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What Is a Classic Truck?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

A classic truck is a type of vehicle that was not recently manufactured and has historical or nostalgic value to its owner. Vintage trucks often feature restored engines and can still be used for driving, but the primary draw of this type of vehicle is usually the body of the truck and its classic design. While the collection and maintenance of classic trucks is a hobby highly associated with American brands, there are also some classic trucks from other countries. Generally, the most popular classic truck types are Ford and Chevrolet models.

While some of the most commonly recognized types of classic truck are American models from the 1950s and 1960s, there are trucks of this type from much earlier, although trucks from before the 1920s do not often resemble the pickup truck model common today. The earliest classic trucks that resemble modern pickup trucks were designed by the Ford company in the 1920s, and thus these are typically the earliest trucks considered classic rather than antique. Most classic trucks have a more rounded shape than modern trucks and are often not nearly as powerful as current working trucks.

A classic truck.
A classic truck.

In most cases, a classic truck is not used for working purposes but primarily for its aesthetic qualities. Restoring a classic truck often involves finding replacement parts, repainting the truck, and restoring the interior. In many cases, the restored truck can be driven on the road, but elements like seatbelts may need to be added to the original design for safety. While many people focus on restoring the original appearance of the truck, some people take the bodies of classic trucks and give them new engines, unique paint jobs, and other features very different from the original design to create new cars.

A classic pickup truck.
A classic pickup truck.

The most common types of classic trucks are Ford and Chevrolet models from various eras, but there are other brands of trucks as well. In addition to classic pickup trucks, there are also classic delivery trucks and even special trucks associated with various companies and cities. It is possible to view the many types of trucks available by looking at classic truck classified ads.

Cars are often sold in the classifieds.
Cars are often sold in the classifieds.

Owning a classic truck is often a matter of pride for collectors, but the truck itself must usually be protected and might not be driven often. Restoration of these vehicles is often more difficult than for other classic cars because most trucks were designed for heavy use and thus have suffered the effects of actual use. Many vintage truck owners purchase special insurance in order to protect this type of investment and may only drive the truck to shows and parades. There are several magazines, clubs, and other types of services designed to promote interest in classic trucks, and these items also often promote friendship and community among enthusiasts.

Discussion Comments


@Terrificli -- The condition of the truck could also hinge on what someone considers to be a classic truck. Let me explain. It is very common to see trucks from the 1970s running the roads and still in good shape. Are those considered classic? They are by some people and finding one that needs just a little bit of work isn't that hard. Those vehicles don't tend to cost much, either.

When you start getting back to the 1960s and earlier, finding pristine examples of well maintained trucks gets more difficult and prices rise considerably.

Someone who wants that classic truck vibe but doesn't want to spend a fortune, then, might do well to grab something from the 1970s or 1980s before the values on those starts to rise.


I am not sure that restoring a classic truck is more difficult than restoring a classic car and turning it into a daily driver. That is particularly true in the South where trucks were often taken care of because they served as work vehicles and family vehicles. Losing a truck could be devastating, so they were often maintained well.

Did they see some hard use? Sure they did, but they were built to hold up to hard work and there are a lot of those old trucks out there that are in surprisingly good shape.

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    • A classic truck.
      By: Michele Ursino
      A classic truck.
    • A classic pickup truck.
      By: g0b
      A classic pickup truck.
    • Cars are often sold in the classifieds.
      By: Feng Yu
      Cars are often sold in the classifieds.