The History of the Pickup Truck
February 6, 2017

The History of the Pickup Truck

From the first Model T to today’s 4x4, pickup trucks have a long history that has changed the way we work and drive and has always symbolized American culture. These uniquely designed vehicles have played a major role in the success of industry in the U.S. and have now become a regular vehicle choice for plenty of people. As the popularity of pickup trucks continues to grow, it’s important to know the roots of this classic symbol of American engineering.

The Introduction of the Pickup Truck

The very first pickup was designed by Henry Ford in 1925, and was the source of the actual term “pickup.” Based on the original Model T, Ford added a pickup body and capitalized on the farming industry’s need for a functional vehicle to use on the farm. From working the fields to moving produce from one area to another, a pickup made for easy work and an ideal solution.

The original Model T was eventually replaced by a sturdier and more powerful Model A in 1928, cementing Ford as the pioneer in the pickup truck market, which would in some ways shape the culture.

From Utility to Lifestyle: The Transition of the Pickup

While pickup trucks were initially created for farm and military purposes, they eventually became a hot-ticket item for families and suburban people. In 1955, Chevrolet introduced its Cameo Carrier, which brought about the advent of the body style we know today, a change from the rear fenders that were commonplace in early designs.

This was also a time when experimenting was common and smaller, sedan-like pickups were developed, which eventually morphed into the hatchbacks we know today.

Bigger is Better: The Introduction of the Crew Cab and Muscle

As pickups continued to evolve, the need for more space arose, which cemented the pickup as a viable choice for a family car. . The trend continued through the ‘60s, being adopted by all the big names in the industry including Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge. While we take the crew cab for granted now, it was once impossible to fit a whole family into a pickup.

The movement to make pickups bigger didn’t end there; it evolved into other trends, including the need for bigger engines and muscle-style trucks. Dodge took the helm of this movement from 1963-67 with the introduction of the V-8, a shift from the traditional V-6 engines that had dominated the landscape. These trucks eventually took to the racetrack, and can still be seen there today with special pickup stock cars that are always a fun event at NASCAR races.

The Modern Era of Pickup Trucks

Today you can find a range of pickup trucks on the road. From two-seaters to crew cabs, Hemi engines to bio-diesel trucks, all the way to hatchbacks, these vehicles all stem from the original Model T design. Trucks still find their way into suburban homes, perfectly accommodating the need for a multi-purpose vehicle that inspired the original creation of the pickup.

Some modern iterations of the pickup truck include crossovers that blend a pickup with an SUV, continuing the trend of innovation in the field. While pickup trucks may look uniform today, they can still be customized like the old days.

Customizing with Pickup Truck Accessories

Pay homage to the founding fathers of pickup truck innovations by adding accessories to your pickup. From grille guards to bumpers to running steps, we at Ranch Hand have something to customize your truck. These accessories can be for aesthetics, but they can also protect your truck with sturdy parts. Contact us today to keep the tradition alive with your pickup truck!

Pickup trucks are synonymous with American culture and innovation. Be a part of the movement with your own pickup and customization through accessories available from Ranch Hand!