ford OBS. The acronym is most commonly defined as “old body style,” although that’s an admittedly problematic phrase. If the current OBS F-150 has three generations, what happens when Ford introduces a new generation? Maybe one day a 2023 F-150 will be called OBS Ford. But by now, most F-150 fans agree on the years of an OBS Ford.
What years is a Ford OBS?
According J.D. Power, an old body style (OBS) Ford F-150 belongs to the seventh, eighth or ninth generation of the F series. This makes it an F-150 built between 1980 and 1997. These trucks were decidedly different from the series pickups F before and since. But the three generations are also distinct from each other.
The seventh generation (1980-86) of the F-150 is often referred to as Ford’s “bulldog” due to its slanted grille. It was really a square body. But Ford often ended it with two-tone paint in decorative colors such as baby blue.
The eighth generation (1987-1991) of the Ford F-150 is a square-bodied truck with no-frills styling. This square-bodied, flat-nose pickup is one of the most recognizable trucks ever built and one of my favorites.
The ninth generation (1992-1997) of the F-150 benefited from slightly more rounded headlights and a bit more chrome. Its body panels were still relatively flat, although its grille was slightly curved.
Check out an OBS Ford-only car show in the video below:
Is a Ford OBS pickup truck the same as a Ford square body?
Square body and OBS are loosely defined slang terms for some generations of classic trucks. But while most Ford fans refer to 1980-1997 F-150s as Ford OBS, some add 1970s trucks when referring to square-bodied Fords. The reason why may actually be contemporary Chevy trucks.
You could say that General Motors’ C/K series of trucks led the styling of pickup trucks by a few years. Square body truck most often refers to the 1973-1987 Chevrolet C/K who pioneered a blocked utilitarian style. The 1973-79 F-150 had a relatively boxy body and rounded grille. But it sported more chrome and other trim. It also had a rounded hood.
Perhaps because 1970s Chevy pickup trucks are so commonly referred to as square bodies, many Ford fans also refer to 1970s F-150s as square body trucks. For this reason, Ford and OBS Ford box bodies usually refer to slightly different eras of classic pickup trucks.
Then learn which years a Chevy square body is or check out a complete OBS Ford buyer’s guide in the video below:
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