America Sells Its Dreams In Truck Trader

Illustration for article titled America Sells Its Dreams In Truck Trader
Photo: Raphael Orlove

As I step toward the checkout at Winn-Dixie I realize I’ve forgotten something: The greatest and quickest archive of forgotten hopes, dreams, aspirations, and exciting paint jobs America has to offer. The Truck Round-Up at the end of the magazine counter.

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Always, always, always, there’s got to be something good in this truck trader.

Well, this is a Truck Round-Up, but it’s all the same. It’s nationwide classifieds that have somehow endured the rise of Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and whatever other new app people are using to offload old Playstations by the time you’re reading this.

These wonderful, delicate paper prints are mostly full of plain and ordinary “I know what I have” vehicles. It’s pretty much all ordinary trucks at ordinary prices. I never go into these looking for a surprising deal. I go in for something else entirely. I want to see project trucks I never would have imagined. I want to see paint schemes I haven’t thought about in decades. I want the dreams of my youth presented to me for sale, memories of grey-bearded and beer-bellied men grumbling about the cream puff Chevy Nomads they passed on buying years and years ago. I want all of that nostalgia, and I find it every time I pick up a copy.

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Photo: Raphael Orlove

Right after opening this February 2021 issue up, I am immediately presented with a glam Mazda B2000 ready for an appearance in Cool as Ice. I don’t want to pin any specific style to it, but it’s charmingly custom, with a Toyota bumper conversion. I guess there was a time when there were enough yellow splash paint B2000s on the road that you’d need a custom bumper to stand out.

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Photo: Raphael Orlove

Equally wonderful is this purple Dodge, hot-rodded to enough of a degree that the engine is visible from both the sides and top of the vehicle. We are fully in the car-as-life-size-cartoon mindset of tuning, and I wish we had a bit more of it these days. The seller claims it is a “1 of only 280 made, rare humpback” model, which is the kind of eccentric boast you find in these kinds of old American car circles.

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I should also say that these kinds of car zones are also filled with misinformation or outright lies. It’s hard to tell sometimes! Beyond stories about rotary GT-R Mustangs we have this 1940 Hyundai:

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Hyundai was founded in 1947 and didn’t start producing cars until the 1960s, which would be your first tip that this classification is wrong. We’re looking at a Daihatsu here.

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This excellent ‘37 Ford is pretty much all the Chevy SSR wanted to be. I had sort of thought the market for these had died off, but there must still be somebody willing to spend $40 grand on this somewhere!

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I must also make mention of this 46 Chevy, which is extraordinarily monochrome. You always see American cars of this era with the “brightwork” on. Subtracting the chrome takes me back to the rad era.

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Not as much as this 67, though! It’s for sale in San Luis Obispo, and I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be cruising down to Pismo in this thing. Honestly, it’s impossible to not imagine a swarm of butterflies landing on this paint job.

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It is a joy to flip page after page and be greeted with reminders of how grand one’s dreams can be. It is one thing to dream of having a 68 Dodge A100, stuck out over the front wheels. It is another to jam a small block into the bed and run it with a v-drive.

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There’s also a section of what’s been up for sale at Barrett-Jackson, and it’s a reminder of some of the dreck that passes across the auction block these days. Here is a 64 Ford with fake patina. Blah.

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Contrast that to the eight inlets on this T. Your air cleaner budget will be considerable, but it will be worth it, I’m sure.

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Every copy of a classifieds paper will have some good shit you’ll have never thought of, like a front-drive El Dorado pickup conversion. It’s a joy to see, and also strange to see how difficult it is to put a dollar value on something like it. $16,900 is enough to make you wonder if such cars can be valued!

Maybe we should never have to put prices on our dreams, on our work, and look for other ways to value ourselves! Maybe someday we will have moved past it. Until then, distant dreams are for sale, and you can find them just before the cashier.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

a-barth
A. Barth

Hyundai was founded in 1947 and didn’t start producing cars until the 1960s, which would be your first tip that this classification is wrong. We’re looking at a Daihatsu here.

I have no desire to crimp any of the Joe-Dirt-ian enjoyment here, but it’s possible that Daihatsu was not an option for the ‘manufacturer’ field, leading a geographically-challenged individual to pick a marque that looked equally foreign.

(Yes, I know Daihatsu and Hyundai are from different countries. I did not write the ad.)