admit, I have a bit of an attitude
about pickup trucks. What started
out as a simple, utilitarian vehicle
has now become a status symbol, one
with bells and whistles most owners
have no idea how to use. Trucks
with climate control, heated seats,
global navigation systems, and tires
tall enough to climb a small building,
yet what does one do with all this??
In my opinion? Look silly.
the ads for imitation pickup wannabe's
if you want, but don't part with your
hard earned cash too soon if you're
thinking of buying one. You could
have a whole lotta REAL trucks for what
you'd pay for one fake.
I have no idea what the first pickup
looked like or when it was built.
My brother has a 1929 Model A Roadster
pickup, which is very cool, but I've
got to wonder: a convertible
PICKUP? A truck with no roof
seems highly impractical, and to a
farmer buying a vehicle for use this
might be a turn-off. But then
again, did the farmers of the Depression
era care about the cool factor?
Maybe they did after all. We may never
But to me it appears that pickup buyers
nowadays care a bit too MUCH about
the cool factor. There is no
practicality now in pickup trucks,
since the focus is on creature comforts
and looking bigger and badder than
the next guy. There is little thought
given, so it would seem, to what the
truck can actually do in the way of
work, despite the ad claims to the
contrary. Biggest payload of
any truck! shouts one ad. Tow
package included! screams another.
But do any of the bozos that buy these
monsters actually haul or tow with
it? Not around here. I
live in a huge urban area, so it's
understandable that the guys (and
gals) who buy and drive these poor
excuses for trucks have a limited
amount of space to play with them.
There's not a lot of open farmland
around here, or livestock needing
feed delivered to them. These
trucks are used for hauling a stroller
and a couple of toddlers to the closest
supermarket! Of course, this
begs the question, if this is what
you do with it, then why buy a truck?
Because of the Cool Factor.
The first pickup I knew intimately
was, of course, Vernon (my 1959 single
Cab). And, as one of my Dad's
trucks, he worked hard: he pulled
stumps, and toted sod and dirt and
manure. At one point, he even
transported actual cars in his cargo
bed! They were Crosleys, small
cars to be sure, but what Ford F250
can say that? As the saying (sorta)
goes, these new fancified trucks are
all show and lots of go; Vernon
was no show and no go! But, he still
got the job done. It just took
a little longer, that's all. And recently,
I took a friend to our local IKEA
store for some furnishings for his
new apartment. No, we didn't
go in Vernon, we used my dad's 1981
diesel Rabbit pickup, Biff.
It was hilarious to watch the woman
in the loading zone next to us try
to fit a long flat box into her Chevy
Suburban. After trying for several
minutes (with help from the store
employee), they finally gave up and
tied it on the roof rack. We
drove off several moments later with
a captain's bed, a computer desk and
4 bags of assorted goodies tucked
into Biffs bed, all fully contained
inside the cargo area of the vehicle.
Now That's a pickup!!
This brings me to another annoying
trait of car manufacturers:
calling things that aren't trucks
TRUCKS. A Chevy Suburban or
Tahoe is NOT a truck. A Ford
Explorer or even the enormous, bloated
Excursion cannot be called a truck.
Sure, they may be built on the foundation
of a truck chassis, but they don't
have a cargo bed in back, and have
more than one seat! See, it's
You can now buy so-called pickups
with room to seat six, four doors,
and numerous other amenities that
Vernon and I snort at. Sure,
A/C is great, in it's proper place,
and power steering never hurt anybody.
But neither did good old manual steering,
which is what a truck should have.
I take a hard-line attitude about
this subject. Pickup trucks
have TWO DOORS, and ONE seat. Anything
more and it's a station wagon.
Oh yeah, and to you-know-where with
the term SUV. These silly contraptions
have about as much S in them as a
jump rope, not to mention the U is
also quite lacking in any of them.
OK, they can be called a vehicle if
you must, but I draw the line there.
Pickup trucks go way back in my memory,
to my grandpa's 1948 Ford. It
was black, not shiny and never washed,
with that peculiar pinched stare that
only the 48s and 49s had. I
think it might have been a step side,
since I remember riding on the side
as Papa bounced through the pasture
on his farm in Nebraska. That
truck had one seat, a big steering
wheel, no A/C and my grandpa behind
the wheel, going anywhere he darned-well
pleased. That included driving
right off the dirt road in front of
the farmhouse, and careening wildly
through a hoof-marked pasture in search
of his cattle. Can you imagine
doing that in one of those sissy trucks
they sell now? Not even another
Ford could match that.