See How Ford Has Been Keeping Tailgate Innovations Front and Center for 100 Years

As long as Ford has been producing pickups, station wagons and SUVs, we’ve been creating innovations to make them more capable and easier for our customers to use. With F-Series leading the way, Ford has continued to advance tailgates since the 1920s, with the new Pro Access Tailgate on the 2024 Ford F-150 kicking off the second century of modernizations. Scroll through to see highlights of Ford’s innovations from the past 100 years.

1925 – First factory-assembled pickup debuts and features a cargo box and adjustable tailgate.
1929 – Model A is company’s first factory build station wagon. It featured a tailgate and no rear window.
1948 – F-1 introduced with tapered, rolled edge tailgate. Anti-rattle drop chains hold tailgate flush with floor or let it swing all the way down.
1959 – Reflector added to right side of F-series tailgate for safer nighttime operation.
1960 – Flacon wagon is the first Ford with a single-piece tailgate with retractable rear window.
1961 – Ford pickup tailgates marketed as “grain-tight”. Now with one-handed capability, steel chain locks are no longer used and replaced with Instant-Action latches. Tailgate width increases by 13 inches.
1964 – Husky tailgate support straps made of steel introduced on F-series, fold into tailgate and out of sight.
1966 – Ford introduces the Magic Doorgate, which can open down like a door. It is standard on Ford and Fairline stations wagons, optional on Falcon.
1969 – Ford wagons have a new 3-way Magic Doorgate. It can be opened as a door with the window up or down.
1980 – Removable tailgate comes standard on styleside F-series trucks.
1982 – Granada offers two-way liftgate that can be opened either as one piece of as a window-only opening.
1987 – F-series tailgate is redesigned.
1977 – Standard locking tailgate introduced on F-150. All vehicle locks, including the tailgate, open with a single key for added convenience.
2003 – Lincoln Navigator offers on optional power liftgate.
2004 – Ford offers Tailgate Assist on F-series, a segment-exclusive feature that employs a built-in torsion bar to bear much of the tailgate’s weight to make it easier to open and close.
2005 – Quick release tailgate on F-250 and F-350 Super Duty is introduced.
2005 – Excursion features exclusive Tri-panel door system with lift-glass rear cargo door and lightweight twin swing-out doors for loading.
2008 – New tailgate step option available for Super Duty along with stowable bed extender that latches to tailgate and lets customers haul with tailgate.
2011 – Escape adds gesture-based technology to open rear liftgate with a feature called Hands-Free Liftgate.
2015 – New LED light in tailgate release handle directed light onto rear hitch (on models with new remote power tailgate release). Power tailgate lock also offered, plus the ability to drop tailgate from the vehicle key fob or key pad.
2021 – Power tailgate and new tailgate work surface with variety of useful holders and grained texture offered as options on F-150. All F-150 truck tailgates include tie-down hooks that double as bottle openers and standard clamp pockets.
2023 – Opening from the driver’s side, Pro Access Tailgate reduces walking distance to the tailgate handle, facilitates operation when towing, and even features a specially designed integrated handle for easy entry and exit of the swing door opening, which can open 37, 70, or 100 degrees.