I immigrated to America in 2008 from the Netherlands, where a Corolla is a large car and gas prices ran double digits not too long ago. Needless to say, I got obsessed with pick-ups. But I had many misconceptions.
Let me take this opportunity to try to explain the American pickup truck culture to future immigrants.
I learned that a real American family (still unsure about the definition of ‘real') owns at least one pick-up truck. For those still in the ‘old' world: A pick up truck is basically a larger version of a car that comes with a bouncy ride, less comforts, uses considerably more gas and is harder to park. Most trucks consist of a ‘cab' and a ‘bed'. The cab is a cramped version of a car, with less legroom and often no back seat.
Where Your Stuff Goes
The ‘bed' is where American's put their stuff. Well, some of their stuff. Except groceries, because they will fly out on the highway or get stolen if you need to stop at a second store. The bed doesn't hold anything too fragile either, because stuff slides around in the corners. And of course anything that should not get wet or cold is excluded as well.
All items that fall in the above categories go in the ‘cab'. Often sharing the limited leg room of the passengers.
The bed of a truck is exclusively for the following three items: Fridges,
Mattresses, Sofas. Most Americans however, will drive their truck to the store to purchase these bulky products, but still prefer to take home-delivery. This is easier on the paint.
Am I a moving company?
Owning a truck, you can expect the occasional call from a friend you haven't talked to in a long time. In short, such conversations go like this:
- Hey Buddy! How's life? We should really hang out soon!
- - Hi, How's it going?
- Good! Hey, I was wondering, do you still have that pickup truck?
- - (Hesitant)...ehh yes.
- Great! Would you mind hopping by my house and helping me move this big dresser over to my friends place?
Generally, you can expect the dresser to weigh 500 pounds and the friend to live out of state. Things you should not expect are gas money and having your old friend call you again anytime soon to hang out.
Buying a truck is a relatively simple 3 step process. For the purpose of this advice I will assume that your neighbors house has a "Don't Tread On Me" flag, and their truck still has a W.'04 bumper sticker. Follow these simple steps, and you will blend in.
Get a loan
You were also amazed by the amount of nice vehicles driving around on the roads in America when you first landed here? Turns out, most Americans do not actually own those cars. You can go to your local credit union and get a car loan. That way you can purchase a way nicer truck than the one you saved for (this is America yo, saving is for pussies). The good thing is, you can still tell your friends you ‘own' a new truck, and they will take your word for it!
Pick a brand
Choose Japanese if you can afford it. Reliability is stunning. If not, go with an American brand and tell your neighbors you want to be "patriotic" because the foreigners took all our jobs. They will respect your choice.
Choose a model
Ford has got the F series, Dodge has the RAM series, et cetera. The relevance starts at the number that comes after the model title. The higher the better. You cannot go wrong here. The F350 is a better choice than the F250 and the the Ram 2500 means your genitals are of better size than if you opt for the Ram 1500. It is that simple.
Customize your truck
The higher number = better rule applies everywhere. Model numbers, cylinders, horsepower, torque, wheels, exhausts. Customizing is no different. The ideal way to do this is by lifting your pickup as many inches as possible. Again, the more the better, you cannot go wrong here. (I know this is confusing, because this makes it harder to actually put anything in the bed, but keep in mind that an empty bed is the preferred way to drive a truck regardless.)
If lifting your truck is financially unfeasible, go with a larger and louder exhaust. Even though this might wake up the guy next door when you drive home late at night, he will respect your upgrade.
The bare minimum is adding a gun rack to your pickup though. Mixing 2nd amendment rights with driving a truck is like the ultimate America stew.
Other Truck Customs
- As pointed out by my foreign friends when they visit me in Sacramento, it is totally OK to park a large truck in the compact spot at the grocery store. In fact, it fits right in between the lines.
- It is not uncommon to see a "disabled" placard on a 1985 Chevy Pickup that has been lifted up to the point even a member of the special forces would have a hard time climbing in.
- 90% of all Pickups on the road are occupied by 1 person with no cargo. So don't feel guilty for not using your truck to it's full capacity.
It beats the European Alternative
As much fun my Euro friends make of the terrible inefficiencies that come with driving a pickup, it sure beats their alternative. As much as I love the planet and spending little on gas, there is no way I'll ever trade my F150 for one of these. I love my truck.
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"