Studebaker Had The Tailgate Step Before Ford
Saturday Chris Baccus posted a link to an old Studebaker commercial on his Twitter account. This old commercial is corn-ball and ever-so-slightly offensive to women, but it also shows what might just be the very first tailgate step ever…installed on a station wagon.
This is just a still photo of the commercial – you can watch the commercial on YouTube here.
Sort of fascinating, isn’t it? Contrast it with some of Ford’s marketing literature.
First, here’s a photo from the Ford website of the tailgate step in action.
Ford brags that the “2010 F-150 features an available class-exclusive integrated Tailgate Step,” and they show lots of images of hard-working truck owners making great use of this option on their website, in brochures, etc. They’re proud of the fact they can advertise this feature – and they should be.
For the record, the tailgate step is a good idea. The execution on the F150 isn’t great (it can be hard to load around), but it’s certainly not bad. Ford’s truck marketing manager said that the feature was selling well back in January in this article on Jalopnik, and a lot of people really like it. Kudos to the engineers at Ford.
The point here is that there aren’t a lot of new ideas in the auto industry. 6-speed transmissions, electric powertrains, dual-overhead cams, superchargers, trucks with coil-spring rear suspensions, and just about everything else you’ll hear a truck salesman brag about has been done before. Most of these features were toyed with 50 to 100 years ago.
The military used nitrous oxide injection in aircraft in world war two. The first all-electric car was built all the way back in 1891 by a tinkerer in Iowa. Gottlieb Daimler (one of the namesakes of Daimler Benz) might have been the first to supercharge an automobile back in 1885.
And Studebaker might just have been the first to invent the tailgate step…or maybe not.
Filed Under: Auto News