Ford OBS History, Vehicle List, and Parts Suppliers

Dustin Hawley | Feb 03, 2021

The rise in popularity of the late 20th century Ford pickup trucks has turned America’s workhorse into something of a classic. Old body style, or OBS, is a term used in reference to the much-revered pickup trucks produced before the controversial redesigns of the early 2000s. 

Late model Ford F-150

Let’s dive into some of the history and model years of Ford OBS trucks and provide information on where to find aftermarket parts for these highly-coveted vehicles. 

Ford OBS History - Find the best Ford deals!

7th Generation

Ford OBS trucks stem from the 7th generation F-Series (model years 1980 to 1986). The 7th generation received a completely new chassis and body style in a complete redesign from its predecessor. They are easily recognizable by their squared body, flatter body panels, and distinctive grille design.

The early model years featured a plain grille with chrome lettering spelling out “Ford” on the very front of the hood. In 1982, the classic lettering was removed in favor of a Ford oval badge in the center of the grille, which now sported fewer vertical bars. Consumers had their pick of 17 different paint colors, including two-tone options and a choice between clear coat and non-clear coat paint.

The F-Series had several trim levels, with a change to the naming scheme taking place in 1982. It should be noted that the scheme change had no significant impact on the equipment of each model:

  • The Custom/Base was the entry-level model and came standard with basic equipment, color-keyed vinyl seats and dashboard, and manual windows and locks.
  • The FS or Fuel Saving trim was available beginning in 1982 and had a four-speed overdrive transmission and the 300-ci six, Ford’s famous inline motor.
  • The Ranger/XL included a Rosewood dash and horn pad, chrome trim on the door panels, and color-keyed floor mats.
  • The Ranger XLT/XLS expanded with a unique seat trim, color-keyed headliner and carpeting, and aluminum tailgate.
  • The Ranger Lariat/XLT Lariat was a high-end trim with a plusher interior and Rosewood trim on the dash and door panels. Lariat emblems were installed in several places to help distinguish the truck. 
  • The Explorer was offered in four equipment package varieties and was a limited edition trim with year-specific paint stripes. 
  • The Eddie Bauer Edition was revealed in 1985, featuring an off-road themed interior and two-tone exterior paint.

8th Generation

The next line of pickup trucks used the 7th generation as its foundation - but improved upon most of its predecessors’ aspects. 

The exterior received a facelift, donning a more aerodynamic design for better fuel economy, while the passenger cabin received a complete redesign. In the rear, anti-Lock brakes were now a part of the standard equipment package - once a novelty among pickup manufacturers. 

The 8th generation had a production run of only four years, from 1987 to 1991, and was available in the following trims: 

  • The custom title was given back to the entry-level model and included vinyl upholstery, a black steering wheel and grille, chrome front bumper and hubcaps, foldaway mirrors, and an electronic radio.
  • The XL added cloth elements to the upholstery and included swing-away mirrors, a rub strip to the front bumper, and some other minor enhancements.
  • The XLT Lariat had full cloth upholstery, a chrome grille, tinted windows, sport wheel covers, carpeting, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
  • The Nite became available in the final year of production and offered drivers a “blacked-out” exterior look with “Nite” decals and a pink or blue/purple paint stripe. 

9th Generation

Design changes may conflict with some definitions of what a true OBS truck is, but the 9th generation earns its spot among OBS enthusiasts for a few reasons. 

Despite being two generations ahead, the 1991-1997 F-Series was based on the same basic design elements of the trucks from the 1980s. While its design is more aerodynamic and rounded than other OBS trucks, there’s a drastic difference in comparison to the esthetic of the 10th generation.

A much-needed facelift brought several changes, including a larger grille and headlamps with bottom mounted turn indicators. Both the hood and front fenders were rounded to decrease the air drag index, and on the inside, new seats and a redesigned dashboard were added to refresh the look.

9th generation was available in the following trims:

  • The Custom was the base model and came equipped with a cargo box light, argent grille, steel wheels with hubcaps, a vinyl bench seat, and oil & temperature gauges.
  • The XL added argent steel wheels, air conditioning, a cloth bench seat, and a rear bench in the SuperCab configuration.
  • The XLT was a step up from the XL, boasting a chrome grille, deep-dish aluminum wheels, carpeted map pockets, and an AM/FM stereo, as well as cloth and vinyl bench seats.
  • The Nite was available from 1990 to 1992 and had a cloth flight bench with a power lumbar, a sliding rear window, and aluminum deep dish wheels.
  • The SVT Lightning included 5-spoke aluminum wheels, power locks and windows, and air conditioning.
  • The Eddie Bauer Edition and 4x4 Offroad were select trims focused on exterior appearance and off-road features, respectively.

Ford OBS Parts Suppliers - Find the best Ford deals!

Whether you’re looking for stock components or attempting to perform some aftermarket modifications, there is a big competition among Ford OBS part suppliers. This is great for consumers, as it has led suppliers to create more affordable pricing. 

These are just a few of the best suppliers on the market:

FordParts offers OEM equipment. If you’re looking for stock components, they’ve got it all. From body parts like OBS Ford grills, bumpers, and fender flares, they have dealerships spread across the United States.

National Parts Depot, or NPD, has an easy to use website with a separate category dedicated to 1980-1996 F-Series trucks. Their selection is impressive, and you’ll find affordable stock components like OBS Ford Headlights, tow mirrors, electrical, body, and engine components directly on their website.

Absolute Customs has been manufacturing aftermarket Ford OBS truck parts for years. While these parts do not come cheap, they are of excellent quality and include a limited lifetime warranty. Their OBS Ford lift kits, grills, and bumpers are a perfect way to make your F-series truck stand out. 

Summit Racing is the go-to place for custom performance parts. If you’re looking to draw more power out of your OBS truck, take a look at their selection of exhausts, tuners, intake systems, and other high-quality parts and components. 

Full Force Diesel has a clear focus on OBS Powerstroke flatbed and other diesel-powered models. They bring a sizeable selection of OEM and custom part kits, such as OBS cold air intakes and OBS turbo kits.

Summary - Find the best Ford deals!

There’s much to consider if you’re interested in buying and modifying a Ford OBS pickup truck. Yet even in the stock configuration, these classic rides already stand out from the crowd. Using the information provided, you can take the first steps towards tailoring your OBS truck to your personal taste.

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