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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox
A Collector's Guide to Classic Trucks

Early trucks were merely adapted cars, but in the 1930s, they began to have distinctive designs all their own. In the 1940s, trucks benefitted from the fact that they could be put to military use; while production of cars stopped, trucks were made throughout World War II to be shipped to the troops. Production of classic trucks after World War II was relatively easy to resume, and new civilian truck models started coming out in 1946, ushering in a new era of innovation.

Chevy Trucks
1952 Chevy Truck

Chevy trucks evolved consistently from the 1940s until today's Chevy designs. In 1955, Chevrolet made a bold move by fitting their Task Force trucks with a V8 engine and a six-crossmember frame. It had a 114-inch wheelbase, as did the Chevrolet Cameo. At one point, Chevrolet had a larger market share than any other truck manufacturer in the U.S.

Dodge Trucks
Dodge B Series Truck (By SG2012 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/57664366@N08/21537283789/, CC BY 2.0)

Dodge produced a multipurpose panel truck with 35 horsepower for the U.S. military during World War I but would not start making trucks for the public until 1924. After World War II, Dodge began to manufacture a more family-friendly pickup truck with an expanded cab that could fit three passengers. Dodge also extended the height of the bed so it could fit more cargo with the B-series and later the C-series pickups. A highlight of Dodge history was the Power Wagon, a mass-produced truck from 1946 to 1968 that municipalities used for utilities and snow removal.

  • Dodge Power Wagon Evolution, 1946-68: Check out this breakdown of the changes made to each year's Dodge Power Wagon.
  • The History of Dodge Trucks: Dodge trucks were first developed for World War I and have had a unique evolution from the classic models of the 1920s to the pickup trucks we see today.
  • 1946 Dodge WC Pickup: Take a look at the first post-World War II Dodge pickup.
Ford Trucks
Ford Model TT (By Unknown photographer - https://www.victoriasforestryheritage.org.au/galleries/transport.html, Public Domain)

The first Ford Model TT was manufactured in 1917. Eight years later, Ford followed up with its first fully factory-built pickup, the Ford Model T Runabout. A common feature of early Ford trucks was the waterfall grille. In 1948, Ford started producing the F-Series, which would soon rank among the most popular trucks in the world.

Classic Jeeps
Willys Jeep (By Joost J. Bakker from IJmuiden - willys jeepUploaded by Oxyman, CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Army contracted with Bantam, Willys, and Ford to make light utility vehicle prototypes for military use in 1940. Even though Bantam developed the first prototype, Willys and Ford had the capacity to produce Jeeps on the large scale that the military wanted. Willys became the most successful Jeep manufacturer, producing military and later civilian Jeeps. Willys was acquired by Kaiser Motors in 1953; in 1970, Kaiser was sold to American Motors Corporation. Chrysler then bought AMC in 1987.

Classic Truck Websites and Clubs
  • Antique Truck Club: The Antique Truck Club has more than 30 chapters nationwide and is for people interested in restoring or driving vintage trucks.
  • Vintage Chevrolet Club of America: The Vintage Chevrolet Club publishes an award-winning magazine and offers technical support and social activities to members interested in classic Chevrolet and GMC vehicles.
  • Pickups-n-Panels: Pickups-n-Panels has dominated the classic truck scene in Texas for nearly 30 years. The club's main focus is vintage GM trucks.
  • Great Lakes Truck Club: The Great Lakes Truck Club is the largest classic truck club in Ontario and has existed for almost 20 years.
  • Central Florida Classic Truck Club: Membership in the Central Florida Classic Truck Club is for owners of trucks that are at least 25 years old.
  • Golden Oldies Truck Club Inc.: The Golden Oldies Truck Club is dedicated to the preservation of classic trucks.
  • Jus'n Ol' Truck Club: The Jus'n Ol' Truck Club is a family-oriented group for aficionados of old trucks. The club holds plenty of barbecues and social events for people to network and share their expertise.
  • American Truck Historical Society: The American Truck Historical Society is one of the oldest truck clubs in the United States. Originally based in Dearborn, Michigan, it has since relocated to Birmingham, Alabama. The ATHS hosts an annual convention for its members along with a truck exhibition that's open to the public.
  • Vintage Truck Magazine : Vintage Truck is a go-to authority for classic truck fans looking to learn the latest news about vintage truck restoration and upcoming shows and exhibitions.
  • Heritage Truck Association: For nearly 20 years, the Heritage Truck Association has promoted interest in and appreciation of historic trucks.

Updated By Mark Houlahan

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