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Ford has been giving previews around the country of its upcoming F-150 Lightning EV. Among those venues, it is showing the Lightning was the 2021 Texas State Fair. There, someone discovered a convertible F-150 being displayed on the infotainment screen. Yeah, a convertible pickup!

There haven’t been many of them, and for good reason; they don’t sell well. Of course, the Jeep Gladiator could be considered a convertible pickup, but it’s a Jeep. It doesn’t fit the image of a conventional pickup as a convertible. And before that, there was the Scrambler from 1981 to 1986.

Has there been a convertible pickup in the last 25 years?

Chevy SSR pickup
Chevy SSR pickup | Getty

Most recently, Dodge did its Dakota pickup as a convertible for three years starting in 1989. Less than 4,000 were ever made. That should have put a lid on convertible trucks. But leave it to GM to spend lots of time and capital to prove Dodge right for killing the Dakota convertible.

In 2003 Chevy introduced the SSR pickup. It not only was a convertible, but the hardtop was retractable. It was built around the S-10 platform and was meant to invoke hot rod pickups in a modern vein. Some liked it, but it was mostly a curiosity. It sold a bit over 24,000  before stopping production in 2006.

Back in the early days of the automobile roadster pickups were common. But they fizzled out in the early 1930s as closed cab truck prices lowered and open-air vehicles across the board began dying out. 

So with that discouraging backdrop, what is Ford doing? Is this a legit glimpse at what Ford has for the future? Or is it just a goof that won’t make it into production Lightning models? The folks at TFLTruck were the first to notice and published an image as proof. 

Why is Ford teasing a convertible pickup?

Ford F-150 Lightning convertible
Ford F-150 Lightning convertible | TFTrucks

Some have suggested this is just a glitch in the display, but the more we look at it the less that makes any sense. We don’t see how the display screen could know how to show a tailgate from this angle in perspective. And how it would know to fill in the “missing” pixels with the background. Right?

This could be some kind of variation of the Bronco platform. Since Ford has killed off every car in its lineup save for the Mustang and GT, it now faces filling up its catalog with more variations of trucks and SUVs. Since pickups are the new norm, why not offer variations like it has for a hundred years? 

The Gladiator, Bronco, and Hummer are sort-of convertibles

Overhead view of orange 2021 Ford Bronco
2021 Ford Bronco | Ford

GMC is doing it with the upcoming Hummer EV. It will have removable top panels it calls “sky panels.” And the Bronco is close to being a convertible. So here are two variations of the open-top theme just now going into production. 

Just when you would think that the idea of a convertible pickup is dead, something like this pops up and makes you question everything. We’d like to see a convertible pickup available from all of the truck manufacturers. Just like the 2020s version of the El Camino seems like a hit for Hyundai with the Santa Cruz, so too might a convertible option be a hit for the F-150 Lightning. They say everything old can be new again.  


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