If you have something heavy, dirty, and/or oily, the way you get it from point A to point B without ruining your vehicle in the process is to employ the use of a trusty pickup truck. A short while ago, I asked y’all to give me the best truck values on eBay for less than $10,000, and you delivered. Get it? GET IT?! I’m so sorry.
Trucks by design, need to be rugged, reliable and without fancy-pants frills like safety and ride quality. That’s why the mechanical technology on trucks is usually 20 years behind cars at any given time - a fact that is apparent in this decent mid-sixties Kaiser “Jeep” Gladiator, with its horse-cart suspension and “three on the tree” manual gearshift, which may or may not have had synchros so you’d have to double-clutch and not granny-shift like you should. I’m not sure if the paint job is camouflage, or just hiding some surface rust, but for the price, it’s a pretty dependable little truck.
(Suggested by BenLikesCars)
Sports truck. That’s what Ford thought would sell when they made this supercharged, 5.4 liter SVT Lightning that really didn’t do the “sports”, nor the “truck” any justice. What we got is a truck with an engine that was a distant cousin of the one used in the Ford GT supercar, a revised rear suspension with a lower payload capacity, and a rear end ratio that was geared for highway pulls rather than tractor pulls. It was still a pretty damn cool truck that made a great noise, and was a great alternative to any other small truck that couldn’t get out of its own way.
If you purchased this nostalgic ice cream truck, it would be pretty damn clear that you’re not just any car enthusiast. You’re probably the one bidding the remainder of your reverse mortgage on an gas station service sign from the ‘40s to put in your garage because patina is your lifeblood. Well, this truck is like that old gas station sign: full of battle scars and wrinkles, and sure to attract droves of wide-eyed octogenarians and their know-nothing great-grandchildren.
(Suggested by Zohaibman72)
There’s nothing more utilitarian than a blank slate. This convertible flatbed Ford F350 pickup is the automotive equivalent of a post-shaken etch-a-sketch. Wanna make a bed out of driftwood and bailing wire? Go for it. How about a podium so you can filibuster on the way home from work? All yours. The possibilities are endless, and the truck will likely outlast any crazy-ass projects you might have for it. Get it, and get to work.
(Suggested by Audistein)
Jeep’s major worldwide rival was the British-made Land Rover. This Series III pickup has seriously simple mechanicals and a rigid enough chassis that you could drive it up a dam wall (like, the wall of a dam, not a stupid wall. Hammond did it!), through a stream, or off a cliff without too much issue...to the truck.
You’d likely be killed.
But small issues like impending doom aside, it’s a truck that is used in developing countries to this day as a reliable mode of transport for military, ambulance services, and daily commutes. Although this truck is overseas, you could probably get it shipped to the states under the budget, and drive a legitimate right hand drive truck that wasn’t employed by the US post office at some point.
(Suggested by duurtlang)
Before the STI, WRX, and SVX, there was the Brat. This car, named after a rambunctious and unruly toddler, played the part perfectly. It had looks that only a mother (probably a Justy) could love, and had a small engine that propelled each of its four wheels at a moderate pace. Sure, it had room in the back for things, but the car was the full package for those who had an empty wallet. Get this one now and make it even more ridiculous than it already is.
(Suggested by jkm7680)
Military vehicles like this M932A2 are the best because they’re like regular modes of transportation, except built to withstand a very literal apocalypse. Imagine how awesome a Camry could be if it was built to endure the end of days. It’s huge, not very fuel efficient, and may have seen some combat in its day, but that adds to its larger-than-life presence and character. Use it as a motorcycle hauler or or epic tow rig, with or without zombies.
(Suggested by BrianGriffin)
Do you remember Back To The Future II? Of course you do, because you donated to the Kickstarter to make hover-boards a reality. Newsflash, everything in that film was nonsense. Deloreans don’t make a cool supercharger whine, flying cars are still a pipe dream in 2015, and Jennifer was left in that dystopian nightmare, alone and unconscious. But one thing is certain: Marty’s truck was freakin’ sweet. And now you can have one of your very own, with low miles for some reason for way under budget. This truck can be rebuilt on a minimum wage salary, and looks every bit as badass as any of the bro-dozers that manage to make it to SEMA this year without snapping their fragile axles.
This is a Dodge Power Wagon. It runs on propane. It has a big block V8. It has huge tires. It can tow your house while still attached to the foundation. It’s simple enough to work on in any garage, backyard, or side road in the country, while employing enough street cred that you’ll always be the coolest person at the meet with lots of stories that were definitely true. Hand to God.
(Suggested by The Crazie Kanuck)
This is a Lincoln Blackwood and it is...well...it’s a Lincoln Navigator missing part of the trunk area. And it is the beginning of what the pickup truck has become. This is the predecessor to the eco-boosted 6-cylindered leather lined Platinum trim F-150’s that Ford unloads on every white-collared schmuck looking to reclaim some masculinity he believes he lost driving around in a Toyota Avalon.
The bed on the Blackwood is carpeted. Not lined, carpeted. And it’s pinstriped down the bed and across the barn door tailgate, so it matches its owner’s suit. It only comes in black so it can blend in to the pavement and fly under the radar. It has heated leather seats, a moon roof, wood and leather steering wheel with audio controls, and if you look very carefully, one of the most archaic in dash nav systems you will ever see is embedded into the center console up front. It has two consoles in fact! And 4 captains chairs for seating...that’s right, a full sized crew cab pickup that only seats 4. No wonder this thing was a miserable flop that only lasted for ONE year: 2002. And no...it didn’t even have optional four wheel drive. It is utterly useless, serves no logical purpose, looks stupid, and I have to imagine was purchased by the absolute worst kind of person. And this unashamed stock broker’s cod piece can be yours for the lowly price of $8,500.
There are two on ebay, the other is $11,000 and doesn’t have the navigation system which I have legitimately never seen before. I’m not a truck person, so I don’t know how much in junkyard parts would be needed to give a Blackwood 4 wheel drive. But you’ve got $1,500 to play around with this one.
Also, it may seem like I’m hating on the Blackwood, which I am because it’s a stupid car that never should have made it to production. But, since we have them, it’s the pickup truck for people like me. It’s for when people ask the question “If you had to have a pickup truck...” and you REALLY aren’t a truck guy, this is your answer. Because it’s not a truck. It satisfies certain criteria on a technicality, but at the end of the day, it’s a Town Car with a lift kit and bucket seats all around. And if I HAD to pick a pick-up, this would be it.
(Suggested by Land_Yacht_225)
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.