What is a Pickup Truck Really For?

Pickup trucks were once basic utility vehicles. They carried significant loads with an in-line six cylinder engine and a three speed standard transmission. Efficient. Practical. Cheap. Definitely not sexy.


But, over the past 40 years, that’s all changed. Now they have several times the horsepower of the old pickups, automatic transmissions, surround sound with augmented bass, GPS, heated seats, and that’s on basic models. Wheels and tires specified┬áto haul twice the weight of the old pickups often lug little more than a cooler of beer. They don’t carry cargo, they carry social messages.

Claire checks out the local pickup meet-up in Charleston, MO



After much study, traveling from Arizona to Maryland, and now heading west again in Missouri, I have deduced the unmistakably essential design element of a new pickup: high bed walls, with nice comfortable rounded tops.

A pickup is for leaning on with a couple of buddies, talking sports and politics. American efficiency.

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