3 classic trucks to buy, sell, or hold

We all love driving, but not everybody in the collector vehicle hobby spends their weekend clipping apexes, adjusting camber, or chasing quarter-mile times. A lot of people just like to roll down the road on a nice day in a ride with a little swagger. Some might even go off the road a bit and maybe take along a few friends. For this sort of buyer, there is the wide, wonderful world of classic trucks and SUVs, many of which remained, for a long time, much cheaper than their lower, sportier car counterparts.

Broadly speaking, the secret is out: old trucks represent serious fun and usability per dollar. As a result, prices keep climbing, but not all trucks are created equal. As measured by our Hagerty Vehicle Rating, some trucks are gaining popularity, some are slowing down, and some are treading water. Read on to find out three vehicles that represent each category and which ones you should buy, sell, or hold.

BUY: 1984–89 Toyota 4Runner  77

1986 Toyota 4Runner
1986 Toyota 4Runner Toyota

Last year, we noticed that Marty McFly-era Toyota pickups were selling for surprisingly high prices, so it comes as no surprise that first-gen 4Runners, which are based on the same platform, are notching increasingly high prices as well. Over the past year, we’ve measured a surge in both insurance activity and buyer interest (measured by quoting activity), which suggests not only that more people are buying first-gen 4Runners, but that they’re buying them as collector vehicles rather than as daily drivers or off-road beaters. Such customers will pay a handsome price for a solid example. Just in the past few months, two clean 4Runners have sold for $17,500 each on Bring a Trailer despite six-figure odometer readings. A 1984 model, also with 100,000 miles and faded paint (but nifty ’80s graphics), even sold for $19,250.

Why are people shelling out that kind of cash for an old, underpowered Toyota truck? According to Adam Wilcox, Hagerty’s information analyst who keeps an eye on 4Runners for the Hagerty Price Guide, “The 22RE four-cylinder in the 4Runner is virtually indestructible, and as modern SUVs keep getting bigger, the 4Runner is appealing. Its modest size makes it usable on forest roads and tight trails; it’s six inches shorter and almost seven inches narrower than the current RAV4.” Many 4Runners got modified, so a good original one is hard to find even though Toyota built tons of 4Runners.

Our price guide currently values first-gen 4Runners in #2 (excellent) condition from $13,700 for a four-cylinder base model to $14,200 for a V-6 SR5. That’s up 23 percent from where they were two years ago, and all signs point towards the trend continuing upward.

SELL: 1945–68 Dodge Power Wagon  32

1954 Dodge Power Wagon Restoration
1954 Dodge Power Wagon Mecum

After World War II Dodge refined its military-spec WC series for a truck-hungry postwar market, called it the Power Wagon, and kept on building it until 1968. The size, the utility, the history, and the sheer cool factor of a name like “Power Wagon” (it’s just fun to say) have drawn people to these trucks over the past several years, especially as vintage trucks in general become more and more collectible.

From the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2018, #2 values for Power Wagons were up 54 percent on average and a few have sold at auction for well over $100,000. If you’re looking to ride the Power Wagon wave and flip one for profit, however, it looks like you’re too late. The streak is over. Power Wagon values have been flat so far this year, and both buyer interest and insurance activity are noticeably down after a big surge in 2017–18. With a median #2 value of $38,800, Power Wagons are now well out of reach for many enthusiasts, and there is no shortage of more affordable, albeit smaller and not quite as cool, classic Dodge trucks. Whether Power Wagon prices will remain flat or go down isn’t clear, but most likely, they won’t increase.

HOLD: 1981–93 Dodge Ramcharger  75

1985 Dodge Ramcharger 3/4 front
1985 Dodge Ramcharger Barrett-Jackson

We’ve talked about how hot vintage Ford Broncos are. We’ve talked about Chevy Blazers, too. Now, let’s talk about Dodge’s two-door SUV, the Ramcharger. Notable for its fixed (rather than removable) steel roof and the larger glass side panels integrated into the roof, the second-gen Ramcharger is a rarer sight on the road than either the Ford or Chevy. Regardless, it’s worth less and hasn’t seen the same kind of uptick in price.

That’s not to say the vintage truck boom has left Ramchargers by the wayside. Condition #2 values are up 6 percent over the past three years, but that is less than the equivalent Chevys and Fords, which both have much larger followings. Buyer interest is way up in 2019 for Ramchargers as well, but prices have leveled off. Will they start rising again? It’s a tough call. We’ll have to wait and see.

Would you spring for a mid-’80s 4Runner? Have a Ramcharger you swear never to let go? Let us know below.

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