Besides delivering bedfulls of cash to Bob Seger’s front door, Chevrolet trucks have spent the last century burrowing into the very core of rural American identity. Sure, Ford sells more F-150s, and has for decades. There’s more competition now, including full-size pickups from two Japanese automakers — something unheard of in Detroit’s heyday.
Still, the Chevrolet pickup, now 100 years old, seems perpetually positioned as a more honest, more Middle America offering than its domestic rivals. Its advertising campaigns, often serving as a new salvo in its bitter rivalry with hoity-toity Ford, make this clear (Yep, those F-150 power running boards really help a fellow avoid scuffing his slacks while loading up at Whole Foods). Remember Chevy’s sputtering incredulity over Ford’s “Man Step”?
And who can forget, two decades on, the famous “ Like a Rock” campaign? Rocks last billions of years, guys. Ford’s aluminum beds can be punctured by rocks (well, cinder blocks, anyway).
So, with Chevy’s big truck birthday upon us, let’s take a tally. Which Chevy pickup was the best one?
Now after all these years, and no matter what damage it does to the B&B’s conception of me as a redneck reactionary from Bumpkin, Ohio, the story can finally be told: I was a full thirteen and a half years old when I first set foot in an honest-to-nine-pound-baby-Jesus pickup truck. Not the front seat of said all-American conveyance, mind you. The bed of a pickup truck.
The scenario was this: At the time, my high school was about 50-percent residents of a new tournament golf course and about 50-percent residents of the farms that didn’t get absorbed into said course. My pal Brent was dating a hillbilly girl from across the tracks. She had a stunning friend. I suggested a double date. The friend agreed, presumably driven by the kind of self-destructive farm-bound boredom that makes rural kids steal tractors, torture animals, and ingest crystal meth.
One of the girls’ fathers agreed to drive us to the local theater. He showed up at my friend’s house behind the wheel of a light-blue Dodge Ram 150 2WD Regular Cab, festooned in country fashion with a bubble-windowed cap in a fetching combination of gloss white and dull rust. There were silhouettes moving behind those bubble windows. I turned to run; I’d heard a plot summary of Deliverance from my father. But my friend grabbed my shoulder and dragged me to where the overalls-wearing father was dropping the tailgate to reveal not a pack of snarling hounds or a toothless rapist but our dates for the evening, prettily perched on a pair of carpeted boxes covering the wheelwells. “Get in,” Farmer Dad growled.
“I … don’t think I can,” I replied.