Spy Shots

Spy Shots—Proof That Ford's Next-Gen Super Duty Is Going Aluminum


The shooters at KGP Photography have conclusive proof that Ford is doubling down on its aluminum trucks, going the F-150 route on its all-new ’17 Super Duty pickups.

Will It Magnet?

A slew of Super Duty prototypes have been testing in the Rocky Mountains, and an F-350 Dually pulling a fifth wheel parked for the day, leaving its truck bed uncovered and exposed. The shooters decided that it was time to make a little introduction: "Magnet, meet Super Duty. Super Duty, say hello to Magnet. Let's see if you two are attracted to each other." The end result is captured on video, and shows that the magnet exhibits zero attraction to the prototype surfaces—even its exposed metal—suggesting that the next Super Duty is following the F-150's lead and going aluminum.

A textual breakdown of the video is below. The shooters caught the Super Duty prototypes testing in a wide variety of body configurations, including Crew Cab, Super Cab, Regular Cab and Crew Cab Chassis Cab.

Video Breakdown

The Super Duty prototype subjected to the magnet was 80% covered, with its bed uncovered due to the fifth-wheel trailer that remained attached while the test truck was parked. The shooters placed the magnet over various sections of the covered truck, and then reached an uncovered portion, clad only in marine vinyl camouflage near the rear wheel arch. The magnet showed no attraction to the prototype, but since portions of the prototype were covered with a car cover, the video is not 100% conclusive. The shooters did some tests after the fact, applying the magnet to a current, steel-bodied F-250, and found that the magnet would still show attraction even when a 1/4-inch piece of foam core board was placed between the truck and the magnet. This helps alleviate some concerns over the covered portion of the prototype and its reaction to the magnet.

In another test, the shooters placed some marine vinyl similar to automotive camouflage between the magnet and a current F-250. Here, it stuck like glue. On a portion of the Super Duty prototype that wasn't obscured by the car cover, the section covered only in vinyl camouflage exhibited no magnetism, which is highly suggestive of aluminum body panels.

Finally, they placed the magnet against that truck bed's bare metal, and still, there was absolutely no magnetic effect. It's here that they can say conclusively that Ford is using aluminum in a large portion of their next-generation Super Duty prototypes. If they're using aluminum here, in the key punishment point of a heavy-duty work truck, it stands to reason that aluminum is being used throughout the rest of the Super Duty prototypes—just as they have on the ’15 Ford F-150.

Two Versions of the Video

The shooters have supplied two versions of the video proving the aluminum makeup of the Super Duty prototype. A shorter, raw version contains only the video of the magnet's interplay with the Super Duty prototype. A second video edit includes portions of their tests of the magnet's reaction to various materials and a current, steel-bodied F-250. The added material helps put the raw "prototype" video in a proper context.

A New Super Duty So Soon?

When the shooters caught the first Super Duty prototypes, testing back in mid-March, many analysts expressed surprise that prototypes had appeared so early, and out of nowhere. Their analysis suggests that Ford has accelerated development on the next-generation Super Duty to make the most of their "aluminum edge"—technology that Ford executives were touting as "game changing" at the F-150 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) debut. If competitors are planning to counter Ford with aluminum-intensive trucks of their own, Ford's decisive move to create an aluminum Super Duty will help them leverage their current advantage as much as possible before their competitors' can react.


Photo credit: KGP Photography