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Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #76: The easiest 60 grand you'll ever spend, and you'll get most of it back

Five months ago in these virtual pages I discussed the increasingly popular idea of pickup-truck-as-cultural-signifier. In the long, hot summer between then and now, the privately-owned half-ton has taken a best-supporting-actor role in our (mostly) cold civil war drama: targeted by crowds of protesters, driving through impromptu roadblocks, festooned with flags in motorized counter-demonstrations.


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Advanced Driver

I've got to admit that the peaceful protests have me thinking about buying my first full-sized truck. I drove one owned by my employer for a while in college while the transmission of my old Mercedes-Benz was being rebuilt. It was a dozen-year-old Chevy Big-10 in 1990, and definitely nothing like a current pickup in accommodations.  I also had regular use of an employer's 2014 Toyota Tundra 4x4 with four forward-facing doors and an eight foot bed. That one was a base model, and really the only feature I missed was central locking. I might grab one of the last 5.7 liter Tundras before they join the CAFE crowd. Fitted with a push-bar to protect the airbag sensors, it could prove the ultimate urban commuter. 

Intermediate Driver

With the high resale value of trucks, and the fewer than ever downsides to owning them, they can make a lot of sense as useful transport, especially if you can find a good deal. I've had a 2018 Ram 1500 longhorn for the past 2 years that had an MSRP of $70k that through a series of discounts and being friends with the dealer principal that I was able to buy for $42k. The truck is still worth damn near that. I couldn't NOT buy it.

Pit Crew

Nicely written.  Subtle. Thoughtful.  Very rare these days...


Here, Here; and Harrumph!  Excellent article, sir.  Particularly the last paragraph.  I can't afford a new truck, but I do own two older trucks that come in handy all the time.  I'm a Suburban dweller, but much more of a country mouse, than a city mouse. 

I lived in the city, in my younger years and never could get comfortable with the neighbors house being so close to mine.  So, I have a nice house, in the Suburbs that has a large building on the property where I build and maintenance my hot rods and trucks and other people's also.  Gotta help your friends when you can.

I am a member of the 'red tribe' but I've always felt (like much of my red tribe brethren) live and let live is a good way of life.  I just wish more of the 'blue tribe' (including members of my family) could understand that.  

Intermediate Driver

Although we've never met, I'm getting a simpatico vibe reading Jack's latest...well done! 


Hear, hear! We could also collectively agree not to ascribe political or social meaning to literally everything a person does, says, owns, enjoys or purchases. 


Enough ‘blue tribe’ ‘red tribe’ bs. There’s more crossover than you think. A lot of blue city mice love trucks and a lot of red country mice can see the merit of being within walking distance to places they want to go. You’ve been getting more political in your posts since R&T and look at how it has whipped up the first five commenters here. Jack, I think you’re a big enough person to go actually make some blue tribe friends and start to do your part to heal this country rather than to keep riffing on this tired political straw man crap. 


I was born in Brooklyn, I campaigned for (Bill) Clinton, and I've been quoted in the Atlantic. I have a pretty fair idea of how the blue tribe works 🙂

I had a lovely GMC SLT pickup that I bought new in 2002 and kept for 15 years. The thing hardly got used the last ten years of its life but I kept it in case I needed to transport something like a sheet of plywood or a load of (fill in the blank) for my wife. I vowed that the day it started to have problems, I'd sell it. That day finally came when it wouldn't start. It was an easy problem to fix but after that, I researched the selling prices of similar trucks, added $1000 and listed it for sale on Craigslist. The truck was still perfect with low miles and everything 100%. Within a week, I had a solid offer from a guy who drove all the way from Missouri (I'm in Memphis) and paid my asking price in cash.  


I didn't want to lose the functionality of the truck so I bought a really nice custom aluminum trailer that would do the same thing as a pickup only with a lot fewer moving parts. The trailer is just as useful except it takes a minute to hook up to my Honda CRV. I sometimes miss the truck but I am glad it moved on to a good home. I just didn't use it enough.



Intermediate Driver

I'd go SUV + trailer too if I had space for a trailer. You have more enclosed, lockable storage space, and you aren't confined by the limited bed capacity and high load floor of your average crew cab, short-bed pickup. You also avoid becoming "the friend with the truck."

Outstanding idea. I have an enclosed trailer for my Radical that I tow behind my Lincoln MKT --- but it has a fairly vicious effect on fuel economy.
Pit Crew

I bought my first pickup in '71, a 10 year old Chevy Apache 10 and I haven't been without a pickup since. I was an urban apartment dweller at that time and have since lived in two houses in the "burbs". I moved out of the city in late '95 and now live on 20+ acres in a rural community. Still would rather drive my '09 F150 than my sedan, but the sedan gets such better mileage that it gets most of the miles. Still, even though the mileage is better, I like driving the truck over the sedan. If it came down to getting rid of one of my vehicles, the sedan would go without a second thought.


Yup. Looking at vehicles as tools does put the expense in perspective. You can imagine, then, the satisfaction provided by the restored '79 K10 and mint '89 C3500 Dually in my back shop. With maybe $20,000 total invested in them over the last 12 (K10) and 25 (Dually) years, nowadays they're basically ATMs connected to an offshore account ! Heck, the K10 saves me about $2,000/year in snow-plowing alone. In my city days, I lived without a truck for brief periods due to lack of room and hedonistic distractions, but even then they were critically handy at times; since opting for a more peaceful coexistence, they're simply mandatory.


That's a formidable pair of vehicles!
New Driver

Yes.  My F150 has been used to haul all sorts of stuff, to tow a U-Haul trailer every January when the Boy Scout troop picks up Christmas trees, to help my daughter move in DC, and to tow my motorcycle trailer across country a couple times.  But my wife still doesn't think I 'need' a truck, or the garage I'm planning to build.  Some people just don't get it.  While it didn't cost anywhere near $60K, it has all the features I need: towing package, Ecoboost V6, a comfortable cab.  But it's only had a couple hundred miles put on it since March - COVID has put a damper on trips.   

Intermediate Driver

Not sure what the sideways diversion into a blue/red continuum was about.  When I lived in the city, I bought a pickup because I needed one during the remodeling of much of our house.  Never considered that I was making an ideological statement.  It just hauled Stuff -- to the landfill, from the appliance dealer, to friends who wanted to recycle some of the Stuff we had.  When the remodeling was done, we sold it to another guy who was building a new 6-stall garage/shop.  He put it to the same use.  If what I heard is correct, the third owner after that finally wore it out.  When we moved out to the country in 2013, the first vehicle we bought was a 1995 C2500 heavy 3/4.  4wd on demand, Big bed that can haul two yards of 3/4- gravel, 454 cid engine with more torque than I can sometimes believe.  It continues to be our Farm Truck -- and now the biggest thing it hauls is my 24 ft Haulmark enclosed car trailer for the car project.  It doesn't have a gun rack, I never fly Confederate traitor flags on it, and it's not jacked up to where it's unstable.  It's a flaming truck!  And a damned good one.  Every now and again I run across some of those who figure their gussied up pickup is some sort of ideological statement.  I just chuckle.  I remind them that no matter What they may be driving, mine is bigger, has a bigger engine, it's maintained properly and used for what it was designed for.  I figure to put the Veterans for Biden sticker on the tailgate when it arrives later this week.  Those who really Want their trucks to be some sort of ideologically significant matter will just have to live with that.


What interests me about your statement is that you are fairly certain that the "other guys" were the ones who politicized the pickup truck. If you asked the "other guys" they would tell you that the pickup truck was politicized by the left side of the media. Both of you could draw upon unimpeachable sources to support your opinion. It's interesting.

As a member of the red, white & blue tribe I have to say that there are good and bad ideas and people on both sides of the divide. We need a lot more in the middle American tribe.


I agree with PGA2. Enough of this. The country is in such bad shape that we need every media organ to help us heal. The political aspect of trucks is nonsense. If you need one, buy one,  and stop making political hay out of everything. I own a 40 year old pickup with low miles, still ruinning, 0-60 in three months, it goes everywhere for parts and groceries and anything else you can think of, I've had five offers to sell it, I will be buried in it. I am a car collector and certainly not Republican. I am not a Liberal. I am an American. Which I think the rest of us should be.

Intermediate Driver

With the list of "highlights", I expected a monetary value assigned and final justification. Perhaps you did and it didn't end as you had hoped. Anyway, I have an F150 and a roadster and I simply love the extremes of the two vehicles; I love the truck when I need big for hauling or towing and I love the car for getting there quickly and always finding an easy spot to park it. As long as I can still work with my hands, making and fixing things as I do, I will have a truck.


Assuming you have an engineering or science background --- which is usually the case with people who want hard numbers in an editorial --- then you can surely see how the variability in any assumptions I would have to make in costing those use cases would make the final result completely worthless. Example: I've rented trucks from Enterprise perhaps a dozen times in the past decade. Once it cost me $277. Another time it cost me $850. Which of those should I use? Or should I average all my truck rental expenses... but then surely I should weight them to favor the most recent? What's a good factor for that? I think you see the rabbit hole here 🙂

I own a Ford F150 long bed and I have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about.


A very true aphorism: "the world would be a much poorer place if we only had what we needed." Even when I was poor, I always had nice stuff I don't need. If that isn't part of civilization, what is? Otherwise, let's all go back to huts. My hut will require room for my 4S Cabriolet, though.

Intermediate Driver

i live in the boonies. had a dodge half ton since 1984. pickups only make a statement when you personalize them. they are too handy for hauling stuff, including my 24 foot 1969 travelux trailer, furniture, junk, cool car stuff, basket case motorcycles etc. pipe for the well i hauled in my hearse, but the guy at the pipe shop refused to load it for me.....strange duck that one


I skimmed that entire article (my ADD prevents me from actually reading the whole thing) and missed the political part, so i guess i'm up on most folks where i just got some financial justification for buying a 60K pickup with a big motor. 

Intermediate Driver

Without wanting to inflame the necessity for a pick-up debate (I own a 52 y.o. ute for disclosure) what I miss is the full sized sedan. The choice now seems to be between a high riding 4 door pick-up or a high riding SUV. Currently I am running the equivalent of the Chev SS sedan (but with the V6) and I'm looking at a newer version of the same car. It seems that we have corralled ourselves into a choice between pick-up, SUV, or small/medium hatchback and chosen to fight based on the limited choice.  


If you aren't scared to USE a pickup for it's intended purposes (hauling and towing), then yes, it will pay for itself in savings. The thing is, most people baby their high dollar trucks and won't haul anything meaningful (like heavy furniture) because they don't want the bed scratched (or the bed liner!). I've run into that many times, even from some country boys! I grew up on a farm -- a pickup is a tool as much as transportation. Don't be afraid to get scratches INSIDE the bed - or a few small dings outside. IT'S A TRUCK -- USE IT!!!

Of course it's hard to have that mentality for a $60K+ vehicle unless it was purchased as a work truck...

Community Manager

Agreed. I see that so often in the big city. It's even worse when you go into heavy duty diesel trucks that never carry a load or use their trailer hitch. 

Intermediate Driver

Sigmund Freud once said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" .

I see pickup trucks as a continuation of the big-ass, rear wheel drive, V8 powered, full frame, US cars that we grew up with and secretly miss.

  As for the "red tribe / blue tribe" thing, it seems backwards. Shouldn't the socialists be red, they have been throughout history.

Just ask Joseph Stalin or Chairman Mao.

Intermediate Driver

Yeah, but will you help me move out of my house this weekend???  >;^P

New Driver

Listen to (the late and great) Joe Diffie's "Pickup Man"...'nuff said.   



Hi Jack...thanks for another good read.  I can concur with the problems that pickups can solve.  I'm an owner of a Fiesta ST that I absolutely enjoy, however, I also have 3 kids that love to mountain bike, camp, etc (along with me).  The Fiesta can't fit that bill even though we've tried.  Ideally, I would keep the Fiesta and buy a used truck (modest towing, <1000 lbs payload requirement; thinking Ridgeline).  As you mention, I could accomplish the biking/camping part with a Golf Sportwagen or a minivan and call it good, but I am tempted by the truck for the odds and ends that it can accomplish that the Sportwagen can't (like build a backyard pump track, haul away a fence, etc).  That minivan might fit the bill though...


Anyways, I live in Columbus (Clintonville) and I have a quick question.  What trailhead were you traveling to that required the light off-roading?  Was it a COMBO maintained trail or somewhere else?





We were kind of pirating into the UTV trails in Wayne National Forest... sshh... I did buy the pass though!

Great story Jack!  Don't listen to the naysayers!

New Driver

The question of what we need (food, shelter, etc) vs want and acquire is a whole nother matter. But if you have to tow, the truck fits the bill. Bought the dealer owner's demo truck back in 2002. F250 4x4, crew cab, 7.3L has towed various trailers over the years, 33' gooseneck horse trailer, 5th wheel camper, 20'V nose race trailer, to the current 24' Chaparral boat, and made who know how many trips to the dump or moving stuff. This truck will be part of my estate sale given the price of replacing it today!

Pit Crew

I could not live without my truck. Find new needs daily. Even better economy than new is buying a used 4x4. Some maintenance is needed, but anyone who carries lots of stuff (kayaks to tools and car parts to pick-ups for our local food pantry) can gain great economy. My F150 XL was 4 years old lease return with 100M miles. Cost was only 25% of new. Since I don't put on a lot of miles, it will last a lot of years. Plus it came with work box and tailgate step big extras on new trucks.

New Driver

I have a 2018 model Silverado just like yours.  While I have a BMW E39 M5, a BMW X5M, an Audi RS4 convertible and an Audi Coupe Quattro S2 tribute, I find myself almost always driving the truck.  The M5 and the RS4 are somewhat collectable, so I have been using them for special drives.  The X5M was being driven a lot until I seized up the motor, now it is garage art.  The S2 tribute is a work in progress.

With the truck, there have been lots of trips between WA and CA and I am racking up the miles, with 26k done in the first year year (bought the truck as a closeout in 9/2019)  The truck has lots of power with the 6.2 engine and is pretty quick.  In addition, it gets 23mpg on road trips running in the 80mph range, and overall has returned 20.3 mpg.  What a terrific vehicle.  I also had a 2017 Silverado with e-Assist and while I loved it, it did not have the features, the power OR as good of fuel mileage. 

So I mirror what you have said about your truck, that it is a great vehicle.

Pit Crew

First truck, 250 work truck, lumber rack, not 4X4 was big mistake, gone early. Second truck used to tow uhaul for son's drift car. Truck was fine. Tired of uhaul hassle. Decided an enclosed trailer was best for father/son race team. Finally got the right 2500 diesel 4X4 truck. It all boiled down to time and my lack of extra.


You suggest 4 grand a year in depreciation over 7 years. You can lease a truck for 24 months for less than 400 a month, and always have a new vehicle with no maintenance costs. 

Pit Crew

It's too bad that many of the new to pick up truck ownership people just don't know how to drive a pick up. How often do you see a person just about scrape the headlights off a  car stopped at a traffic signal because they turned in an arc rather than thinking about driving both ends of the truck?

New Driver

Very good article. The economics of my 2000 Dodge diesel at 22 mpg, which I only drive with a load, and my 24 mpg Element which hauls a decent load and the Acura TL which hauls nothing are close.  The pickup will still sell for what I paid for it. 


Please remember Baruth's political claptrap in the future when admonishing policyholders to not be political. In an unrelated question, which I can seeming only get to post in an initial response, why am I repeatedly unable to get a reply posted (w/ an Android phone OR MS-based laptop) but instead get this message above the text box even when there are NO errors, highlighted or otherwise?


Why, instead of posting a reply, do I over and over, get a stupid; 


Correct the highlighted errors and try again.

  • Please enter a valid URI."


Intermediate Driver

I agree that a truck is useful, I still question the utility of some these modern gussied trucks that are all cab and no bed. Then again I beat the whole fancy expensive truck thing by driving an old used truck with an extended cab, an 8' bed and some astonished looks at how low an older two wheel drive half ton rides. I do enjoy confounding stereotype by driving around playing hardbass on the stereo as I haul stuff and occasionally tow stuff and don't worry about depreciation or insurance costs on a $3000 truck that mostly gets driven on weekends. I also don't care about scratching or denting a truck bed that already looks like 40 miles of bad road. My experience goes a long way towards explaining the popularity of older pickups.

As an aside, there are better hitch racks for mountain bikes. A tray style like a Kuat is easier to load and handles gravity bikes and fat bikes with aplomb, as well as trail bikes like my old Trek Fuel EX8. I've even put the hitch rack on my truck once for laughs.

New Driver

Recently, my only truck-owning friend had a bumper sticker that read, "Yes, I have a truck. No, you can't borrow it." On the other hand, 20 years ago, I asked an elderly black neighbor if I could borrow his truck to move a shed to another neighbor's house. By the time I got home, he had pulled into my back yard and was loading it up.