The middle 1970s through early 1980s were the Golden Age of small Japanese pickups in the United States, when truck shoppers could choose from various models made by Isuzu, Mazda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. The decade of the 1970s began with Nissan selling the Datsun 521 here and finished just around the time the first Datsun 720s appeared in showrooms, with the workhorse 620 in between and proving a tough competitor for the Toyota Hilux and (Mazda-built) Ford Courier.
This week's Junkyard Find is a much-battered 1977 Datsun 620 King Cab, found in a self-service yard located on the High Plains between Denver and Cheyenne.
Ram has been subjected to numerous investigations over the last few years, especially in regard to its heavy-duty diesel pickups. We can throw another item onto the list, as the manufacturer has opted to recall 131,177 HD trucks from the 2021 and 2022 model year.
While we recently covered an investigation launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to assess whether reports citing that late-model HD pickups using the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel had motive issues, the current recall appears unrelated. The former investigation is centered around slightly older trucks and a loss of motive power presumed to be the result of defective fuel pumps that could warrant a recall. This issue is a full-blown recall surrounding a potential fire risk originating from an issue with the solid-state heater intake grid relay.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into nearly 605,000 heavy-duty Ram trucks. A report from the regulator’s Office of Defects Investigation has tabulated 22 complaints from the 2019 and 2020 model years, all of which use 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engines, spurring the NHTSA to launch a formal investigation. Complaints revolve around loss of motive power, with most incidents occurring above 25 mph and resulting in the “permanent disablement of the vehicle.”
While the public was not made aware of the investigation until Monday, the agency launched its probe last Thursday on October 14th. The goal will be to establish how widespread the presumed defect is, what exactly caused it, and any potential safety hazards relating to the issue. Some headway has already been made, however.
Ford had been rumored to be developing a pickup variant of the Bronco with the assumed strategy of competing with the likes of Jeep’s Gladiator by 2024. However, reports have surfaced that Blue Oval is notifying suppliers the program is being abandoned. While we knew that there was supposed to be another Bronco vehicle in development, Ford never confirmed it and it was unclear exactly how far along the program had managed to get. But as the company continued introducing new trucks (e.g. Maverick and Lightning) we were over here wondering how far the pickup market could realistically be stretched.
Apparently, so did Ford.
Our own Tim Healey recently found himself behind the wheel of Hyundai’s new trucklet, where he proclaimed it to be an all-around performer while tooling around the tony environs of Palo Alto. Whether he stopped into Tesla HQ for Elon’s take wasn’t mentioned and doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the Santa Cruz starting price, anchored at the end of a swimming pool that’s usually filled with commuter cars and small hatchbacks. Its sticker does climb to nearly 40 grand when all the option boxes are checked, however, leaving us with the question of finding the right balance of price and features
Ford has announced that it will be introducing a new pickup next week, effectively making this the pre-engagement ring of automotive commitments. Anticipated to be a compact truck priced to contend with tougher times, the model has fittingly been named the Maverick. The title harkens back to the 1970s and the 2-door coupe (later sedan) equipped with a lineup of “Thriftpower” motors that originally had the name emblazoned on the rear deck with a somewhat confusing cattle theme.
While designed in roughly the same spirit as the original, the modern Maverick is a different animal and unlikely to come with the optional Windsor V8 allotted to the coupe. We’ve been told it’s to be produced alongside the smaller Bronco Sport in Mexico and likely share a platform. That means powertrains will probably be limited to 1.5 or 2.0-liter Ecoboost motors with a maximum possible output of 245 horsepower.
If you were waiting for a special-order new GMC Sierra or Jeep Gladiator to show up at a West Coast dealership, you might have to wait a little longer. Unfortunately there was a train derailment in Lincoln County, Nevada, yesterday, and some of the victims were brand-new pickups.
If we were to have told you a few short years ago that The General would soon be producing mass copies of a rear-drive vehicle powered by a turbocharged straight six diesel, you’d have had us committed to the nearest madhouse. After all, such a bumf reads like sport European sedan from the eighties, when cars were cars and most passengers were terrified.
But it isn’t a sports sedan, nor even a performance coupe. Getting inline at GM these days means moving into a Silverado half-ton pickup truck, the latest entrant from the Detroit Three in a quickly escalating war of diesel supremacy in trucks not competing in the Dreadnought-class. These are the volume trucks, folks, and all of the diesel powertrains — Ford, Chevy, and Ram — displace an identical 3.0L from their six cylinders.
Differences abound between the three, causing your friendly neighborhood gearhead’s mind to temporarily out of control, even more so than it does after his third ration of Lamb’s Rum. Let’s dive in and decipher it all.
During Tesla’s most-recent shareholders meeting, Elon Musk said the company’s pickup should be arriving this fall — adding that we would probably see it near the end of the summer if everything goes according to plan. Apparently disinterested in waiting another two months, robotics enthusiast and self-professed EV fan Simone Giertz decided to fabricate her own using a Tesla Model 3 as a starting point.
Giertz, who runs a YouTube channel focused on quirky building projects, claimed the home-brewed pickup’s relation to the sedan was one of necessity. She only chose the Model 3 because it possessed a steel chassis and was cheaper to risk ruining than a Model S would have been.
Some of the most interesting examples of GM badge engineering during the last few decades involved the Isuzu brand; first, the Chevrolet LUV pickup ( Isuzu Faster) arrived during the late 1970s, followed by the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum ( Isuzu Gemini) and Geo Storm (Isuzu Impulse), and finally the Trailblazer-based Isuzu Ascender. Mixed in there was the Isuzu-ized second-gen Chevy S-10, also known as the Hombre.
You won’t find many Hombres in your local wrecking yard, but I kept my eyes open for one until this ’96 showed up in Denver.
Fans of heavy duty trucks with grilles the size of Texas have a lot to celebrate this year. Ram dropped its new HD in Detroit and GM previewed its alarmingly styled Heavy Chevy late last year. All signs point to Ford unfurling a new Super Duty very soon, possibly at the Chicago show next month.
Now, GMC’s into the game. The not-a-Chevy brand revealed its 2020 Heavy Duty pickups online last night. The new Sierra HD makes like Daft Punk: harder, better, faster, stronger.
Last summer, fans of mid-sized pickup trucks got a quick look behind the virtual curtain when the build-and-price tool for the new Ford Ranger leaked to the internet like a screen door on a submarine. Spox at the Blue Oval rapidly shouted #FakeNews, but the base price of $24,300 proved accurate.
At the time, we did an Ace of Base using the quickly-hauled-down pricing tool. Six months on, has anything changed? Are our readers still interested in a base Ranger priced $3,000 north of a base Colorado? Did NFL referees blow that call this weekend?
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- FreedMike Smart idea. EVs are a far easier sell to someone who can charge them at home.
- Dwford This is just going to become part of selling EVs. Automakers need to make it as simple as possible to buy an EV. And the process of hiring an electrician etc is a barrier many people will not want to deal with.
- MaintenanceCosts So I'm not the only TTAC reader who follows LPL.His channel basically teaches you that with the right knowledge there are very few security products that can't be defeated in a short amount of time.
- Analoggrotto Musta spent that solution development money on that fancy styling department aye Posky?
- Fred I like racing, especially F1 and IMSA where Cadilac races or will. I just wonder if most buyers of that car really care? For me it's that they don't race their sedans like BMW, Acura and others do. Even then the IMSA program could be branded with any GM model and has. What their F1 drivetrain will be I don't know.