Investing Lessons From Granddad’s Old Truck

by James Hires

A good story separates the lasting brands from the failures. It can elevate a product into a cultural icon.

Believe it or not, the best example of a powerful brand is a humble work truck.

Ford's F-Series trucks have been around since 1948. Since then, they've become the best-selling vehicles in America. Of the 2.4 million full-size trucks sold last year, almost 1 million were F-Series, generating $41 billion in revenue for Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F). According to Morgan Stanley, the F-Series could be worth more than Ford itself.

So what's so special about the F-Series?

The answer is in its story. It's where reason and emotion collide. It's why we like the products we like. The F-Series trucks are special because for many people (including me), they're more than just trucks... They're America's trucks. Even if you prefer the Chevrolet Silverado or Dodge Ram, neither name has the same cachet as the F-Series.

The F-Series debuted right as American GI's came home from WWII. It built its reputation in the 1950s and 1960s and has been the companion of farmers, workers, tradesmen and laborers from sea to shining sea.

My grandfather drove one. I remember being a kid and tagging along while he took care of ranch chores in his dark green F-250. It sat so high that he had to lift me into it. My feet didn't even touch the floor.

I loved the grumble of its V-8 as it trundled down the red dirt roads of his ranch - bales of hay in the bed and an excited little boy in the passenger's seat.

To this day, I smile when I see F-Series trucks on the road. They remind me of my grandfather and happy days in the backwoods of Virginia. That's how a truck becomes more than a truck.

My granddad's F-250 got sent to the junkyard years ago. But I'll never forget that truck and all the memories we made in it.

And I'm not alone. Since 1948, grandsons have been riding with their grandfathers in F-Series trucks. Many people have their own stories about them.

But you don't need a personal connection to the F-Series truck to understand that story...

The F-Series only ever promised to be simple and dependable workhorses - to complement the grit and determination of America's workforce. And it's delivered on that promise consistently for more than 70 years.

The legend wrote itself. Now the F-Series is as American as baseball and apple pie.

People trust the F-Series. That trust boosted a brand into a cultural icon.

I learned a lot in my granddad's truck. But that old clunker had one more lesson to teach me years after it got scrapped...

Always bet on a good story.

Good investing,

James

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