It’s probably exciting to be working in transportation media at a dawn of an all-new product category. Imagine the journalists in 1964 witnessing the birth of the pony car. What about those in the mid-Nineties covering the birth of the crossover – never mind, that probably wasn’t all that thrilling. I’m picturing, instead, the newsroom at The Truth About Buggies in 1884, with cigar-chomping editors looking at telegraphed press releases touting the first automobile, sending poorly-paid flunky journalists on junkets via train with a typewriter.
Perhaps we’ve witnessed our own segment birth – or, really, re-birth – with the reimagining of the compact pickup truck market. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, it would seem to anyone watching, would be the first entrant into that category. Hyundai, inexplicably, would rather you not call it a truck.
Have you ever seen those wobbly hitch-mounted cargo carriers obscuring the license plates on slow-moving SUVs – usually with a Yeti cooler and some camp chairs strapped down? Perhaps the Santa Cruz is more like that – a Tucson with a well-integrated, weather-resistant (when properly equipped) cargo carrier.
Not long ago, Rare Rides featured the Gurgel XEF, a Brazilian microcar of luxurious intent that was styled like a contemporary Mercedes-Benz, and based on a Volkswagen. Today’s Rare Ride is a very different Brazilian take on the same basic bones.
Say hello to the Renha Formigão.
We closed out last week with a Buy/Drive/Burn entry that covered the three cheapest sedans available in America this year. Nearly all of you decided you’d buy the most expensive of the three, the Hyundai Accent.
Today’s trio are the least expensive trucks on sale today with plain paint, two driven wheels, and steelies. Think you’ll select the most expensive truck of today’s trio for the Buy? Let’s find out.
Today’s Rare Ride comes from a time when Jeep still offered a two-door pickup to the American small truck consumer.
Super clean, pretty retro, and with great tape stripes, it’s the Jeep Comanche Pioneer. A fitting example of the first-ever Jeep featured in this series!
Today’s Rare Ride is from the period in the Eighties when many compact pickup trucks were available to the North American consumer. While most of these vehicles were Japanese, some covered their origins with American badges. Others wore both Japanese and American branding, albeit at different dealerships.
Wouldn’t you LUV to check out this P’up? Ugh.
Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.
Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.
Our last two Buy/Drive/Burn entries reflected compact truck offerings in 1972 and 1982. We know you all love talkin’ trucks, so we bring you a subsequent entry in the series today. It’s 1992, and you’ve got to buy a compact Japanese truck.
Hope you can bear the 10-percent interest rate on your loan.
In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn we pitted three compact pickup trucks from Japan against one another. The year was 1972 — still fairly early in Japan’s truck presence on North American shores. The distant year caused many commenters to shout “We are young!” and then claim a lack of familiarity.
Fine! Today we’ll move it forward a decade, and talk trucks in 1982.
Buy/Drive/Burn doesn’t talk trucks very often, but today’s an exception. Today’s trio are from the very inception of Japanese compact truck offerings in North America. They mostly rusted away long ago, but perhaps you remember them fondly.
Right now, it’s 1972. Let’s go.
Back in the fall of 2017, we featured the hotted-up Dodge Shelby Charger, born of a collaboration between Dodge and elder racing legend Carroll Shelby. That 2.2-liter four-seat coupe is a bit practical though, a bit pedestrian.
Let’s turn up the volume with another Shelby, this one featuring double the cylinders and half the seats of the Charger. Dakota!
Recently, Rare Rides honed in on the little Dodge Rampage. A front-drive alternative compact pickup, it was based on the sporty Dodge Charger. Today we have a look at a well-preserved example of what most buyers of compact pickups chose in the early 1980s. It’s a Nissan-Datsun 720 King Cab, from when all Datsuns were Nissans.