Ford stirs nostalgia with F-750 Tonka truck

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Ford is stirring up some nostalgia with its full-size version of Tonka's iconic yellow dump truck.

The new Ford F-150 pickup is a pretty big deal in the truck world. It has the latest features and technology, and a revolutionary aluminum body. But while the F-150 might be considered large compared to a typical car, it's dwarfed by the Ford F-750.

And one particular example with a bright yellow paint scheme might look familiar. That's because for decades, millions of American kids have played with classic yellow Tonka dump truck.

So Ford decided a full-size version of that Tonka truck might spark warm memories.

"A lot of our Ford truck drivers started out driving Tonka trucks in sandboxes," said Mike Levine, truck communications manager for Ford Motor Company.

Ford isn't going into build production Tonkas, but they are readying a new commercial truck line. So what better way to garner attention than to remind nearly every one of the first truck they ever experienced?

I had a Tonka, and got to climb into the big bruiser of a truck to take a spin. The ride is stiff, and you sit very high. The sensation is like driving a pickup truck that's sitting on top of another pickup truck. And how fun to hear the air brakes, just like a real trucker does.

There is optional diesel power under the hood, of course. An F-750 weighs nearly 10,000 pounds and can haul 17,000 pounds. Trucks are serious business in many industries.

"It's kind of the vehicle that blends into the background, but this is the vehicle that delivers your groceries, plows your roads. It does it all," Levine said.

The big diesel Fords will go into production later this year starting in the low $70,000 range. It's not something most of us would ever buy, but for a few minutes, I lived the dream of many kids, operating my own grown-up Tonka truck.

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