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Hagerty Employee

8 trucks that deserve another shot | Hagerty Media

A year ago, we looked at some vehicles that had ambitious goals and yet fell short in one way or another. We argued that those four vehicles deserved another chance. Now, let's focus on pickups that also meet those criteria.
Intermediate Driver

It would be interesting to see a return of the Dodge (RAM) Dakota. Particularly in a 2-door Club Cab configuration (perhaps the 3 liter diesel w/ manual transmission). I loved mine, but was forced to switch to Nissan as Chrysler priced the Dakota out of competition and discontinued it.
New Driver

Real trucks don’t have a back seat. Period. I own 2 standard cab pickups. 1 long bed 1 short bed. Your right my 2012 Ram R/T is one sweet fast ride. If I need 4 doors I can take the SUV. If necessary I can fold down all seats to carry anything I need. I’m 73 and can put anything I need in any of my rides. I can’t believe how many people I’ve seen with 4 door trucks renting a truck to haul anything. When I asked why the answer is they don’t want to scratch the inside of the bed. Those people don’t need a truck.

Of all the cars I have owned my all time favorite may be the 62 Ford Ranchero that I had in high school. The whole concept of combining a sedan front with a pick-up bed was genius. The older Rancheros (57 or so) are even nicer. But in order to make a modern version of the Ranchero or El Camino, Ford and GM would first have to have a sedan to base it on.

The early Rampage was as close as Mopar had to a Ranchero/El Camino. It's not a huge market segment, but it has real staying power. As long as you can turn out the Cowboy-Cadillac with just a couple of custom body parts on one of your standard sedans, it's a license to print money.

I would rather have the originals done up the way I want.
Pit Crew

I've had an Avalanche, an original 2002, and it was as rattle-free as any vehicle I've known. That's a complaint I haven't heard from real owners. Rode like a dream and handled surprisingly well for something of its size.

I've never been a GM fan, but there was a tremendous amount of thoughtful design in a number of their cars of that period, like the Avalanche, C5 Corvette and even the forgotten Malibu MAXX. And I have to admit that their pushrod V8, automatic transmissions, and air conditioning of that period were the best in the world. A lot of innovation then. Chrysler was on a roll, too.

The Avalanche was a real trendsetter. The original Honda Ridgeline was an obvious scaled-down copy, and even the much-maligned cladding was cribbed for the Ridgeline and Element. It set the model for the now-ubiquitous 4-door pickups with tall, shortish beds. I think that's what doomed it: the midgate wasn't essential for the sales formula.


In the 80's Volkswagen had a great thing going for a beginner or light hauler truck with the Rabbit diesel. MPG was around 45. Certainly ahead of their time and too bad it didn't continue on. They do have a small following now. Also Dodge and Plymouth made a car truck in the 80's that was a little sporty.

Advanced Driver

I'd like to see a return of the Chevy S10 and Ford Ranger to the small size that they were originally. The current Colorado and ranger are the size that full-size trucks used to be and they cost as much as full size.
New Driver

" Only 2 doors, no back seat " ? My Suburban 2500 has 4 doors with 2 back seats and is as much a truck as any cowboys pick-um-up truck any day. Fold down & remove the seats for an 8ft bed, anything bigger can go in a trailer, which I can tow with power to spare.

I'd just be happy with a real "compact" pickup truck. My '72 Datsun was 172" long with an 84 inch bed; my '81 was 183" with the same size bed; my 94 was 191" with the same size bed, and my 2007 Nissan Frontier is 206" long...with the same size bed. Now some of that extra length is extended cab, but the 81 and the 94 were both extended cab trucks.

My current Nissan--and its competitors from Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet are about the same size as a "full size" pickup from the 50s. Yeah, I like the extended cab (not a crew cab) but how about a little shrinkage?
Pit Crew

My '96 ranger cab is a little smaller than my '57 Fargo was and the long (7 ft) box is 6 inches longer than my short bed Fargo. The 4 liter V6 is a tad smaller than the 246 flathead inline 246 and a bit peppier and a lot quieter/smoother - and the gearing is better for the highway with 5 speeds and 3:55 gears. Both are MIDGETS compared to today's half ton pickups
Intermediate Driver

A return of the Dodge "Little Red Truck" would be cool.
New Driver

The Dakotas of that vintage never carried the horrible brand name of "Ram" They were always Dodge. The bigger ones (D and W 100-350 were generally called Dodge Ram in this time frame. I own a couple of vintage Dodge W series trucks, but will never own one with the "Ram" brand. Just too stupid and illogical a change.
Hagerty Employee

If the Dakota ever comes back, you can bet it will be under the Ram brand.

none are the mini p/u of old. Y not bring in what the foriegn market has, they're close...
Wonder if those dodge "convertable" p/u would have sold if the vert fell into the space btwn the back of the seat and head-board would have had a 'hard top' to drop on. Kinda like my '66 bronk?
New Driver

The Avalanche was a crew cab before we were all forced to have only crew cabs. The Avalanche with mid gate can transport 4x8 sheets of plywood and be locked and secured. The rear coil suspension is smooth and was years ahead of the Ram. Look at he new Hummer EV. That should be the new Avalanche, some point out new innovations, but the first Avalanche had steps in the rear bumpers and it had air conditioning vents to the back seats though the console.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Both GM and FOMOCO are well into EV over drive, over kill. Am I the only one here who is not hearing any EV tout coming out of Chrysler? Chrysler is not even trying to compete with the other two, not a word of any sort of EV plan for the future. I'm thinking Chrysler may be sitting back and are willing to watch and see. Maybe waiting to see if GM and FOMOCO fall flat on their corporate faces as the government forces them into possible losses and into the flop tank. Chrysler maybe the smartest of the big 3 for waiting to see.
New Driver

I would like to see a Lincoln Blackwood 4X4 or a Ford Lighting 4X4
Pit Crew

I think these are all interesting concepts but I don't want a single one of them with Hybrid or Electric powertrains.

Lots of Ute's on that list, you missed the El Camino. I don't know, perhaps America could use a Ute of some sort again, they really can be the best of both worlds.

I own a 2011 Avalanche with the heavy duty off road package that includes a skid plate, 4 wheel drive, transmission cooler, and heavy duty cooling system. It's been a very reliable truck and easily hauls either one of my classic cars on a trailer when needed.
About the only downside to the Avalanche is it's size - since it's sometimes hard to get in and out of tight parking spaces.
Advanced Driver

I like the Mexican Ute. That would be a great product as no one really makes a compact pickup, unless you count Honda. The "mid size" trucks are just too close to full size -- why bother? I never saw much use for the Avalanche, not until I started looking for a camper tow vehicle. For that it makes some sense -- small bed for those things I don't want to throw in the camper and don't really want inside the passenger compartment either. I ended up buying a used Expedition, but if a used Avalanche had surfaced at a good price I'd have gone that way for the open bed.
New Driver

I miss my was the best pickup I ever owned.
My neighbour asked me to go get some drywall with him since he didn't have a truck. We pulled into the yard and I said go in side that door and pay for the 10 sheets. While he was gone, I opened up the back, laid the seats down and loaded all of them in 5 minutes. Closed the tailgate and climbed back into the truck...he came out a few minutes later and got back in....I headed to the exit and he turned to me and said "aren't we going to get my drywall first"?...I looked at him, pointed to the back seat and said "You mean that drywall"....he looked stunned because it was all inside the truck...They may not be the best truck on the road but I would take one over any other truck out there again. Hands down.

I had a 2001 Dakota Sport 4x4 with the 4.7L and loved it. It was super solid and after 95K miles did not have a rattle in it.
Intermediate Driver

A new Brat would be cool, I mean why not???? AND I vote for new versions of the El Camino and the Ranchero!👍

Yes to the Baja and the Avalanche. I had a 2007 Avalanche and loved it. Best compromise between a 4-door sedan and work truck I ever owned. I used the mid-gate a lot. An Allison/Duramax model would have fit my needs to a T.
New Driver

Bought a 2007 Avalanche demo in 2008 and it's been one of the best investments I've made. Never used it as an everyday vehicle but was ideal for all the family road trips, roomy and comfortable, greasy acquisitions along the way were comfortable in the back and tools were safe from prying eyes. The roomy side boxes are great for additional out of the way storage and work well as a cooler, just add ice. Comfortably tows an equipment trailer with a car or tractor, did a lot of towing with it and I think the average fuel economy is still at 17.3. I never noticed any excessive noise or rattles. Solid performer and only repairs other than usual maintenance were the airbags and the clunk in the steering that was just annoying. I remember test driving the Avalanche and 1500/2500 pickups and there was no comparison in ride and practicality.  I've been ridiculed by truck owners but the joke's on them. I think it was short sighted for GM to cancel it.

New Driver

Love the different ways to use the Avalanche !! First one was an 03 . Currently have an 06. I use it as a driver , hauler (trailer), people hauler, mover , off the pavement truck /& or people , parts runner for a ranch , you name it -- my snowslide goes for it !!
When I go to Ford for parts or car shows - the sales folks want to know if I want to trade it in -- I ask them if they have ANYTHING that can ride like a caddy , tow like a truck , have a removable lockable cover for the load, climb like a jeep and keep 5/6 people comfortable @ 16 mpg !! Nope.
I am a 4th gen. Ford lover but my Avalanche is the best all around for me in Wyoming weather !!
Pit Crew

How could you list the Ford Ranchero and not list the MOST beautiful Chevrolet El Camino??? Bring back this great truck!
Pit Crew

I think there should be some more love for the Datsun 620 (1970's) and 720 (1980's) trucks. They were quite popular back then. They are much more affordable in today's market than a Toyota from the same vintage.
The other forgotten brand is Mazda. The B series came in gas & diesel and had phenomenal mileage. I believe the diesel was close to 40 MPG.
Pit Crew

How could you not include the hugely* popular version of the El Camino & Ranchero....Datsun's Sport Truck? It's a single body conversion Of Datsun's Bluebird sedan. It never took off because it was made for people that weighed 100lbs. & were 5'4". I'm slender & 5'9" & had to remove the set track & cut down the seat supports so I could sit up straight. The driver & passenger's shoulder touch each other.

*Never heard of it? Neither did I until I found mine in boxes in Portland OR in the, OK, they imported less than 1,000 of them
You probably have only 1 insured, which happens to be mine.

If anyone is curious, here's a couple of pics>>

Cool little trucklet! Is that your Valiant, too?

New Driver

I love all models of trucks they all have there own styles but I am also a Volkswagen fan so dont forget the Rabbit truck
Intermediate Driver

How about bringing back, you know....a Truck!
8 foot bed, 2 doors, manual transmission, and manual shift 4-wheel drive option. Engine large enough to haul a trailer without going to a diesel. Manual windows and floor mats instead of carpet would be great. Under $40,000.00. Something you can actually use for a lifetime.
Pit Crew

You missed one; The Chevrolet SSR, built from 2004-2006. It's retractable hardtop and potent V8 made it a hoot to drive and the rear bed topper was removable for hauling larger items
Intermediate Driver

How about my 1947 Crosley pickup guys. .....Jim.

I had a 1985 Toyota 4WD pickup. If Ford come out with something like that, I'll be there with my checkbook.
Hey Ford - I want a small machine with a load of 1/2 ton or less. I want a 4-cylinder engine that gets better than 20 mpg "in town." I want a 5-speed manual tranny.
I currently own a 2010 4WD Tacoma, so you don't give me crap about that can't be done.
New Driver

What about the VW pickup, from the early 1980s? Decent handling, great mpg. And they were decent work trucks based on the two I had in the late 80s.
New Driver

My 1979 El Camino won First Place in it's category at the Cops & Rodders event. If Chevrolet would make a new 20's model, I would be the first in line to purchase !!!

I have to add my 2 cents here. How about a modern version of the 61-64 Corvair Rampside?  I realize it probably couldn't be done today, due to safety issues, but mine is the most useful truck Ever! Nine foot bed, side ramp folds down, roll heavy stuff on/off. I have moved my entire garage and storage shed contents twice, totally by myself. OK, I used a hand truck and a cherry picker to lift my tool boxes on, but still....