Americans do like a truck, don't they! Fresh back from a launch event out in Arizona my attention was distracted from the job at hand by the sheer variety of pick-ups you see out there. Obviously, the dry desert air means rust doesn't kill off older cars like it might here, beaten up 70s trucks in sun-bleached two-tone paint appealing in their square-cut design and kitsch appeal. And you genuinely do see rusted hulks of 50s Fords and Chevys slowly decaying by the roadside, way past saving but still cool to stumble upon.
MAR 28th 2017
Dan Trent: Ford F100 – American temptation
I've been here before of course, getting a bit excitable over Ford F150 Raptors. On this trip, I even went into a Ford dealership to kick the tyres of one and was shocked to find out they sell for as much as $20,000 over list. That's an $85,000 truck. Even Americans might struggle to justify that.
But here I am again, pondering the merits of quite possibly looking a bit of an idiot driving an American pick-up truck here in the UK. Seeing all those old survivors in Arizona has me in more of a retro frame of mind this time, though. Maybe it's the jet lag skewing my judgement but this flathead V8 'rat rod' caught my eye for its sheer outrageousness. Six-shooter gear shifter anyone? I have to say, part of me really, really likes it. But I fear it's the automotive equivalent of a hipster beard and sleeve tattoo. Indeed, would I actually be allowed to drive it without such personal grooming additions? Probably not. And the novelty of both might wear off.
The 1950s offer a rich seam of Ford and Chevrolet trucks, their combination of utilitarian appeal and flamboyant 50s styling rather appealing to my eye. They're obviously popular for the custom crowd too but (see above) fashions change and many of the modded ones seem to be slammed on massive polished wheels and a bit too modernised for my taste.
After looking at A LOT of adverts I think I've finally found the perfect compromise though. It's a lightly customised 1956 Ford F100 running army green paint and painted steel wheels for a tasteful combination of authentic period looks with a little custom attitude. I think I could drive that over here without feeling too much of a prat.
Bear in mind I know NOTHING about these things but appealing features would include a 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 (as announced by a suitably unapologetic badge on the grille), side exhausts and a three-speed manual gearbox with a floor shift. The interior looks stylish but wonderfully minimalist too. What more do you need? $21,900 is about the mark-up on that new Raptor and, while I'm sure that figure would increase substantially by the time it landed this side of the pond, it's not silly money. The vendor makes confidence inspiring noises about being able to arrange shipping, too. And it's for sale in Colorado, a state I've always wanted to visit. So I'd happily use it as an excuse to make a trip out there for some exploratory tyre kicking.
As a machine for slinging the mountain bikes in the back and heading to the local riding spots, I think it would work really rather nicely.
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