Well America may be the overall volume leader for pickup truck sales, the per-capita title belongs to Thailand, and they prefer a different flavor of truck as well.
One of the cool things about car shows in the Detroit area is that you will most likely start seeing interesting cars before you actually enter the show. I like to call them “parking lot prizes”, but then I’m fond of alliteration. At the recent Eyes On Design show, which benefits the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, I spotted a couple of prewar V16 Cadillacs, a ’61 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and a first generation Corvette with a custom wooden boat tail before I even got to the press credential tent. Those are not common cars but the subject of this post is particularly rare. What could be rare about a Jeep Cherokee? They were in production in the US, South America and China for over two decades. However, this isn’t a Jeep Cherokee. (Read More…)
You know what’s wrong with this country nowadays? You can’t buy a light pickup truck made by a company so agricultural that a piece of farm equipment is in its very name! That all ended in 1980, when the last pickup rolled off the strike-ridden IHC assembly line. The outdoorsy Scout is still a common sight here in Colorado (on the street as well as in the junkyards), but quite a few of the Scout’s big brothers are still punching the clock as work trucks. Here’s one that made it to the second decade of the 21st century before getting used up. (Read More…)
Chevrolet announced that production of the Avalanche pickup will come to an end in 2013 – and there’s no replacement in sight. Ironically, the Avalanche was a victim of its own success.
Did any of the Afghani Mujahideen drive Datsun pickups to battle after the Soviets invaded? Probably, but the Toyota Hilux got all the press. For the same reason today, Malaise Era Toyota pickups tend to be kept alive, while their Datsun, Mazda (via Ford), and Isuzu (via Chevy) counterparts get crushed when they finally suffer some problem that costs more than $200 to fix. I’ve been seeing a steady stream of these Datsuns in junkyard for 20 years now, and here’s the latest one. (Read More…)
Americans have never had many choices for front-wheel-drive pickup trucks; you could make your own by dropping a random pickup bed on a Sawzall-ized Sentra, or you could go with an Omnirizon-based Dodge Rampage or a Golf-based VW Caddy. Not many Rampages or Rabbit pickups left, though I did find this ’80 VW in a Denver junkyard last year. Now here’s another one, apparently quite unrusted, getting ready to be eaten by The Crusher. (Read More…)
The good old Chrysler 318 engine has been around since, oh, around the start of the Iron Age. From about 1,000 BC to 2002 AD, the 318 and its LA engine relatives were installed in Chrysler products, and they did a fine job. If it hadn’t been for the cockroach-grade immortality of the Chrysler Slant Six, in fact, we’d probably be talking about the 318 as the most unkillable engine Detroit ever made. In 1992, Chrysler updated the 318 (which had gone to a roller cam a few years before) with high-pressure multi-point fuel injection and more emission-friendly heads… and they called it the 5.2 Magnum, no doubt because the original Dodge Magnum hadn’t been good enough to justify such a cool name. As I discovered in a Denver wrecking yard last week, at least one Dakota owner was proud enough of his Magnum to apply a full-body vinyl wrap to his truck. (Read More…)
This is one of my favorite music knock offs, the Hindi version of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. My point? If the folks at Mahindra Planet are right, it’s only a matter of time before the Bollywood Music types rip off Skynyrd’s classic, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Which will be pretty awesome, I assure you!
Until Ford started building Rangers in the early 1980s, their only small pickup was a rebadged Mazda B Series called the Courier. Like so many utilitarian Malaise Era vehicles, Couriers were everywhere… until one day in the early 1990s when just about all of them disappeared. Here’s one of the few that managed to hang on for another couple of decades. (Read More…)
Working in the 24 Hours of LeMons Penalty Box, the constant refrain of “Four wheels off” over the radio from the corner workers reporting miscreant drivers gets a little tedious. Hearing “Six wheels off,” however, really livens things up for us. That’s just one of the many benefits of having the Team Apex Vinyl Texas six-wheeled Toyota Hilux in a race. (Read More…)
In his New York Times comparison of heavy-duty pickup trucks, Ezra Dyer opens with a provocative comparison:
Heavy-Duty pickup trucks are the supercars of the truck world. They have more power than drivers are likely ever to exploit, and bragging rights depend on statistics that are, in practical terms, theoretical.
How does he figure?
While you can’t buy a diesel engine in a mainstream light-duty pickup, heavy-duty pickups now offer propulsion suitable for a tandem-axle dump truck.
I’m not exaggerating. Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 packs 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque; the base engine in a Peterbilt 348 dump truck offers a mere 260 horsepower and 660 pound feet. Does your pickup really need more power than a Peterbilt?
I’m guessing most HD truck owners won’t take kindly to the question, especially coming a scolding Gray Lady. But if you read the full review, you’ll find that Dyer was able to locate at least one contractor willing to admit that he realized he just didn’t need his HD’s overabundance of ability. It goes against the grain of the “bigger, faster, tougher, more” marketing message that has helped make trucks such a huge part of the American market, but is it possible that the tide is turning? Have pickups improved too much? The huge sales of Ecoboost V6-powered F-Series certainly suggests the we may just be moving towards a more pragmatic truck-buying market…
There’s really no reason for an old Detroit pickup to die, but The Crusher’s blind hunger for steel makes no distinction between a Mercury Tracer with fire damage and a solid ’70 Chevy with small-block and manual transmission. (Read More…)