Home » Everyone Loves A Good Classic American Pickup Truck: COTD

Everyone Loves A Good Classic American Pickup Truck: COTD

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The world can seem so divided. We live in a time where there’s a constant news cycle and it always seems to be delivering dreadful stories. It’s even worse if the subjects of those stories impact you personally. This week, we found out there’s one thing that can bring everyone together, and it’s a good classic American pickup truck.

This week, we’ve shown you how the second-generation Dodge Ram changed truck design and why the Cummins 5.9-liter 12-valve diesel is a legendary engine. We also explained why the clean, simple, and classy General Motors GMT400 design is another American truck superstar. The trucks of today may be hulking beasts with less outward visibility than a submarine, but in a not-too-distant past, pickup trucks were just as beautiful as they were functional.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Adrian’s design breakdown of the GMT400 welled up fond memories from other fans of classic American iron. PlatinumZJ looked back and gave us a story that will give you a sensible chuckle:

Excellent article! My father bought his first Suburban in the late ’80s; he traded it in 1990 for a two-tone red and white Suburban. I remember the ‘fuel injection’ badge on the back door (it had two doors instead of a tailgate) being quite a conversation starter. I always liked the velour, and really liked the look of the fancy captain’s chairs in the front. The dashboard design was interesting; it had the ‘modern’ plastic upper part but a lower part made of metal, just right for a kid with a magnet collection. I do wonder why it had a giant fuel gauge where most manufacturers would have put a tachometer, but if I’m remembering correctly the tachometer may have been some kind of special option.

I also remember when such large vehicles weren’t common. We were at a fancy restaurant for some big occasion, and Dad decided to use valet parking. After dinner, while we were outside waiting for the valet, some ladies who had been enjoying themselves a bit too much stumbled outside. They were astounded when the valet drove up with the Suburban; one of them assumed that such a truck must belong to the restaurant, and blurted out “Where do they take people in that thing?” The valet told her he had no idea, and that she should ask the truck’s owner.

1998 C1500 2wd Regular Cab Short Box Pickup

Meanwhile, Andy Individual figured what happened to the buttons in cars:

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“GM was also in the habit of using two buttons where one would do”

So that’s where all the buttons went. They got used up!

Nsane In The MembraNe shares their own story. Adrian really got people in the feels with that piece:

As a fellow elder millennial I couldn’t agree more. There aren’t a whole lot of vehicles I’m deeply nostalgic for but the GMT400/800 and a lot of the Ford equivalents (until the late 90s F150, that thing is hideous and too busy) just do it for me, and the “why” is very simple.

A lot of us have fond memories of being schlept around in these when we were kids. In my neck of the woods (and I’ll acknowledge I’m showing some privilege here) Explorers, Expeditions, Suburbans, Tahoes, etc. were more or less standard kit for families. I was taken to countless soccer games, Six Flags trips, birthday parties, etc. in the back seats of these trucks. I can hear Flagpole Sitta just thinking about it.

And then they had a resurgence when we all reached driving age because they were all long paid off, still running, and our parents (incorrectly) thought bigger meant safer. My high school parking lot was loaded with 90s trucks and SUVs in the late 2000s. My first car was a 96 Explorer that got passed down to me and that thing meant the world to me as a teenager. I could do whatever I wanted! Drive anywhere. Smoke in it. Pile 5-7 friends in. Park it and hop in the backseat with my girlfriends. Fill it with cases of beer my friends’ older siblings had bought for us. Etc.

Basically this is a long winded way of saying a lot of us did a lot of growing up in these trucks. I get why there’s a market for pristine examples on sites like Cars and Bids…because now a fair amount of us have some money to spend, are having kids, and get a kick out of buying an as close to showroom example as possible of what we spent our formative years in.

Chevrolet C K Series 1988 Wallpapers 1

Finally, we have a message from Crank Shaft, who wants to see our wonderful Jason recover without having to worry about the horrors of navigating the American healthcare system:

You know what’s bad design? Our health insurance deductible and coinsurance system. Emergency surgery costs a fortune out of pocket. If you haven’t heard, our beloved Jason Torchinsky suffered such an event on Monday and will experiencing the financial pain right before the holidays. Please help ease his burden by donating to the Torch Medical Expense Fund today.

I want to thank all of you for your continued support and love! Your awesome comments and generosity makes our days, weeks, and months. Have a great weekend.

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PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
2 months ago

Aww, I got a mention! Thanks Mercedes!

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
2 months ago

When I think of classic truck I think of something a little older, like 70s and 80s Ford and GM. I am not a truck guy, and will unashamedly admit I had no idea what a GMT400 was, but yeah, it just slides in under the time before trucks became too crazy tall for no good reason other than seeing over everybody else, and starting a no win nuclear arms race in vehicle height.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
3 months ago

Thank you, Crank Shaft. That’s extremely thoughtful of you and hopefully helps a ton.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
3 months ago

The gmt400 is still the height of truck design (minus the unpinned ac compressor housings). I had a 96 c1500 extended cab with 290k miles on it when I sold it, a 99 4×4 suburban with the g locker in the back that was a beach machine, and have always wanted a ccsb, but they’re all ratted out now. When I was in the military, the cclb gmt400’s made the best flight line trucks.

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
3 months ago

I love them because they are simple. in terms of build, use, size, everyway. todays truck have to be the owner’s everything vehicle.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
3 months ago

Thanks for the mention Mercedes. 🙂

The members have really come through and I for one couldn’t be more grateful. Much appreciated.

Bonus points to anyone who can identify the motor from which my avatar crankshaft comes.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
3 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

A very very tiny motor?

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
3 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

“What is that, a crankshaft for ants?”

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

Clue #1) They spent most of their time off the ground.

Dead Elvis Inc.
Dead Elvis Inc.
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

It appears to be a LEGO piece when zoomed in, so I’m going with a big ol’ LEGO aeroplane of some sort.

eta: I’m curious why my avatar appears on some of my comments, but not all. This & my previous one were both posted from the same device.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dead Elvis Inc.
Drew
Drew
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I don’t know of a way to get to a larger version of the image, so I’m just going to use the hint and guess Continental 470.

I don’t think that’s it, but I’m looking on mobile, so the photo is VERY small.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Fair enough (and kinda unfair of me before). See Link.

And not a bad guess!

Last edited 2 months ago by Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Clue #2) Full size pic link: Linky

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

That sure is a lot of crank pins…

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

Oh Mercedes, you’re going to be a little embarrassed at this one. You more than most should appreciate it (and should have a leg up given your current license seeking – yet another clue). Hahaha 😀

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

Also, Today’s Pedantry Winner Is. Mercedes Streeter!

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Do they though???

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

Quite the opposite actually.

DadBod
DadBod
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Some sort of aero-transport, perhaps? Maybe a blimp motor?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Warmer, but pretty much the opposite type of vehicle.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

How might you attack a blimp?

DadBod
DadBod
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

With a dragon!

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Something made by Lycoming or Continental?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

OCS-BN got it last night. Rolls Royce Merlin (although others made the same crank under license).

Space
Space
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

How about some sort of submarine crankshaft?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  Space

Aeronaut, not aquanaut.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
2 months ago
Reply to  Space

I agree that a Fairbanks Morse diesel spends much more of its life off the ground then an airplane engine that is landing and being serviced pretty frequently.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jalop Gold
OCS-BN
OCS-BN
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Rolls-Royce Merlin

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago
Reply to  OCS-BN

Ding Ding Ding! You are the winner!

Nice work. You have won… My compliments and respect. I wish it were more valuable, but maybe it will improve your day.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Great, thanks! This is probably going to be the highlight of my day. It’s 8.30am 🙁

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