A History of the Pick Up Truck


Since the automobile’s conception, the pick up truck has given drivers who need to carry big loads of cargo or who want the versatility that only a truck bed can provide a perfect alternative to the volume limits of a standard car. And like the standard car, the pick up truck has a long and interesting history. From the moment the first pick up truck was developed, the automobile industry was changed forever.

The Pick Up Truck’s Beginnings

The first type of pick up truck to be manufactured was called the Model T Runabout; this truck was based on Ford’s famed Model T. In 1925, Ford produced 30,000 Runabouts for the automobile market. The main features of this Ford truck were its small, square cargo bed and its robust rear suspension. And just like its modern counterparts, the Runabout came equipped with a folding tailgate. During the 1960s, Chevrolet joined Ford in the pick up truck industry with its C-Series, a two-wheel drive model, and its K-Series, a four-wheel drive model.

Although Ford and Chevrolet are the two “darlings” of the automobile industry, Dodge and Chrysler must not be overlooked. When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, it acquired Dodge’s early-model pick up trucks. Chrysler only marketed Dodge trucks to delivery and commercial companies until 1937; this was the year Chrysler expanded their line of pick ups to half-ton commercial trucks, larger heavy-duty trucks, and a variety of other pick ups.

How the Pick Up Truck Changed After World War II

After World War II, American pick up trucks enjoyed even more popularity, partly due to this subsection of the automobile industry becoming a major player in the economy and society. Post World War II trucks, like the Jeep, were modeled after the trucks used during wartime and were marketed toward those who needed a vehicle for more than basic transportation.

In 1945, the Power Wagon by Dodge made its way into the pick up truck industry and was one of the American truck lines based on military vehicles. In 1947, Chevrolet’s Advance Design Series entered the market. One year later, the F-Series by Ford was introduced and is still manufactured today, making it among the longest-lasting truck models in the world.

The Evolution of the Modern Pick Up Truck

During the mid-20th century, the pick up truck evolved right alongside the passenger car; both made huge technological and design strides from the 1950s-1970s. And in the 1980s, the majority of new cars and trucks came with computerized engines and fuel injection systems. Also in this decade, the “big three” automobile makers – Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet – began to refine and redesign their most popular pick up models in order to appeal to a wider range of drivers. Some trucks even included luxury trims that were specifically created for daily driving rather than off-road use. These types of models were made available in conjunction with heavy-duty professional trucks.

The Standard Pick Up Truck Models of Today

Currently, the majority of “big-time” American automobile manufacturers create at least 1-2 models of pick up trucks and many foreign imports are selling their own truck models too. Chevrolet and Ford are still at odds with their competing modern-day Silverado and F-Series respectively while Chrysler is the manufacturer of the Dodge Ram pick up truck. The pick up truck has certainly come a long way.

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