The 20 Most Epic Classic Pickup Trucks Of All Timeūüöó

Pickups have been the backbone of the American economy for decades, and here are 20 classic trucks from the past that you simply can’t ignore

Many things must be considered when choosing the top 15 classic trucks of all time. For many die-hard pickup truck enthusiasts, the only type of ride they would consider getting into would have to have four-wheel drive, big tires, and the ability to go offroad into the great unknown, giving classic trucks such as the Jeep Gladiator and the Ford Highboy a significant advantage.

For others, the only truck that will catch their eye will be one that can lay a strip of rubber down that rivals the best muscle cars on the circuit, such as the Ford Lightening and the Dodge Lil Red Express. Either way, you lean, this list has you covered because when going through the piles of trucks that deserve a place on this list, a few from each category were chosen because people have varying viewpoints on what makes a truck an awesome truck.

The visual appeal is a big reason these pickup trucks were picked out of the thousands to choose from. The following list of classic trucks combines all the aspects of a truck that die-hard enthusiasts love without all the problems associated with the average pickup.

Updated August 1, 2023: The trucks on this list are so epic that we have decided to update and refresh this list of pickups rather than let it get lost in the multitudes of other pieces that have moved to the back burner. Along with the original ten entries, you will find that another ten have been added to make things even more exciting.

20-1917 Ford Model TT Is The Classic Truck That Started It All

Top Speed: 42 MPH

A parked 1917 Ford Model TT Huckster

No top 10 classic truck list would be complete without adding in the first trucks ever made for mass production in America. 1917 was a time in history that changed the world forever. The first 3 Ford Model TT trucks rolled off the production lines to be sold for a mere $600. These trucks are worth $20,000, with one going for over $335,000. That is, of course, if they can be found. The amazing thing is that when these trucks were sold to the consumers, the only thing offered was the chassis. The buyer had to supply the body.

There is no towing capacity listed anywhere by Ford, but since the old classic had some decent torque, you can surely hook up an average trailer if you really need to. As for hauling, the Ford Model TT was rated to haul up to 2,000 pounds, or a full ton if you prefer. Which, if you are not aware, is why the one-ton truck came to be.

19-1946-1968 Dodge Power Wagon Is A Four-Wheel Drive Truck To Remember 

Top Speed: 68 MPH

Black 1946 Dodge Power Wagon

The Dodge Power Wagon started as a military vehicle designed to transport goods and troops from one location to another on and off the battlefield. Once WWII ended, Dodge saw the benefit of having a four-wheel driven truck in America for use on the farm, in the lumber and construction fields, and for the do-it-yourselfers that needed a way to haul things through rough terrain. The Power Wagon brought some substantial technology to the industry, such as optional two or four-wheel drive systems, the first multi-use truck on the market, the first truck to come with mobile services on board, and the Willock Swivel Frame paved the way for independent suspension.

The old-school classic Power Wagon was built to work, so it should not come as much of a surprise to hear that the Dodge Power Wagon of old had a GVW of 8,700 and a maximum payload of 3,000 pounds. It can get any job done that you need to get completed. Finding one is a problem, though; when you do, you will pay anywhere from $11,000 to $63,000.

18-1972-1979 Datsun D20 Was Small To Fit The Demand

Top Speed: 87 MPH

A parked 1980 Datsun D20

The¬†Datsun¬†D20 series pickup trucks are still in production today, just called the¬†Nissan Frontier. They were one of the original compact trucks shipped over from Japan to offer a smaller version of a vehicle that everybody wanted. This small version was beyond dependable, and considering the periods between ’72 and ’79, it had fantastic fuel mileage. As with most other trucks on the market, you could go with two- or four-wheel drive, with the latter being more fuel efficient. The truck had a small four-cylinder engine but could still do most minor towing and hauling tasks.

The little Datsun pickup was not built for large jobs, but it could still surprise you since it is so durable and rugged. It was officially rated with a GVW of 1,441 pounds, which may not seem like a whole lot, but once you get the pickup truck bed loaded, you will see that it is more than a full load of garbage that needs hauled away or brush that needs to be taken to the compost yard. The best thing is that when you find one for sale, they are more than affordable, going for as little as $2,000 and never higher than $10,000.

17-1967-1972 Chevrolet C-Series Were Built For The Everyday Person

Top Speed: 92 MPH

A parked 1972 Chevrolet C20

For the most part, trucks were designed and produced to fill a gap in the car industry. That spot that needed to be filled back in the early days was a vehicle to haul and tow, or to put it in more plain words, America needed a work vehicle that could be used on farms and work sites nationwide. As the country grew, people began to see the benefits of owning a truck. They began to choose them as their number one purchase. Still, they wanted to be able to use them for all their necessities, which is why the 1967 to 1972 Chevrolet C-series trucks are so important. They led the way for all the modern trucks today that allow people to enjoy a luxurious everyday ride while being able to haul or tow anything when needed.

Keep in mind that the C designation means that the truck is a two-wheel drive, and the C/K is a four-wheel variation. As for towing and hauling, the truck was built for working so it could handle up to 6,000 pounds behind (depending upon the engine and set-up). These trucks are not difficult to find, but since they have always been used for work trucks, they are not in the best of shape at times. The Chevy C10 averages between $3,600 and $27,500, with lots of room for haggling.

16-1979-1983 Toyota Pickup Changed The Idea Of Small Trucks For Off-Roading

Top Speed: 93 MPHA parked Toyota Pickup

The third generation of¬†Toyota¬†trucks changed how off-road enthusiasts looked at small, foreign-designed trucks because 1979 was the first year the truck came with an optional four-wheel drive system. As the years progressed, more off-road truck lovers began to veer away from the larger, less fuel-efficient trucks for the economical and dependable Toyota 4×4. Since it is smaller,¬†this pickup could go places the leading brands could not manage. When adding in the fuel economy, it could go farther than the competition, which meant more fun for the buck. Today,¬†the Toyota Tundra is revered as one of the most capable trucks on the market.

The classic Toyota pickup is so tough and dependable that even though the specs limit the truck to a GVW of just 3,655 pounds and a towing capacity of 3,086 pounds with trailer brakes installed, many truck owners carry more than that. Of course, that is never recommended, but since these trucks can be picked up for less than $10,000 most of the time, it is an easy way to work hard and replace them when needed.

15-1986-1997 Nissan Hardbody Is Basic But Dependable

Top Speed: 95 MPH

Red and Silver 1993 Nissan Hardbody SE-V6 4x4 5-Speed Truck

The Nissan D21, or Nissan Hardbody as the company dubbed it, was the mini-truck before the Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. It was the go-to truck for consumers that wanted something small, dependable, and versatile. It came off the production lines as a two- or four-wheel drive, four- or six-cylinder engine, and a single or extended cab. The Hardbody name was retired in 1997 when it was officially renamed the¬†Nissan Frontier. The Nissan pickup has fallen behind in today’s technology, but for a basic truck that a person can depend upon, not much can compare.

The Nissan Hardbody is not an easy truck to find because those with them do not like to part with them. However, when they come up for sale, they can be picked up for around $5,000 for a pickup needing some work to $20,000 for one in pristine condition. The main thing to remember when using the Hardbody for work is that it has a strict towing limit of 3,501 pounds, so stay under that threshold.

14-1963-1971 Jeep Gladiator Is An Offroad Classic Legend

Top Speed: 97 MPH

A parked 1969 Jeep Gladiator
Bring a Trailer

Even though the¬†Gladiator¬†disappeared in 1971, the truck that came after with the J-series designations was the same truck, just with a name that made it easier to distinguish between the models. The¬†Jeep¬†Gladiator was an afterthought of the¬†Cherokee, one of the most luxurious and usable SUVs of the time. It originally came off the production lines with a small 3.6-liter inline-six cylinder, but it had many more options as it continued to thrive on the market. Rear-wheel drive was also standard, with the possibility of having all-wheel drive. The 1963 to ’71 Jeep Gladiator is a sight to see and a dream to drive.¬†Just ask the cast of “Twister.”

Starting in 1968, the Jeep Gladiator came with an optional Buick 350 small-block V-8 that could pump out 230 horsepower. A camper option was added to the J-3600 model giving it a reported towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds. A 1963 to 1971 Jeep Gladiator can be found priced for sale anywhere between $7,000 and $45,000, depending upon the condition and location.

13-1988-1998 GMC Sierra Is A Classic That Stands The Test Of Time

Top Speed: 98 MPH

A parked 1988 GMC Sierra 3500

The easy styling of the¬†GMC¬†came upon the market in 1988 at the perfect time. It was when the U.S. citizens decided that a truck was for more than work. Consumers wanted the versatility of a truck, with simplicity and dependability. These trucks were designed for the working men and women that did not want to pay an arm and a leg for a truck. The best part of all is that the¬†GMC trucks¬†are so easy to work on and upgrade that they are one of the most popular choices for a monster built for street racing or off-road performance. Today,¬†the GMC Sierra leads GMC’s truck revolution.

Since the GMC Sierra is a full-size pickup, it is better suited for towing and hauling than some other choices on this list. The maximum towing capacity listed for the Sierra is anywhere between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds, and the maximum payload is up to 2,230 pounds. Pricing can vary by condition and location, but you are looking at paying anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

12-1966-1977 Ford F-250 Highboy Was Actually A Nickname, Not A Trim

Top

Speed: 101 MPH

A parked 1977 Ford F-250 Highboy

Even though¬†Ford Motor Company¬†never dubbed the¬†F250¬†a Highboy, truck lovers named it so they could tell them apart from the rest. The ’67 to ’77¬†F-250 Highboy¬†came off the production line with the same drivetrain set up as the two-wheel drive trucks. This means the transmission is joined to the transfer case with a short driveshaft instead of being married to the back of the transmission, as seen today. This also meant that the driveshaft in front had to be longer, which was impossible unless the truck was jacked up. The suspension lift of four inches made the connection possible, so the pickup is called the Highboy.

The Highboy had the option of so many engines that it would be impossible to cover them all without giving them an entire list, but one of the most common to find was the 400 cid. It offered plenty of power while not guzzling the gas for which the big 460 cid was famous for. The 400 cid could tow up to 4,500 pounds and haul a total of 3,625 pounds. As for the current prices, they range from a low $10,000 all the way up to $70,000, depending on the conditions and location.

11-1993-1995 Ford Lightning Was Created By The SVT

Top Speed: 110 MPH

A parked 1993 Ford F150 SVT Lightning

The success of the Chevrolet 454 SS pickup brought about the need for Ford to come up with an answer of their own. The Special Vehicle Team (SVT) at Ford took the challenge a step beyond by taking a basic F150, upgrading a 351W engine, pairing it to an E40D heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission, and connecting it to a Traction-Lok rear end by way of an aluminum driveshaft. The engine could pump out up to 240 horses and 340 pound-feet of torque. The Lightning sat lower to the ground than the primary F-150 and had traction control systems installed to help when launching.

According to the people at Motor Trend, the Ford Lightning is a Mustang with a cargo bed, so it is not designed to be a work truck. However, that being said, it can still tow up to 5,000 pounds. Since the average small camper only weighs 3,000 pounds or so, you can travel around the country tearing up the tracks and still have a place to sleep. Finding one to buy may pose a problem, but if you have cash in hand, you can pick them up for under $60,000.

10-1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota Is A Zippy Mid-Size Performance Truck

Top Speed: 113 MPH

A parked 1989 Dodge Dakota Shelby

For many people, the¬†Shelby name is synonymous with the Ford Mustang, but for a short time, Carroll Shelby left Ford’s side and worked with the people at Dodge. One of the vehicles that they produced together was the 5.2-liter driven Dodge Shelby Dakota. For a mid-sized truck, that is a pretty big engine, especially when Shelby is working on fine-tuning it. These trucks started as bare Dakota pickups and were shipped to Carrol and his team, from which the Shelby Dakota was created.

Of course, since they were being built up to be beasts on the street and strip, not much thought was put into towing and hauling capacities. However, since the foundation was a Dakota, it could still carry on like an average truck. The towing capacity of the Dodge Shelby Dakota maxes out at 1,800 pounds. It has a payload limit of 970 pounds, so it is by no means a top dog in the working industry. But who needs that when you can run the quarter mile in a pickup in under 17 seconds without any modifications.

9-1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002 Is A High-End Pickup/Car

Top Speed: 118 MPH

Black Lamborghini LM002

A very controversial vehicle on this list is the Rambo Lambo, as it is affectionately called. The Lamborghini LM002 was actually not initially intended for public use, but rather it was designed in an attempt by the company to obtain coveted military contracts. Under the hood you will find a very large and powerful 5.2-liter V-12 that is paired with a five-speed manual transmission.

Since the Lamborghini LM002 was designed for military use, it had to be able to tow and haul gear, which may be why the vehicle’s towing capacity is 8,000 pounds and the total payload is 1,000 pounds. Not bad for a vehicle that many people would scoff at as a truck. The price for one, however, may make you think twice about getting one because they can¬†run over $300,000 when they come up on the auction block

8-1990-1993 Chevy 454 SS Is Built For Speed And Power

Top Speed: 120 MPH

A parked Chevy 454 SS

Muscle car lovers worldwide would jump to get behind the wheel of a Chevy 454 SS. It was another truck built for speed and raw power, but it could play or work like any other pickup in its class. Sadly, this Chevrolet was not as well known as it should have been because of the GMC Syclone and the Ford Lightning. The Chevy 454 SS is well worth getting to know because it could outperform many of the muscle cars from the decade and even some from the days when the muscle car was the top dog. The big block engine could pound out some serious power, flying down the quarter mile in a mere 15.7 seconds.

The towing capacity for such a beast of a muscle truck may not be important to you, but since it is a truck, it is a statistic that people need to know about. In this case, the 454 SS pickup has a maximum payload of 2,222 pounds and a towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds. The price for these little beauties can be a bit on the high side, ranging from $10,000 to $72,000, depending on the condition and location.

7-1978-1979 Dodge Lil Red Express Was Muscle After It Was Out Of Fashion

Top Speed: 120 MPH

A parked Dodge Lil Red Express

The Dodge Lil Red Express truck is not built for work but could perform most of the daily tasks expected from a pickup. The Lil Red Express came off the production lines meant for speed and speed it had. Dodge found a significant loophole in the emissions regulations that allowed them to leave the catalytic converters for other vehicles. The converters were left off, and a modified Police 360 engine was slid underneath the hood. Along with the Hemi mufflers and stack-style exhaust system, this truck can be felt in the bones when the gas is hammered down.

The Lil Red Express was not made for work, but since it was a pickup, it could still put in a full day’s work if that is what you wanted it to do. The 1979 model was rated to haul up to 6,050 pounds and could tow up to 6,500 pounds if you had the truck set up to do so. The cost of the Lil Red Express can be a little on the high side since it is such a collector’s model, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, more if you have to go through an auction to acquire one.

6-1991-1992 GMC Syclone Is A Muscle Car That Is Actually A Truck

Top Speed: 124 MPH

Black 1993 GMC Syclone

Muscle cars have long been coveted by gearheads and muscle maniacs alike. That is why the GMC Syclone took the nation by surprise. This truck could easily handle any terrain thrown its way. Some truly amazing things would happen when put on the track next to a Porsche or Corvette. The Syclone would keep up with both of the performance cars of the day and could even bury them in a straight-line race with the correct driver. These trucks are responsible for the trend of the performance truck that could hang with the sports cars but work and play the way a truck is designed to do.

The compact muscle truck created from the foundation of a regular cab Chevrolet Sonoma had a surprisingly high towing capacity for such a powerful truck. It was rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds and could haul 500 pounds in the pickup bed, which is decent for the size. Price-wise, if you can find an owner unsure of what they have, you might find a great deal. Otherwise, expect to pay between $12,500 and $63,000, with the lower end being trucks that need some work.

5-1994 to 2001 Dodge Ram Is An Everday Pickup With A Powertrain Of Gold

Top Speed: 127 MPH

Black 1995 Dodge Ram 1500

The Dodge Ram is no longer known as a Dodge truck, but before it switched to just Ram, it made some waves in the market that will never be forgotten or changed. All you have to do is look at the design of all the other pickup trucks coming to the car lots, and you can see the sweeping curves and smooth lines of the Doge Ram within them. When it comes to a work truck, not much can compare to the Cummins Turbo Diesel, and the same can be said about the advantages of gasoline-fed engines when equipped with one of the Hemi options.

Since you already know that the Cummins engine gives exceptional towing and hauling numbers, there is really no point in listing them. The Hemi, however, is not so lucky because it is within range of its rivals. The Dodge Ram 1500 with a Hemi can easily tow up to 7,950 pounds and haul 2,245 pounds. The cost for these trucks is still reasonable because they are not on any collector’s lists,¬†ranging from $5,000 to $24,000

4-1972-1976 Ford Ranchero Is A Muscle Truck Born In The Torino

Top Speed: 134 MPH

A parked 1973 Ford Ranchero 500
Bring a Trailer

The Ford Ranchero is one of those vehicles that can be confused with a car, especially since it was formed out of the Ford Torino rather than the Ford F-Series line. To many, that means that the Ranchero is not a truck at all, and when you see that the vehicle was available with the same engine options as the mighty Mustang, it can quickly be seen that the Ranchero was no slouch on the track.

But the Ford Ranchero can put in some work when it is called upon to do so, even though one of the bigger gas-guzzling engines is not very fuel friendly. The truck is set up to haul a maximum of 6000 pounds with the proper hitch and the 460 cid engine. Prices for the Ranchero can vary substantially, ranging anywhere from $6,000 to $30,000.

3-1968 to 1972 Chevrolet El Camino Was Half Truck, Half Car, And All Fun

Top Speed: 142 MPH

Red 1970 Chevrolet El Camino 454 SS
Mecum

One of the biggest controversies is whether the Chevrolet El Camino can truly be called a pickup truck. Since its design allows it to tow and haul just as much as many pickups on the market, the El Camino is a truck for the sake of this list. And not just any truck. In 1970 a ton of changes were happening at GM. Emission regulations were getting ready to be set into place, so the company lifted the displacement bans that they had in place throughout the ’60s, allowing medium-sized vehicles the chance to get the big block engines under the hood, which makes¬†the SS 454 El Camino a truck to be reckoned with.

Unlike many vehicles on this list, the Chevy El Camino was not built with a truck foundation. It was actually based on the four-door sedan, or station wagon, with the back end cut off to form an open cargo area (the bed of the El Camino.) The Chevy could only tow up to 5,000 pounds with the proper tow hitch, but if you go to Uhaul and try to get a trailer, they will rate the vehicle at 4,000 pounds. The cost of a Chevrolet El Camino these days can range anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000, or more if the vehicle has been built into a powerhouse.

2-2010-2014 Ford SVT Raptor Has Teeth

Top Speed: 149 MPH

Orange Ford-F-150 SVT Raptor R
Ford Motor Company

Most full-size trucks can put in a full day’s work, but the Raptor is not especially known for its ability to haul and tow.¬†The Ford SVT Raptor is known for its ability to play on and off the road.¬†Under the hood of this beast, you will find a 6.2L V-8 that can be supercharged if you are so inclined, which will bump your horsepower up to around 590 horses or so. The 2014 Raptor was the last of the nameplate for a couple of years until it was brought back to the pickup truck lineup in 2017.

Even though the Raptor is not explicitly made for towing, it can safely have up to 8,000 pounds behind it and a maximum payload of 1,030 pounds in the truck itself. Now that is not the total amount of weight that the Raptor can handle because the total GVW is only around 7,450 pounds, so be aware of your combined weights. The pricing for the Raptor is still on the higher end of the curve, going for up to $30,000 or more.

1-2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Was All Muscle

Top Speed: 154 MPH

Red Dodge Ram SRT-10
Dodge

The one thing you can bank on from Dodge is that when they decide to create a muscle car, or muscle truck in this case, it will be a beast of a ride. The Dodge Ram SRT-10 was created by a special team of builders,¬†DaimlerChrysler PVO (Performance Vehicle Operations),¬†with the help of Dodge Viper and Plymouth Prowler engineers. Substantial amounts of time were spent in the wind tunnel to help the truck’s aerodynamics, allowing the Ram SRT-10 with a 510 bhp V10 to rocket down the quarter-mile track in under 14 seconds.

The Dodge Ram SRT-10 is a muscle truck; there is no doubt about that. But it can also be used for the primary purpose that it was built for, which is work. The SRT-10 has a maximum towing capacity of 8,150 pounds, and it can haul up to 900 pounds in regular cab form, 1,010 pounds in the four-door version. The cost may surprise you a bit because it will only run you $18,000 to $62,000, so it’s not too bad for such a monster of a truck.

FAQ

Q: What Year Trucks Are Classified As A Classic?

The year of the truck that gives it the designation of a classic is over 20 years old, according to some, while to others, it must have been produced before 1979. If you go with what the Classic Cars Club of America says, the car will have to be older than 1948. Until all the authorities come together and agree, the classic designation will be up to the people involved in the conversation.

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