Diesels have become a prominent player in the American truck landscape.

We readily concede that you could create a separate Mt. Rushmore of diesel trucks if you really wanted. That’s not our intent here, but we did feel strongly that any Mt. Rushmore of American trucks should include a diesel representative. With several great candidates to choose from, we turned to Summit Racing Facebook fans for input and feedback. 

The consensus: 1994 Ford F-250/F-350 Powerstroke 7.3L pickups.

According to our friends at Diesel Power magazine, the 7.3L Powerstroke is solidly one of the top ten diesel engines of all time. While the 1989 Dodge Ram Cummins paved the way for future diesel pickups, the newly designed 7.3L Powerstroke of the 1994 Ford F-250/F-350s really brought the diesel pickup concept to the masses.

“The Power Stroke introduced more truck owners in the U.S. market to the wonders of diesel grunt than any engine before or since,” Diesel Power editors stated. “Reliable and readily available, these engines helped to start a horsepower and torque race of nuclear proportions amongst the Big Three and push diesel ownership into the mainstream.”

Today, over two million 7.3L-equipped Ford Trucks are still in operation.


Ford began development on a diesel engine for its Super Duty pickups in 1982, teaming up with International Truck and Engine Corporation or ITEC (later re-named Navistar, Incorporated) to create new diesel engine technology. Its original 6.9L diesel engine was followed by the 7.3L Powerstroke, a naturally aspirated indirect injection engine.

In 1994, the 7.3L Powerstroke was reborn with a turbocharged, direct-injection design that delivered incredible power, torque, and fuel economy. The engine brought then-unparalleled hauling and towing capacity to the 1994 F-250/F-350 models that used it.

Although the 7.3L Powerstroke was offered as an engine option through the 2003 model year, those 1994 Ford 7.3L Powerstroke-equipped trucks brought concept of diesel-powered pickups into the mainstream. For that, their spot on our Mt. Rushmore of American trucks is set in stone.

Next-Level Stuff

Since its introduction in 1994, the 7.3L Powerstroke diesel has helped escalate the diesel wars between the Cummins, Duramax, and Powerstroke engines. Not surprisingly, aftermarket manufacturers have fanned the flames with performance-enhancing parts and accessories for the Powerstroke. Popular upgrades include computer programmers/tuners, exhaust systems, air intakes, glow plugs, complete Powerstroke performance packages, and more.

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.