The modern pickup truck started out with humble roots as a farming tool, and it was something that many rural communities were glad to have in the early years of the automotive industry. There has, of course, been a good deal of improvements in the last fifty years which have transformed the vehicles from average farming tools to mainstream pickup trucks that are capable of being the main vehicle for most consumers instead of an extra. There were many pickup trucks that have broken the mold for what a vehicle can be and what the product should offer to the consumer, and these pickup trucks have been both domestic and foreign. What helped to fuel the pickup truck revolution were innovative designs, as well as the added versatility and more modern engine choices.
During the nineties, especially, it was a prosperous time for the pickup truck market, and with the likes of Ford and Chevrolet the pickup truck became a more modern and well-known vehicle and overtook the modern family sedan as the vehicle of choice for consumers. The pickup truck is now one of the most expensive vehicle classes that you can buy, offering everything from supercharged engines to all of the luxury features that you might have found on a far more expensive vehicle.
Choosing a pickup truck is such a hard decision these days because there is such a vast choice of vehicles to choose from, thus the pickup truck has transcended into a product that really defines the entire automotive industry.
30 Chevrolet 490 Series Half Ton
Long before the modern Chevrolet Silverado that we see today, the brand laid the groundwork for what would become the modern pickup truck that we have all seen at least once.
The Chevrolet 490 Series Half-Ton was a versatile classic that offered a good level of refinement and options for people who needed to be able to haul stuff for business, or just for pleasure. The Chevrolet 490 Series Half-Ton was one of the world's first pickup trucks, and we like how it basically innovated an entire market.
29 Ford Model T Runabout With Pickup Body
Not to be outdone by the boys over at Chevrolet, the Ford guys designed what would eventually become the F-150 that we know and love today. The Ford Model T Runabout With Pickup Body was the first official Ford pickup truck, and it ended up being so popular that the brand almost couldn’t keep up with the production.
The Ford Model T Runabout With Pickup Body was a unique vehicle, and interest has peaked recently on the used car market as well for this one of a kind pickup truck.
28 Jeep Willys Pickup
Jeep has always been an innovator in many aspects, and their Jeep Willys Pickup was ahead of the curve.
While you might think that the Jeep Comanche of the eighties was the first Jeep pickup truck, you’d actually be wrong. The Jeep Willys Pickup was actually the first pickup truck model to have been released by the company, and the truck was both durable and quite unique, which helped it to be a popular seller for the brand. The legacy has lived on in other Jeep models.
27 Chevrolet Task Force
Another notable Chevrolet pickup truck model was the Task Force, which really evolved the design of the truck to a whole new level. When it entered production in 1955 the Task Force was something that the automotive world had not yet seen, and the automotive community was quick to follow suit with updated designs to fit their own brands, such as updated Ford models, as well as updated Dodge models.
The Chevrolet Task Force will go down as one of the most influential pickup truck models to sweep the market, and we loved everything about the truck.
26 Chevrolet Cameo
Continuing on its path of innovation and pickup truck dominance, the Chevrolet Cameo was another notable addition to the extensive pickup truck line. What this model brought to the table was an even more updated exterior and a one of a kind interior that gave the truck even more refinement.
The model continued to get better with every year, plus who could forget the legendary Cameo name that continued to live on in a few other special editions GM trucks much later on?
25 Ford Ranchero
Where's the love for the Ford Ranchero? It was Ford's answer for the El Camino that just doesn’t get the love that it deserves these days. The Ranchero was the first cool car-based truck, and the car lives on in the show car circuit as one of the most unique Ford models to roam the earth. We think that the Ford Ranchero had a lot more personality than the El Camino, perhaps too much.
Although the model was not a big hit for Ford, it will live on in the hearts of collectors who have developed a soft spot for this car.
24 Jeep Gladiator
Another Jeep based truck that the brand developed during the early stages of the company, the Gladiator was another notable vehicle and a definite step ahead for Jeep as they were working on innovating their lineup. We like how the Jeep Gladiator took a full body on frame SUV and made it into an innovative topless truck.
Like with many Jeep products of this generation, the Gladiator was definitely a unique truck, to say the least, and one that has held its value incredibly well during this time.
23 Dodge Lil’ Express Truck
When it comes to one of a kind pickup trucks that really set a trend for design, the Dodge Lil’ Express Truck is a one of a kind pickup truck that comes to mind for its unique double stack design and one of a kind performance. You might not have ever seen a Dodge Lil’ Express Truck because these models are extremely rare, and finding one in good shape is extremely hard to come by these days.
The Dodge Lil’ Express Truck was a first for Dodge, and the model was also sold as a Dakota as well.
22 Chevrolet C30 One Ton Dually
Gradually as the pickup truck market progressed the need for heavier duty pickup trucks increased, and the market started adapting much larger pickup truck options.
The Chevrolet C30 One Ton Dually is a one of a kind truck that really ignited the whole heavy-duty truck trend that we see nowadays; plus Chevy threw in some nice touches, such as a more modern interior and enough seating for the whole crew to pack in for a day's work.
21 Dodge Dakota
During the late eighties, Chrysler was riding high on the wave of the K-Cars and the Minivan revolution. Things were truly looking up for the company. Then, we got the Dakota. This truck was the truly first “Mid-size” pickup truck on the market, complete with a full-featured V8 engine that gave the truck big boy power crammed into a more compact size.
The Dodge Dakota carried on for three generations and basically created the Mid-Size pickup truck market that we see today. Thank you, Dodge.
20 Ford F-150 Lightning
Then there's this, the F-150 on steroids (if there ever was one). We like what the Lightning brought to the table, and the truck remains one of the most popular and highly coveted used trucks on the market today.
What makes this truck innovative was the sheer power and style that it brought to a pickup truck. The only thing that we wish is that it had come in an extended cab option, as the only Lightning models that were sold were in a single cab configuration, which was not great if you had a family.
19 International Harvester Travelette
Yes, there was a time when International made more than just tractors and semi trucks, there were also consumer vehicles that were offered. These rugged trucks and SUV models were the first of their kind, and the International Harvester Travelette is one of the most historic and well-known pickup trucks to date.
The value on the International Harvester Travelette has skyrocketed, and this is because the vehicle is so rare and highly sought after. The International Harvester Travelette brought a new trend of style to the table, and the truck is perhaps one of the most iconic International models on the road.
18 Dodge Ram Cummins W250/W350
The Dodge Ram has always gone head to head with the Ford and Chevrolet offerings for full-size supremacy, so it should come as no surprise that Dodge was aiming for them with the Dodge Ram Cummins W250/W350.
This big and bold truck was the first step in the evolution of the modern Ram 3500 that we see today. This truck was big, and it meant business, with a capable interior and an even more capable exterior that made the truck just about as durable as you could imagine a big burly Dodge would be.
17 Ford Super Duty
Ford is never one to be outdone, at least not without a fight. So, they brought the Ford Super Duty to the table and boy, what a truck it was?!
The Ford Super Duty introduced a bunch of new features to the pickup truck game that really helped to modernize the era. Especially with the advent of the Power Stroke Diesel, which was one of the most preferable motors to have been featured on a Ford product to date (and remains a popular aftermarket engine as well even in today's truck market).
16 Studebaker L5 Coupe 1939
You know, even before there was the Detroit Big Three rivalry when it comes to pickup trucks, there was another domestic brand as well, and that was Studebaker. The model that we are talking about is, in fact, the Studebaker L5 Coupe 1939, which was a one of a kind truck that really worked hard to separate itself from the pack.
The Studebaker L5 Coupe 1939 was one of the more unique trucks to come out of the Studebaker brand before its demise, and we like how the model was so innovative.
15 Dodge Ram SRT 10
Then there's this, the Viper-powered Dodge Ram truck that set the bar for just how extreme an automaker could go. These trucks were so powerful that they needed the same transmission that you would find in a Dodge Ram 3500 just to handle the sheer power of the engine, and that was only half the battle.
The Dodge Ram SRT 10 is also one of the most expensive Ram products that you can buy, even today on the used car market the truck will sell for quite a pretty penny.
14 Nissan Hardbody 4×4
Nissan was always an innovator, especially when it came to the pickup truck market. The Nissan Hardbody 4×4 is undoubtedly one of the most famous and well-endowed pickup trucks to roam the planet. Just about everyone has seen one of these handy little easy to drive trucks, and that does not even mention the hundreds of examples that were sold around the world as well.
The model is known for being quite reliable and cheap to maintain, which are also huge pluses for this model.
13 Kaiser Jeep M715
The Jeep brand, in general, was originally a military vehicle, long before the Hummer became the vehicle of choice for the armed forces. The Kaiser Jeep M715 is one of the oldest and most classic Jeep models that is known for its reliability and one of a kind design that really separated the M715 from other pickup trucks that were being manufactured at the time.
The military application made the Kaiser extremely durable, which is a testament to Jeep products that carries on into the present.
12 Ford Ranger Edge
During the 2000s the Ford product line was hot, and the Ranger line was becoming a bit dated so Ford decided to add a little bit of excitement with the new Edge line of trucks. Offering exclusive paint and body options, the Edge trucks were eerily similar to the Splash models that were featured during the nineties.
While the Edge might not be the most handsome or groundbreaking truck in the room, it did manage to inject some life into the otherwise dated Ranger lineup.
11 Dodge Dakota Night-runner
Nearing the end of its life cycle and feeling a bit lost, the final generation of the Dodge Dakota had lost all of the lusters that made the original two generations groundbreaking. Thus, Dodge decided to do something exciting and they launched the Dodge Dakota Nightrunner.
This one of a kind truck featured a beautiful black paint scheme, as well as the one of a kind headlight and taillight treatment that made the Nightrunner truly unique in a world of otherwise bland mid-size trucks.
10 Dodge Ram Rumble Bee
When the new Dodge Ram came onto the scene in 2002 the truck was groundbreaking, with a beautiful new design and a plethora of options that made the big rig style pickup truck an instant hit with consumers. The Rumble Bee package further improved on an already stylish and powerful design, with the addition of the legendary Hemi V8 engine and a notable bright yellow paint job which was tough to miss.
The Dodge Ram Rumble Bee was nothing short of a stellar choice for a new pickup truck.
9 Dodge Ram Daytona
Another winner in the early 2000s Dodge lineup was the Dodge Ram Daytona, with its signature orange paint job and over the bed spoiler. The Dodge Ram Daytona is one of the rarer Dodge Ram models that you can find, and the truck does a good job of showing you what it's made for.
The Daytona package was based on the popular Dodge muscle car of the seventies, and naturally, the present day truck lived up to this promise.
8 Chevrolet 454 SS
The Chevrolet 454 SS broke new ground as a performance truck out of GM, offering a sleek black truck that looked like something that was truly a performance gem, to say the least. The Chevrolet 454 SS offered a serious blend of performance that hadn’t been seen in a production pickup truck since the vehicle's inception.
The 454 SS managed to gain a massive cult following, and the truck is still popular to this day on the used car market as an alternative to newer and boring pickup truck models.
7 Chevrolet Silverado SS
The year 2003 was a noble one for Chevrolet as they introduced their Silverado SS to the world. This truck was a lot different than the 454 SS of yesteryear. Another improvement with the Silverado SS was the fact that the truck was AWD, which was a first for the Silverado brand.
There were other notable firsts for the Silverado SS such as the limited edition colors of the truck, and the one of a kind alloy wheels which were developed for the rig.
6 Ford Raptor 6.0L
When the Ford F-150 Lightning has discontinued, a void was left in the Ford lineup for a performance truck, a void that had been filled for years. The Ford Raptor was a burst of new innovation and a cool design that really pushed what a production pickup truck could do.
The Raptor was instantly popular because of the Baja racer design, and the extremely unique paint job that made the truck an extremely unique choice.
5 Ford Raptor Twin Turbo V6
The Ford Raptor Twin Turbo V6 is the current incarnation of the popular Ford performance truck, and it also offers a one of a kind blend of style that has not been seen on other production trucks. Dodge tried to mimic with their Power Wagon but the Ford Raptor is in a class of its own.
We like everything that the Raptor offers, and the Twin Turbo V6 is quite a unique accomplishment, to say the least, and it goes to show how Ford is moving away from the traditional V8 engine in favor of more modern options.
4 Ford F150 Harley Davidson
The Harley Davidson is one of the most popular forms of transportation in the world, indeed the Motorcycle has a loyal following in every aspect. The Ford F150 Harley Davidson was a unique option that was created to cater to the massive following of Harley owners who also owned F-150 pickup trucks.
The V8 engine was supercharged and the leather interior provided ample room for an entire family while providing exciting supercharged performance that had not been seen on an extended cab truck before.
3 Isuzu LUV
When you see the Isuzu LUV you might wonder why this truck was important? Well, the LUV was one of the very first imported pickup trucks into the domestic market. On top of providing some of the best fuel economy ever seen in a pickup truck, the LUV also showed us that you don’t need a full-size pickup truck to haul and do other activities that are generally reserved for the pickup truck market.
The Isuzu LUV was a stellar pickup truck in every sense of the word, and this is why GM chose to import it as well.
2 Lincoln Mark LT
Perhaps one of the first victims of the 2008 economic downturn, the Lincoln Mark LT was a stellar pickup truck that was just released at the wrong time. Offering some of the nicest luxury features to have been seen on a pickup truck, the Mark LT did everything right that the Lincoln Blackwood never did.
The Lincoln Mark LT has lived on as the Ford F-150 Platinum, but we wonder if the economic downturn hadn’t happened, would we see a modern day Mark LT as well? These are questions that Ford may never choose to answer.
1 Toyota Tacoma
During the nineties, Toyota was working hard to revamp their product line and become the well-known company that we see today, and the Tacoma was one of the first vehicles that sparked this product revolution. The Toyota Tacoma was a well-rounded pickup truck that offered a superior mid-size design and V6 power, as well as a more modern interior and exterior than the outgoing Toyota Pickup did.
The Tacoma lives on today as the sales leader of the midsize truck market, which coincidentally enough was actually started by Dodge with the Dakota.
Sources: Motor Trend, Truckin”, Hot Rod