With many collector car prices increasing at a fast pace, some enthusiasts are taking a step back and looking at the world of collectible post-war pickup trucks. This is not to say that they aren’t going up in value (they most certainly are), but with hundreds of thousands of several models built per year, they’re plentiful enough that just about anyone can find one they like. And, you don’t have to go to Monterey or Amelia Island to find one – Mena, Ark., or Mandan, N.D., can yield just as many nice original examples.
The following are five examples of good old half-ton two-wheel-drive pickups that are usually found for under $10,000 in presentable driver No. 3 condition. All are over 30 years old, so they also can be registered in states that have vintage vehicle licensing, but modern enough that they are drivable in traffic on secondary roads — if not the freeway. Although you may need to hurry anyway, since most are poised to be bringing more than $10k shortly.
1947-51 Willys 4-63 T / 4-73 T ($7,400-$7,500)
Willys’ first post-war pickup started out with two-wheel drive only, and, in a market starved for vehicles, it sold reasonably well. However, it became obvious that four-wheel drive was what buyers were looking for and what would make Willys stand out from the competition. And so four-wheel drive was introduced for pickups in 1949, proving so successful that the 4x2 pickup was discontinued after 1951 — making the two-wheel-drive version a rare critter today. It’s also the most anemic of this group, being equipped with the same 134-cid four-cylinder found in the Jeep CJ-2A & CJ-3A, so it’s best left for the side streets and the blue highways. It’s also the most basic of a pickup of this group, but that just means you’ll be fully immersed in what it was really like to use a truck at a modest pace in the early 1950s.
1961-67 Dodge D-100 ($7,300 - $8,800)
Dodge introduced the most radically changed pickup in its history for 1961. Not only was the D-100 an all-new modern boxy design, but it also featured Chrysler’s all-new slant six engine. The only major component that carried over was the optional “Poly” 318 V-8. The first major styling change was for 1965, when the front fascia went from dual headlights to a massively framed single headlight per side incorporated into a full-width grille, carrying though 1967. While the latter 1969-71 examples are breaching the $10k level (equipped with an optional 383 V-8) – along with the rare Custom Sports Package from 1964-67 – the earlier trucks are all but forgotten compared to contemporary Fords and Chevys, yet are just as drivable today as any 1960s car.
1967-72 Ford F-100 ($8,500 - $9,900)
While Ford’s line of light duty trucks looked to be all new, it was actually based on the previous generation’s architecture from 1961 through 1966 with new styling. This era of F-series was the most car-like of any Ford pickup since 1940. Notable options included power steering, power brakes, simulated vinyl roof, remote control mirror, AM/FM stereo radio and factory-installed air conditioning. Since the Chevrolet models of these years have utterly dominated the vintage collector truck market, these Fords seem to be lost in the background. Aside from a few short-wheelbase heavily optioned examples, the long-box versions tend to stay below our $10k threshold and are just as stylish and easy to keep running in the 21st century.
[Video: Ford F-100 Buyers Guide]
1968-1975 International D1100/1100/100/150 ($6,050 - $8,900)
Penned by International’s Chief of Design Ted Ornas, the new Light Line for 1969 was instantly a Big Three competitor style-wise – if not even better looking. Featuring a clean boxy look with minimal body character lines, it still looks fresh decades later. While IH may have made some attractive trucks, sales declined despite an overall growing truck market since the 1960s, with the company discontinuing light-duty pickups in 1975. Today, they are still a smart buy with good parts availability (since IH used a lot of off-the-shelf components), that makes them functional today to totally confuse an entire generation plus that has no concept of an American truck that wasn’t built by The Big Three.
1976-1980 Chevrolet C-10 Big 10 ($6,000 to $7,800)
Thoroughly redesigned from stem to stern, these all-new trucks for 1973 proved to be the longest living truck platform in Chevrolet’s history. While the short box C-10s have seen significant increases in values, the long box “heavy half” C-10 package is still below our $10k threshold. These pickups had a stouter suspension, boosting GVWR to just over 6,000 pounds, therefore avoiding Federal emissions requirements at the time (allowing the 454 big block to be optional). Regardless of trim package, they had a prominent “BIG-10” decal on each side of the upper rear corner of the pickup box. All Disco-era Chevy pickups are starting to escalate in value similar to their 1967-72 brethren, so now is the time to “pickup” one while they’re reasonably priced.