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Pickup Trucks: A Heavy-Duty History of the Great American Vehicle

Pickup Trucks: A Heavy-Duty History of the Great American Vehicle

by Justin Lukach

With picture-packed pages and in-depth text, this colossal book is a visual celebration and informative tome on America's most loved and depended-on vehicle—the pickup truck.
• Representing the "Heart and soul of America" as the successful Chevy commercials tout, pickup trucks have loyal and enthusiastic owners, a quality reflected in truck sales


With picture-packed pages and in-depth text, this colossal book is a visual celebration and informative tome on America's most loved and depended-on vehicle—the pickup truck.
• Representing the "Heart and soul of America" as the successful Chevy commercials tout, pickup trucks have loyal and enthusiastic owners, a quality reflected in truck sales figures. Believe it or not, more American-made pickup trucks are sold in this country than either American-made sedans or stationwagons.
• Following the success of the oversized Heavy Equipment, Pickup Trucks features huge full-color spreads and showcases each evolutionary step of pickups from the classic trucks of the 1920s to the run-away success of the new Dodge Rams.
• Fact-packed sidebars and boxes give historical context and engaging truck trivia. A wealth of entertaining stories cover industry personalities from CEOs to designers to zealous truck owners.
• Every brand of truck is covered including Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, International, Mack, Studebaker, Diamond T, Reo, foreign imports and more.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-This well-written and easy-to-read title traces the history of America's most popular vehicle. Lukach also provides interesting accounts of pickups on the silver screen and people who have performed restorations on vintage models. But best of all, the oversized, glossy pages are filled with beautiful, full-color and vintage black-and-white photographs of antique and newer trucks. Young adults will love to just sit and leaf through this book. The generation that cut its teeth on monster-truck rallies is ready to buy its first wheels. And guess what these young people are looking to purchase? They are searching for older, affordable pickups and restoring them. This is a fun book that offers lots of readable information.-John Kiefman, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
13.82(w) x 13.82(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Spike Rickey's Chevrolet

Spike's Gift

Spike Richey faced a serious challenge as the month of October 1995 approached: he had to find a gift for his wife Jaye to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. While she no doubt would have appreciated something special from, say, Tiffany's, Spike went in another direction. He felt that pulling into the driveway in a beautiful old pickup truck would be a truly different and personal gift, if he could find the right one.

Jaye has always loved old pickups. She fondly remembered a friend she lived near years ago in San Francisco who had a pickup - "nothing special," but a dependable, dented old beater. Her friend and his truck were always there to haul an old bed or a new bureau. In fact, there was rarely a time that the old truck wasn't making him the most popular person in the neighborhood. When Jaye and Spike lived outside of Nashville before moving to their house in Connecticut, some friends nearby also had a truck. Friends would gather there before going to a party. More than once, when it came time to leave, they did the easiest thing by just moving the lawn furniture into the pickup bed, sitting back down, and rolling on to the party. While they might not relive those times, exactly, an old pickup had an undeniable appeal. Spike figured all he had to do was find a good old truck and give it a new coat of paint. He figured wrong.

Spike found the perfect truck through a business associate down in Georgia, whose mother was selling her old farm truck, a 1950 Chevrolet Advance Design series. Spike figured later that he probably should have offered half the $1,000 he paid, but that was the truck he wanted, and his deadline was fast approaching.

This truck didn't quite make it to Connecticut in time for the Richey's anniversary, but when he showed her a picture of her new pickup, she was thrilled - and even more so when he explained that with a new coat of paint and a couple months' work it would look like the beautifully restored truck on the cover of a book on old Chevrolets.

In reality it took two and a half years of backbreaking work and considerably more money than had originally been paid before she could live up to the name she was given, "Beauty." As many others before them have discovered, the Richeys found that once they started the restoration, they couldn't settle for just a new coat of paint. Spike, with the help and facilities of a friend who owned a garage, did an almost complete frame-up restoration.

In retrospect Spike would have removed the cab and gone all the way. That detail aside, the job meant sandblasting the frame, removing ever speck of rust or corrosion, rebuilding the engine, and putting it all back together. Every step presented a new challenge. The corners of the cab that were rusted out had been filled in with concrete by the previous owner, which had to be chiseled out. Rust spots that couldn't be sandblasted had to be sanded by hand - for hours. Some parts, like the rear fenders, were simply too far gone to repair and had to be replaced. For these and a thousand other parts, Spike turned to one of many replacement part catalogs. He recalled paying between $200 and $400 for most every part, regardless of size or importance.

Unlike a plastic model that you buy in a hobby shop, the parts of an old truck don't always just snap into place. The fenders need to be properly balanced, the bed needs to be squeezed into position, and the wiring, simple as it may be, ain't so simple if you've never rewired a truck before.

After two years of work, the truck looked beautiful - at least to the Richeys. The Connecticut DMV inspector, on the other hand, had a more discerning eye. As they would discover, registering an old truck in Connecticut requires that it be in tip-top condition. On their first attempt they not only failed the inspection but nearly had the vehicle repossessed. Their Georgia registration was about to run out, and when they called the Georgia DMV to get a copy of the transfer of ownership, the Connecticut inspector noticed that the serial numver on the bill of sale had been crossed off by hand and penciled inn to match that of the truck. After some back and forth with the DMV and a weeklong search for the actual numbers on the truck, that crisis was worked out.

For the second trip up to the DMV, Spike had attempted to correct all the problem areas that had been pointed out previously. They arrived at the DMV early in the morning, and Spike crawled around under the truck with a rag to wipe off any dripping oil. No matter how perfect he made it, the forty-five year old truck was still going to have some leaks; it was just a matter of getting through the inspection without them showing. During the inspeciton things seemed to be going well, even with the truck high up on a hydraulic lift. Going well, that is, until Jaye noticed a small drop of oil forming on the bottom of the truck, just above the inspector's head. It slowly grew and looked to be heading straight for his forehead until it dripped and plopped directly onto the checklist on his clipboard. Everybody just groaned. Despite that mishap the truck was almost there, and on its third attempt it passed.

The Richeys finally had a party to celebrate their beautifully restored truck. In reality the job will probably never be finished; Spike continues to find details where more work could be done. The dashboard, for instance, is still not in original condition, and there are the tiniest of chips in the paint to touch up. Asked to look back at all the work he did for two and a half years, Spike can tell stories about the backbreaking days of sanding, and the arrival of endless packages of replacement parts. The smile on his face, though, shows that it was a labor of love. It is clear when you see Jaye tooling around town in her Chevy pickup that nothing from Tiffany's could come close to "Beauty."

Excerpted from Pickup Trucks. Copyright (c) 1998 by Justin Lukach. Reprinted with permission of BD&L.

Meet the Author

Justin Lukach has been fascinated by all things automotive since the first time he sat behind the wheel on his father's lap at the age of two. When time and space permit, he looks forward to performing a frame-up restoration on an early 1950s Ford pickup. He currently lives in New York City and works for a small publishing company.

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