Written by independent automotive journalist David Neyens
Without a doubt, pickup trucks represent one of the fastest-growing and most popular segments of today’s collector-vehicle marketplace. And why not? Designed and built for hard duty in some of the most forbidding conditions Mother Nature can dish out, pickups are incredibly adaptable to any purpose, thanks to their rugged construction and huge array of factory-available drivetrains, engines, and transmissions. In addition to built-in versatility allowing them to haul heavy loads and cabs spacious and often luxurious enough for daily use and enjoyment, pickup trucks are often quite usable, whether for the daily commute or a quick grocery run. Pickups are also exceptionally easy to maintain to boot, often sharing powertrain components and suspension layouts with their passenger-car siblings. Best of all, pickup trucks respond extremely well to modifications and upgrades, with a huge restoration and aftermarket parts industry serving pickup-truck owners, matching the wide array of suppliers catering to the passenger-car market and plenty of crossover blurring distinctions between both vehicle types.
A large part of the enduring and growing popularity of pickups is also due to the various manufacturers themselves, especially following the close of WWII. Attractive styling and closer attention to passenger comfort were key drivers of sales growth after pent-up demand was absorbed in the postwar seller’s market. With rising affluence during the 1950s, buyers demanded more of everything in a pickup truck, including greater power, comfort and style than ever before. This trend continued through the 1960s to the present, yielding pickups that were fit for work, yet not at all out of place at church or the country club. In short, pickup trucks provide an ideal entry point for enjoyment of the collector-car lifestyle and come in a multitude of styles, ranging from stock and mild, to inventive and wildly modified forms, very well-represented by the diverse grouping of custom pickups assembled for the upcoming Scottsdale Auction (all offered with No Reserve), as the gallery below illustrates.