A pickup truck is a light duty truck having an enclosed cab and an open body with low sides and tailgate. Once considered a work tool with few creature comforts, the pickup has evolved into a common alternative for a car. By the 1990s, less than 15 per cent of owners reported use in work as the truck's primary purpose. The Ford F-150 pickup has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States since 1982.
The term pickup is of unknown origin. Early trucks were usually called express or express delivery trucks. In 1913 Studebaker used the term in its literature. By the 1930s pick-up (hyphenated) had become the standard term.
A pickup with four rear wheels instead of two is called a dually.
The terms half-ton and three-quarter-ton are a remnant from a time when the number referred to the maximum cargo capacity by weight.
- 1917: The Ford Model TT one tone chassis introduced. Like all early trucks it was sold without a bed or cab. Bodies were added by aftermarket builders.
- 1924: Dodge produces a 3/4-ton pickup with cab and body constructed entirely of wood.
- 1925: Ford produces a pickup based on the Ford Model T car, the first factory-built, steel-bodied, half-ton truck with a cargo bed, adjustable tailgate, and heavy-duty rear springs. Billed it as the "Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body," it sold for US$281. 34,000 were built.
- 1928: the Model A replaced the Model T. It had the first closed-cab pickup and a safety glass windshield, roll-up side windows and three-speed transmission.
- 1931: Chevrolet produced its first factory-assembled pickup.
- 1932: Ford Australia produced the first Australian "ute".
- 1940s: during the war, the United States government halts the product of privately-owned trucks.
- 1950s: consumers begin purchasing pickups for lifestyle rather than utilitarian reasons. Chevrolet introduces the smooth-sided fenderless Cameo Carrier and the Dodge Sweptline were introduced with smooth-side beds. In 1957, Ford offered a purpose-built Styleside bed with smooth sides.
- 1960s: Toyota Stout introduced with a crew cab. and the Hino Briska was introduced in 1962. Dodge followed with its own factory built crew cab in 1963. Ford introduced its crew cab in 1965 and General Motors in 1973. Pickups begin to feature comfort items like power options and air conditioning.
- 1970s: pickups, as trucks unhindered by the emissions controls regulations on cars, begin to replace muscle cars as the performance vehicle of choice. The Dodge Warlock appears in Dodge's "adult toys" line. Other "toys" from Dodge included the Macho Power Wagon and Street Van.
- 1980s: the compact Mazda B-series, Isuzu Pup and Mitsubishi Mighty Max appeared. Subsequently, American manufacturers built their own compact trucks for the domestic market: the Ford Ranger, and the Chevrolet S-10. Minivans make inroads into the pickups' market share.
- 1990s: Pickups' market share is further eroded by the popularity of sport utility vehicles.
Design and features
Trucks are either compact or full-size, and they come in a wide variety of cab and bed configurations. Four-wheel drive is always an option. A regular cab has a single row of seats and a single set of doors, one on each side. Extended or super cab pickups add an extra space behind the main seat, sometimes including small seats. A crew cab, or double cab, seats five or six and has two full-size front-hinged doors on both sides. Modern trucks can include such features as AWD/four wheel drive, Bluetooth and DVD Players, front and rear cameras, heated/cooled leather seating, sunroofs, 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, and remote-release tailgates.
In the US, most trucks are sold with automatic transmissions, and many are only manufactured as such. Ford offers automatic-only. GM offers only the Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC sibling with a manual transmission. The Cummins diesel engine-equipped Ram is the only full-size truck available with a six-speed gearbox and a clutch. It has an ultra-low first-gear ratio for heavy hauling. Other trucks available in 2015 with a manual are the Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma.
Cab-over, also known as cab over engine (COE), or cab forward has a vertical front the cab sitting above the front axle. An early cab-forward drop-side pickup was the Volkswagen Transporter, introduced in 1952. This configuration is more common among European and Japanese manufacturers than in North America, since the style allows a longer cargo area for the same overall length. The design was more popular in North America in the 1950s and '60s, examples including the Jeep Forward Control, Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Corvair, Rampside and Loadside pickups, and the Dodge A-100.
The cargo bed can vary in size according to whether the vehicle is optimized for cargo utility or passenger comfort. Most have fixed side walls and a hinged tailgate. This is termed step-style or well body cargo. A drop-side bed has a flat tray with hinged panels rising up on the sides and the rear.
Vehicles similar to the pickup include:
- the coupé utility which has a pickup truck like shape, but is car-sized. The same is true for the South African term "bakkie".
- the sport utility truck (SUT), a vehicle deriving from an SUV or crossover with four doors and an open bed. Examples include the Cadillac Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Honda Ridgeline, Hummer H2 SUT, and SsangYong Actyon Sports.
In the American domestic market pickups are general categorized as:
- Compact: introduced in the United States in the 1960s, compact pickups have a smaller footprint, and may have four cyclinder engines.
- Full-size, or half ton: In the United States the most biggest selling type is the full-sized, or half-ton. These carry the designation "1500" in the case of the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ram, and "150" in Ford's terminology.
- Heavy duty: Heavier-duty trucks are designated 2500, 3500 (or F-250, F-350) and so on.
Production and use outside North America
- Japan: a few trucks are offered in Japan, such as the Mitsubishi Triton (classified as an SUV by the government) and the Toyota LiteAce. In the 1990s, the popularity of pickup trucks in the Japanese Domestic Market declined. Models dropped included the Nissan Navara, Mazda B-Series and Toyota Hilux. The NOx law prevents trucks from being imported to Japan.
- China: Great Wall Motor is the largest pickup truck maker in the country, with the Great Wall Wingle continuing to top pickup sales charts. In China the vehicle is known as 皮卡 píkǎ, a sound borrowing from the English pickup.
- Thailand: in 2011 893,988 pickup trucks were manufactured in Thailand and 328,219 units sold, of which 42 per cent were one-ton pickup trucks. Most popular was the Hilux Vigo, followed by the Isuzu D-Max and the Mitsubishi Triton.
- Europe: The largest pickup market in Europe is Portugal. In the United Kingdom pickups are gaining popularity. The biggest sellers in the UK are midsize trucks.
- Australia and New Zealand: see ute.
- Latin America: Popular are the Ranger, Chevrolet S-10, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok), Dodge Ram,Chevrolet D-20, Chevrolet Montana, Volkswagen Saveiro and Fiat Strada.
- South Africa: popular models include the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu KB series, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok. Coupe utilities such as the Ford Bantam, originally a locally designed model based on the Ford Escort and later the Mazda 323, but now a Brazilian-designed Ford Fiesta are also popular.
Uses for pickup trucks
While in America most pickup trucks are used primarily for passenger transport, pickups are also used in law enforcement, the military, fire services, and for Pickup truck racing, a form of auto racing using modified versions of trucks mostly on oval tracks. Race pickup trucks are mechanically similar to coupé-shaped stock cars.
A monster truck is a vehicle styled after pickup trucks, but with extremely large wheels and suspension. They are used for competition and popular sports entertainment and in some cases they are featured alongside motocross races, mud bogging, tractor pulls and car-eating robots.
Equipping pickup trucks with camper shells provides a small living space for camping. Slide-in truck campers, on the other hand, give a pickup truck the amenities of a small motorhome, but still allow the operator the option of removal and independent use of the vehicle.
Pickups are often used by practitioners of rolling coal. This is the modification diesel engine, so that the vehicle can emit an under-aspirated visibly polluting sooty diesel exhaust. Vehicles emissions controls are modified in open defiance of environmental regulations. It also may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing smoke switches and smoke stacks. Modifications to a vehicle to enable rolling coal may cost from $200 to $5,000.
In popular culture
Pickup trucks have played significant roles in many Hollywood productions, including:
- Mater a character in Cars, its sequel, and a the spin-off series. He is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy and inspired by a 1951 International Harvester boom truck. The character is voiced with a Southern redneck accent with a dash of hillbilly twang.
- 1972 Ford F-100, Mad Max 2
- Bigfoot 7/Bigfoot Race Rock 1: built specifically for Road House, it also was used in the movie Tango & Cash.
- 1985 Toyota Hilux SR5: in Back to the Future.
- GMC Sierra 3500 Dually: Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2, and Lethal Weapon 3.
- 1995 Dodge Ram 2500: Twister. The film is known for its successful product placement by featuring the latest iteration of the Dodge Ram pickup truck and several other new vehicle models.
- 1978 Chevrolet C/K: Red Dawn.
Pickups are a common theme of country music song lyrics, including:
- Truck Yeah
- Mud on the Tires
- I Drive Your Truck
- Pickup Man, about a man who reasons he can meet the woman of his dreams by driving a pickup truck. At one point, he is able to secure a ride for a high school homecoming queen. Pickup man, in this sense, has a double meaning. He is not only driving a pickup truck, but he is also picking up women in it.
- We Rode in Trucks
- Hillbilly Deluxe
- Eight Second Ride, in which the male narrator meets a woman in a bar, then takes her out to his pickup. The title is a reference to the eight-second time limit in bull riding.
- Take a Little Ride
- That Ain't My Truck, in which the narrator ends up on the losing end of a relationship. His significant other chooses another guy to continue a relationship with and the narrator knows this by driving by her house and seeing another man's truck in her driveway.
- Somethin' 'Bout a Truck
Cab-forward kei truck
1972 Chevrolet El Camino coupé utility
Brazilian Chevrolet Montana
Argentinian 2010-12 Ford Ranger
A Thai songthaew
Honda Ridgeline sports utility truck
Old Ford pickup, used as a feed trough in Ontario.
1928 Ford roadster pickup with a step-style box or well-body
International Harvester built the first ever four door crew cab.
1937 step-style Plymouth PT-50 with body, priced at US$525
Subaru Baja coupé utility.
Škoda Felicia Fun
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pickup trucks.|
- Camper shell
- Car body styles
- Coupé utility
- Galion Godwin Truck Body Co.
- Kei truck
- List of pickup trucks in current production
- Panel van
- Truck accessory
- Truck classification
- Ute (vehicle)
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