Not too long ago, I had not one, but two, pickup trucks in the driveway. Both belonged to my former father-in-law, a man who never met a Ford he couldn’t love.
When he passed away in 2014, our driveway — and insurance policy — took on a 2013 Ford F150 King Ranch edition, a 1991 Ford F150 Lariat, and a special edition 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Combined with our family’s modest holdings of a well-used Ford Explorer and Honda Odyssey minivan, we possessed what can only be called a fleet. I should have had the kids start to call me Commodore.
The two pickup trucks had a soft spot in my heart, as they probably would for most guys. A pickup, especially if it’s been worn and rugged enough to be called a “work truck,” is one of the ultimate boy toys, along with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a Mickey Mantle baseball card.
The newer of the two pickups could hardly be called a “work truck.” It went down the road the same way a Dreamsicle goes down on a summer day: smooth and cool.
This truck, which my father-in-law bought two weeks before he died, had every option imaginable, including a feature to change the indoor accent lighting to one of six colors. Even the back seats were heated. The cabin was so quiet and the ride so calm, it also blocked out your sense of speed. More than once I caught myself imperceptibly doing 90 on the highway with no effort.
Conversely, the ’91 truck was a ramblin’, rumblin’ hunk of metal that shook and shimmied its way down the road. At 45, its pistons began screaming in pain. But its cargo bed could take whatever junk and yard debris I’d throw in. It sported no “please don’t hurt me” bed liner. With its bench seat, a heater that labored to warm up and the triangular “push out” windows, this truck put the “good” in good ol’ boy. I could run down any country road and get a respectful nod.
It was an old-man magnet like a puppy can pick up girls.
My pickup truck days are over. The fancy F150 went back to the bank after realizing we weren’t about to take over the $770 monthly payments. And the two-tone blue-over-white old boy eventually got sold also when the work he needed outpaced my ability to provide it.
I thought of all this last week while watching the Super Bowl. During a break in the action, General Motors aired a commercial for its super, soon-to-be-released GMC Hummer EV, a behemoth of an electric-powered pickup truck that will be able to handle a gargantuan payload or be as nimble as a sports car. Do we really need a pickup to go from 0-60 mph in three seconds? Rapid ascent in speed is critical to space flight, but getting out of the Taco Bell parking lot in time to beat the traffic light a block away?
The grand reveal for this beast is still three months away, and information on it is shadowy at best, but expect it to top $70,000 easily. And it will be far from alone.
Tesla has already announced and showed the Picasso-like angularity of its pickup offering, the Cybertruck. Pricing starts at $40,000 for this vehicle that looks like it just jettisoned itself from Battlestar Galactica. The fancy version — it comes with THREE motors — will clear $70,000 easily.
Then there’s a company called Rivian — slogan: “It’s always a good day for an adventure” — which is pitching production of an electric-powered pickup. It apparently has capabilities so superior to everyone else, its manufacturers are confident in saying pricing starts at $69,900. And forget that silly Cybertruck tri-motor edition. Rivian’s R1T truck will have a quad-motor.
Maybe all these fancy trucks would be able to blow me off the line, haul more weight than a pallet of concrete and ford small rivers. But 20 years from now, assuming any of them last that long with all their complicated gizmos and gadgetry, will they still collect a group of old men at a truck stop? Can you spill a cup of coffee in the cab and not ruin the Italian pebbled leather?
“You can set my truck on fire and roll it down a hill,” Joe Diffie sang in his song “Pickup Man,” “And I still wouldn’t trade it for a Coupe de Ville.”
Contact editor John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.