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2005 Ford F-350 - Page 1 Review

 

"My house, my house — a King Ranch for my house!" With apologies to The Bard, I can think of no other way to summarize my two weeks’ worth of basking within the tucks and folds, scents, and sensibilities of Ford’s leather-special trucks blazoned with King Ranch badges.

Back-to-back, I test-drove, first, the gargantuan Super Duty F-350 "one-ton" version with six-passenger Crew Cab, followed by the baby-brother "half-ton" F-150 with five-passenger SuperCrew Cab. The interiors of both were, literally, swathed with an aromatic, supple, guilt-defying leather that Ford calls Castaño in recognition of its dusky chestnut hue.

It’s worth carrying on a bit about Ford’s King Ranch phenomenon. I’ve encountered no other truck aesthetic like it in two decades of reviewing vehicles. The ambience and opulence of the leather upholstery, the wood trim, the cornucopia of accessories and gadgets literally transform what it means to own and drive a pickup truck. A King Ranch pickup is the automotive equivalent of a four-figure pair of custom Lucchese boots: They symbolize a romantic conception of "the cowboy way" without any hint of the blood, sweat, and tears this way of life exacts upon its authentic practitioners.

These boots, in other words, ain’t made for walkin’. But it’s not quite fair to say these pickups ain’t made for truckin’. By certain estimations, this is one heck of a trailer-haulin’, cargo-totin’ duo. Still, you can take it on faith that the King Ranch F-350’s best-in-class tow rating of 15,000 pounds is most unlikely to be employed shuttling a seven-and-a-half-ton dung spreader from one muck pit to another.

Hauling in and out

These are glory trucks, pure and simple; and they’re probably best envisaged as worthy accessories to their owners’ expensive toys and hobbies. Among the big-boat and horse-trailer set, for example, the Super Duty F-350 is not only capable of towing 15,000 pounds but also of hauling simultaneously another two-and-a-half tons of people and cargo. It’s built upon an entirely separate frame structure from that of the F-150; and in the case of my tester, it was powered by Ford’s all-new 6.8-liter single-overhead-cam V-10.

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