This old truck: A collectible with four wheels and hard work

Columnist Sandy Erdman says old pickup trucks are a collectible item for many who love their vehicles a little weathered.

A 1932 Model B Ford Truck is a great advertisment for Elmers Auto & Toy Museum near Fountain City, Wisconsin.
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That rugged truck that was built to last, the real workhorse with antique appeal, is a hot collectible.

At my home. we have had plenty of those. Of course, when you have a full mechanical and body shop that does the restoration and the complete overhaul of the vintage pickups for yourself and customers, you see quite a few pickup trucks.

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Nothing is more appealing than driving a vintage, stylish and yet practical pickup. The original pickup was designed to help the farmer, laborers and factory workers to move items from one place to another, and was built with hard work in mind. Today those same old Ford or Chevy trucks can be piled high with antiques at a flea market, at a car show or leading a parade.

Do you know that the first truck was nothing more than a wagon with a motor? Yes, in 1896 it was nothing impressive, but soon designs improved but the car was the go to and not the truck for the family guy as a pickup truck was hard to haul the kids and most families were a one car family.

Then in 1917, Dodge came up with a light-utility truck, but was selling to the army not the general public and a few thousand were sold. Ford, Chevrolet and International came around with other auto makers, and trucks were rolling out, but still as a working vehicle. After the Second World War the pickup gained a little more appeal, but still to the farmer and a few city professionals for work and some play.


Soon the pickup started to sell in the 1960s, outdoing the classic sedan so says the Antique Truck Club of America in their reports from the 60s.

“There is no real 'golden age' of pickups,” the club noted. So, when somebody likes a specific year or truck, they collect it and usually it's because of memories of their youth.

And with some it maybe they just like a nice restored pick-up that someone will stop and take a look as there is something about it that speaks to them.

A nice example of a 1948 red Chevrolet pick-up truck seen driving around the region.

Buying and selling a classic pickup

Most collector groups define an antique or vintage pickup as any model older than 30 years, and a classic as a vehicle 10 years old or more. Prices can range from $2,000 to $30,000, but condition and scarcity can affect price. Collectors buy from individuals not dealers and check out various publications such as Hemmings Motor News, Old Cars Weekly and Vintage Truck.

Motor Trend and other car and truck television shows can help with the right truck and offer conversations with other vintage/antique truck owners. Body work is also vital for the value of your truck, and of course, there is always concern over the price to restore. In the end you may just make a mint on that old pickup truck.

The cost of trucks has gone out of sight with used vehicles. The very top of the sales ladder would be the Ford F-150, which has been the best-selling vehicle in the country for years. Modern trucks aren't bad but pricing a used pick-up, and the F-150 always seems to be the stand-up truck in strength, reliability, so they are still surprisingly cheap.

Valuing a classic pick-up?

According to Hagerty, a special insurance for classic vehicles, “A collector car or truck market value is best determined by understanding supply and demand, using historical sale prices, and reviewing current asking prices on available inventory. For collector cars, 70% of classic and antique cars are sold through private sales, 20% through auctions and 10% through dealerships.”


Pedal trucks

Remember that vintage pedal trucks are collectibles as well, such as those little red fire trucks that are not an easy find. These riding toys range in price from $400 on up depending on condition.

A sought-after item is the little brown UPS truck, produced by UPS, and found in their store catalog after 2003. The item was discontinued in August 2007 and hard to find, selling from $200 up.

A Hook Ladder Pumper 519 pedal car that recently sold at the Old Rooster Antiques in Rochester.

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at .

Antiques & Collectibles — Sandy Erdman column sig

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