Not long ago, pickup trucks hauled sand, gravel and equipment for farming and construction.
Times have changed, however. Today, pickups represent one in every five vehicles on the road. Many are parked in suburban driveways and on city streets.
“The American pickup is one of the fascinating stories of personal transportation,” Andrew Beckman, archivist for the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, IN, told Design News recently. “It’s gone from strictly being a work vehicle on the farm or job to almost being a means of vehicular personal expression.”
Until May 6, 2018, the Studebaker Museum is tracing that evolution in a new exhibit, Keep on Truckin': The American Pick-Up Truck. The exhibit examines, not only the pickup truck itself, but the particularly American phenomenon of its growth. “The geographic necessities of huge farms made the pickup a tool for economic development of this country in the automobile era,” Beckman told us. “It evolved along with the auto industry. You don’t see that anywhere else.”
In its exhibit, the museum includes historically significant pickup trucks from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Studebaker and International Harvester. It even alludes briefly to the early roots of the SUV.
On the next pages, we offer a peek at the vehicles on display in the new exhibit. From the Model A Ford to International Harvester’s early SUV, here’s an online look at the history of America’s hardest-working vehicles.