Our Story

The Manning Equipment Story

Bill Manning started Manning Enterprises in 1954. Since then Manning has experienced increased growth and assured excellence. Manning Enterprises, Inc. has developed into four major entities; Manning Equipment, Inc., Manning Truck Modification, Inc., Dealers Truck Equipment Inc. and most recently Manning Light Truck Equipment, LLC. 



Manning’s dedicated and experienced sales and support staffs assure that the needs of our customers are fully met. We offer separate fleet, leasing, government and local sales staffs to guarantee quality with specialized services and support. We furnish the highest quality best engineered and professionally installed equipment in the industry both locally and nationally.



In 1958 Manning established the first “ship-thru” program to further accommodate our national fleet customers. The ship-thru solution is an arrangement between Manning and the (OEM) Ford Motor Company. This arrangement is a “one stop shop” approach offering complete products, uniform installation and prompt truck delivery to meet all your company’s needs. In 1965 Manning introduced the first Modification Center. The Modification Center concept was designed to give customers additional vehicle options that were not available directly from the factory.



Manning was also the first to receive many prestigious industry awards. They were the first to earn the Ford Q1 and the first and only to qualify under the federal government’s QAMA award of self-inspection. Manning was the first in the industry to achieve the Ford MVE award. This award proves Manning meets all the strict quality, design, manufacturing and modification guidelines set by Ford.


Manning Equipment
Manning Tractor
  • 1952

    Manning Truck Trailer started on Fourth Street in the Louisville Transit Building. Harry Truman was President

  • 1955

    Manning Equipment Inc. moved to Bishop Lane. MacDonald’s opened its first restaurant. Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.

  • 1958

    Manning Equipment does frame reinforcements for Ford. Start of association with Ford Motor Company.

  • 1959

    Manning installs dump bodies and equips tractors for Ford. Trucks going to little known southeast Asian country, Vietnam. Alaska becomes our 49th state and Hawaii becomes our 50th state.

  • 1964

    Manning equips Ford LT-9000’s with dump bodies and an arctic engine package to be used in the clean up after the Alaskan earthquake. Lyndon B. Johnson was president.

  • 1965

    Manning Truck Modification began on Fern Valley Road across from the Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) continuing the association with Ford and developing associations with many Ford heavy truck dealers.

  • 1970

    Manning converts Ford F-800s to $X$ for work on the Alaskan pipeline. Richard Nixon is President. The EPA is created by Congress.

  • 1972

    A Manning Equipment shop is built on the same site as the Mod Center facility adjacent to the Kentucky Truck Plant. Manning Equipment, a separate entity from Manning Truck Modification, supplies equipment not available through the modification center. 10,000 sq. ft. of production space is added. “All in the Family” premiers on television.

  • 1978

    Warehouses are built adding 19,300 sq. ft. of storage space for equipment and parts. Volkswagen stops producing the Beetle, not to be manufactured again until 1998

  • 1981

    Manning opens a Ranger up fit facility near Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant with 13,000 sq. ft. of production space. Ronald Reagan is elected President. IBM sells its first PC. MS-DOS is developed by Bill Gates’ Microsoft.

  • 1984

    Manning builds a shop on Collins Lane near KTP with 41,500 sq. ft. of production space. Ronald Reagan wins re-election as President. Apple Computer releases the Macintosh personal computer.

  • 1985

    Manning becomes the exclusive supplier of truck bodies and other equipment for (GSA) General Services Administration purchased trucks. Aerodynamic farings installed on “L” Series Cabs.

  • 1987

    Ford “F” Series converted to “Hot Shot” unit with installation of sleeper cabs. “LTL” sleeper program implemented.
  • 1988

    Manning converts Ford “F” Series to 4-door crew cab. Vice President George Bush wins the presidential election.
  • 1990

    In January, Manning moves into expanded corporate office that more than doubles its size. In July, the last Ford “C” Series Model, in production for some 35 years and a respected workhorse, leaves Manning Equipment. Operation Desert Shield begins in the Persian Gulf; Space shuttle Discovery is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida; East and West Germany are united as one country for the first time since World War II.

  • 1991

    Manning Equipment introduces its “F” Series Crew Cab conversions. Operation Desert Storm begins February 24th; the USSR ends and the Communist party are stripped of power.

  • 1992

    Manning is the first assembly/modification plant to receive Ford’s prestigious Q1 Award, one of the most coveted awards in the automotive industry. People begin exploring the online world by “surfing the net”; Bill Clinton is elected President.

  • 1994

    Manning Equipment is the first company to achieve Ford’s MVE ‘fully-meets” status. MVE is a set of Ford guidelines to be followed by all qualified ship-thru companies. The movie Forrest Gump wins the Best Picture Oscar.

  • 1995

    Manning Equipment celebrates 40 years in business. The Federal Building in Oklahoma City is bombed by Timothy McVeigh; NASA spacecraft rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir; the Atlanta Braves win the World Series.

  • 1996

    In August, J. William Manning, our founder, celebrates 50 years in the truck equipment business. In October, manning Equipment went of the information super highway with www.truckequip.com.
  • 1997

    In August, the last of the Ford GRGO CF chassis left Manning’s shop. Ford Heavy Truck leaves Louisville and is replaced with the Super Duty” product. Manning is awarded Ford Light truck Ship-Thru. This allows Manning to re-enter up fitting Super Duty trucks into the Ford freight system. NASA probe Pathfinder lands on Mars, the 4th planet from the Sun; Hong Kong is returned to the Chinese.

  • 1998

    Ford Motor Company awards Manning Equipment a new Ford commercial truck chassis pool. It includes all Super Duty, F-250 through F-550 and F-800 cab chassis.

  • 1999

    Manning is awarded a new light duty F150 and F250 ship-thru by Ford Motor Company. The Ford Ranger production at LAP leaves Louisville to make room for the expanded Explorer production. Manning builds a new paint facility that will provide increased capacity to up to 50 bodies per day. Manning is awarded a Ford Fleet Bailment Pool.

  • 2000

    Manning launches www.e-manning.com. This web-based ordering system allows dealers to request quotes, place orders, and track status online 24/7. The World Trade Center is attacked by terrorists killing 3,000 people; George W. Bush is elected President.
  • 2002

     Ford announces Manning as exclusive Mod Center for F650 & F750 medium duty chassis produced in Mexico under new venture with Navistar. Manning announces location for San Antonio Texas facility.

  • 2003

    Manning opens Texas Modification center complete with 15,000 square foot shop. 

  • 2005

    Manning works with Israeli based vehicle manufacturer Plasan to develop a Super Duty based military vehicle called the SandCat. Manning shortened the wheelbase and installed the armored cabs to serve as a potential replacement for the outgoing AM General Humvee. 

  • 2009

    Ford announces production of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator at the Kentucky Truck Plant. Manning awarded Expedition ship thru code for upfitting of decals, emergency lighting, sirens, and interior partitions

  • 2012

     Production of Ford Escape begins at Louisville Assembly Plant after the Explorer moves to Chicago. Manning continues to equip vehicles produced at LAP with lighting, decals, interior accessories, and GPS.

  • 2015

    Ford announces production of F650/F750 will move to Ohio Assembly Plant. Manning continues to serve customers with new Ohio Modification Center next door to the Ford Plant in Sheffield Village, Ohio – just outside of Cleveland.

  • 2017

     As Ford trucks switch from Steel to Aluminum bodies, Manning updates to support new technology that increases payloads and fuel economy.

  • 2019

    Manning sales force expands and company adds Kilar roll back bodies and OX dump bodies to all-encompassing catalog of truck equipment. 

  • 2020

    Manning now offers ship through availability for Ford Ranger pickup and the Class 6 Super Duty based Ford F-600. 

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