SEPTEMBER 25, 2013: THE BASIC PHILOSOPHY BEHIND OLD PICKUP TRUCKS–ENOUGH MYSTIQUE FOR THE AD GUYS

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A current truck ad on TV combines the old with the new in pickup trucks through a sentimental country song that outlines the kind of guy who typically owns one.

 

The pickup truck has always been associated with hard-working guys who are loyal to their family, friends and dogs.

 

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Hollywood has delivered this kind of idealized truck owner to the movie screen for many decades and he is always a stand-up kind of guy with a strong work ethic and principles. I like the current truck commercial because it perpetuates the idealized version of a truck owner, even if he has a full-load pickup, complete with heated steering wheel and seats.

 

My favorite part of the commercial is the point where he drives by a 42-year-old version of his truck on the road and the two pickup drivers wave at each other. It is a moment designed to show that the brotherhood of the truck remains intact over the decades.

 

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Sure it’s a bit of a reach to show a new pickup truck in an idealized view of the venerable pickup truck if you boil the concept down to creature comforts because the new trucks have so many more of them. But the new trucks are also still working on job sites and paying their way by hard work.

 

Most of the old trucks have been retired from active duty. Some of them have lived on to provide a conduit to the past for their owners with a restoration to bring them back to their glory days, before a life of hard work took a heavy toll on them.

 

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Historically, an old pickup truck is a basic truck. They come from an era before extended cabs and only a few came in crew cab form. Old pickup truck passengers have a back window for a head rest and an AM radio for tunes if they are lucky.

 

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Few, if any of these trucks came with air conditioning because an open window did the trick. The transmissions were likely manual three-on-the-tree or four-on-the-floor with a bull low for stump-pulling if necessary.

 

Old pickups rode like old horse wagons and you hoped that you did not hit the roof when you hit a rough patch on a road.

 

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Clearly, all of these reasons lend themselves to the magic found when you get behind the wheel of an old pickup truck. They are basic and, for a minute, you feel like that Hollywood version of a pickup truck owner: a hardworking guy with a hard-working set of wheels, even if you and the truck no longer perform back-breaking labor for a paycheck.

 

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Many of us are old enough to remember these old trucks when they were new and we were young guys who used them for hard work. We put dents and giant loads in them because it was all in a day’s work for us and the trucks.

 

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The magic of our youth is the magic of the old trucks for many car guys and the new truck commercial says it all for us.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

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