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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We need to bring back the Toyota Hilux. Truck's have gotten too big. They don't fit in a parking place. Nobody can see around them. Fuel won't be cheap forever. Their exhaust stinks, really stinks. And oddly enough, the bigger the truck, the smaller the driver gets, or at least it looks that way.
I have had 3 Chevy S-10 pickups, all V-6, 4WD, and 5-speed (1984, 2001, 2002). The first two have been used to a point where "there was nothing left." (The 2001 was so good that, rather than buy a new replacement in 2016, I bought a 2002 rust-free western truck with only 100K miles on it.) I have personally hauled > 2200 pounds in each on several occasions and I use it with my tow dolly to haul various cars around. They are very robust vehicles. Other than professionals contractors, I'd say that my % capacity of use is very high compared to the majority of the population with full size pickups. They are easy to drive, visibility is great, gas mileage is not bad, performance is fine, and tires less expensive than full size trucks. The down side is that they aren't too good in 2WD in the snow so I have to put in 400 lbs of something in the back so that limits my winter loads somewhat. The upside is that, with the 5-speed, most people who want to borrow your truck to haul stuff can't. HA! But the down side to that is that then they still want to borrow it but I have to help.
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 own a '86 C10/Silverado. Longbed. Hauls engines, transmissions, wood, mulch, plants, anything you can ask for. The 305/700R4 was swapped with a 5.3L/4L60E, with a tonneau cover and the new motor, I get 27 on the highway, and can burn the rear tires off it, anywhere I want.
GM built the truck for injection (the '87 R10), so swapping to an LS was easy.
Great vintage looks. Drives as nice as most new vehicles. Still sized for normal humans (I'm 6'2" and can barely lift items into the bed of a modern GM/Ford truck over the sidewall, and I don't need a step to get in it.)
Rides nicer than most of my friend's new GM and Ford trucks. Doesn't have lane departure assist or massaging, heated cupholders. It's a truck for pete's sake. Has a bench seat, as God intended trucks to have. There's great aftermarket support, and some nice ones if you're willing to look south.
Great brakes, suspension, and hauling ability for it's time, and even now. And it's 90% of what I need (It tows a single car, enclosed trailer, easily) My wife has a modern SUV has better hauling/towing capability if I need to go that last 10%. Though I'd rather not show up in suburban mom's SUV, thanks. 🙂
These or the GMT900s are the best Trucks GM built for daily use or work, IMO. I aim to die with my Squarebody; she's perfect for a guy who doesn't need to tow a bulldozer daily. And I don't.
Plus, this thing has out-appreciated most of my American or European classic sheetmetal; because people seem to be agreeing with me. Try that with a new truck.
Still driving my 1996 Dodge Dakota Sport, std cab, short bed, 2wd, 318 V8, 4 speed auto, 3:50 sure grip rear end, all black with no chrome that I special ordered it in late 95. Still gets 18 -19 MPG. Easily towed my 20' 4 wheel trailer. As some else said, had to put weight inside the tail gate in the winter for better traction in the snow. The only problem now is getting parts for it because of it's age.
Ditto the Ram 2500 Mega Cab w/ 6.7L Cummins. I have a '15 in Laramie trim. It's my first truck. Best part of it is: 6-speed manual, which you could option through the end of the '18 model year. So not only is its 660 lb-ft more than adequate to pull my classic Ferrari and Maserati, but as the last stick-shift full-size heavy-duty truck, it will hold its resale value as good as any truck out there.
I can say the Denali is by far the best. I can toss an engine in the back it it is just fine going down the road. As for the 72 Sprint SP. It was fun but I recall dropping a 428 Pontiac in the bed and with a 402 BBC up front it was a strange driving dynamic.
But from a collectors stand point I still wish I had the very rare Sprint SP.
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!
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.
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.
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.
My 1965 F-100 Camper Special has served me well over the last 24 years...I saved it from being 'scrapped' in 1996 for $100. It ain't "pretty" (sports the patina of being 55 years in service) but starts and runs every time I need it! I gave it a "heart transplant" when the original FE 352 got 'tired'... https://youtu.be/Td9iJKPexmg
(No, it's not insured by Hagerty like my '70 Bronco - it's considered my "Daily Transportation" vehicle since I don't own anything 'newer')
2001 Toyota Tacoma regular cab, 4 cylinder, 5 speed manual.
I have hauled a '48 Chief and a '74 Norton in the back at the same time. Another trip had 2 Indian Sport Scouts and a Triumph Bonneville in the back. It was tight but it was accomplished!
It has hauled several engines in the back such as a GMC 270 and GMC 302 inline sixes (at separate times!).
It does the job nicely! I plan on replacing it with a'53 GMC panel truck for a bit more securtiy!
Have a 2020 Ram 1500 4WD Quad Cab ... bought it to haul people, logs, plants, lumber, etc. ... but it’s just too pretty to mess up, so I’m stuffing everything except people (wearing clean shoes and clothing) in my ‘08 Chrysler Town and Country. Holds almost as much, has more out-of-the- weather head room than under the bed cover in the Ram, gets better gas mileage, and I don’t worry about scratches and dings at Home Depot or Tractor Supply. Still, I LOVE THAT HEMI RAM!
Chevy Astro Van EXT AWD. Bigger then a mini van, Longer then the standard Astro, AWD is killer in the Snow with it's weight, rear A/C, 8 Passenger seating, Remove the seats and you can haul so much. The only problem or irritation was the small windshield. I'm 6'3 and am looking out of the windshield practically at the headliner. Should have had a taller roof or shorter seat!
Can't beat an older Chevy 4X4. My 1990 with bed cap and paint matching trailer (yes I have too much time on my hands) hauls almost everything I get myself into. 350 throttle body V-8, no air bags or ABS. Perfect! And at 30 years old it qualifies for classic plates in my state and can only be taxed at $500 dollars of value. What's not to like!
2007 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD is the present parts hauler and Home center runner.
It is backed up by a 2005 Scion xA. When I was younger a Honda VT500 Ascot did a fair bit of parts hauling for me on nice days and even on some not so nice days if it was desperate enough of a need.
I went to the drag race track years ago. I was impressed by an over-20-year-old turbo Dodge Caravan (remember those old turbo 2.2's or 2.5's?). Wasn't that pretty. I was initially impressed because it was running like a 13.79 quarter. When I went to the pits to ask about it, there was the wife and like 6 kids running around. The seats had been removed for weight. The owner said they use it for everything. Family car, hauling wood inside, drag racing....
I have a 2010 Tacoma 4x4 extended cab with a 5,000 lb towing capability. I also have a half-ton trailer with a 4x8 bed for hauling lighter stuff. I upgraded the wheels to let me haul a 1,200 lb trencher a few years ago.
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.
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.
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.