If you love cars, trucks, motorcycles—or any other wheeled vehicle for that matter—odds are you either have or considered owning a secondary vehicle that keeps your hobby alive and well. And that’s precisely the notion we discussed in the Hagerty Community when Guitar74 asked, “What are YOU using for a parts hauler?”
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My first truck was a Dodge D10, which was bought very used and was a blast to drive, especially in winter. It finally died when the timing belt went and the interference valves all bent over and took the engine with it. I agree that trucks are too big now.
I still own my 2008 Ford Ranger (FX4) that I love. I would gladly buy another Ranger if it were a real truck instead of the aluminum 4banger toy they now sell at exorbitant prices. Last spring I priced out some 2020 trucks... A ranger fx4 with the turbo 4 banger was just $2000 less than an F150 with V8. I mean, really?
If I do buy another truck to replace this 2008 ranger, it will be the smaller Toyota, as those things do seem to last. I don't like paying an extra 15% just for the brand, but since all the other trucks are monsters, what can you do?
I think they are playing on the "novelty" of the name. It used to be that the Ranger was a great smaller truck that you could get for a reasonable price that was still built tough enough to use as an actual truck. I loved the '88 V6 5spd 4wd Ranger that I had.
The ultimate parts hauler, Chevy Avalanche! If I have to move bumpers or long trim pieces I just fold down the rear seat and don’t have to keep my tailgate open or remove the tonneau covers. Comes in very handy when it’s cold and snowing outside.
A wind driven wildfire overran my garage back in 2011 and destroyed my Dodge Ram 2500 Quad cab 4x4 Cummins truck. My enclosed auto carrier was also destroyed.
Now with the insurance check in hand, I decided I might not need a diesel truck and bought a top line 2006 GMC 2500 extended cab truck with the 6.0 engine. I found a very good deal for a 28 foot enclosed trailer with the mandatory driver side escape door but it was 1,000 miles away. I finalized the deal and went to tow the trailer home with the GMC. I found the GMC 6.0 had plenty of power but the transmission needed to shift frequently pulling the new 6,000 pound (empty) trailer. That trailer could push that truck around a bit so I decided it was not enough truck to pull the new trailer with a show car inside...plus at least 1,000 pounds of support paraphernalia.
Deciding I needed a larger and heavier truck, I bought a new Ram 2500 4x4 crew cab with the the high output Cummins and traded that GMC to the dealer. The new truck can tow that heavy trailer without the slightest problem of any type...the only problem is that is a heavy truck for picking up supplies at Home Depot.
I still "kick" myself for trading that GMC. I should have bought the Ram and kept the GMC for all of the trips to the store and towing my lighter open car carrier trailer. Mark that up as one of those decisions to sell a truck that I regret. Now I need a lighter truck for the everyday driver. Perhaps it is time to rebuild the 351 in my '91 full size Bronco to use as the everyday truck.
We all find a use for pick ups, no matter the size. I've opted for my '57 Chevrolet 4 dr station wagon to hall engines, transmissions and just about everything else. What doesn't fit on the inside with the back seat folded down will fit on the roof rack. She is not fancy, and is garnished in primer grey, but carry's the cool factor.
I would like to throw my Chevy Suburbans in the ring as a contender. I use my suburban to haul around 8 people, tow my camper, and I can fit full size sheets of Sheetrock, plywood, and lumber with the gate closed. Add in the 4wd low, full neutral if needed to be flat towed, and integrated trailer braking system and it is extremely versatile.
This is a good subject to cover for us "car guys." I really don't currently own what I would say is a valid "car hauler" anything, and that might have to change! I have a 1977 El Camino, 350, auto, nice ride, however, when you start loaded the rhino lined bed of that particular "truck?" It reminds you pretty quick "Hey, I'm actually a car not a REAL truck just because I have a bed and a tailgate." So, I don't put too much heavy stuff in the bed of it, PLUS I inherited it from my dad when he passed in 2010, SO I don't want to us it and risk any damage to it. I turn to my only other semi-useful-for-hauling vehicle, a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder, it is useful enough, 4.0L V-6m auto, leather, sunroof, lots of the creature comforts, BUT I'm sure not going to place a greasy, dirty, muddy motor of any kind in the nicely carpeted cargo area! Also, that "truck" probably doesn't need to be pulling say a 1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88 anywhere, much less almost 50 miles! I am going to try and talk my wife into letting me trade the Nissan for a real truck of some kind, hence the comments and praise of these trucks in the above article give me some much needed information when asking the wifey! Thanks for the good work.
I have to throw my '95 F150 xl shortbed in the mix. I have over 200,000 miles on it and the 300 I6 still pulls like a diesel, doesn't shake, knock, or use a drop of oil, and refuses to quit. Thanks to living in the southeast, it is rust free. Aside from putting in a new torque converter, I have just done basic maintenance and it basically drives like it did when I bought it in '01.
Why Ford quit making the 300 is beyond me.
My parts hauler, and everything else, is a 40 year old Mitsubishi Chrysler, about 138,000 original miles we think. A reluctant 4 speed manual, no power steering, no options. Starts and runs every single time. It's slow and noisy in comparison to the rest of my cars, but it makes it to the parts store or the junkyards every time. I've had it forever.
They will bury me in it. A 2.2 Litre engine, 0-60 in six months. Everybody in the family loves it, it's a mess externally, the girls drive it anyway, it's terrific.
I still own my 1998 Ford F250 Lariat Supercab, 5.4L V8, auto, 3.73 rear gears, w/auto leveling suspension, that I ordered brand new. Only vehicle I have ever "ordered" in my life. It now has 240,xxx miles on it and is still running like a champ. One repaint around 9 yrs ago. Besides hauling everything under the sun, its primary function when I bought it was to tow my racecar to the tracks here in FL. I have not regretted one moment for the purchase of this truck. The only negative I have about it, is Ford's decision to use a 7-lug wheel setup. Now with the price of new trucks soaring well north of $60k, I think I will most likely transplant a new drivetrain in this one when it decides to quit. Wish I knew how to post a picture as I would do so.
2000 Two Door Step Side Ranger! A utility trailer with a cab and engine. Horrible in the snow even with studded tires and a 300lb rubber bed mat. Long live the mini truck! Dream hauler would be an Econoline or similar COE
Buy the right tool for the lowest cost. I am getting ready to buy a 4 x 4 98 3/4 ton extended cab 8' box work truck. Low cost to buy and maintain, big deductible insurance, perfect. Will do everything I need and if I don't use it for a few months no big deal..... but when I need it. My back up is a 13 Avalanche. Yes, not a real pick up but pulls a trailer really well and the rest of the time the ride quality is outstanding.
I still don't understand why these manufacturers all stop offering small, 4 cylinder, standard transmission pickup trucks. They were great! Good gas mileage, can haul just about anything you need for our hobby. Datsuns/Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, even Chevy Luv, and Didge D50. I currently have 32 vehicles, including a 2003 GMC Sonoma 4.3l Vortex extra cab. I've had 7 of the S-10s, no 4 cylinders, however. Haven't gotten lucky enough to get a standard transmission yet in these. My 1st S-10 4.3l went 573,000 miles and the only thing that killed it was my son sinking it at the boat launch one afternoon as he failed to get it into drive and in neutral reving the engine I watched it disappear under the water. We got it out and I cleared the cylinders and I will be damned the thing tryed to fire, but only one bank, then as the water took it's effect on the rest of the electrical system every stopped working. My favorite, so far has been my Safari AWD, however. I can pull the seats and stuff the crap out of it. Also, hands down best vehicle for the snow, I've had pickups etc, but that thing will plow through 4ft. Powder like nothing else. It can pull a trailer and carry 7 passengers. Most Importantly it is the generation before drive by wire, and is less complicated and more reliable/cheaper to maintain. Astro/Safari Van's in general are dirt cheap. All the lack of attributes, creature comforts, etc, that caused the other mini-vans to outsell them are also the reasons why they are easier to still own and keep on the road. Great work vehicles!
A 2004 Nissan Xterra, which is ugly enough that I don't mind getting it dirty, but still offers a back seat and enclosed space for the big camera on photography excursions. For big dirty or stinky things, the aforementioned U-HAul-It trailer is the best option.
To the couple of folks who sent me well-intentioned safety advice (and I do appreciate the good thoughts) about driving the cart up & down unattached ramps, I assure you I do not and would not do that. I have a radio-control winch I can put in/out of the van up by the doghouse in maybe 10 minutes. I just hook up to the golf cart or a motorcycle loader and hold a button while walking back & forth looking in through the side door and from side to side in back.
like every automotive Q the answer is found in "Whats the app?" (end use, application, specific need). That's Y they have come up w/so many different variations (+, just to sell U nother new 1 THIS yr).
I 1st thought "automotive parts" and remembered I got by as a commercial delivery driver w/any number of hatches. Mini p/u for a motor or tranny when needed.
But now I usea station wagon (down sized fox body) as it's a lill more versatile & I wrk for myself (rest0mods). I even hauled a palletized i6 motor in a lill F. Focus wagon 6 yrs ago when the thing was stuck at a terminal & eventho paid to the door step it was takin a wk for the last 30 mi. Threw dwn the seats & stuffed it in by fork lift w/only a lill headliner misplacement.
Nice to have a full size around but only needed for a frnt clip or to haul a trailer (w/alot more than 'parts') and that is only a time or 3 ayr...
2004 Honda Odyssey, this thing has 250 HP with variable valve timing, gets excellent mileage, hauls my boat with 7 passengers and I can fit a 4x8 plywood with the doors closed. Paid $3000 with 60,000 miles.
My parts getter is a 2010 Chevrolet Colorado with the factory 5.3 V8 which I purchased new. Doesn't get the mileage of the 5 or 6 cylinder models (close) but I like it much better (had one with the 5 cyl). Perfect size for most anything I've had to do. In 2018 I decided to use it to pull a travel trailer so I installed a Magnuson supercharger kit. That made a even better driving experience and a way to have a little fun on occasion!
I have a tendency towards Mopar and comfort so my parts hauler these days is a 2008 Chrysler Aspen truck/suv. It has hauled trailers from Ottawa Ontario across Canada to the far west interior of British Columbia and down to North Carolina numerous times. The 5.7 liter HEMI with a tune never stops pulling, gets better fuel mileage than my son in laws eco-boost and was way cheaper to buy than the Expedition or Escalade.
The first Parts Hauler I owned was a 1972 El Camino SS. Very good utility, but unless I had three or four bags of sand in the bed, I could get stuck in my driveway. Big Block engines with very little weight over the rear tires don't get along well with Northern Illinois winters.
These days I'm driving a Chevrolet Colorado Z71 crew cab short bed, and it has greater utility than the old El Camino, along with vastly improved handling and fuel economy.
I used to put cinder blocks in the trunk of my small block Camaro for that very reason. I don't think Central Illinois winters were much better. Now that I'm down south, we don't really have winter. It's summer that is usually followed by a couple of colder months followed by not quite summer.
My daily driver is an 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, if I need a pickup, I can borrow my Brother’s. Our family also has a really nice 1997 Chevrolet Silverado Z-71 extended cab, that we picked up recently.
I'm only two years in to owning my 2018 F150. I went shopping for "a daily that can also haul my broken project cars around."
Knowing it'll always start alleviates the commuting stress, as well as being an excellent family hauler.
If you can balance the cost, there is an argument for a newer daily. You enjoy the projects so much more when there's no time crunch and it can sit on stands while you drive to work.
I've had two Ford F-150s with the 300 inline 6cyl. The first one dropped the clutch and sold it with 155,000 mile on the odometer. The second one I bought for $2000. It had 106,000 miles on it. I drove it as a work truck without doing standard maintenance. Just hop in and drive it. I sold it with 350,000 on it for $500. The last time I saw the guy that bought it the truck had 550,000 and still started up and drove away as a daily driver. Those Ford 300 inline 6cyl's are indestructible!
It wasn’t much of a hauler but I loved and miss my 1998 Toyota 4Runner! This vehicle hauled about everything I could fix in or on it! Very reliable! Never had any real problems with it! I really miss it in fact I might just have to find another one of these days.
Favorite "stuff" hauler has to be our pickup truck, have always had one in our family fleet for over 10 years...before that I was one of those friends that borrowed someone's or worse, had to rent one...Finally drank the KoolAid and started out with an ex-rental Bow Tie 1/2 ton extended cab 4x4 that towed small trailers, hauled you name it, mulch, garbage, snowboards, snowblowers, motorcycles, construction supplies, furniture for house moves to kids going off to university...traded up to a 3/4 ton crew cab HD Silverado LTZ (6.0 litre gas) with all the goodies that did all that and more but in a much more comfortable way. As great a truck as it was, just felt she was too hard on fuel and underpowered for it's size. We now have a Silverado LTZ 2500HD Diesel crew that is an absolute pleasure to drive...handles incredible for it's size, great fuel economy, absolute comfort and will easily haul whatever and tow the car hauler...which hopefully will get used to go to Carlisle next year (fingers crossed) if we are permitted to cross the border into the US. Loaded down or empty bed, I will happily drive it anywhere. Must admit hearing the diesel fire up in the morning is an AWESOME feeling! My Better Half (who has a sports car mentality) appreciates the practicality and convenience. If there is a clearance sale at the garden centre, furniture store, Costco, Home Depot or her favorite tile place, she's gone with it.
I am repeating myself from an earlier Hagerty Community Post but Joe Diffie's "Pickup Man" says it all.
For years my daily driver/ parts hauler, and still is part of the time, is my 69 C-10 2WD long bed with a 350 4bbl, SM465 trans and 3.08 rear end. I bought it in the 90s added power steering and HEI right away, later converted to power front disc brakes from a parts truck. Never had a major break down, always started even in the coldest Colorado winters. Hauled many a car, mostly Hudsons and parts across many states. Always a smooth ride. Now a days the daily driver/ hauler is my 2005 GMC 2500HD 4WD with a Duramax and Allison transmission. It pulls my single car trailer loaded effortlessly while still getting 12-15 mpg. It occasionally pulls a 36’ goose-neck trailer to haul 2 Hudsons at a time with great ease. When not hauling my commute to work is still economical at near 20mpg. Can’t beat that Allison and a Duramax is a badass and very reliable engine. Truck has 500,000 miles and still looks very nice.
If I were limited to one vehicle, it would be a pickup. My 2004 GMC 2500 works fine as a car and is eminently practical for projects and towing duty. A tip to the youngsters heading off to college: Pickups add points to your popularity.
My ultimate hauler is a 1983 El Camino. Big enough for any car project, yet too small for me to get roped into major home improvement projects that would keep me from working on my cars. It can carry a big block Chrysler engine, but not a sheet of drywall. A good collection of Torqueflite transmissions, but not a hot tub.
Plus, it rides and handles like a very good car, especially after i massaged the suspension with a careful selection of G-Body parts, and 15 in wheels. It now has a GM Performance parts 350, which motivates it quite well, and upgraded brakes from a later Blazer, so it stops well now.
And, as a bonus, it's now old enough to wear antique license plates and enjoy Hagerty's low insurance rates.
I'm in Ann Arbor, MI, right around the corner from Hagerty's offices for the magazine.
"My ultimate hauler is a 1983 El Camino. Big enough for any car project, yet too small for me to get roped into major home improvement projects that would keep me from working on my cars."
The best truck bumper sticker I have ever read said, "Yes, it's my truck. No, I'm not helping you move."
Hey pard, I think the Elkies and Ranchero's were and still are under estimated. Maybe not from the factory, but if they are set up right they can haul everything from toilets, plumbing and the body parts that fit on them (A--)! They also look cool while doing it.
My potential parts hauler is the 2002 F150 I bought in March, unfortunately it hasn't been able to haul stuff for projects because this summer it was the project while I replaced the heads. On the positive side both the 8' box and the trailer hitch got some exercise between moving and camping. My son's GM T400 Suburban has also proven its worth since with seats folded it has almost the same space as a pickup.