By on March 30, 2013

2001 Chevrolet Silverado LS with tasteful aftermarket NRA front license plate.

Car enthusiasts can be a fickle and judgmental lot when it comes to passion for things automotive. Certain types of vehicles are expected to be driven by a person who wishes to appropriate the label for themselves. Do you drive a Miata, S2000, or one of the original British sports cars that they echo? You can lay claim to the title of gear head or enthusiast without being challenged. Have a foreign car, especially a European one, that costs more than a Midwestern starter home? You probably won’t be called a poseur if you show up to your local cars and coffee gathering. Then, there are people who love trucks.

I yield to no man in my love of the sporting automobile. I’ve got a muscle car of my own tucked away in my garage. There’s nothing finer than a Saturday morning drive through the Kentucky hills, taking corners with more enthusiasm than talent, and feeling the wind buffet through the open T-tops as the V-8 drowns out the chorus of Springsteen’s Born to Run. But put a gun to my head, order me to choose between my Camaro and my 2001 Silverado pickup with the caveat that the vehicle I don’t choose will be set on fire, well, then I guess we’ll enjoy some F-body flambe.

Portrait of the author as a young man. Notice how far Mom kept me from the truck’s open bed, even when parked.  Picture taken by Dad, November 1981.

Grandpa Lonnie Hester only owned three vehicles during his slightly more than four-score and ten on this earth: all of them pickup trucks. The first was a Ford Model A that was replaced in 1949, the year my father was born, with a dark green Chevrolet. Grandpa Lonnie was tight-fisted and the only option on the truck was a heater because my Grandmother Ruby believed that riding around during the winter in the unheated Model A had contributed to my Aunt Jean’s early death. Grandpa ran that truck into the ground until Grandmother convinced him that not only did he deserve a new truck, but that it would also be a great help to my dad if he passed the ’49 on. That truck stayed in the family until I was nine.

Grandpa’s truck was a ’73 C-10, but the color on this ’76 C-20 is spot on. 

The first vehicle I ever drove was the truck Grandpa bought to replace the ’49: a powder- blue 1973 Chevrolet.  I was eleven when my father took me out into the pasture behind my grandmother’s house. I jerked and lurched through the field as my dad instructed me on the finer points of working my way through a three- speed on the tree with the occasional reminder that I needed to steer right… steer right… GO RIGHT OR YOU’LL HIT THE (thump) hay bale.

Three years later, and I was introduced to the time-honored tradition of cruising. Still not old enough to (legally) drive, I rode shotgun with my buddy Paul in his black Chevy S-10. He had tinted the widows way past the limit, installed the fat double- bladed wipers all the cool kids had in the late eighties, and mounted an enormous pair of speakers behind the seat. We terrorized the streets of Oxford, Alabama, after Wednesday night youth group, hollering at girls, conducting Chinese fire drills, and alternatively blasting Tone-Loc, AC/DC, and Charlie Daniels at volumes that today would definitely get kids written up for violations of municipal noise ordinances.

The three-across bench seat was perfect when one or (Score!) two girls needed a ride, particularly since everyone had to crowd more towards the passenger side in order to be out of poor, lonely Paul’s way so that he could shift. If more girls needed a ride, there was always the open bed in the days before mandatory seatbelt laws. I would occasionally ride back there myself (to keep them company, you understand) even though it would have simply killed my mother to know that I ever went anywhere without a seatbelt on. Doing things that would cause your mother to die if she knew is part of being fourteen. (Sorry, Mom.)

Despite all of this early exposure to the advantages of a pickup, I never considered one for myself and chose a two- door Chevrolet Beretta for my first new car upon graduation from high school in 1994. A few years later, flush with a steady paycheck from my first full-time job, I again failed to consider a truck and bought a used ’96 Firebird Formula two months before my wife became pregnant with our daughter. If I needed a truck, my dad always had one. When we bought our first house in 2000, I borrowed my dad’s ’94 Ford F-150 for a couple of weeks so I could move odds and ends from our apartment to the house while he got to tear around in my Firebird.

The beginning of the end. Long- term exposure to a F-150 finally seduced me into the world of dedicated pickup truck ownership.

Over those two weeks, I came to truly appreciate a pickup truck for what it could do, besides haul girls and survive low- speed farm collisions without damage. The space. The view over traffic. The ability to just go and get large stuff on my own without having to bum a ride from a friend with a truck. My wife and I had been wrestling our infant daughter in and out of the back seats of two-door cars for over a year. With the truck, the car-seat was level with us. Sure, it was a tight fit in parking lots and it wouldn’t win any drag races, but a truck just made so much more sense than a coupe.

A few months later, the Firebird was traded for a lease on a new 2001 Sierra. I’ve had trucks, new and used, ever since. Sure, I could hitch a trailer to the wife’s Odyssey, but then my truck always has a trailer attached to it. It’s called a bed. If I want to go buy an $800 elliptical machine that some guy is giving away for $40 on Craigslist in an attempt to screw over his ex- wife, I can just hop in my truck and have it loaded it up before the other vultures, who had to attach their trailers or beg a pickup, get there. If my brother needs me to haul a load of mulch (and Black Widow spiders, belatedly discovered after we had spent about thirty minutes shoveling said mulch out of the bed) for him to his rental properties, I can do it. A truck of my own simply represents freedom better than my low- slung, totally impractical Camaro.

2003 Chevrolet S-10 LS.

A couple of years ago I let my daughter drive in a field for the first time. Coincidentally, her first time behind the wheel was also in a blue Chevrolet pickup truck. In another couple of years, she’ll get her permit and I plan to make her learn the basics of car control in my Silverado so that she’ll never be intimidated by large vehicles. Kids today don’t cruise the way my friends and I used to, gas prices and graduated driver’s licenses being what they are. It’s just as well. I can’t imagine letting her go riding around at the age of 14 the way I did. But if she ever has the opportunity, I just have to ask her to do one thing for me:

Don’t ride in the back of any pickup trucks. It will simply kill your father.

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158 Comments on “For All the Trucks I’ve Loved Before...”


  • avatar
    golden2husky

    As much as I hate to say it, I have a desire to own one. The hesitation has nothing to do with image, just the fact that I love the feeling of light, tied down vehicles and high speed G forces. My first vehicle that I could drive as I see fit was a 1976 Chevy pickup with a three on the tree and a 250 inline six. My older brother had the misfortune to get badly injured in an ice climbing accident, so he gave me his pickup to use for a couple of months while he recovered. Being the spring of 1980, it was senior year in high school and having your own ride was cool and life was good. Lots of partying in that bad boy, and I stashed some Clear Eyes in the truck to keep me out of trouble. Because of my experience in this truck, his amazing mileage achievements, and the 1986 full size Blazer that my bro lent to me when he was in Europe, I am a Chevy guy, but for trucks only. The 76 went over 300K before it was given away, and the Blazer was destroyed in a crash at 290K.

    Fast forward to the present. I’m at Sears and looking to buy a horizontal air compressor. Only to realize I can’t get it home in my station car. And it made me think that maybe when my station car dies, perhaps I should get a pickup. My older brother still has a Chevy pickup, a 2009. Like me though, he also has some vehicles for fun driving. If he lived close I would just use his truck, but being 150 miles away, maybe its time for one of my own. It will make a nice opposite for my Hybrid Altima that sports an EDF window sticker.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Just traded the car for an almost identical one with automatic transmission. Now my wife can drive again in spite of her bad knee. Now I mostly drive my truck.Since I retired from the Navy in 1981 it has almost always been a truck. I also have a 57 chevy but the truck is much more important to me. That might change but it would mean the 57 was being used as a truck.

    I have done two things since retiring from the Navy. Teaching and Air Conditioning. I have moonlighted at the AC work even while teaching. I think it’s fair to say that I am always hauling tools and that certainly influences my choice. My current vehicle is an S10 with a 4.3 and 700r4. I never thought I would like it after years of Nissan but I can’t seem to kill it. I’m buying a dirt bike so that will make an even more constant need for the truck.

    If I’m driving I will have a truck.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Thank you for sharing some of your memories, looking back I’m surprised that I haven’t brought a mini-van with so many of my experiences with those.

    I’ll say this though, I’ve considered what car to get should I ever sell my Volvo 240 and the only thing that matched it in terms of desires were trucks. I like tough vehicles with good clearence, greenhousing, modest styling, and plenty of space in a practical body, not very many 80-90′s cars offer all of those, but plenty of trucks do.

    I can’t really look at todays super macho trucks and take them seriously like the older stuff, now everyones trying to use the biggest fanciest grille design.

  • avatar
    Windy

    That 49 is just the right color for a pickup…. I wonder what drives the fashions of the colors that on offer for any vehicle?

    That dark green was one of the most popular when I was a lad in the 50s today the selection is some what restricted though my neighbor just got a new F-150 in a nice dark green. he said he wanted a Chevy or a Dodge but neither offers the color anymore….

    is it just me or did we see a wider variety of color and color combinations (2 and 3 tone for example) than is on offer these days?

    I like red leather interiors on cars esp convertibles and you hardly see it on offer any more… with most models you are lucky to get a choice of which shade of grey do you like sir?

    I wonder why choice is so restricted today.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s cheaper to build vehicles with fewer interior/exterior color choices. Car assembly is less labor-intensive and automated for maximum economy of production, so there are fewer options, especially interior colors. We’re somehow back in Model T territory – even the Model T’s 22″ wheels are back!

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Dark green made it back on the 2013 Chevy Avalanche. Hopefully it will end up on the full line in the next couple of years. Jeep also has a very dark, almost black, green available on the current Grand Cherokee. These things go in cycles. Hopefully we’re in an upswing for colors like dark greens and browns.

    • 0 avatar
      Nichodemus

      Two tone paint on trucks was the best. I wish we still had those options (although, I’m not planning on buying a new one probably ever.)

  • avatar
    PlookStick

    Yup, never thought I’d be a pickup guy until I bought my ’09 F150 Super Crew last year. Huge, comfortable, drives well, regularly gets 20+ mpg. It does help that, like the author, there is a muscle car in the driveway – ’06 Mustang GT to fill the need for something small and fast.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez

    Pickup trucks absolutely have an appeal unmatched by any other class of vehicle. Even the cheapest most beater pickup is capable of undeniable coolness, far more than an sedan of equal cost.

    Beware the truck-less friends, acquaintances, and folks you thought you barely knew. All of whom seem to think an afternoon of hauling large goods is equivalent to a six-pack beer payment.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez

    Pickup trucks absolutely have an appeal unmatched by any other class of vehicle. Even the cheapest most beater pickup is capable of undeniable coolness, far more than a sedan of equal cost.

    Beware the truck-less friends, acquaintances, and folks you thought you barely knew. All of whom seem to think an afternoon of hauling large goods is equivalent to a six-pack beer payment.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Nice thread ! .

    I’ve always loved pickups although couldn’t always afford one plus a car so some times both ,sometimes a car or a pickup .

    Mostly old Chevys , always InLine 6 Bangers .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I love the style of the C10 you showed. And then the C1500 that followed after that. I’d actually love a long box C10 with that blue and a complete Caprice PPV power train swap.

    The F-150 of that generation was in the fleet that gave me my paycheck for a couple of years. Easy to fix and tough as nails. The electronics are particularly robust.

    I like trucks too, but Silverados sell for ridiculous money here. And I am no fan of the “global midsizers”. A proper P’up truck for me is an American one.

  • avatar
    AFX

    “Despite all of this early exposure to the advantages of a pickup, I never considered one for myself and chose a two- door Chevrolet Beretta for my first new car upon graduation from high school in 1994″.

    I guess you never considered a Chevy ElCamino SS, a Ranchero, a Dodge Rampage, or even a Subaru Brat either. The Brat would have been the best 4-seat cruising pickup for sitting in the bed. For something rare, a 81-82 Ford Durango.

    Trucks aren’t exciting at all, to me they’re only tools to get a job done. Getting excited about a truck is like getting excited about a hammer. I guess that’s why you see so many truck guys wandering around Lowes or Harbor Freight just looking at stuff on weekends. A truck is a means to an end for something more fun, like towing a boat, jet skis, or trailer. A truck is just a Big Dumb Truck.

    There’s 3 kinds of truck owners:

    1. Guys who buy a truck to haul stuff, like a boat, lumber, bark mulch, or for moving crap for their friends on weekends.

    2. Guys that want to look macho, and are too macho for an SUV, and want people to think that they use the truck to haul stuff on weekends. In reality they’ve completely blinged out the truck with fancy accesories, and big wheels with low profile tires. They spent so much money on accesories and fancy wheels that they can’t use it like a real truck anymore, and either rent a U-Haul or have Lowes deliver everything. The only thing that gets hauled in the bed is a beer cooler and lawn chairs for the truck shows they show their truck in.

    3. Sociopathic antisocial rednecks who want to own a big truck just so they can scare the hell out of everybody else on the road. These are the guys living in the North East with Rebel flag rear window shades, Yosemite Sam mudflaps, diesel exhausts stacks as big as HVAC ducting coming straight up out of the bed, truck nuts, a lift kit with jumbo mudder tires, and a diesel train airhorn. You can often see these guys broke down on the side of the road standing on top of their jumbo mudder tires as they peer into their engine compartment trying to figure out why their truck isn’t running.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Hey, Yosemite Sam mudflaps are awesome.

      I should put some on my Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @AFX
      You forgot the 5th and the 6th types.

      The ones who buy them for their businees or trade, in other words earn a living from them.

      And, the ones like me who use them for camping, fishing and traction/reliability, you could say another form of SUV. Not everyone lives in the big smoke.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Yeah, pretty much rural communities, farming/fishing/hunting/ranching/mining/drilling/construction/timber industry workers etc…etc…etc…were left out.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I think those mostly are subsets of #1, myself.

        (Like why I have an ’07 F250; because I have a hobby that involves well over 1,000 pounds of gear I need to move around, some of it in pieces over 10 feet long.

        Turns out that a truck – and ideally a full size one – is the *perfect* tool for that job.)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I see that third one fairly often, you forgot to mention the gratuitous “rubber plums” that’re generally attached to the trailer hitch.

      Usually its dinky S10s and what not with semi-truck wannabe exhausts, its this third category that makes truck owners look bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Naw, he mentioned “truck nuts”.

        Which, for all I think some of his comment on #3 is just cultural differences and NorthEast Snarkiness, is something that automatically makes me judge people who think they’re a good idea to put on their truck.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      In these days of pneumatic nail guns, it’s a bit out of date, but have you ever used a really good hammer? Something with good balance, and striking power like, say, an Estwing? I find it easy to get excited about tools because tools are what allow us to do useful and important things.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        Love a good hammer. A carpenter cousin has a beautiful Ti Stiletto, I’ve never had so much fun driving nails in my life.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bunkie
        I prefer Cooper Tools, Plumb hammer. Fantastic balance and they never bend nails over:) 20oz for lighter work, a 24oz for framing.

        Nailing guns have been around for over 50 years.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ……..Trucks aren’t exciting at all, to me they’re only tools to get a job done. Getting excited about a truck is like getting excited about a hammer……..

      And what is wrong with getting excited about tools? I love my pro grade tool collection, and very much get excited about buying another one. Come to think of in now, a truck would have made my decade long home restoration a lot easier. Yeah I get the redneck thing you mentioned, but if they’re happy looking like a dropout, let ‘em.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ AFX..I think your the same dude that did the Camereo comment. Are you like some sort of “profile guy” that works for the FBI. You know like that “fictitous” T.V. program.

      Maybe it might be time for us wannabe profilers, to analyze your,persona,life dreams,etc,all by the vehicle you drive,or lust for.

      So please share with us your wisdom, on all things automotive.

      What do you drive.

    • 0 avatar
      ICARFAN

      Type of people who own trucks….

      1. The type of person who lives life.

      BTW, anybody else notice how many classic trucks are getting restored and sold for good money? Funny, that I have never seen a restored Beretta. LOL

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I was into restoring old fifties and sixties trucks from 1990-1995. Did several myself and helped friends with several more. Still see them running around my area and say to myself, “I did that!” or “I helped do that!”

        But after a while it gets all-consuming and all-encompassing and the costs go through the roof. Any hobby your pursue is going to be expensive, even if you rebuild the engine and transmission yourself, and do all the labor on your own time. Parts cost money, even the ones from junkyards.

        I worked with a guy who has his own automotive spray-painting business in my area and he cut me some slack, but a paint job using epoxy type of paint set me back on average $1200 per vehicle. That’s not chump change.

        So in today’s money a fully restored or upgraded truck with power disc brakes, power windows, air conditioning, a new interior and a new paint job can easily top $50K.

        And you basically still have an old truck. The people in my area who restored their old trucks or bought one already restored for them, also have a newer truck, and often other vehicles as well.

        If you put that much money into restoring or rebuilding a classic, why risk it getting damaged or scratched up?

        • 0 avatar
          ICARFAN

          I’m admittedly a little upside-down on the mechanical restoration of my 73 F-250 XLT-Ranger-Camper Special, but the 40 year old paint is still decent and I am still about 25,000 dollars on the plus side if I would have sold it and bought a new truck with similiar capabilites. I use it plenty, but I don’t beat it and I think if I bought a completely restored truck I would use it too when the prices are about the same as a new truck anyway and that old truck is going to outlast a new one.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    My first was a hand-me-down 1937 Chevrolet with cable brakes. An excellent vehicle to learn car control, as stopping distance was measured in blocks, not feet or even yards. We later got one of the first Datsuns that was driven from Kenosha to Couer d’Alene with the high beams on as we couldn’t figure out the turn-signal stalk mechanism. If you’re not old enough to remember Nixon as Vice-president, you’ll wonder about our stupidity. A surprisingly tough little truck. Then we began using an old Studebaker that I thought I was too cool to drive, but in retrospect, it was perfect for what I was doing at the time, which was searching for the elusive 7X Hudson factory racing engine. Turns out, the necessary numbers were ridiculously easy to fake, so I drove with straight six engine blocks all over the west coast for 18 months or so. I haven’t been without some sort of beater pickup in all my driving years, and find it easy to relate to the kinship we form with these simple throwbacks to a different era. My 1990 Ranger 4.0 with 200k is just getting the desired patina, and will probably be my last as it seems unbreakable, and even when it does break, I’m never more than $100 and an afternoon away from repair, as the closest U-Pull has 20 at any given day. These are under-appreciated vehicles that have earned our respect.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Love the picture with Mom and the ’49 Chevy. I learned to drive in a similar truck (’53 GMC) in a similar area, the gravel and dirt roads that led from the highway to the family cottage waaaay out in the boonies.

  • avatar
    Onus

    At 20 i own 3 pickup trucks. I might have gone too far on that.

    Unlike you i didn’t learn to drive on a pickup. I learned in a Jeep ZJ GrandCherokee.

    My dad gave me his truck. The thing that had been sitting in my driveway all my child hood. I have many good memories of that thing. Bees, junk in the back, sitting in the cab playing with things.

    So i had to have another pickup as fixing this one to a driver will be a ton of work. I bought a 1991 f250 351w 4×4 5 speed. I had to have it. Who could go wrong with those options. Come to find out a should have never bought the truck. It has some severe frame rust issues that i thought could be fixed but i found more and more. I still loved it and allways on the lookout for the same combination in good shape.

    Anyway while browsing the ford truck forums i came across a lady moving across the country and wondering what to do with her old truck that she just replaced with a new one. Come to find out she lived 45 minutes away from me. I messaged her and she gave me her phone number. I called and she wanted $400 for a 1990 f250 7.3 diesel, 4 speed automatic, 2wd. She had 10 years worth of maintenance receipts. Almost like new tires too, and up until i bought it she used it to tow her horse trailer.

    The truck is beat up every panel has a dent and rust has not been kind to body. With 349,000 northeast us all year round models it is remarkably clean with things like frame and cab rust.

    I have driven this thing as my daily driver for the last 15,000 miles a two years. I love the thing. Finally i have some major repairs to do. Looks like my torque converter lockup clutch is getting worn out. But, i have to adjust the throttle position sensor some more, and test the solenoid pack before i replace the converter. I will be fixing it.

    At the end of the day in the spring in the summer its not uncommon for my truck to be loaded with furniture, brush, junk for the dump. You name it is does it. Will be adding trailer towing to the mix shortly i want to see what that old 185 horse power naturally aspirated diesel can do!

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      You’re only 20? Keep on just like you are.

      To me, trucks are about self-reliance, period. And you’ve obviously got enough of that for three guys.

      Personally, my dad, brothers and I have always stayed simple with our pickups. Mostly RWD, smaller engines and regular cabs. We always thought the whole point of a truck is that box on the back.

      Boiled down, a truck is there to give you those “Hell, I can do that myself!” moments.

      BTW, no truck guy with a pulse could’ve passed-up that $400 diesel, just to see what it could do.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        I couldn’t agree more. All my trucks have 8ft boxes and are regular cabs. Wouldn’t have in any other way. Base models with no options but rubber floor, and vinyl bench seats, no a/c.

        One person once thought it was leather and i died inside. Most people my age have no idea what vinyl is.

        I did add intermittent wipers to my diesel that i took out of my parts truck, and my friend built me a console / cup holder to strap into the middle seat.

        I was thinking the same thing. Diesel $400, sign me up. Plus these old diesel’s are cheap to run, cheap to fix, and run on anything that remotely looks like diesel fuel.

        That describes my whole experience. I fix it myself, move crap myself, everything. Its serves me well.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          “All my trucks have 8ft boxes and are regular cabs….. Base models with no options but rubber floor, and vinyl bench seats, no a/c.”

          Yep, you’ve just described “truck”.

          These bloated things running around today are just enormous 4-dr sedans with the trunk lid not included.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            I couldn’t agree more. I just puke when i see new trucks. With their overly huge styling, and size.

            Good thing is they still make the trucks of old. You just have to order them. Though the styling and size limits their use as such even in such a basic configuration.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Correct, more bloated SUV’s with Beds.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            No doubt an 8′ box is better than a 6′ but I absolutely could not live with a PU that isn’t a crew cab. Mostly because mine has 3 car seats in the second row right now. A standard cab would be completely useless for me.

            The biggest mistake I made with my first PU, a compact Toyota, was cheaping out and not going with a fully loaded SR5. Over the 11 years I owned it that would have been money well spent and then some. You couldn’t give me a strippo truck. For long road trips, especiallly when I am towing, I want comfortable seats, a nice sound system, all the amenities. Wouldn’t buy a truck any other way. I’ve found those things don’t affect a PU’s ability to tow and haul one bit

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            I’m with Carlson – the truck I just got is an extended-cab long-bed (07 F250).

            The bed is the important part, sure.

            But when you’re on a 1,500 mile (each way) road trip, it’s *really really useful* to have some space behind the seats for, oh, personal gear, maybe a cooler. Coats.

            You know, stuff you might not want to get out of the back (especially if, like me, you’re all about a canopy, because the truck is for hauling cargo you’d prefer not get soaked or stolen).

            And A/C. Because if you want to drive the damned thing in summer it’s really nice to not die of heat stroke or have sweat pouring off you.

            Trucks are tools, not specifically ways to show off how austere and hardcore you are by pretending it’s 1970.

            Yeah, if you’re just hauling some stuff around town or around the farm, big deal – but that’s not the only valid use pattern.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Pickup trucks are a magnet for a lot of moralizing on TTAC. Unfortunately they became a totem of idiotic overconsumption during the run-up to our latest fiscal crisis. I therefore appreciate this affectionate article.

    I owned a very basic ’92 Chevy 1500 W/T for a couple of years. It had 190K miles when I bought it and it still ran great. I ended up selling it to a friend in advance of our first child being born (a standard cab pickup is suboptimal family vehicle, unfortunately). I still miss that truck… easy to work on, easy to drive, with a nice roomy cab and old-timey minimalism. And it was a great feeling to know you could help friends out in a pinch when they had to move, etc. A plain-jane pickup truck is a great tool, even if your “need” (with all the ethical baggage that word implies) for its fullvcapabilities is only occasional.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Amazingly the worst we got so far has been AFX. He wasn’t quite the target I was looking for to reopen my “you are a total hypocrite who can’t think his way out of a paper bag” defense of trucks. Unlike the usual suspects, he didn’t go so far as to say all or most truck drivers falling categories 2 and 3.

      We are an amazingly wealthy country and people hating people for buying trucks is selfish idiocy. Hating noise, bad driving, offensive bumper stickers, etc. is okay, but hating over taste is just wrong.

      Oh, and if anyone is about to bitch about blocking their view, please don’t. Try not tailgating. You will live a longer and happier life.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Pickup trucks are a magnet for a lot of moralizing on TTAC. Unfortunately they became a totem of idiotic overconsumption during the run-up to our latest fiscal crisis. I therefore appreciate this affectionate article.

    I owned a very basic ’92 Chevy 1500 W/T for a couple of years. It had 190K miles when I bought it and it still ran great. I ended up selling it to a friend in advance of our first child being born (a standard cab pickup is suboptimal family vehicle, unfortunately). I still miss that truck… easy to work on, easy to drive, with a nice roomy cab and old-timey minimalism. And it was a great feeling to know you could help friends out in a pinch when they had to move, etc. A plain-jane pickup truck is a great tool, even if your “need” (with all the ethical baggage that word implies) for its full capabilities is only occasional.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    My Pappaw Ray had that exact same truck except it was an automatic. Blue 71 C-10 that he kept up until his last days. Ol’ Blue it was called, of course. My grandparents had other cars but he always kept that truck. He was a master carpenter, so once the bed went to rust, he ripped it off and built one of the nicest wood beds ever attached to an old beat up Chevy truck. Towards the end, the cab started rusting, and he would cut out the rust and pop rivet new metal in it’s place, then use a paint brush to paint that metal with almost the same color blue. Yeah it was rough but I used it a few times, most notably to pick me up when the engine in my motorcycle blew up 50 miles from home, when I of course wasn’t supposed to go more than 10.

    Great post, brought back a lot of memories for me.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here we have a big ‘ute’ and SUV market.

    My first vehicle was a pickup a Datsun 520 back in the 70s. I learnt to drive in it as well, 4 on the column. Quite powerless, but it gave me freedom and mobility. I’ve now owned 6 utes all Datsun/Nissan except for my BT50 I have now.

    They are versitile for most things. They can be economical to run as well (diesel).

    We also have the full size and HDs here as well. I saw a Chev 2500 the other day towing a 35′ fifth wheeler. Looked like a nice rig. But as Athos stated they are expensive here as most are ‘one off’ imports.

    The new breed of midsizers we are getting are making pickups very popular, even to the point where the Hilux is the biggest selling vehicle some months.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Mate, they’re nice rigs. I sat in them before moving down here.

      Because of that is that I don’t understand your fixation with those global trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Athos Nobile
        If I made the comment above how can I be fixated?

        A few years ago if you asked me what pickup I would want I would have said a F-150. Now in the past couple of years the new midsizers have changed my view to the point where I bought one over a VM diesel Grand Cherokee.

        They are more than powerful enough, cheaper on fuel, larger. They are more capable than ever with towing, off roading etc. Off roading a full size has more limitations.

        With your logic everyone should drive around in Super Duty’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          Not all American full size are of the Super Duty variety. And they are still nice rigs.

          “With your logic everyone should drive around in Super Duty’s.”

          Everyone should drive whatever makes them happy.

          Those global trucks are also nice, and I don’t doubt they’re very good too, but they are not the be all end all of the pick up market.

          And they’re very close to US full size… as they were in the 70′s or 80′s so it’s not very far from having global behemoths.

          Since all of them follow what Hilux does, we will see what happens in a couple of years when the current generation is replaced.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Pickup trucks were like family members and always in the picture, growing up. The family dog. The family pickup truck. Just tons of great memories including riding around in the bed with cousins and the dog with my dad driving these dusty dirt roads into town and all around, with an open Coors between his knees.

    One thing I don’t remember, but as the story goes, I was in my ‘terrible twos’ while my parents ran inside Grandma’s house for a minute and left us in a running pickup at the curb. They come back and it’s gone.. I had put the trans into Drive, ‘drove’ it down the street at idle and hit a parked VW Bug. Minor damage, but no one was hurt. With my 4 year old sister screaming her head off the whole time, apparently.

    You can’t not love trucks or what they represent. Freedom. Potency. Prosperity. Watching fireworks on the 4th of July from the tailgate. American Pie.

    They’re not for everyone, but neither are dogs. Or kids. I prefer my full-size bone stock like Dad had them. Just classic. Yeah I haul air most of the time and as always, BMW owners can kiss my A$$.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Boy, I just don’t get that worked up about it. That old 1970 Ford with the dangerous suspension and brakes had something to do with it I guess.

      To me, a truck is long term value. Hotly competitive market makes basic trucks a very good new car value. Their ability to segue from primary vehicle, to second car, to third, to drive- to- the-dump-five-times-a-year, over a period of decades with no transaction costs in between (think sell wholesale buy retail) are the clincher for me. Dad kept the 1970 for 25 years under those terms, as bad a car as it was.

  • avatar
    Bored383

    yep, I never thought of myself as a truck guy till I inherited my Grandfather’s F150. It is a ’76 F150 Custom with the 300/6 and a 4spd manual (NP435) that he bought brand new. No radio, not even a cigarette lighter, but a sliding rear window. Was made at the old Ford plant in San Jose, and my Grandfather lived in Los Gatos. I grew up on the East coast, so after inheriting it I took it on a roadtrip cross country for a couple weeks. Later, I moved to SoCal and again the truck was road tripped. Rest assured, in its time on the EC it was not exposed to salty roads. My Wife and I have used it for camping trips, and it is always the (my) extra vehicle. It has we think 270k miles on it, but it could be 370 for all I know as the family history is that the odo has rolled over ‘at least twice’. It is not fast, but it is easy to drive and very fun. And the practicality of having it when it is needed is immeasurable. I had a lack of a $4 bolt sideline me on a repair on my daily and I simply did not sweat it – I have the truck, so I drove the truck for a whole week just because.

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    Thank you for this story of your life around pickups, David. The traditional, full-sized, American Yankee pickup truck seems to be a birthright for many of us, here where there full-sized pickup still roams free. My Dad’s first one was a brand-new candy-apple red ’72 F-100 – a ’68 Microbus was the trade-in. Damn, I was going to recount all of his various trucks over the years, when I realized that the list was longer than the attention span of several average Jalopnik readers. My Dad is now crowding 76, and is presently looking for his next pickup. I’ve got a ’97 GMC v6 5m 4×4, (damn abbreviations!) which is useful year-round, here in the semi-frozen North. The thing that jumped out at me when I saw this piece, is that the Silverado at the top of the article is similar to the one that my friend owns – albeit with Grey leather, alloy wheels, and four-wheel-drive. We drove that one out to the range this afternoon, and spent a couple of enjoyable hours using up the ammo that we had brought with us . . .

  • avatar
    George B

    My dad has been downsizing his car collection, but he still owns 3 pickup trucks: An antique 1930 model A, a 1976 Chevrolet rusty beater he hauls junk and dirt in, and a 2002 Chevrolet that’s “nice enough to drive to church”. Not sure if I’ll ever buy a new pickup, but I’d love to have an old one around as a 2nd car.

  • avatar
    AmericanPie

    @DenverMike
    hey dude, you said your from Spain?????????????? whats goin on here

    yeah, right! my grandma and american apple pie stuff

    what you wrot in august rite here on ttac

    DenverMike
    August 26th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    “You seem to contradict yourself. One One hand you say give examples where it has failed around the world, then say it does not have a stellar reputation around the Globe. So it has failed by your statement? Only way you cannot get a “stellar reputation “is to have tried and not done well. Anything else is only a guess.”

    Well yeah Buddy, I’m still waiting for examples on where honest opinions can be based. Like facts, tests, races, whatever. Less than “stellar” reputations don’t have to be based on anything real. You’re proving that with every word you speak. You imply you have all these examples, so where are they???
    Anything else IS only a guess!

    “So how did you do this? ask your neighbors or someone on the internet?”

    No, I was born in Spain and been back several dozen times. I’ve traveled all over the EU and Mustangs create a buzz wherever they’re spotted. Italian super cars, not so much. Any American iron, especially muscle cars and full-size trucks, but Mustangs are at the top of the food chain.

    Australia is home to the biggest Mustang subcultures outside of North America. The Mustang Owner Club of Australia is separated into 5 regions, it’s so big!

    http://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/australian-mustang–runs-and-shows.728335/

    You may hate Mustangs, but check with your neighbors and you’ll no doubt see a different picture. How can you call yourself a car enthusiast and hate anything automotive???
    It sounds like you have less hatred of American cars and trucks than you do of Americans.

    “Solid rear axles have their uses on a Drag Racing Car, Midgets, Sprintcars, Trucks and Pickups.”

    Solid rear axles are faster than IRS on road courses and that’s a fact. IRS is OK for spirited driving through the canyon or curvy roads, but in full race conditions, SRA prevails. Ask anybody.
    Trucks and pickups have little in common with Mustang suspensions.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @AmericanPie – Are you really saying I can not be patriotic and absolutely love America when born elsewhere? Ask BAF0 is the loves Australia. He was born in the US. I immigrated to the US at age 1.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Only on an on line forum like TTAC would you find people who anonymously (hiding behind a pen name) badmouth american institutions like the pickup and more. I doubt the patriotism of many people (in my own mind) including some of those running the place. However, to doubt the patriotism of one who immigrated in this nation of immigrants is probably a bridge too far. I can scroll past the political agendas but that is personal.

        Time to get back to vehicles and off the extraneous crap…

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          You guys do realize that the head editors of this blog are a Canadian and German living in Japan, right?

          Even if patriotism were a requirement for us citizens of the USA (it’s not!), the requirement would not extend to the editors of this blog.

          It is kinda fun to watch you guys get all worked up over nothing, though. The world is bigger than the USA, even out here on the vastly awesome Midwestern prairie where I live.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I’ve had 3 pickups, and an ’82 fullsized Chevy Blazer, which pretty much was a shortbed pickup with a back seat and cap. I miss all of them, sometimes..even the ’77 Power Wagon, and it was a total POS.

    My first was the Dodge, in the shop constantly during the warranty period, then a never ending source of problems that I mostly fixed myself. It was pretty quick at the end, with some major engine work, but it was still prone to having some kind of issue that made it a major hassle to drive. It only actually broke down to the point it had to be towed once, when the transfer case ate a chain.

    Next was the Blazer, the most trouble free vehicle I ever had. Two headlights, and a battery, that was it for 4 years.

    I took some time off from truck ownership until I came back in 2000 and bought my 2000 Sierra. It had a few minor issues, the most annoying was the design flaw in the ABS that caused the rear brakes to basically do nothing if you slammed them on when on rough pavement. After it was in a wreck, it was never the same, and after it started having electrical issues, off it went, traded for a 2003 Dodge Ram 4×4.

    I loved the Ram. It had few problems, all taken care of under warranty, ran great and was very nice to take trips in. My dogs were happy in the back seat, and my only complaint was the 12MPG it got around town. After I had severe leg injuries, it was traded in on an ’08 Charger. I miss having the bed handy, and when someone suggests a wagon, I have to laugh, as my wagon owning friends called me constantly to pick up something that was too high to fit into their wagon, so they needed a truck, which is what they all, ALL, wanted to buy in the first place, but their wives talked them out of.

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    This is why the consumer cannot be trusted to make decisions with gas that is not priced correctly for the externalities it causes. Because a guy wants to haul the occasional mulch 5 times a year does not call for ownership of a gas swilling, carbon dioxide spewing climate warming machine. The price of gas needs to be taxed into the stratosphere so only the truly wealthy or business with real hauling needs will ever buy a truck. The tradesman can use small economical vans, like the Transit Connect, or “utes” like the Australians have if needed.

    This way of life is incompatible with any respect for climate change and lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, taxing gas like that will probably be the end of the American car industry given their reliance on trucks as a profit center.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Dr.Nick
      I’m from Australia and I don’t know if I can agree on the fuel usage.

      We have only 22-23 million people and we are the 7th largest consumers of energy in the world. One of the highest per capita.

      The US will be getting diesel pickups soon and they should get around about 30mpg. The full size trucks will be using very similar engines to ones we get in our new midsizers. Our best ‘utes’ at the moment are only getting 35mpg on the highway and most are getting around 30mpg highway.

      I think the take up in these new diesel 1/2 ton pickups will surprise many of the V8 clan. US style pickups will become more efficient and also more expensive.

      The US will always have full size trucks and with CAFE they might be getting bigger, but that is several years off at the moment.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Big Al, you also live in one of the most productive nations on earth. Energy use should be measured in relation to productivity, not population.

        Dr. Nick may have given the first convincing argument I have heard in favor of CAFE, as opposed to higher fuel taxes. As soon as people with views like his, who may be in the majority in the US, get their hands on the lever of gasoline taxes, there will be no end to it.

        These people are taught in college or learn on television that the end of the world is coming if the government doesn’t save us from ourselves. Hence, as Dr. Nick has said, we “cannot be trusted” and no price is too high to save the earth.

        Global warming is a tired debate and there is no budging anyone on it, but I will just say that the proponents of it are arguing the the end of the world is nigh and we better radically change our behavior if we want to be saved. I believe I’ve heard that one before. If you are going to preach something like that, you better have overwhelming evidence. They do not. Quite the contrary. Nevertheless, the majority in this country seem to believe it, based on their voting patterns.

        I would prefer to have the users of the roads pay for the maintenance of the roads and the fuel tax seems a sensible way to do this. After that, energy costs should be as low as possible, because inexpensive energy and free markets are a spur to employment and prosperity. However, I’m afraid it wouldn’t stop there, and people with Dr. Nick’s ideology would soon be in control. Maybe CAFE is not such a bad idea, in comparison. At least we can still have our pickups.

        After all, I really haven’t the slightest interest in anyone’s opinion of what kind of vehicle I “need.” That is an example of the sort of elitism that pops up from time to time on this site when pickup trucks are discussed. As*holes drive every kind of car or truck that exists. I personally see a excess of sh*theads in Priuses. Nevertheless, I am not trying to limit people from buying them.

        To many people, pickups are like old reliable friends and are associated with their families, hobbies, recreational activities, and livelihoods. More than one person has been pulled out of a bad situation using their pickup or by a helpful person driving one. The bias against the trucks and the people who drive them by some who look down on them or think they know better is not welcomed.

        You may be well-educated Dr. Nick, but what you don’t know is how perfectly you fit the pattern of so many well-meaning would-be tyrants who have come before you.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr.Nick

          Taxing vices seems to be working swimmingly with cigarettes. You’re perfectly free to have fun with your dino-trucks if you can afford them.

          Watch how much more efficiency will be prized once the tax man takes his bite…

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            The next time some high-school graduate wearing a “John Deere” ball cap says he doesn’t want the government to tax his cigarettes because the next thing you know they’ll be coming for his pickup truck, think of Dr. Nick before you bust out laughing at him.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Cigarettes and pickups are not comparable. High taxes on smokes have been helpful, but was it the best approach? No, in my opinion. Data indicates that if kids make it to 21 years old without starting, they never will. So, logic would make you think that all states should start a mandatory 21 year age to purchase tobacco with severe penalties for stores that cheat. But no, the income producing high tax rate was chosen instead.

            Unlike cigarettes, pickups serve a useful purpose for most who own them. Sometimes, maybe too useful as I have seen a lot of “NO I can’t help you move” stickers on the back of truck windows. I do share your concern for the wanton waste of resources, and the long term effect that such consumption causes, but to come across a smug as you do does nothing to help the cause. Nobody has the right to tell somebody what they need. I do feel that anybody who makes a given choice must pay the costs, both direct and indirect, for their choice. And the price of fuel does not even cover the military costs for keeping the fuel flowing, let alone the other costs….but that discussion is for another day..

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            “Dino-trucks” get about 8 miles per gallon better than my hybrid Fusion when I’m behind the wheel of either. While you’re high on your ivory tower, why don’t you glance to neighboring nations that do not have effective pollution control and focus your internet warrior skills on them.

            Oh. Forgot. Most of these populations don’t have the means to spew their ‘intellect’ on the internet.

            Your lack of perspective makes my brain hurt.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @thelaine
          I do agree the US will have large pickups down the track. But if the Ford Atlas is what represents the future 1/2 ton the cost will rise considerably. They will become mega SUVs, like HDs.

          The technologies and materials alone will increase the prices significantly. This in turn will make you current size 1/2 tons more attractive with diesels.

          The NOx problems are being overcome with diesels. The ISF Cummins diesel they are going to use in the next Titan is an example. Even the Sky Active diesel solution looks good.

          I do think CAFE is unecessary and the UNECE model with careful taxation of fuel will modify behaviour and keep everyone happy. Look at our model, its not Euro but aligns to them. We still have V8s, guys at work have 6 litre V8s and F trucks.

          The problem with CAFE is there are work arounds which means the regulations from the onset where designed to allow for the production of large vehicles. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against large vehicles.

          But this in turn has reduced the stature of a vehicle that could be used in the US. That is a competitive lighter truck. The midsizers you currently have are not very competitive by our standards. Why invest into a purposely depressed product. Because of this you now have a partially artifical market supported by different regulations and taxation (chicken tax).

          CAFE is destroying all medium size vehicles (including midsize pickups) for the middle class. CAFE also trys create MPGs targets through regulation rather than someones wallet.

          The Chev SS would have been a compact back in the 60s. My father had a Rambler and it would have been about the same size.

          I do think Ford is correct in wanting to align to the UNECE, but the changes would need to be phased in over many years.

          I think UNECE is a better option to keep V8 pickups alive. But it will need to traded off against a good midsizer that can do what a full size can do.

          We must explore and maximise existing technologies first. Why build a truck with exotic materials, technologies like shutters/variable suspension etc. When its not really necessary. Is the product going to be better?

          I’ve basically stated this on another site and have been called anti American, but I’m not.

          I do like full size trucks, but the US is missing out on some great pickups that the rest of the world can get.

          On fuel tax, tell me a government that is will spend the money on roads. Even in the US they use fuel tax to build bike trails etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – CAFE did absolutely nothing to destroy mid-size vehicles. I agree CAFE itself should be killed, but it’s a tired excuse to blame CAFE on under performing vehicle sales. Mid-sizers have little to no advantages vs full-size or too many other types of vehicles for sale in the US that they compete with. Like cross-overs and compact suvs. It’s the market place that cannibalized the irrelevant mid-size class of trucks, not CAFE.

            If I’m wrong, show where CAFE has singled out “mid-size” for destruction? Mid-size and full-size fall into the exact same “Light Truck” class as far as CAFE is concerned, at least historically.

            Keep in mind CAFE inspired foreign mini-trucks in the 1st place and consequently the mini-truck craze. Of course mini-trucks grew to mid-size, but CAFE had them in the exact same class and exemption as full-size trucks and obviously did nothing to shift buying habits elsewhere. And not just over to full-size.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Well Big Al we agree on killing CAFE, but whatever the hell the UNECE is, I don’t like the sound of it. You keep mentioning it, but I have not been around here long enough to see your explanation. If it involves emissions or mpg regulations, forget it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @thelaine – Imports would flow freely both ways across the ‘pond’ if and when the US and Europe (UNECE) can harmonize standards and enter into a Free Trade Agreement. It’s not likely to happen any time soon if at all. Europe’s tariff on import cars is 4X ours at 10% and 22% on trucks. But offers no loopholes.

            Europe’s regulating bodies were inspired by our EPA and DOT, but invented their own separatist standards.

            thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/ford-calls-for-harmonized-us-eu-standards/#comment-2018281

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Thank you very much Denver Mike for taking the time. This stuff is new and confusing to me. I am going to hit that link right now.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @thelaine
            The UNECE regulations facilitate global trade.

            The US is a non-signatory of these regulations. Essentially your vehicle designs will be the same as our vehicle design standards, once the US signs up.

            As an example we can import HDs, pony cars etc from the US and drive them on our roads. But you can’t import my new BT50 Mazda pickup and drive it in the US or even a Holden Maloo ute, the quickest pickup in the world.

            Another example, GM spent $2.5 billion designing the new Colorado, its been here for a year. The US has to redesign it for your market. How ridiculous.

            The UNECE started out in Europe in the late 50s as a basis for vehicle design and safety. The US diverged with its own design regs to protect it from cheap post WWII Euro imports. Then the chicken tax to stop German VW Transporter pickups.

            The US now wants FTAs with other countries, but it want to export vehicles. I don’t blame countries telling the US to change its protectionist model of regulation and taxes protecting Detroit.

            The US now represents less than 20% of the global vehicle market, for its own survival it has to do what we do.

            The US isn’t as unique as you would want to believe, Australia isn’t as well, the world is globalising whether we like it or not. Being insular will only reduce competitiveness and reduce economic growth.

            What I’ve stated isn’t anti American, its good business. That’s why Ford wants to adopt the UNECE model. Fiat with Chrysler will want it as well. The Germans want it also.

            You will find what I’m discussing now will be at the forefront of US vehicle manufacturing in the future. CAFE has to die for your manufacturers to survive in the future.

            Here is a Wikipedia link.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Forum_for_Harmonization_of_Vehicle_Regulations

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      That’s just sad. I think we should raise the gas tax, but rhetoric like that isn’t helping. Are you a shill for Big Oil?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Landcrusher
        I agree fuel tax is the fairest way to modify behaviour. But it can’t be over the top like Europe/Japan.

        CAFE forces companies to create work arounds while energy is cheap.

        The problem is a pickup is a commercial vehicle, also used as a private vehicle/SUV by the majority.

        The light commercial vehicle market in the US is changing right now.

        If Ford get its way with UNECE, you could have very competitive midsizers that the rest of the world gets.

        Not everyone wants or needs a full size pickup.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          ….I agree fuel tax is the fairest way to modify behaviour. But it can’t be over the top like Europe/Japan…..

          Is it? I am in the camp of those who feel fuel consumption is an issue that affects everything from health to security, to quality of life and as such, completely unregulated use would have a lot of negative consequences. I’ve posted this here before, but for better or worse, the US has invested trillions in our automobile-centric transportation system so we need to work with what we have. Slapping a high tax on fuel penalizes everybody. If I choose to buy a Prius, I still get penalized even though I paid extra to get that high mileage. Simply put, unless there is another method of transportation in place that you are trying to encourage the use of, taxing the only method in place first is not fair. If you want to encourage the use of efficient vehicles, and want to encourage manufacturers to improve efficiency, tie mileage ratings to a registration surcharge/rebate system. For economy over a certain level, you get a check. For a middle ground, there is no penalty. Go below a given threshold, you write a check. Being that pickups have to be designed for real work, the threshold for them should be a bit lower as the ability to do work eats more fuel. This system would be pretty much game proof. No more CAFE with the stupid loopholes…manufacturers would be over backward to get their products out of the penalty bracket. It would be the easiest way, but it will never happen because politicians would never have the balls to do it.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          The left won’t let you raise the fuel tax because its “regressive” and the right now crazily objects to any tax increase.

          The left is being stupid. They are almost all environmentalists. They want to raise the tax so people will drive less, but they are willing to forgo that because the point zero zero three percent of actual poor people who don’t currently waste gas might have to pay a dollar more a month or make fewer trips.

          The right is being stupid. Any conservative can explain how inflation is a hidden tax, yet they reflexively say no when you try to raise the fuel tax to match inflation.

          Everyone on this site understands the combination of heavier cars, better mpg, and inflation means there must eventually be an increase in the tax. Also, we all know that people driving poorly maintained vehicles pollute more than people driving new vehicles regardless of mileage yet many states tax the new vehicles much more.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      If you tax gas “into the stratosphere”, what do you think happens to the prices of the goods and services produced by businesses with “real hauling needs”? Self-induced high-energy prices are economic suicide, and disproportionately harm the low and middle income people for whom leftists feign an affinity.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @JD23
        Claim the costs back through taxation.

        No one wants to pays taxes but everyone expects government to provide nowadays.

        Something has to give, road and transport infrastructure needs to be maintained. Car are becoming more efficient equals less fuel tax.

        See the problem. There is no such thing a ‘road fairey’ or a ‘tooth ffairey’ for that matter.

        Santa Claus I still think is real.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Well maybe you should work on the people that live on the gov’t dole.

          As long as the people who work for a living and are law abiding citizens do what they do, they should get first dibs on what happens to their money.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Anyone that actually still believes in manmade climate change, is automatically an invalid.
      I’ll keep on enjoying my 10 mpg trucks, while you live your life of hatred, the belief that everyone should do what you say because your somehow superior is quite sad, but nevertheless, you enjoy your life of trying to dictate other people, w/e

    • 0 avatar
      lmike51b

      High taxes suck! Trucks rock!

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Count me in, I’ve been reading TTAC for 3-4 months now and was a bit worried there wasn’t a place for truck people here–I’ve owned three pickups, loved them all. My first was a 1987 Toyota 4×4 which I drove for work all over Western Canada and the NW US. Couldn’t justify the full-size truck I really wanted, the Toyota was a good compromise. Drove it 100K miles and sold it for about 60% of what I paid for it.

    Job changes, marriage and children kept me out of the truck business for about ten years. Eventually landed an excellent sales gig that came with a company car, the wife had a minivan. Then the step daughter began driving–Holy crap, you should have seen the jump in my insurance bill when she got her license. The problem was, I only really ‘owned’ one car, the wife’s Odyssey. It was still pretty new at the time, so the daughter was ‘rated’ on the van–it added $100/mo to my bill(!). You might see where I’m going here…time to buy a beater F150. I picked one up cheap, a ’95 with straight-6, 5spd, regular cab. It had dents, but no rust and was an XLT with power windows, etc. Now the daughter gets rated on a 10YO tin can, I save about $75/mo, I don’t have to be her taxi driver all the time, I get my truck for…truck stuff, and as a bonus, I even managed to get a manual tranny back in the fleet.

    Which brings me to truck number three–my ’96 K3500 crew cab 6.5 turbo diesel. After the daughter flew away to college and her own life, the wife, son and I moved out to acreage in the country. Still have that sales job with the company car, but now I need to go get a ton of hay, haul fire wood, not to mention haul my 4000lb camper around. My 1-ton does all of these things well, didn’t cost me $30 grand and runs quite well for the 4-5K miles a year I need it.

    Yeah, I’m a truck guy.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’ve owned three pickup trucks, and I’m over the pickup thing.

    Don’t get me wrong, pickup trucks are useful tools – but they come with a number of traction/handling tradeoffs that make them not really worth the trouble except when I actually have to haul something. I’m not over getting stuff done, I’m just over the idea of being a “pickup man”.

    I’ll probably own another pickup truck in my lifetime. But it will be used (in both senses of the word), modified for easy cargo handling, and kept out of sight when I’m not using it. And my pickup might be a cargo van – depends on what’s available and the task at hand when I need to haul heavy objects.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Dr.Nick – It’s “Climate Change” now? Oh, now that the globe is cooling, it’s no longer called “Global Warming”?

    The problem with taxing fuel sky-high is it would impact more than just the American auto industry. America grew from log cabins around the promise of cheap fuel. Too late to unring THAT bell.

    Open bed trucks their have advantages as do Euro vans, but don’t forget high-top camper shells offer great versatility and easily popped off. Cab-over self contained (RV) campers are another option Euro vans lack. The same with Aussie Utes. Mid-size trucks dominate the Aussie market, and they can drink plenty of fuel when loaded to the max. 30 MPG is what base strippers get when unload and at freeway speeds. Same with Euro mini-vans. There’s no FREE lunch it seems. A 5% OFF coupon at best.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      They call it “climate change” because the the people who think about (and model) earth science for a living believe the effects of climate change will be uneven. The world is warming (on average), but some places will get colder. And the more noticeable effects have been changes in weather patterns and planting schedules.

      (From what I’ve heard from visiting graduate students, Indian farmers have considered the changing climate and weather patterns to just be a fact of life for overt a decade. The monsoons are different than what their grandfathers depended on.)

      As for the engineering tradeoffs between different types off cargo vehicles, I agree completely. Pickup trucks are very versatile, especially if you consider removing the bed and putting something else on the frame rails!

      A Ranger or a Colorado with a flatbed would be awesome for anything that doesn’t require massive towing capacity, and I won’t hesitate to snap one up and convert it if/when I need the capability. But not until.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        No, Luke42, the world is not warming on average. There has been no statistically significant global warming for almost two decades, in spite of China’s CO2 prosperity factory. Even Michael Mann now admits this. All of the models predicting doom have been proven to be inaccurate. The explanations and rationalizations are pouring forth.

        Today’s weather is always different than what your grandpa recollected and the climate is always changing and always has changed. The climate has never been stable.

        “Climate change” is the fallback position for people who can no longer deny that catastrophic global warming is not happening in spite of massive increases in atmospheric CO2.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Of all the truck owners I’ve known over 58 years, no one ever impressed me more than my ex’s dad for sheer hard-headed, workaholic ability to wring every ounce of capability our of his beater/hauler pickup.

    It was a VW Rabbit pickup. You had to see what that suspension could endure to believe it. Crazy little Swede. He and his Rabbit taught me that toughness comes in all sizes.

  • avatar
    7402

    Today’s family man’s beater pickup is a 10-year-old minivan. Leave the seats in the garage and it will compete with most pickups (I can close the tailgate of our 2nd gen Ody on a stack of 10-foot 2x6s) and keep stuff dry. An old tarp qualifies it for mulch work, and I brought our craigslist eliptical and rowing machine home in the back with no problem (OK, separate trips).

    And, trust me, the adult-size kids much prefer those tired captain’s chairs to the church-pew comfort of the rear seat in most double cap pickups. The minivans with the early DVD systems had good speakers from the factory–score a cheap iPod adapter and you’re good to go.

    The good news is if you’ve raised a couple of kids you probably already have an old minivan littering your driveway so you don’t need to buy a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      You make a good point. One of the kids just got a 2013 Grand Caravan and I’ve been driving him nuts crawling around inside it playing with the stowaway seats and measuring the results. It could handle any pickup load of clean stuff like remodel materials. Wouldn’t want to shovel gravel into it or fill it with busted-up concrete for lining the cottage’s river bank.

      Had these existed back in the day there would have been no need for station wagons and less need for pickups.

      Still, though, there are towing and off-road/bad road/deep snow uses that would swamp a conventional minivan.

      But a modern minivan is unarguably the Swiss Army knife of vehicles. Never had much to do with them before, just full-size vans, and I’m astonished at their efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Agreed. I bought an 8 year old minivan on similar reason. And most minivans can tow 3500lbs, which is about 3x the cargo capacity of my old Ranger. Tarps, removable seats, roof racks, and a harbor freight trailer can handle just about anything.

      Also, minivans depreciate fast because they’re practical and “uncool”. The financial loss of someone who will only been seen in a late-model top-trim minivan is a big financial boon to the practical familyman.

      My van is a little newer than 10 years because we use it for hauling young kid(s), too, so we had to balance kid-safety features with beaterness. I think we got it right for our needs.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        Well, knowing this boy and his wife as I do, it won’t be but two or three years and they’ll be sick of it….. and then I pounce.

        Luckily they live fairly close so I can keep an eye on my future investment in the meantime :-)

        Keeping our Rio, selling the Camry and gaining a minivan would work pretty well. Plus, it’ll fit in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Having rented one I won’t argue about the versatility of a minivan but please don’t compare it to a PU when it comes to hauling things. You wouldn’t fit my snowmobile in your minivan. Nor the washer and dryer I hauled last spring with a 25′ boat in tow. If the 2800 lbs of river rock didn’t buckle the suspension in your minivan, the 3500 lb pallet pavers surely would. When I bought 1 1/2 yards of black dirt last fall at the nursery they loaded that with a skid steer in minutes. How long to shovel that in the back of your minivan lined with plastic, provided it could take the weight?

      When I had 3 very full sized guys in the back of my crew cab PU one commented how comfortable it was. Trust me it’s more roomy and comfortable than any car. I’ve sat back there myself.

  • avatar
    AFX

    So after reading all these replies the moral of the story seems to be that if you own a truck you’ll not only destroy the world and your bank account through horrible gas mileage, but you’ll also wind up married with kids and living out in the country. Your wife will be constantly on your back with using the truck to haul stuff for home improvement projects and her horse trailer. Not only that, but your cheap mooching friends will have your weekends tied up hauling stuff for them, with payments only in cases of beer.

    From what I’ve read so far a smart guy would be wise to avoid trucks altogether, and instead get himself a BCC (Birth Control Car) like a Geo Metro. That way he could avoid having a wife and doing home improvement projects, having kids and moving dorm room furniture, and free up his weekends from helping mooching friends. If you avoid trucks you can actually enjoy your weekends laying around in a kiddie pool like Al Bundy with one hand down your shorts, while drinking beer and watching football, baseball, or NASCAR.

    Trucks are evil.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Excellent summary.
      Now say it in Picksburgh-ese, please.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I get around the mooching friends by keeping my Ranger under a car cover until the time comes when I actually have to haul something. Then it comes out, gets the job done, is cleaned up (if necessary) and re-bagged. Running costs are kept reasonable, and favors are kept minimal by this method.

      And I need the truck often enough that I still can’t see living without one. This is my fourth. It was preceded by two Dakotas (still my favorite) and an S-10.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Syke – If you’re a friend, my truck is yours. But then you already bring plenty to the table, even if just laughter and good times. If not, you won’t be a friend for long.

        I would be insulted if a friend offered to pay me after using my truck. Of course, they aren’t some acquaintance or dude that lives down the street. They always bring them back with a full tank of gas though. It’s unspoken AND if I borrow their SUV, welder, riding lawnmower or whatever, it goes back cleaner than I received it, if not fully detailed. This keeps everyone happy.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Syke,
        Increasingly here people are using Pickups as “cars” as well as general work vehicles. So they do not store them when not required.SUV’s/CUV’s as well are being bought in staggering numbers. Cars are shrinking as a total percentage of the vehicle population.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It all depends on the problem you’re trying to solve.

      Trucks are tools. They use more gas, and drive worse than regular cars (modern trucks drive really nicely, bit modern cars are even better). But trucks haul more stuff.

      So, for me, the question comes down to using the right tool for the right job.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The problem I’m trying to solve is comfortable transportation for a big man.

        Nearly all modern cars have ridiculously high beltlines, low seats, and a short and narrow driving position designed with the overriding consideration that it must also be secure and comfortable for the 5’4 women who generally have veto power on the family car.

        CUVs fix the sitting on the floor problem and usually have a bit more glass but the accommodation is still built around making the short women who buy most of them happy.

        For my problem, a truck – middle aged crisis toys aside, the only vehicles left designed for men first – is far and away the better tool and I can tell the second I sit down in one.

        Driving better only means driving faster and more responsively on a track. The rest of the time it means driving more comfortably.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    The view over traffic. What is it you actually see that is so important? the 200 cars in front of the one in front of you? The slow moving truck 6 cars ahead?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The cop just behind the bushes
      The animals just over the ridge
      The upcoming terrain/what’s about to happen when in hilly areas

      I’m sure I could think of a couple more, although I would think common sense should make this list a duh..

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Dave Hester thanks for the story. I have a similiar story with learning to drive on a three on the tree pickup on my granddad’s farm in N KY. When I was really young my grandad would let me steer his Allis Chalmers tractors and his black 58 Dodge step side pickup. When I was 15 my older brother and my granddad gave me driving lessons on my granddad’s blue 63 IH pickup with 3 on the tree on the gravel road on his farm. I spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ farm which was on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Louisville. I drove my granddad all over N KY and Central KY, every back road and in every place we stopped he knew someone. My granddad was very outgoing and I think if he would have run for gov. of KY he would have won. If he needed a tractor part we would drive over to Dry Ridge to get it.

    My first vehicle was a 73 Chevelle and then I had a new 77 Monte Carlo loaded. It was years later that I owned my first pickup. As you the utility was why I bought one. Thanks for the great story and I like that picture of the green 49 Chevy pickup.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @7402–My parents always had a station wagon as the family hauler. Growing up in suburban America in the 50s and 60s most families had a station wagon and trucks were rare. Except for Honda, Toyota, and the Chrysler minivans you don’t see that many of minivans like you use too. The new family hauler is the crossover which comes in all sizes. My neighborhood and the roads around me are populated by Lexus, Buick Enclaves, Chevy Traverse, Ford Exploreres, Kia Sorentos, Hyundia Sante Fes, Toyota Rav 4s and Highlanders, and an array of other crossovers. It seems that it was station wagons, then vans, then minivans, the SUVs and extend cab pickups, and now the crossover. It seems that there will always be some kind of family hauler that is popular in some kind of form. Suburbia will always have a family hauler.

    I agree with you 7402 and it seems the popularity of crewcab pickups is not as great as it was a few years ago because the back seat is not as comfortable as a minivan or a crossover. If I had a bunch of kids I would probably own a Buick Enclave or similiar vehicle or maybe a Honda Odyssey. My father not only would haul us with our station wagon but he used it to haul trees, mulch, furniture, and everything else.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The family hauler that our parents generation drove will always be uncool, no matter what it was.

      I was a tween just when the SUV craze was gaining steam – so it was K-car minivans and SUVs all around when I was in school. So, I’m not too fond of them. I have an engineering mentality, so I can be swayed by optimal designs and fitness for purpose. The modern minivan is both a near-optimal design, and well suited to the environment in which I live.

      Pickup trucks are excellent for many things, but they’re not well suited to my needs and environment at the moment.

      The four door truck thing happened after I was out on my own, but I have no doubt that the people whose uncool parents drove them will find the vehicles similarly uncool and that fashion will swing some other way when it’s their turn to be the parents.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Jeff s & Luke42
        My childhood was a pickup and car/wagon lifestyle.

        I’ve only owned one car and the rest were pickups/SUVs.

        But the station wagon era really started 50 years ago and transformed gradually to what we have now. Even in Australia we have had a similar path with what we term people movers (vans), then onto SUVs (4×4 wagons).

        Now most cars are small, CUVs are small to medium and SUV/utes are large. Utes and SUV/CUVs are starting to take over our roads now. Utes in particular are being bought in far greater numbers. I’m waiting for the US style suspension on our utes soon with the low payload capacities.

        I can see why SUV/CUV/utes are taking over, with the performance of little diesels and the cheaper costs associated with them.

        Gas was king here, now it seems diesel is even though its more expensive at the pump. Odd. The US will go that way.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I have respect for the utilitarian aspects of all transportation vehicles. Pick up trucks certainly have their place, even in urban areas. What I can’t stand is poseurs in trucks. There are two kinds. First, are the assholes driving raised trucks with stupid wheels and exhausts. The second kind, are the poseurs who drive “luxury trucks” with a lid sealing the truck bed. These are the worst. I feel dismayed that Cadillac and Lincoln have sunk so law as to build a truck for them. I still don’t get it how a truck is a luxury vehicle, and if you seal the truck bed why not just buy an Escalade?

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Nothing gives me peace of mind like driving a chevy truck.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Terrific thread & comments ! .

    You forgot truck buyer # 7 : there’s a small but growing segment of us who still biuy , use and enjoy basic stripper rigs with small engines and no fancy chrome crap ~ just like your grandpa bought in 1929 or 1963 or even 1977 ~ these rigs are good daily drivers and cheap to run , unless you drive them absurdly fast they get decent fuel mileage too ~ my current ’60 C/10 (I finally gave in and sold my ’49 Chevy 3100 , can’t work a clutch well anymore) with 250 CID L6 and Turbo Hydro 350 automatic easily gets 20 MPGs .

    It’s carbon foot print was lost to the winds decades ago when it was manufactured .

    Most vehicles carry one person most of the time so the three across seating in a regular American short bed pickup is plenty .

    SWMBO even likes to go to Las Vegas in it occasionally , no AC , we just roll down the windows & sweat .

    Hammers too are great if you’re a Tradesman , being a Mechanic I have my favorites , a fibreglass handled ballpeen and a Japanese single jack I bought in 1973 with ” THOR ” written on the wood handle , plus my old first generation dead blow mallet , all are very useful in the right application .

    Anyone who thinks a truck makes you a Man , isn’t any better than the jerks who drive bling-bling mobiles ~ if you ike trucks , drive one but be ready to ease right to allow the faster folks to pass .

    Was I supposed to list all those old trucks I’ve had over the years ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Dr.Nick–Do you take mass transit to work and how much do you drive annually? I have taken mass transit to work for over 30 years and on a daily basis for over 17 year. Are you saying because I own a midsize truck with a 4 cylinder 5 speed transmission that gets 20 to 27 mpgs that I contribute more to pollution and global warming than you do? Have you ever taken mass transit to work, walked to work, or rode a bicycle to work? If you have not done any of those things then what right do you have to judge anyone? Is a truck owner that drives a total of less than 10k a year more of a threat to the environment than someone driving a car, minivan, or crossover 20k miles a year? I do agree that many people drive pickups for ego purposes and do not necessarily need them but before you judge everyone are you so guiltless yourself? Do you or have you ever taken mass transit and if so when was the last time? I would like you to give all of us an honest answer.

    I am against higher taxes to change behavior, but I would be in favor of increasing fuel taxes and road use taxes to improve and rebuild roads and bridges. There are many bridges in the US that are obsolete and dangerous and if a higher fuel tax would be used to replace those bridges then yes I would be in favor of raising fuel taxes enough to replace those, but not for landscaping and bike and hike trails. I honestly believe that escalating fuel prices will make the pickups of the future cleaner, trimmer,and much more efficient and if less people drive them then that is not a bad thing. I think some of the overly large pickups of today will go the way of the land yacht sedans of the mid 60s to late 70s. All vehicles need to become leaner and more efficient. If that is really what you want then I would agree but to just blindly take a class of vehicles and say that they should be outlawed is wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Jeff S

      +100
      I think that is your best comment ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr.Nick

      Anecdotes are a dime a dozen. My personal circumstances are immaterial.

      “For the first time ever, the average U.S. fuel efficiency went over 24 miles per gallon in March 2012, as drivers grappled with soaring prices at the pump to select increasingly efficiency vehicles.

      “In the UK for instance, fuel economy had risen by 29 percent over the last ten years, yielding an average figure of 52.5 mpg (4.48 l/100km) for a new vehicle late last year, an all time record.
      Japan’s national standard last year stood at around 38 mpg (6.13l/100km), while Germany’s was 40mpg (around 5.85 l/100km) — the better standards a reflection of higher fuel prices outside of the US, but also of cultural differences.”

      Guess what? I got a fever for efficiency, and the only prescription are more taxes.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Dr. Nick is immune from the hardships visited upon ordinary working
    Americans by the kind of elitist social engineering he proposes.

    He therefore has less pertinence than a man talking about childbirth.
    Less, because a man sees and hears his wife’s suffering. Dr. Nick will not be seeing or hearing the results of all the small businesses his policies would drive bankrupt unless he volunteers at a free clinic.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve owned my fair share of trucks over the years. Spending 36 years in the blue collar world, truck ownership was part of the package. New ones, old ones, big ones, small ones you name it.,Hourly workers parking was full of them. Most guys didn’t need them,they just drove them,because everybody else did.
    I traded my 97 WT long box,in on a new 2003 Jimmy. I’ve yearned for a pick up ever since.
    Through a set of f…d up circumstance’s,I find myself with 3 vehicles{no trucks} and my wife no longer drives.
    Friends, and relatives tell me ” Mikey trade in two vehicles, and buy what you want”.
    Hmmmm?

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    I bought my first new truck in 74 and haven’t looked back.A vehicle is useless to me if it’s only capable of driving on road and has the trunk space of a pic-nic basket.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “the trunk space of a pic-nic basket..”

      Kind of what the bed on a crew-cab is degrading into.
      Most of the new trucks I see appear to be less useful than a Ridgeline.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    The most filled up trucks I see are driven by tweakers hauling scrap metal. The average truck truck owner hauls a double grande with extra whip. When I farmed I needed a truck, like a 3/4 ton that pulled trailers loaded with tractors, fertilizers, conveyors and I appreciated 20K+ GCVW ratings. But I stopped farming & sold the truck because it was big, heavy, stiff riding and..I didn’t need it. I like our Sport Trac Andrenalin as a sort of Swiss Army knife vehicle. But it’s 21-22 mpg is barely more MPG’s than my high school era ’56 F100. 99% of what a truck hauls can be hauled on a trailer. A rather small trailer. A 30+ mpg vehicle that can tow 2-3k pounds is a start in the right direction. Of course…the downside…most drivers couldn’t pull a trailer without serious training.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Your post is a great example of the all too common combinations of poor thinking and disrespect for your fellow man. Gratz.

      I have posted the math here several times. If you haul even once a quarter, you aren’t wasting money on a truck. Combine cheap gas with the actual costs of a rental, and you win with a truck.

      So, instead of snarking at your neighbors and their expensive beverages, maybe you should realize that if they really need a truck, you might not ever see them use its capacity.

      At the same time, your scrap hound is likely over loaded and unsafe. But do you really need to call him names?

      • 0 avatar
        Mark_Miata

        You are making the common mistake of thinking that economics is the measure of everything. The waste associated with a truck versus a smaller, more economical vehicle, is that you are wasting gasoline every time you get behind the wheel. Gasoline is cheap because we do not properly include the larger social cost of burning gasoline.

        JaySeis is correct in calling into question the activities of others – given that it is cheaper to secretly dump trash on someone’s property for free, does that make it better than taking it to a properly constructed landfill because the former option is cheaper? If you think that the cheaper option is always better regardless of the public good, then I feel sorry for anyone who lives near you.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          It’s not a waste if that’s how I want to spend my money gasoline becomes my personal property once I pay for it no one is entitled to it or to a say in what I do with it, such as using it to burn aforementioned trash, which is in fact cheaper then taking to the dump

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I agree. It’s not a waste. I have been using gasoline as a solvent for many decades because nothing else cleans like it.

            And after I use the gas as a solvent I use it as a fire starter to burn trash and combustible garbage in a 55-gal drum.

            That sure beats hauling all that trash to the dump!

            Besides, people who choose to buy trucks don’t worry about the price of gas. If they have to worry about the price of gas they oughtn’t buy a truck!

            A truck has been a part of my life for all the 47 years I’ve been married, and each has served us well.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The larger social cost of burning gasoline has been the creation of the middle class. Efforts to reduced the consumption of gas are synonymous with efforts to return the middle class to serfdom. That’s why environmentalists have turned against natural gas. It can sustain too much widespread prosperity.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @CJinSD….I agree 100 percent. In truth, the so called “save the world from ourselves” people couldn’t give a rats a$$ about the environment.

            Thier sole objective is redistribution of wealth.

            @HDC..Yes indeed,with the weather turning nice I’ll use my ,premium gas swilling, V8 Camaro to fetch groceries. Conversly,if I guy wants to drive a 60K 4/4 crew cab to his office cubicle everyday. So be it.

      • 0 avatar
        JaySeis

        Sure, the tweakers steal metal of my and others farms. I really don’t care if truck owners waste their money and blow their depreciation. Diesels (which I owned) don’t pencil out unless you are a jobber, contractor, etc pulling trailers constantly. Pickup trucks are image vehicles….and of real utility to a very small segment of society. I would argue as trucks have gotten bigger and more powerful, they actually have less utility. Remember the days when you could reach over the side and actually touch the floor of the bed? Like that’s not happening anymore. Now a 80′s Mazda B2000…That was a useful truck! The savy commercial fisherman, contractors, landscapers where I live drive Rangers, Sport Tracs, Colorados. Smallish utility pickups. More maneuverable, slightly more fuel efficient and they’ll haul the majority of their needs. But..most trucks I see on the highway roll empty. And they’ll empty your wallet.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    I daily-drove a Ranger for 10 years. 4-cylinder, 5-speed, base cab. I never want to daily-drive a pickup ever again, but if I buy another fixer-upper house I’ll pick up a cheap well-used full-size truck for runs to Home Depot and the municipal dump.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I have to agree with the other posters here. My dream truck has an 8ft box,a regular cab,a V8 and Four wheel drive.

    No matter how old you get,its always nice to dream.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      There’s place up the road that has a circa 2000 GMC in almost that setup, except this one is also a dually. I’m not sure you can even order them like that anymore?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Many times , the best (IMO) colors like Swift’s Red , Hunter Green etc. are only available in the Fleet option and since only a miniscule amount of truck buyers will wait for delivery , you see so very few .

    I hate to touch the pointless political crap but , there’s plenty of fuel/road taxes now , just stop raiding them for other things please .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Dave,
    This topic gets me all opinion-y, but let me take a breather to thank you for a great story and some sweet feelings triggered by the second photo.

    I can just smell those leaves and hear the crunch as you shift that three-on-the tree ’49.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      If I’m able to make most folks happy and nostalgic while still setting off a low- intensity political flame war that results in a triple digit comment thread, then I figure I’m doing pretty good.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I grew up on a farm, so trucks were a part of life – most were bought used. For a while we had a two-tone blue Ford 1/2 ton that was a ’72 or earlier model (not sure the exact year). That was replaced by a really clean 1970 red & white Chevy C10. The Chevy was replaced by a 1973 Bronco and a trailer after my dad decided he wanted a rig that could get into the tight spots for hunting and fishing trips, but still needed some capability for farm chores

    I owned one truck – a 1976 Ford F-150 4×4 with a 360 V-8 and a 4-speed manual. What a great truck that was. Basically a fancy tractor – and I mean that in a good way. Iron drivetrain, solid axles, super-beefy front suspension courtesy of the forged radius arms. I miss half ton trucks with solid axles and beefy components. I know most modern 1/2 tons are technically rated higher than my old F-150 was, but CV joints and stamped control arms don’t inspire a lot of confidence. I also miss the fact that I could easily reach into the bed on my truck without a step-stool and I didn’t need some silly tailgate mounted ladder to hop into the bed.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever own another truck because it makes more sense to me to rent a U-haul beater for $20 a day than buy a truck, but I suppose if I found a clean older model for a low enough price, I might consider it if I ever had a more consistent need for one.

    With CAFE rules going the way they are, I could honestly see a situation developing where the manufacturers are volume limited in how many trucks they can produce without negatively affecting their overall fleet average. If that were to happen, expect high dealer mark-ups since demand will undoubtedly outstrip supply. An alternate scenario in a low-volume truck world might be government issued permits to buy a truck – prove your need and pay some cash to obtain a permit. This would favor businesses with a genuine need and people who use their trucks for frequent towing use, like boaters or RVers, but it would take most of the casual users out of the market.

    I’m not saying I’m in favor of either of those scenarios, but I could see them happening.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Wheeljack Especially very built up Urban areas it makes sense to hire a Pickup/Ute to move things. Australian Car/Utes have the advantage you can easily reach into the bed to get something. Trucks on farms are very different to what you would get in the US.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I remember those old Chevy pickups – there wasn’t anything in the world that was easier to drive than an old three-speed half-ton Chevy. I’ve had a succession of Ford and Chevy half-tons; my current one is a short-box regular-cab 2003 Silverado that hauls to the dump, and also moves the furniture to and from my wife’s various craft-show booths.

    I could maybe see raising the gas tax if the money went to roads ONLY. No mass-transit boondoggles, no hiking trails.

    The forecast here today is 72 degrees and sunny. If that’s “global warming” I’ll have some, thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Yes but you, I and everyone else know with certainty that the money would never actually go to roads.
      Oil companies are taxed more in a DAY then most COUPLES make in their entire life time, yet we for some reason don’t have perfect roads in the entire US.

      Another good reason to own a pickup, being able to take bad roads better

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Right. Hummer, with an approach like that, it’s no wonder Republicans are waning. Yes, the money needs to be spent properly. If you know that it indeed isn’t, then make your case. It doesn’t advance the ball to snark off about government being bad if you don’t have either a good grasp of the facts or a better solution.

  • avatar
    RS

    I’ve owned lots of trucks over the years (14 or so), the newest being a 2005 Silverado Crew 4×4 before the Obama years. A 2000 F150 Ext Cab 4×4 is parked in the driveway now. I go back and forth between Chevy, Ford and Dodge and 2WD and 4WD. They are all good. I’ve also owned a Chrysler T&C minivan.

    Here in MN I’ve noticed one thing – it’s nearly impossible to find 2WD pickups any more. Look at dealer lots and it’s 98-100% 4×4′s. 2WD are mostly used Fleet trucks. Of course everyone here experiences the snow and slippery boat launches, but it makes me think that Front Wheel Drive only is an innovation that really needs to next in 1/2 ton trucks. Years ago, I drove my 1979 Chevy 4×4 around with FWD only while the rear drive shaft was being rebuilt. It worked great in the snow. I don’t like the Honda Ridgeline much – mostly because the bed design is something beyond stupid – but they do have a drivetrain layout that should be used in full size 1/2 tons.

    The previous comments on Minivans is 100% spot on. They can do much of what owners use a 1/2 ton for and have replaced pickups for some. A little more towing capacity might replace a few more pickups. An open bed version of minivans would be interesting – which would be a litte larger, more useful version of old VW Rabbit and Dodge Rampage pickups – or like the old A100, E100, Econoline or Corvair pickups.

    Current trucks, while very nice, have several design issues. Morphing into 3/4 tons isn’t the answer. Bed heights being too high is probably my biggest 1/2 ton complaint (especially on 4WD’s). There used to be a time when you could load over the bed sides while standing on the ground and easily get on the tailgate. Now they have steps for sides and tailgates. That should be the hint that you are too high and less useful. The bed height on current Ford F150 4×4′s are a real turn off for me. GM hasn’t lost sight if this completely as they sit a little lower compared to the rest, but they’ve crept upwards too. I’m back looking at 2WD just for a more usable lower bed height. Might have to find one down south to bring back.

    IMO, the perfect 1/2 ton truck would be modern V6 with decent power/mpgs, FWD (with an AWD option for those that think they need it), 6000-7000 lb. towing capacity and 6.5′ minimum bed length. It can be a little higher than minivans – which would put it a foot or so lower than current 1/2 tons.

    They’ll still make 3/4 tons if you need more capacity or something that sits higher.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      What you describe, minus the FWD part, would be a good F100. But unless outside forces make the case for it you won’t see it. Today’s trucks, and cars for that matter, are the size they are because at each redesign there is a bit more length here, a more power there…After 20 years of existence the present model is way larger than the original. Why? Well I blame marketing and the mindset of how Americans are wired. Americans have the bigger is better mantra drilled into their head from the day they are told what a big boy they are. Marketers know that a bigger number usually translates into better in the mind of the American consumer. So nobody wants their product to come in second in a comparison. Go through this routine a few times and product bloat happens. You could argue that if the consumer really didn’t want the oversized product they would not buy it, but there often is little choice in the matter. And not to sound offensive, but truck buyers are more into the bigger being better than most.

  • avatar
    Autopassion

    I could imagine a small potential market for a very basic minivan with removable rear seats of course, but also with removal rubber floor mats and a removable bulkhead behind the driver/passenger seats that would function well as a 99 % “covered” pick up alternative…

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    My next truck will be a diesel.Right now the Ram 1500 diesel is the front runner however,I really want a new Colorado diesel.I’m just not sure if chevy will offer one here in the US.I know the new mid-size chevy and gmc will be offered here,but I’m hoping for the 2.8L 4 cyl diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @ToxicSludge,
      I doubt the first diesel powered Pickups are that far away. It will be interesting to see if the diesel 1/2 ton that Ford has been testing appears in the 2014/2015 model year?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @ToxicSludge
      Your name impresses me. How did you come up with it?

      It would be nice if the manufacturers are more forthcoming with information on diesel pickups.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Just sitting here smirking. At one point in my life my garage held a black F-150 FWD, a red BMW convertible, a loud Harley, and an old Seca. At least one of those vehicles would draw a dart of hatred from some TTAC readers. I like driving/riding all of them. A Yamaha Seca; not that Seka. Seka in my garage would allow me to tell Baruthian level tales.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    @ RobertRyan:I will go with a full size 1/2 ton if that’s all I can get here.In truth a small diesel midsize would really fit the bill.If I do have to go with a full size,it will be a regular cab as it’s just the wife and I.The kids are all grown up,yeeehawww.

    @ BigAl from OZ: In regards to my ‘handle’,I remember seeing a movie or something with someone wearing a t-shirt that said ‘I love toxic waste’,or something to that effect.It made me laugh,so I chose ToxicSludge as my ‘nam de plume’.Finding the appropriate avatar was easy,lol.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @RS–You can still find 2 wheel drive basic trucks but there are much fewer of them available and most come standard with automatics, air, power steering, and power brakes and come mostly in white, black, red, or silver. Some recent searches of cars.com I have found more Chevy Silverado regular cabs and some extend cabs available in two wheel drive but they are available. I agree with you about most trucks being too tall and I am reluctant to get on a step ladder to get in the bed of a truck because my balance is not as good as it use to be. I am probably one of a few pickup owners that use the bed of my truck at least twice or more a week.

    I have two midsize trucks and the older one a 99 Chevy S-10 extend cab two wheel drive with a 4 cylinder 5 speed manual is my hauler truck. Easy to reach in the bed, good mpgs, and since it is my oldest vehicle getting a scratch or dent is not going to be as big a deal. If I were to get a full size truck for my hauling I would probably buy a new Silverado single cab stripper truck with the standard air and automatic because it would be all I would need and it is a little lower to the ground. I saw a nice looking one in silver and if I were to get one that would be the color that I would get. But I am sure that a good search of the internet you could find whatever brand you want new or used.

    @Big Al thanks for the compliment, I mean it. I do understand a lot of negative images of truck owners and much of it is justified but it is never good to generalize. I have met many really good salt of the earth people that drive trucks that without hesitation or question help their neighbors and strangers.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Jeff S
    I do think ute/pickup people are stereo typed. Us, owners and operators of these types of vehicles vary in so many ways.

    But as I have seen on another site dedicated to pickups, there are a group of pickup people that are really muscle car/SUV types that are very narrow minded. But that is another story.

    The US with its pickup and Australia with utes are almost national symbols. But these iconic symbols are changing faster than some people can change with them.

    I have owned pickups since my first vehicle and I currently own one.

    It is a far cry from my fist one that didn’t have a heater! Leather, power everything, sits on 85mph up hill down dale and at that speed gets over 20mpg. Gotta love it.

    One of the reasons I have a ute/pickup is I live in the Outback in the Top End of Australia.

    I have a roo or bull bar on the front and I have hit aleast 5 kangaroos since buying it 12 months ago. The bar was $2 000 well spent.

    Also, surfaced roads up here are few and far between. Less than a quarter of a million people live in an area the size of the west of the Mississippi. So 4×4 hi/lo is necessary.

    When we go out we need to have basic survival gear, this takes up room. I sometimes carry 25 gallons of diesel extra as well.

    But it is what I want, really a luxury.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    My first pickup was a 47 GMC 1/2 ton first edition . I put it into the trees back in ’69. I miss it still. My pickups were 50s-60s and a final 72 Datsun. When my last Grand Wagoneer died, I scrapped them, and bought a decrepit 94 Ranger. I bought it for 600$. 4.0 V6 5 spd 4WD. It has the extended cab and a short bed. I wanted the same in a Toyota with an I4, but none were in my price range. I like the Ranger. It is great for using around the house and town. It is a third vehicle, so it sees about 3k miles a yr, if that. The Ranger is stock, so the bed is easy to load and unload.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I can’t believe that their are actually people here who have never owned their own business that believe that businesses that are already hanging on by a thread can afford even more taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr.Nick

      Don’t think of it as taxes. Think of it as recognizing the true cost of gas. Any business that needs subsidized gas to survive doesn’t sound like a successful business.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        The true cost of gas? Oh your talking about being around $1.80 without the masses of taxes?
        And businesses shouldn’t have to deal with masses of taxes

        Because surely solar energy and electric vehicle companies have NEVER taking the govt dole, of course that would be an indicator of a failed business plan.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @Hummer: “I can’t believe that their are actually people here who have never owned their own business that believe that businesses that are already hanging on by a thread can afford even more taxes.”

      I grew up in a small business family. It’s likely that I’ll run a business again, a few years after I finish my MBA.

      I’m also a liberal (particularly on social/environmental issues), and don’t mind paying more taxes, if it solves problems. A modest increase or decrease in taxes won’t make or break my family’s budget — though I fully recognize that this isn’t the case for everyone.

      Once your head is done exploding, we can have a rational conversation about how to solve problems and about defining the role and scope of government.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        And as long as you keep raising taxes, you’ll never run out of problems for the government to fix. Did your head explode? No? Then you still don’t understand anything about the world you live in.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    @ Dr.Nick: What about the US taxpayers subsidizing big oil? Still.

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    I’ve always been conflicted about pickups. I grew up in a pickup family – my father upgraded from VW Beetles to trucks in 1973, after making sure my Mom had the Mercedes she wanted as a proper German girl. He bought a 1972 Toyota HiLux, an early version of the vehicle that later went on to fame as the most reliable vehicle ever made.

    In 1972 Toyota had not gotten it right yet – the brakes, drums all around, were terrible and needed adjustment every 100 miles or so to keep from pulling to one side, and the ride was punishing in the basic cabin with wires visible under the dash. Aside from that, it was solidly built and soldiered on for decades – I learned to drive at 13 on dirt back roads at Fort Ord, California, and drove it in college as a hand-me down. It was still soldiering on with my dad’s handyman in the early 2000s – it was like the one on Top Gear, as hard to kill as a cockroach.

    I have good memories of that Toyota – a drive over dirt roads in coastal mountains of California with my parents, my sister, and me all in the front bench seat – moving my friends what seemed like every few months to new apartments in college – coming home and using to to get around when I was in graduate school. However, I never got the truck bug like my Dad – he drove a used Chevy S-10 after selling the Toyota, and then upgraded to the new F-150 when he retired that he still drives today.

    In contrast, I’ve avoided pickups, aside from the first few years after I moved to Oregon and needed a cheap 4-wd to cope with the snowy winters here in the mountains and the needs of crappy house in need of a remodel. My Chevy LUV was a fun car, but I dumped it as soon as I could afford to – why anyone would want to drive something that rode like something out of the 19th century was beyond me.

    I suppose I could blame my Dad for that – he always dreamed of a Porsche 911, but could never persuade my Mom to let him buy one without a one million dollar life insurance policy in force. I’ve always liked cars, particularly cars that don’t feel like they are going to turn over if you go around a corner too fast. If you like to drive, life is too short to drive a truck unless you have to.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    After having many trucks since age 15, I and my lower back have come up with an axiom:

    Trucks are for working but cars are for driving.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    In that case , you’re seat isn’t right ~ I have a broken back & wear a brace but no pain when driving my truck..

    Such vitriolic tirades ! very amusing to read .

    -nate

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Dr Nick–In case you have been asleep or possibly not paying attention to the world around you we now live in a global market and higher demand from developing countries has cause rapid increases in food and energy costs. Many consumers have switched to more efficient vehicles and as the price of energy rises more will continue to do so. Now if you really want to make energy so expensive that many people will not drive then fuel taxes should be raised to the level that we will have $10 a gallon gas and that will solve all of our problems. Then any services that you pay for will go up dramatically and create higher unemployment thus increasing the cost of unemployment benefits and food stamps. Maybe then we could go to an 80% tax rate and redistribute all the wealth. If that is what you want then I will quit my job and go on the government dole. I would be most appreciative for your contributions of additional tax revenue and look forward to not having to work again.

    I would prefer for the global market to cause any increases to the cost of fuel and then have people out of necessity become more energy conscious. I have become so even though I am one of those evil truck drivers who is causing global warming everytime I drive to the park and ride and take the bus to work. I am so evil I even combine my trips not to waste additional time and energy. I am for more efficient vehicles and energy conservation and using all forms of energy. I am not in favor of just taxing things to change behavior. Believe me if fuel prices continue to rise to say $5 to $6 a gallon many will either park their V8 trucks or will trade them in, but that will happen inspite of the government.

    You still have not answered my question. Do you or have you ever taken mass transit?

    I do agree that oil companies or any other business should not be given special tax breaks. We should not subsidize any industry.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I just remembered the truck that “Rocky,” Jim Rockford’s dad from the “Rockford Files” used to drive. That was a great, basic pickup I always wanted.


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