Photos: Raphael Orlove, on his carpet.

When you find yourself at the Winn-Dixie on Pine Island, Florida, you do the sensible thing and you drop the $3.99 on the Truck Round-Up.

By the time I dropped this classifieds booklet into the shopping cart, on top of the bottled waters next to the beer, the chips, and the salsa for the upcoming few hours on the boat, I had already been in Florida for a few days. My vacation was coming to a close, and I wanted something to take back with me, other than memories of spotting spoonbills and catching frogs.

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It had only been a day into the trip, though, my first time on the road in the daylight, that I blurted out “Trans Sport” with a sense of urgency completely mismatched with the red dustbuster minivan sharing the thoroughfare with the rest of us. I had old utilitarian cars on my mind, and every Suzuki X-90 and lifted OBS Ford I saw redoubled my focus.

Still, I waited to open this thing till now for that hit of for sale dreaming.

Annoyingly, all that truck round-up does for me is remind me of what I want and that I can’t afford it. Observe this wonderful rear-engine pickup, that could be hauling my small bike collection around. It is a Corvair, a Greenbrier. It would be wonderful if it cost a few grand. The seller is asking $28,500.

While it is nice to be reminded of strange old trucks of days gone by, like the unibody Fords of the early 1960s, these reminders are more like chimes of my failure. I cannot even drop $2,000 to have a big truck around living here in Brooklyn.

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In between all the over-restored C-10s and other things too nice to drive you do find some nice usable vehicles, like this perfect van-era Dodge on what look like Jackmans. Unfortunately, the seller wants significantly more than what I’d be willing to spend, were my life cast into such flux that I would consider it necessary to buy such a van. (To live in it, of course.)

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There is no way for me to be mad, though, at this lovely late ‘70s Toyota in proper Ironman Ivan Stewart-grade Toyota racing colors. Amazingly this is a Wolverine, and these cars came looking like this from the factory. The ‘70s were a wild time for trucks.

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More than anything specific about these vehicles, they are reminders of what lives others lead. It is Jalopnik alumnus Mike Roselli who comes to my mind when seeing this ‘90 Chev with a paint job worth going broke over.

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So too do I dream when seeing this ‘90s Ford Ranger with a ‘51 shoebox Ford body cut over it. Whose hand put down those welds, to create such fearful asymmetry?

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And how long has this rat rod pickup been out of style before the owner or put it up for sale at a brisk $16,500?

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Ah hell, here it is. The very last car on the very last page. The Chevy SS 454. Now there is a good truck, one so good I fear there may be none new to match its sense of vigor, vitality, and bottomless urge. Why, why do I buy these classifieds again?

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Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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