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Remember When a Truck was a Thing for Work?

Wanted: Cheap Truck

Evan Perkins Feb 2, 2016
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I need a truck, plain and simple. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just finding one and forking over the cash. Like most people, I commute from where I can afford to live to where work is—albeit in Southern California, that’s a drive to the tune of about 3-4 hours round trip and about 400 miles a week.

That drive, coupled with the terrible price of gas in this state, has made it hard to daily drive a truck—of which, I so badly need. Carting around engines, project cars, and various other bulky parts for tech stories, paired with the seemingly never-ending trips to the hardware store for the 1920s house I am attempting to restore, is a weekly—more often daily—reminder of the truck-shaped hole in my life. In full disclosure, I do have a 1970 K20 Suburban. But Mike BURBiglia as I have dubbed the monolithic four-wheeler (stand-up comedy fans hopefully catch the reference) is years away from being roadworthy.

Showing up with a 454 block in the back of my thrifty hatchback always garners a laugh from my machine shop friends at L&R Engines, but truthfully, my lower back would be quite grateful if I’d knock those sorts of shenanigans off—it’s always harder to un-wedge an engine block from the spare tire well than it was to drop it in there in the first place.

So, realizing that the need for a pickup will only escalate from here on out, I’ve started browsing the new truck market. I’ve quickly come to the conclusion that I definitely can’t afford one. I might be able to sneak into some four-cylinder-powered thing for a decent monthly payment, but that does nothing to solve my need for a tow rig. I’d consider buying a used truck if I didn’t put so many miles on it weekly. Something high mileage will take more upkeep than I am really prepared to put in … I have enough projects already.

As I scroll through listings for new trucks, I see option lists packed with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, margarita blenders, and all manner of things I don’t need. That’s all well and good if you’re the buy-a-fully-loaded-vehicle type. I’m not. And, I have to wonder: What happened to the days when a truck was a truck and a stripped-down model with a V-8 and a functional bed was easy to find new? Really, that’s all I need at this point in my life. I’d happily forgo creature comforts, power accessories, and the bevy of electronic gadgetry factory-issued in new trucks for something cheap and useful.

After careful consideration, I have prepared an in-depth and exhaustive depiction of everything necessary in a base-model truck. If someone makes it, I’ll buy it.



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