Formerly a workhorse, now a luxury ride


What do Lady Gaga, Christian Bale and Shia LeBeouf have in common? Aside from making movies for a living, of course. Surprisingly, they all drive trucks on a daily basis. Neither sports cars nor luxury SUVs. But good old trucks. Yet America’s love affair with trucks isn’t due to celebrity endorsements. far from there

Instead, it seems the truck, from its humble roots as utility vehicles, perfectly embodies the spirit of America First: Freedom. Whether it’s moving or just shopping, the truck boasts a versatility that has only become more compelling with new models that dramatically increase luxury and comfort. It’s no wonder then that year after year (since the late 1970s), the best-selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. The first three are Ford F-series, Ram trucks and Chevrolet Silverado. In fact, if you add up the sales numbers for the rest of the top ten sellers in the US, it barely matches the numbers for these three trucks combined! That’s some serious truck love.


Not everyone gets it, especially people outside of North America. But we assume that capacity without compromise is what drives the madness. Because, after all, there’s no replacement for a vehicle that can do it all, and do it all in style and comfort.

Early Pickup Trucks Were All About Function

Early pickup trucks, in the early 1920s, were often based on regular production cars, with the rear of the body cut away for that all-important hauling capacity. The only caveat is that owners had to install their own platforms quite often. With few changes other than cutting out the rear of a car and equipping it with a flat cargo area, owners had to settle for a significantly bumpier ride compared to the car it was based on, especially when the truck bed didn’t it was heavy. down with a load. While cars in general were fairly limited in terms of features, luxury brands were introducing fancy trim and upholstery. The trucks, on the other hand, remained as focused on function as ever.

The 1930s saw the beginning of the race between Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet to come out with more efficient pickup trucks, and Ford’s Model A proved to be one of the most popular mass-produced cars. And not just from that time. But of all time! Throughout the 1940s to 1960s, advances in trucks focused primarily on their mechanics, to make them more efficient when traveling long distances, or with larger engines for better pulling power. Styling evolved from rudimentary to more car-like, with additional features such as air conditioning. From single cabs to crew or extended cabs, trucks can now carry more people, too, not just loads. The truck was fast becoming America’s tool of choice.

Related: The Story Behind Ford’s F-Series Trucks

The 1970s saw the first lifestyle pickup trucks, which aimed to appeal to more people than just those looking for utility by adding more amenities (bucket seats, air conditioning, radios, power steering, etc.) with stylish styling. which seemed more “urban”. . That, and the tightening of emissions standards for regular cars helped give the truck, which was classified differently and therefore not subject to such strict standards, an advantage. Not to mention manufacturers adopting diesel power for trucks, further reducing running costs. For 1978, the best-selling car in America wasn’t a hatchback, sedan, or minivan. It was a Ford truck.

Surprisingly, the people who bought these trucks weren’t just using them for work or business purposes. These vans were being purchased by people who used them for daily transportation. According to surveys, 39 percent of pickup customers were private buyers in the early 1970s. That quickly rose to more than 60 percent by the end of the decade, and by the 1990s it was nearly 90 percent! hundred!

More comfort, more luxury, more technology in modern trucks

With manufacturers no longer treating trucks as spin-off lines, with stripped-down features and comfort, the allure of having one car that can do it all drove sales even higher. ‘Cowboy Cadillacs’ or luxury pickup trucks had luxuries like fully carpeted interiors, power options that extended to the bed cover, and more.

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At the same time, these trucks were proving to be tough and up for abuse without compromise. A major distinction on these new trucks was becoming more flashy exteriors to hint at comfort and luxury inside. Think open-pore wood trim, leather upholstery, padded area rugs and more. Self-leveling air suspension as an option on many trucks goes a step further by offering ride comfort on par with the best luxury cars out there, while offering versatility, even if cargo capacity is often reduced. Niceties like adaptive cruise control and heated and cooled seats mean these trucks are on the cutting edge of technology.

The next frontier, of course, is bringing hybrid and electric technology to trucks. The all-electric Rivian R1T is a prime example of a luxury truck that still retains ease of use. And if the current trend is any indication, we can expect trucks to dominate the roost for years to come.