The only constant thing in life is change. Throughout history, we see devices, buildings, laws, and more evolve. Like evolution in life forms, things change through the need of the people. The same goes for pickup trucks.
Pickups nowadays come in all shapes and forms. But deep inside, they’re still trucks capable of their utilitarian prowess of yore. Even the most luxurious pickup truck available in the market can pull tons of cargo, has four-wheel drive, and a truck bed that can carry loads over thousands of kilograms. Despite all the marketing pizzazz car companies use to advertise their pickups, pickup trucks are still trucks. Ingrained in their DNAs are the physical capabilities their ancestors possess and more.
The Rise of the Pickup Truck
Before the mass production of pickup trucks, farmers and merchants first created pickup trucks from cars with a stripped-down back. Before the moniker “pickup trucks,” it was merely a crude vehicle with a truck bed used for hauling.
In 1917, Ford released the Model TT, an add-on for their famous Model T. The Model TT is a chassis you can fit for the Model T. Because of their popularity, Ford released the first factory-produced closed cab pickup truck, the Model A.
This era’s pickup trucks were akin to literal small trucks, all without the comfort and features mainstream vehicles have. Pickup trucks in the early 1900s are bare as any truck can be. It mostly has basic bench seats, a metal dashboard, no carpet or rubber floor mats, steel wheels, and no power steering.
Yet, it still prevailed. Their popularity skyrocketed after the second world war when goods were distributed throughout the states. Farmers and workers satisfied their need for an all-in-one vehicle that can handle hundreds of miles while carrying hundreds of kilos of goods.
When Luxury Met the Workhorse
When car companies noticed their pickup truck sales were getting larger every year and the roads were getting filled with more pickups, they decided to market it to the mainstream. As the customers’ needs changed and their location changed to cities from farms, the pickup truck’s design and features changed along with them.
Over time, the mechanics of the pickup truck evolved for the ease and comfort of the customers. Car manufacturers added automatic transmissions, power steering, power brakes, and independent front suspensions to their pickups. With all the engine upgrades, the trucks of this era started to be capable of hauling 5 tons of cargo with better fuel efficiency and aerodynamics. Manufacturers even included add-ons like a complete kit for engine rebuilding to tune their engine when it breaks. Along with this, the interior of the car improved as well with padded interiors.
In 2019, one in five pickups sold were luxury variants of pickups. Nowadays, customers are using pickup trucks for their daily commutes. High-end pickup trucks feature leather interiors, expansive dashboard, a four-door cab, and more. Pickup trucks’ interiors are now akin to high-end SUVs, a mile-long difference from their ancestors.
Something that hasn’t changed is the prowess of the pickup truck. Pickup trucks are still capable of hauling heavy loads on rocky terrains that regular SUVs can’t handle. Their fuel efficiency has vastly improved too in this energy-conscious era. Car companies expanded their kilometers-per-gallon by reducing weight and building more efficient engines and transmissions, all without sacrificing power. Nowadays, top trucks can now tow 16,000 kilos of freight, a far cry from pickup trucks in the past.
In the past, people bought pickup trucks because they were the cheapest automotive available that can stand to their workload. Nowadays, pickup trucks not only provide power and versatility, but they also come in a variety of luxurious designs and interiors as well. Customers searching for a reliable car can now choose the perfect pickup for them with overflowing options and customizability. Why choose if you want to ride in style or have a powerful engine when you can have both in the form of a pickup truck.