6 May 2016

Here’s a truckload of your favorite pickups

America, you love your trucks. And boy, are you loyal.

We asked for the greatest truck of all time – make, model and year – and you did not disappoint. From a 1932 Plymouth to a super-fresh 2016 Ford F-150, you went with what you’d like but mostly what you already have.

With comments that ranged from serious to heartfelt to … ahem … slightly suggestive, you gave us plenty to chew on this week. So without further ado, here are your top 10 favorites in chronological order (each of which received several mentions):

1937 Studebaker Coupe Express – A truck ahead of its time, the Coupe Express offered car-like styling and comfort. It was based on the 6-cylinder 5A Dictator chassis and shared front-end sheet metal with the passenger car. But the public wasn’t ready for it – only 5,000 or so were built in three model years.

1941-42 Chevrolet – Chevy’s 1941 model received a stylish, all-new front end, which was fortunate considering that World War II ended civilian automobile production in February 1942 and it didn’t resume until August 1945. For that reason, there were about one-third as many ’42 models built. Jeff Dobbins, who owns a 1941 Chevy street rod, nominated his truck despite the fact that “there are many other pickups that have greater styling and are sharper looking. I don't want to hurt my own feelings, though.”

1946-48 Dodge Power Wagon – Introduced in 1946 as the first civilian 4x4, the Power Wagon was a non-military version of the Dodge 3/4-ton trucks used by U.S. troops in World War II. According to George D’Aloia: “It set the standard for a strong, powerful work truck.”

1949 Diamond T – The Diamond T Motor Car Company, founded in Chicago in 1905, began building touring cars but found its sweet spot building trucks. Look no further than the gorgeous 1949 Diamond T, which has been referred to as “the Cadillac of trucks” for its front-end styling (inspired by the 1938 Cadillac).

1951-52 Ford F1 – The 1951 and ’52 Ford F1s both have that iconic toothy grin up front. In fact, except for a couple of obvious styling differences – the ’52 has different hood trim and grille is white instead of silver – they have a lot in common. Bill Swiss wrote: My ‘52 ford F1 was the last of that body style, nearly the last with a flat head V-8. Sweet ride at speeds 55 or less.”

1955-59 Chevrolet Apache Cameo Carrier – By the mid-1950s, trucks buyers were a little more accepting of car-like styling, and Chevrolet’s light trucks were advertised as “Modern Trucks for Modern Hauling.” Part of Chevy’s “Task Force” generation, the Apache/Cameo Carrier featured a wraparound windshield and perhaps its best-known design feature – hooded headlamps. A high MSRP kept new sales down, but the truck is popular among collectors today. According to Matthew Abela, the ’55 is “one of the first pickups that crossed into the realm of car-like styling and made a pickup into more than a workhorse. Great looks with truck purpose.”

1956 Ford F100 – The 1956 F100 is only year of this generation with a wrap-around windshield. While long-legged owners have to pay attention getting in and out without bashing their knees into the dogleg door frame, the truck’s unique styling rules the day.

1967-72 Chevrolet C10 – Many of you nominated the ’67, but others found it too difficult to choose just one from 1967-72. We get it. Building on the successful first series of C/K pickup, Chevrolet launched a revised version in 1967. The availability of Stepside and Fleetside carried over from 1966, and revised grilles represented new model years through 1972.

Honorable mention

Michael Hagler nominated his own truck, a 1981 Chevrolet C20 Camper Special, which he claims “is pretty hard to beat. She’s ugly, but tough and reliable.”

Rodney E. Schuette wrote: “I don't know if it's the best or not, but it's my favorite – 1970 CST-10 (350 with a 3 speed manual transmission). My dad stored it behind the barn until I was old enough to drive it. You could see the road between the door bottom and where the rocker used to be. We had a lot of good times working on that truck. I had many ‘firsts’ in that truck. Of all the vehicles I've had I wish I had that one back. I'd return it to Dad.”

Joshua Akin wrote that his 1985 Chevrolet C10 454 is “still a work in progress, but it reminds me of the good ol’ days and runs like nobody's business.”

Abraham Valadez teetered between old and modern: “Don't know which one – a 2004 Ford SVT Lighting Concept or a 1936 REO Speedwagon? I like both.”

13 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Fred Eassey Georgia May 11, 2016 at 17:26
    I just completely restored my 1977 Dodge Power Wagon, I have owned it for 34 years, Love my Dodge.
  • 2
    Tony Mallon Maine May 11, 2016 at 20:06
    46 - 64 willys pick up.......
  • 3
    john Lancaster, PA May 11, 2016 at 20:33
    Prettiest P-U ever; 1955 Studebaker short bed.
  • 4
    Alan Cutler California May 11, 2016 at 20:41
    I vote for all pre-war trucks, they were built for work and had a very utilitarian purpose, any that are still around deserve a medal of honor and badge of courage, as most of them were left to rust away in a field in Nebraska or Kansas! I rescued my '38 Dodge, in a field in Iowa, before mother nature reclaimed her, and am in my second year of a nuts and bolts body off restoration. with the high cost of "muscle cars", the next "group" of affordable restorations will be the pre-wars class. I am glad I got mine before the rush.
  • 5
    Ira Goldman Boynton Beach, FL May 11, 2016 at 20:58
    The 1960 Studebaker Champion. This truck followed the precedent of using the front half of a Studebaker car (Lark). In addition, The Champion had the first sliding rear cabin window on a mass produced pickup.
  • 6
    G Flanagan Ask Mts May 11, 2016 at 21:40
    Any Willys pickup. Mine is a '56 rough and beautiful.
  • 7
    Greg Elgin, TX May 12, 2016 at 14:43
    My daily driver is a '64 VW single cab pick up. 19 years now driving one, I use it as it was intended. It's great!
  • 8
    Dennis Yuzenas Palm Beach May 12, 2016 at 20:47
    I love my '86 El Camino. There's just something about cruising around in my car-truck that brings a smile to my face.
  • 9
    billy pete Azle, Tx May 12, 2016 at 10:58
    I have a 1941 Dodge Wc-12 weapons carrier 1/2ton. The PTO will climb a rope if you could find something to hang the rope on. Granny gear will act like cruise control at walking speed...perfect for parades!
  • 10
    Larry Blyly Michigan May 12, 2016 at 11:02
    That 1960 Studebaker with passenger car front was called a Champ, not a Champion. And the wide box was from Dodge.
  • 11
    Connie Sorensen-Birk Bellevue, NE May 13, 2016 at 07:18
    Where is mention of the 47-51 Chevy Thriftmasters? These trucks were the workhorses of their day and are absolutely gorgeous, almost sculptural, in form.
  • 12
    Dennis Gronan Hillsborough, NJ May 22, 2016 at 00:37
    Why limit the Power Wagon to 1946 to 1948? These trucks were built virtually unchanged until 1968 for domestic sale and for another ten years for export. Additionally, the M37 version was built throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars. My '49 PW has it's own Facebook page - Power Wagon Santa.
  • 13
    Danny McCumbers Maryland May 11, 2017 at 13:11
    I have a 1968 Chevrolet VAN . It has 2 front doors and 2 back doors. NO side doors.Either side.It has been stored 35 years. Very nice .Factory 327, 12 bolt 4:11 rear. 3 on the tree. All paperwork to prove its factory stock. Anybody know what it's worth?

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