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Back in 2011, Ford sent out six prototype F-150 trucks to three of its best industrial customers. Ford gave the companies these trucks for free and told them to put these trucks to work. What these customers didn’t know is that the beds were made of aluminum.

“We wanted to test the truck outside, in the harshest conditions and in the hands of real customers, with no limits,” Ford stated in a release. “So when we gave them the prototype vehicles, we told them to use the trucks like their other…trucks, and we would be back to follow their progress.”

Over the course of two and half years, Ford checked in every three months to see how the trucks were holding up and to get any customer feedback. The results were very good. The beds didn’t crack and could take a pounding and keep working. However, the customers did notice a couple oddities: magnets wouldn’t stick to the bed and scratches didn’t rust.

Based on the feedback, Ford made a few changes, it made the aluminum floor thicker, altered the aluminum alloy to make it stronger, and modified the tailgate design.

The testers finally learned the secret along with the rest of the world at the 2015 F-150’s reveal this past January.

Want to put the all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 to the test yourself? It will be rolling into Hassett Automotive later this year.

2015 Ford F-150

The 2015 Ford F-150’s aluminum beds were tested in secret