Everything from rides you still see on the road today back to WW-2 era old school. Enjoy!
There’s just something we love about a truck. Ranked in no particular order, mind you.
1963-1987 Jeep Gladiator and J-Series trucks
Jeep’s replacement for both its Willys pickup and the FC (Forward Control) truck was the Gladiator pickup. The Gladiator was a much more modern full-size pickup than Jeep’s earlier workhorses. This Jeep was contemporary enough that, with a few updates and styling changes, it stayed in production without a ground-up redesign for 24 years.
The earliest Gladiators used an advanced six-cylinder engine, while larger V-8 engines were optional throughout the life of the Gladiator and later J-10 and J-20 trucks. Since Jeep didn’t make its own V-8s, these were supplied by Buick and, of course, AMC. The largest was the AMC 401 V-8—the biggest engine ever offered in a Jeep pickup.
By 1976, the J-trucks received a new frame, and an awesomely disco package became available in the late 70s. The rarest and coolest of all the J-trucks of this generation would be the stepside bed Honchos of 1980-1983—only 1264 were made.
1976-1977 Chevy Blazer Chalet
No doubt the Blazer deserves a place on this list. But instead of picking a pedestrian version, we selected the rare Chalet. In the mid-to-late 1970s, off-roading and camping were two red-hot trends. But to do both, you needed a motorhome and a 4X4 to tow behind it. Not so if you ordered a Chevy Blazer Chalet. The Chalet was a pop-up camper body made by Chinook that slid into the cargo hold of a 4WD Blazer and provided sleeping accommodations for two. This meant you could tackle a tough trail in your Chalet and carry everything you need for camping at night. Brilliant. The Chalet retailed for just under $10,000, and less than 2000 were ever made.
1967-1977.5 Ford F-250 Highboy
The Highboy is one of the toughest-looking Ford trucks of all time. We love its sky-high stature and ultra-rugged drivetrain. You could bolt on a massive 35-inch tall tire under these trucks without lifting the suspension. These trucks sat a few inches taller than the ¾-ton trucks from GM, Dodge and Jeep, too.After 1977.5, the F-250 was revised with a new frame, suspension, and drivetrain that lowered new F-250s. So from that point on, the older F-250s were known as “Highboys” and the new trucks that sat 2-inches lower were “Lowboys”. Many of these early tall F-250s came with Ford’s 360 V-8 paired to either a sturdy C6 automatic or a “granny low” NP 435 4-speed manual.It might seem odd that a heavy-duty pickup truck from the 1970s could begin to interest truck collectors, but the cool stance, durability, and lore of these “Highboy” Ford Trucks have made restored or low-mile examples very desirable.
1945-1949 Willys CJ-2A
The Willys CJ-2A is so much more than the civilian version of the Willys MB. The original “Jeep” would become the blueprint and inspiration for just about every recreational four-wheel drive vehicle that would be designed for the next seven decades including every Jeep vehicle. Perhaps the most iconic aspect is that seven-slot grille, a design cue baked into every modern Jeep today.Between those flat fenders sat the Willys little 60 hp, 134 cid “Go-Devil” engine. But because the CJ-2A ran on an 80-inch wheelbase and weighed just 2100 pounds, it was not only maneuverable but peppy, too.The CJ2A was more of a workhorse than any SUV today, and often ran farm implements and many other attachments—even snow plows. But to us, the CJ-2A is most in its element when crawling over the rocks of on a four-wheel drive excursion, enjoying the open-top fun that this vehicle practically invented.
2008-2010 Hummer H3 Alpha
After nearly a decade marketing gargantuan SUVs, Hummer finally launched a smaller vehicle for the 2005 model year. The H3 was based on the bones of the Chevy Colorado, and so it had that vehicle’s pokey inline 5-cylinder engine. The power deficiency was fixed in 2008 when the company slid its potent 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 into the compact H3. This model finally had the muscle to match its brawny appearance. The H3 Alpha could hit 60 mph about 2-3 seconds quicker than the five-cylinder models.
1963-1991 Jeep Wagoneer
The original Jeep Wagoneer was, along with the Chevy Suburban, one of the forefathers of the modern SUV. The Wagoneer used the same basic chassis as the Jeep Gladiator pickup truck, and saw few changes through its near 30-year production run. From 1974 to 1983 Jeep sold a two-door version of the Wagoneer that it called the Cherokee—another legendary Jeep nameplate.The Super Wagoneer of 1966 packed more luxury features and a strong V-8 under the hood. It became a precursor to the more upscale path the Wagoneer brand would blaze through the 70s, 80s and early 1990s with trims such as the Brougham, Limited, and finally, Grand. And of course the faux woodgrain side panels would become a Waggy trademark. Today, these SUVs look and drive like the classics they are.
1942-1959 Napco Chevy and GMC Trucks
Back in the 1950s, Chevy and GMC didn’t offer in-house-designed 4WD pickup trucks. But Dodge had been building its trucks with 4WD since the 1940s. So the Northwest Auto Parts Company (Napco), an engineering and fabrication firm from Minnesota, began to produce conversion kits that could transform GMC and Chevy trucks (as well as Fords) into 4WD trucks.
By 1957, both manufacturers were installing Napco Powr-Pak 4WD conversions directly on the assembly line. Once the OEM manufacturers began building their own 4WD trucks in the 1960s, the Napco conversions were no longer needed. Today, Napco trucks are rare and highly desirable collectables with a strong owner’s group. This 1959 Chevy 3100 sold at a 2008 Barrett-Jackson auction for a whopping $72,600.
1984-2001 Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
Although GM and Ford fans would argue that the 1983 S-10 Blazer and Bronco II were the first “downsized” compact SUVs, it was the Jeep Cherokee XJ that really set the stage for what modern SUVs and crossovers would become. The Cherokee didn’t use conventional body-on-frame construction. Instead, XJs were unibody, which combined the body and frame like passenger cars. And perhaps most importantly, the Cherokee was available with two or four doors. The Chevy and Ford wouldn’t get proper four-door versions until 1991.
2003-2006 Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Rubicon
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon just celebrated its 10 anniversary. When it launched in 2003, this optional package became an instant hit. The second-generation Jeep Wrangler TJ was, for many, the high point of Jeep off-road capability thanks to its flexible coil-link suspension and nimble size.
The TJ was smaller than today’s Wrangler and used Jeep’s torquey 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, so it could crawl up hard, narrow trails with practically no modifications. To transform the TJ into an even more talented dirt machine, the Rubicon package included beefy Dana 44 axles front and rear, with electronic locking differentials, an ultra-low gearing in its transfer case, and aggressive 31-inch Goodyear mud tires.
The rarest and most desirable of the Rubicons from this generation are the long-wheelbase Unlimited models that were sold from 2004 to 2006 and set the stage for today’s four-door Unlimited.
1971-1980 International Scout II
The International Harvester Scout was one of the most popular 4WD vehicles of the 1960s and 1970s, with just over a half-million produced in that time. The original Scout 80 and later 800s were solid competitors to Jeep. But it was the later, larger, and more modern Scout IIs that many enthusiasts pine for today.
The Scout II was a heavy and versatile beast, and International designed it to handle just about any task. The short overhangs of the bodywork and beefy drivetrain meant it was a great trail machine. The most desirable of the Scout IIs came after 1974 when the strong Dana 44 front axle came standard, along with disc brakes. The Scout II could be optioned with the 304 cid V-8 or the brawny 345 cid V-8. Starting in 1976, those who needed more room could order a Traveler SUV or Terra pickup version on an 18-inch-longer wheelbase.
1961-1975 International Harvester Travelall
With a layout similar to the Chevrolet Suburban, it is a precursor to the modern full-size SUV equipped with side windows and either two or three rows of passenger seats. Side-opening “barn” style cargo doors were standard, with a tailgate available as an option.
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