Tag: pickup

By on May 31, 2017

[2017 Ford F-150 King Ranch, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

It’s better than a 1937 Nash Lafayette, though fuel economy — in real world driving — seems to be slightly less, if I’m to believe the results of the Mobilgas Economy Run.

I’m referring to my great-grandfather’s 1937 (or ’38) Lafayette, a fixture of my mother’s otherwise carless childhood in postwar Baby Boom Alberta. What brought up this unlikely comparison, you ask? What could a technology-laden 2017 Ford F-150 King Ranch pickup possibly have in common with a six-cylinder Depression-era sedan?

Running boards. In my mother’s earliest memories, the running boards of her granddad’s car were fixed, spanning the distance between two fenders dulled by Prairie dust and providing easy access to the spartan cabin of a long-lived touring car. In the Ford’s case, they’re electrically operated, lowering into place upon the opening of any of the pickup’s doors, then receding out of sight below the rockers, propelled by engineering ingenuity and cash.

It’s an option I’ve always found ridiculous, especially in a climate where road salt is a depressing reality. I like a fixed board. Nothing fancy. However, to my mom, who I chauffeured to a Mother’s Day meal in the King Ranch, that feature alone was enough to make her consider pulling a bank job to meet the truck’s MSRP.

With this particular truck, payload capacity and off-road prowess is an afterthought. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

Ford Sliding Platform, [Image: Ford Motor Company]

Because of Ford’s new patent, we may soon wonder how we ever got anything out of our truck beds.

Ford has filed for a patent for a “sliding platform” in the bed of pickup trucks. The platform will be powered by a drive assembly, labeled an electric machine, coupled to the engine and transmission, possibly from a hybrid F-150. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2017

2016 Fiat Toro

Ralph Gilles, global design head for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, just loves the little Fiat Toro pickup. He can’t get enough of it.

Unfortunately for FCA, and especially the Fiat brand, Americans certainly can say “no” to FCA models adorned with a classic Italian badge. Fiat, which returned to these shores just six short years ago, is floundering in North America, so ears perked up in Chicago yesterday when Gilles seemed to imply the brand might introduce a life-saving model into the U.S. market.

Alas, the company appears to have no intention of trying something desperate to stop the sales bleeding. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

1972 Jeep J-4000 pickup in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Most ’60s and ’70s Detroit cars I see in big pull-yer-own-parts wrecking yards show signs of having spent a decade or more sitting in a yard or driveway. This is not the case with pickups, because just about any pickup that can be made to work at not-too-great expense will be kept on the road. A 45-year-old long-wheelbase Jeep pickup with a snowplow will earn its keep pushing the white stuff around until something really expensive fails.

Here is such a truck, spotted in a Denver yard. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

We knew it would happen, but now it’s official.

Ford, in two very short paragraphs bookended by more spilled corporate ink over mobility and futurethink, has given me a reason to save my nickels and dimes for 2020.

The Bronco, like the Terminator, will be back.

(Oh, and the Ranger is coming back too.)

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2016

1972 Dodge D200 Pickup in Colorado Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Dodge D-series trucks were getting embarrassingly dated by the late 1960s, with their solid-axle front suspensions and archaic styling, so Chrysler created the third-generation D-series pickups for the 1972 model year.

Here’s a reasonably solid three-quarter-ton from the first year of that generation, spotted in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2016

2016 Ford F-150

There are a few reasons why I and others choose to freelance for TTAC. One of those reasons is the opportunity to write under the oppressive regime helpful tutelage of our Managing Editor. Another reason is the conversation and feedback provided by you, the B&B. The comments section of many other auto sites can often be described as incomprehensible at best or downright hostile at worst.

Since this series’ inception, I’ve asked for suggestions of base wheels that check all the right boxes for you. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I laugh heartily at your suggestions on TTAC’s Slack channel. When Principal Dan mentioned the F-150 as a potential Ace of Base candidate, it got me thinking: What exactly constitutes a base F-150 these days? Certainly they’re not the hose-’em-out trucks of my youth, featuring face-eating metal dashboards, searing hot vinyl seats, and no headliner.

Since FoMoCo saw fit to bin the Ranger in 2011, what can buyers expect from an entry-level F-150?

(Read More…)

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…)

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