Automotive history is not like other histories. Take baseball, for example. In 1986, the Red Sox lost Game 6 to the Mets after Bill Buckner let a ground ball go between his legs. History doesn’t highlight the Mets winning the game, but that the Red Sox had lost, yet again. History has a harsh way of focusing on negative events. That doesn’t seem to be the case with automobiles though.
Looking at the history of pickup trucks, only the good ones stand out. In 1975, as CJ Pony Parts notes, the Ford F-150 arrived. By the following year, it went on to become the best-selling truck. Ford is able to tout that same accomplishment today, as the same stands true. Not long after that, in 1981, the same source reports the Dodge Ram rolled onto the scene. It came in three different models: the 150, 250 and 350. These two pickups left an indelible impact that continues to resonate today.
Throughout the years though, many obscure and odd pickups came out that didn’t get much attention. Whether they didn’t do well or because automakers only made a limited few, they managed to come and go under the public’s radar.
On the other hand, there are plenty of other pickups we wish we could forget about. These didn’t get the best sales and there’s a reason for it—they were either too weird or too out there to interest the public. Yet no matter how hard we try to forget these trucks, they continue to haunt us (no thanks to our highlighting them again here).
25 Flop: Dodge Dakota Convertible
Convertibles are cool, pickups are cool—why not put them together? That was the thinking behind the Dodge Dakota Sport. The end result was middling though. As Hagerty notes, regular Dakota sales weren’t so hot; they sold less than 90,000 in 1989. That was less than they had hoped.
The Sport version may have been a desperate attempt to save Dodge’s pickup. Sadly, it didn’t work. The sales figures said it all, and in 1990, they only managed to sell 909 units.
24 Forgotten: Chevrolet LUV
The Chevy LUV is a classic looking truck that the general public won't remember. According to Autowise, Isuzu made this pickup for Chevy so they could compete with other compact pickups in the U.S. market. The same source notes that it gave Chevy time to develop their own compact pickups while selling the LUV, suggesting it was only ever meant to be temporary.
Chevy clearly recognized the need for a compact truck and Isuzu stepped in to answer the call with the LUV.
23 Forgotten: Suzuki Equator
Gather round and listen to a story about a pickup that came and went called the Suzuki Equator. It wasn’t even that long ago that the Equator graced US shores before calling it quits, as Autowise confirms, back in 2012.
It came with two options, either a 2.5-liter V4 capable of churning out 152 hp, or a 4.0-liter V6 that could do 261. Suzuki ended up paying the price financially for this truck that never managed to “pick up” in sales within the US.
22 Flop: Jeep Scrambler
The Scrambler is one of two Jeep pickups to make the list. It may have seemed like a good idea for Jeep to make a sportier pickup back in the 1980s, but the results didn’t satisfy.
According to The Washington Post, even with an affordable starting price tag of $7,588, sales didn’t perform well. Many outlets, including AutoSpies, are even wondering whether the Jeep Gladiator will struggle to sell just like its older sibling, the Scrambler. Only time will tell.
21 Forgotten: Mitsubishi Raider
The Raider may sound like a cool name for a pickup truck, but it wasn’t good enough to leave an impression on the public’s memory. Mitsubishi was the automaker behind this car. Autowise notes that the standard version came with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that could do a competent 210 hp.
In the end, after four years, the same source reports that only 21,890 ever sold. If there’s one thing that speaks to a car’s success, it’s the sales figures.
20 Forgotten: Chevrolet S-10 Electric
This next one will surprise readers today who’re unaware Chevy ever made an electric pickup. The S-10 Electric was an odd attempt to turn pickup trucks into a battery-powered vehicle. The concept alone sounds conflicting. According to Car and Driver, they even made it a FWD, which raises even more eyebrows.
The experiment didn’t last long. AutoTrader reports that the S-10 Electric lasted from 1996 to 1999 and Chevy only managed to make 1,100 by the end of its short-lived production.
19 Flop: Mahindra Pickup
Many may not have ever heard of the Mahindra pickup. According to Forbes India, Mahindra & Mahindra—or M&M—is India’s most prominent utility vehicle company. The same source notes that even though Mahindra managed to line up 350 dealers to sell their pickup, plans went awry for a launch in the US.
Forbes did report back in 2017 that there were plans to still launch a pickup in the US. Some may still have a sour taste after the initial attempt though.
18 Forgotten: Subaru BRAT
The Subaru BRAT may not be real pickup truck—or a beloved one, for that matter—but at least it tried something different. As The Drive points out, these smaller pickups came with 4WD and didn’t necessarily excel in towing. The BRAT would likely have trouble finding a niche in today’s pickup market.
These came with a 1.8-liter that could do a modest 73 hp. Even a truck this different couldn’t stand out enough though to last in the public’s consciousness.
17 Forgotten: Chevrolet 454SS
The 1990 Chevy 454SS deserves more attention than history is giving it. The truck had a lot more than its exterior led on. Car and Driver report that it got a 7.4-liter V8 engine packed into its regular cab frame. That made this a high-performing truck that strayed from the norm. The truck is raw and rough around the edges, but it’s proof that powerful engines belong in pickups.
The same source notes that the F-150 Lightning gets more attention though, casting a forgotten shadow over the Chevy 454SS.
16 Flop: GMC Caballero
The GMC Caballero is a truck when one considers its features, though it looks far from it. Part of what makes this truck so appealing, even today, is what it goes for on the used car market. According to Roadkill, they can start at about $2,500.
Really though, as Cheat Sheet notes, the car is just identical to the El Camino. There’s something frustrating about automakers rebadging their cars. That makes it one of those trucks we wish we could erase from our memories.
15 Forgotten: Mazda B-Series
The Mazda B-Series may not be as recognizable as Dodge Ram or the Ford F-Series, but it's been around. According to Autowise, they first arrived in the US and Canada back in the early 1970s. The 1.6-liter engine that came with these was able to do 94 hp.
The B-Series ended up going away by the time 1994 rolled around. The trucks still continue to endure though outside of the States. Car and Driver reports that Isuzu was set to make a pickup truck for Mazda as reported in 2016.
14 Forgotten: Nissan Hardbody Desert Runner
It’s too bad the Nissan Hardbody Desert Runner isn’t more recognized today, considering its widely-appealing ruggedness. Part of why it’s forgettable could be due to it being a limited edition model.
Car and Driver reports that it came with a 3.0-liter V6 engine that could do a decent 145 hp in its single cab version. Despite coming loaded with distinct features like a light bar up top and a pronounced front bumper, this truck got lost in the pickup shuffle.
13 Flop: Ford Ranchero
When people see a Ford Ranchero, “truck” isn’t the first thing they think of. It was something of a mix that ended up sticking around for a while. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the standard models came with a decent 3.65-liter engine that could put out 144 hp.
The same source notes that the automaker even touted the Ranchero could handle like a car and haul like a truck in their marketing. It wasn’t enough to save the Ranchero though, and now we’re stuck with the memory of it.
12 Forgotten: Dodge Rampage
Many will wonder how such an eye-catching “pickup” like the Dodge Rampage could ever go forgotten. It may not be a pickup in the purist sense, but it fulfills most of the anatomical criteria. Autowise reports that only 3,500 were ever produced during its life span.
It wasn’t a truck that could tow that well either considering its lackluster power. Having arrived in 1982, it didn’t take long before these ended, just two years later. It’s safe to say the public isn’t aware of this one.
11 Forgotten: Toyota T100
The Toyota T100 is a real pickup truck that once existed and not a Terminator like its name sounds. Car and Driver notes that the 3.0-liter V6 engine it came with could do 150 hp in the standard version. Although only two options were available at first, Toyota offered more choices in the future including an Xtra Cab style introduced in 1995.
Three years later though, production came to a halt and the T100 was no more. In turn, so was the public’s memory of it too.
10 Flop: Lincoln Blackwood
With $100,000 trucks like the Ford F-450, luxury pickups look like they're here to stay. The Lincoln Blackwood was a luxury pickup that automakers can still learn a lesson from. For one, it had a tonneau cover. While there’s nothing wrong with a truck coming off the production line with a tonneau cover, the bed raised even more eyebrows with its tailgate that opens up like French doors.
Every truck has its fans, but this is one we’d just rather forget about.
9 Flop: Chevrolet SSR
The Chevrolet SSR gets a bad rap. It’s not enough that the truck didn’t sell well—people have to put it down for its odd attempt at referencing vintage hot rods. That’s not all though.
According to Car and Driver, the SSR shares the same platform as a Chevy Trailblazer, only it has a massive V8. While any car enthusiast can appreciate that kind of power, customers didn’t think it was worth the high price tag for its surprisingly lackluster performance.
8 Forgotten: Lamborghini LM002
Is there a pickup more monstrous and tough than the Lamborghini LM002? There are definitely true pickups out there that can contend, though few will get as many eye-raising reactions as the LM002 does when it rolls by.
This is a civilian car, as Car and Driver reports, though it’s hard to believe. The car isn’t only big, but it has the power to boot. The same source confirms that a V12 sits underneath its rough exterior. Nonetheless, it’s still a forgotten pickup.
7 Forgotten: Ford SkyRanger
Much of the public remains uninformed about this Ford collaboration truck from the 1990s. According to Car and Driver, it was a collaboration between Ford and the US Sunroof Company. It may look odd, but it offered drivers with a 4WD that moved behind a 4.0-liter V6 engine.
One of the reasons it’s not known very well today may be due to its limited run. The same source notes that there were only 20 made during its short and uneventful production.
6 Flop: Subaru Baja
Behold the Subaru Baja. It looks a little odd, with its miniature bed, but it’s a “truck” nonetheless. While it is commendable for Subaru to boldly try something different with this smaller pickup, the public shrugged.
According to Cheat Sheet, after arriving in 2003, production ended just three years later. In all, Subaru managed to sell about 30,000 Bajas when the dust had settled. As hard as the Baja tried, we’d rather just get a neuralyzer from Men in Black and wipe our memories clean of it.
5 Flop: Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger is a truck we could do without. Four Wheeler notes that one owner bought his new back in 1997. It seems to work out for him over the years, especially with all he puts it through on rugged desert terrain.
The only thing is, he’s been making modifications ever since he bought it. We can't imagine this truck holding up if he didn’t. It’s one of those pickup trucks that keeps on truckin’ in our memories, though we wish it wouldn’t.
4 Forgotten: Cadillac Mirage
The Cadillac Mirage is an eerily appropriate name for a car the public has all but forgotten about. For those wondering if it really did exist, or whether they saw a distorted reality—the Cadillac Mirage did in fact exist. It wouldn’t have been surprising though if you missed it.
According to Carscoops, only 204 units were ever produced. These had 8.2-liter V8 engines that were no pushovers. Though with the car’s rarity comes its drawbacks, and the public forgot all about it.
3 Flop: Jeep Comanche
The Jeep Comanche is a stylish and noteworthy pickup. The fact that Jeep made an eye-catching pickup is worthy of attention. That may also be the problem. A Jeep is a Jeep after all, and perhaps would be better off staying out of the pickup market in general.
That’s just an opinion though, and anyone could make a great case for this truck. Cheat Sheet reports they stopped making them in 1992 and it’s probably a good thing for car buyers.
2 Forgotten: Dodge Ram SS/T
Another forgotten performance pickup to make the list is the Dodge Ram SS/T. According to AutoTrader, these trucks came with Ram's biggest engine up to that time, only they had some modifications.
It was a 5.9-liter V8 that could do a competent 245 hp. It wasn’t that long ago these trucks were for sale. By the time 2002 rolled around though, they were gone. Although Ram would release more performance pickups like it in years to come, the SS/T largely gets neglected.
1 Forgotten: Ford Courier
This one will likely raise eyebrows, not just for its exterior—although it is distinct from compact trucks today—but more for its unfamiliarity. Autowise reports that Ford imported these as an attempt to be competitive in the compact pickup market. They ended up taking it off the market out of fear that it could affect F-150 sales, which was their best-selling truck.
The initial ones came with a 1.8-liter engine that could do 74 hp, which is respectable power for a smaller truck.
Sources: CJ Pony Parts, Car and Driver, Autowise, The Drive, AutoTrader & Carscoops