Pump Passing Pickups:
High gas prices are the hot topic at cruise nites this year. The whiners are wailing that the old-truck hobby is doomed, but they’re wrong. There are lots of fuel thrifty, gas pump passing pickups out there if you look for them.
As might be expected, some high-efficiency haulers are pigmy pick-‘em-ups, like the Bantam and the Crosley. But others such as the Model A closed-cab pickup and the early Chevelle-based El Camino offer plenty of elbow room.
If you’re interested in imported vehicles, you’re in luck. Small pickups were fairly common in overseas markets from England to Germany to Japan. Narrow roads, steep highway taxes and higher gas prices forced our neighbors in other lands to appreciate down-sizing way before we arrived at this moment in time.
If it’s rarity you don’t want to give up in going to a smaller truck, don’t worry. You don’t have to accept the commonplace. How many Plymouths do you really think were converted into Powell Sport Wagons back in the ‘50s? Not many. And the Jeep-like Crofton Bug lived just a short bug’s life.
You say you want special features that will enhance the utility of your little truck when you’re using it for chores? Well, an early International Scout will take you pretty far off road, while the drop-down bedsides on a VW Kombi Pickup will come in handy for working in the garden.
So, keep your cool. The classic pickup hobby will go on, even if a lot of us are forced to change our rides. Here’s our 10 picks for pump-passers.