Car Features

The Origin of Pick-Up Trucks


The term pick-up is of unknown origin but was seen to be used by an American Automobile manufacturer Studebaker in 1913 and by the 1930s, “pick-up”  had become the standard term.

Vehicles In the early days of automobile manufacturing were sold as chassis only. So, one would have to add a body of choice on the Chassis.

  • Max Grabowsky and Morris Grabowsky 1902 built trucks that carried 1 ton of weight in, Michigan. Years Later  Galion Allsteel Body Company built hauling boxes on modified Ford Model T chassis in 1913
  • With all these getting the market and attention, Dodge in 1924 decides to come up with a ¾ ton pick-up cab and body entirely of wood.
Dodge Pick-up
Dodge 1924

Ford too joins the league in 1925 and comes up with a Model T-based, steel-bodied, half-ton with an adjustable tailgate and heavy-duty rear springs. 34,000 of these were sold at only US$281.

Ford Model T

They later replace this model with a Model A that came with a closed-cab, safety-glass windshield, roll-up side windows, and three-speed transmission.

Ford Model 51

Most of the trucks being made at the time were all for commercial use, so in 1931, GM came up with light-duty pickups for both GMC and Chevrolet all meant for private owners. They were based on the Chevrolet Master. 9 years later they went ahead and introduced the dedicated light-truck platform, separate from passenger cars, which they named the AK series. Ford North America continued to offer a pick-up body style on the Ford Model 51, and the Ford Australian division produced the first Australian “ute” in 1932. In 1940, Ford offered a dedicated light-duty truck platform called the Ford F100, then upgraded the platform after World War II to the Ford F-Series in 1948.

2 years later consumers began purchasing pickups for lifestyle rather than utilitarian reasons Cars like the Chevrolet Fleetside, Chevrolet El Camino,  Dodge Sweptline, and in 1957, Ford’s purpose-built Styleside.

Toyota Stout

With increasing technological advancements, Pick-ups began to feature comfort items such as power options and air conditioning. A regular cab had a single row of seats and a single set of doors, one on each side. Extended or super cab pickups added an extra space behind the main seat, sometimes including smaller “jump” seats. So manufacturers also started making pickups with four doors, known as crew cabs, and they became popular. These pickup trucks were released in 1954 in Japan with the Toyota Stout, in 1957 in Japan with the Datsun 220,. The first extended cab truck in the United States was called the Club Cab and was introduced by Chrysler in 1973 on Dodge pickup trucks.

As years went by other manufacturers made attempts and later fell out for example the Subaru pick-up. Others have stayed in the market and we can see many brands making the trucks. Different countries have since had attachments to some trucks like the US with the Ford trucks. Africa has seen battles of Trucks on who is the king of the Offroad mostly the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu Dmax, VW Amarok, Mitsubishi Triton, etc.. This competition has on the good hand improved in some areas in terms of handling and comfortability of these trucks. More of these details are to be published on this site as we move on.

To be continued….

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