Tag: pickup

By on September 26, 2016

1995 Dodge Dakota in Colorado Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The plenitude of vehicles based on the Chrysler K Platform helped the company bounce back from its humiliating 1979 near-bankruptcy and government bailout, and the modern overhead-cam four-cylinder engine Chrysler developed for the K was a big part of that success. We think of that 2.2/2.5 as a transverse-front-wheel-drive-only engine, but Chrysler made a longitudinal version for the rear-wheel-drive Dakota pickup.

Here’s a very rare 2.5/5-speed example I saw in a Denver-area yard recently. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2016

2016 GMC Canyon 2WD SL, Image: General Motors

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.

For years, there’s been a chorus cry from the internet: “Buyers can’t get a simple pickup truck anymore!” Well into the ‘90s, customers could waltz into many a dealer and drive off in a Spartan, four-cylinder, stick shift, rear-wheel-drive pickup with the footprint of a Twinkie.

(Read More…)

By on July 27, 2016

Ford Transit Courier, Image: Ford of Europe

Have you ever sat in a Ford Transit Connect and said to yourself, “Gosh, I like this, but it’s just so darn big!“? Well, if Ford’s latest trademark filings are any indication, the Blue Oval might soon have exactly what you’re looking for.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Ford filed trademark applications for two names — “Transit Courier” and “Courier” — on July 22, 2016, hinting at possible Fiesta-based, B-segment vans for North America.

(Read More…)

By on May 12, 2016

Chevrolet Silverado High Desert

The buttress is back, baby!

Chevrolet fans still in mourning over the loss of their beloved Avalanche get an early Christmas gift this year. A new Silverado package arrives this fall with all the goodies a ‘lanche aficionado could want, minus the acres of grey bodyside cladding. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2016

ejection

With the exception of intercepting tornadoes (and maybe mudding), this is about as much fun as you can have with a mid-1990s Dodge Ram pickup.

Maj. Lonny Handwork, who serves with the Royal Canadian Air Force, gets to drive the very low-tech testbed for the RCAF’s newest ejection seat. He pulled rank to get behind the wheel, and he’s just tickled by the whole thing. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2016

2016 Buick Avista Concept, Image: General Motors

Would Buick consider producing a pickup truck? Now that the brand’s lineup has been fleshed out to include sedans, SUVs, and a convertible, what’s stopping General Motors from adding a Buick-badged variant to either its midsize or large-truck portfolio?

According to Ed Welburn, who oversees global design for GM, there’s a simple answer.

“No, I don’t see it,” Welburn said, wincing. “Wow. I haven’t gotten that question from anyone.”

At that point we expected silence, as it’s not if anyone is clamoring for a Buick pickup truck, despite a market that’s moving toward softer pickups that err on the side of comfort and convenience — but Welburn went on.

(Read More…)

By on March 11, 2016

1974 Chevrolet El Camino in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Chevrolet El Camino reached its largest size in the 1973-1977 fourth-generation version, while engine power decreased at about the same rate as its bumper size increased. Still, these cartrucks are somewhat sought-after today, more so than the later, smaller G-body-based ones.

Since you won’t see many of these vehicles in self-service wrecking yards, I thought this California example was worth including in this series. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

Jeep® Trailcat Concept (Images: © 2015 FCA US LLC)

In anticipation of the 50th Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, Jeep turned its best and brightest designers loose and created seven concept vehicles you’ll probably never drive.

But you can gaze, and you can dream.

These rolling showcases for Jeep and Mopar performance parts crop up annually in advance of the off-road love-in (March 19 – 27), but this year Jeep delved deep into the history file to celebrate its 75th birthday.

We’ll highlight the standouts after the break. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

2016 Nissan Titan XD (9 of 37)

Ask people in the know which full-size pickup is arguably the worst new purchase you can make today and you’ll receive a resounding answer: the Titan.

Nissan’s foray into full-size pickups was a breath of fresh air when it debuted for the 2004 model year. But like all merchandise that sits stagnant on retail shelves, it quickly went out of style, became unrefined in comparison to ever-improving competitors, and could only be had with a thirsty V8 during the doldrums of the Great Recession.

It’s this languishing at the low end of the totem pole that must have cajoled Nissan engineers to seriously analyze its truck strategy going forward. Surely, if Nissan was to compete in the pickup game, it would need to update its model at the same pace as everyone else — or, the very least, at the same pace as Toyota. That’s an expensive undertaking considering an all-new model’s development is now priced well into the billions of dollars. And it’s a risky bet to invest that much cash in a segment known for ownership loyalty and domestic domination.

So, Nissan had an idea: hit ’em where they ain’t, and steal a seasoned truck guy to push the new-“class” pickup.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

land rover defender africa expedition kamil kaluski 2

After 67 years, production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ends today. It’s an amazing feat that the Defender has lasted this long. It was a utilitarian vehicle developed at a time when going off-roading meant just going. It helped Europe rebuild after World War II. And it explored Africa, where often the Land Rover was the first automobile ever seen by locals. It continued that way for years, undergoing constant but slow evolution, rather than complete revolution.

Until today.

Rather than boring everyone with interesting quasi-factual trivia about Land Rover’s most iconic model, I’ll bore you with my own personal experiences.

(Read More…)

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