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Early History of Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks have been around for over a 100 years. Initially, they were purchased almost exclusively for function, however, starting in the 1950s consumers began purchasing them for lifestyle purposes as well. Below we’ll take a look at a few of the early pickup trucks to hit the market.

Mid 1910s – At the request of the US Government, Dodge agreed to supply 20,000 vehicles (including trucks) to the US military during World War I. After the war, Dodge converted the military trucks to a commercial vehicle. In 1921, Dodge made an arrangement with the Graham Brothers where the Graham Brothers would manufacturer trucks using Dodge parts that would then be sold through Dodge dealers.

1918 – The Chevrolet 490 was introduced in 1915 and was named the 490 because it cost $490. In 1918 there was a model that came with a frame only, that allowed consumers to purchase the cab, bed and body separately. The ‘pickups’ were rated at a half-ton.

1925 – In 1925 Ford introduced the Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body. It included an all steel bed that was 56 inches long, 40 inches wide and 13 inches high. Over 33,000 of this model were sold and the model was improved and sold in both 1926 and 1927 before production stopped on the Model T.

1935 – Toyoda (later Toyota) produced the G1 pickup truck. This truck used the same engine (and a slightly elongated chassis) as their A1 passenger vehicle.