A Look Back at the Pickup Truck Segment

December 28th, 2016 by

There are few things more representative of this great country than the American-made pickup truck. A variation of the Ford Model T is regarded as the first pickup truck ever made and sold, which sparked a nationwide love affair with these capable and rugged vehicles. In 1913, the Gallion Allsteel Body Company took Ford’s Model T chassis, and modified it to include a “hauling box.” From that time on, the allure of a practical vehicle that would be used for both passengers as well as cargo was too great not to further explore. Other automotive manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon, with many creating pickup trucks to move heavy car parts from one end of their factory to the other. In 1924, Dodge introduced its first version of the pickup, which was followed by Ford’s introduction of the Model T Runabout with Pickup Body in 1925. Ford is credited with the invention of the pickup, but Chevrolet was the first to produce a factory-assembled model in 1931. Initially, pickups were used exclusively for heavy-duty jobs on farms, job sites, and for commercial purposes. It wasn’t until the 1950s that consumers began purchasing pickup trucks for everyday lifestyle use, and automotive manufacturers adjusted their designs to reflect this new buying trend.

While we can’t be sure if automakers knew just how important their initial pickup truck creations would become, they have certainly endured over the past century. Thanks to a rich history of pickup truck development, we have more used trucks for sale at dealerships across the nation, that are more capable and performance-ready than ever before.

 

The Evolution of Early Pickups

After the initial design of the pickup truck was invented, the next few decades were dedicated to enhancing performance and utility in the new-found vehicle segment. The first pickup produced with four-wheel drive was the Dodge Power Wagon back in 1946. Over thirty years had passed since the first Ford Model T was converted to include an open truck bed, and the inclusion of four-wheel drive technology was very much appreciated by truck drivers across the United States. In 1947, Jeep made its entrance into the pickup truck segment with the Willys-Overland Jeep, which eventually fizzled out of production in 1965. Just four years after the four-wheel drive was introduced to pickups, it was offered on all domestically produced pickup trucks in America.

By the 1950s, automotive manufacturers were looking for ways to improve the pickup truck utility and enhance its appearance. Flat-nosed pickups were introduced as a way to solve both of these issues, and featured greater maneuverability and longer bed lengths. In 1955, Chevrolet introduced the Cameo Carrier, a more stylish pickup with enhanced amenities and features. Aimed at suburbanites rather than farmers, the Cameo Carrier was the start of the luxury pickup truck trend that still persists today.

It didn’t take long for automotive manufacturers around the world to start creating dependable pickups, with the fondness for the segment growing rapidly from one continent to the next. Ranging in performance, capability, and luxury, modern-day pickup trucks are as versatile as the people who buy them.

Who Does it Better: Chevy or Ford?

While there are plenty of auto brands still selling pickups, Chevy and Ford have been in a tight race over the past few decades to outsell one another in this competitive vehicle segment. While both American-made brands offer exceptional options for buyers who need the utility and capability of a pickup, one seems to be constantly trying to out-do the other. There are plenty of positive aspects that have come out as a result of this age-old rivalry, including an impressive list of pickup trucks available on the new and used market. Despite other brands like RAM, Toyota, and Honda offering their own pickup truck models, the two best-selling pickups come wearing a bowtie and a blue oval. Pickup truck choice oftentimes boils down to a matter of personal preference, but the question of which of these two brands creates the best pickup truck model is one that continually begs to be asked.

As 2017 draws near, more and more 2016 models are finding their way to used car dealerships around the country. As these newer cars, trucks, and SUVs begin to sell as high-quality pre-owned models, it has inspired us to compare two of the best-selling pickups from 2016 – the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado 1500. The age-old question of who does it better is likely to still be up for debate, but buyers contemplating a used truck purchase are likely to find the following comparison helpful on their decision-making journey.

Power: Both the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado 1500 pack plenty of power and performance, but Chevrolet seems to have the edge over the 2016 Ford pickup in this arena. While the Silverado LTZ model features a 5.3-liter V8 engine capable of producing 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, the comparably equipped F-150 Supercrew maxes out at just 325 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque with its twin-turbo V6 engine. Both pickup engines are gasoline direct-injection, and come standard with four-wheel drive. While the extra power may not seem like a big deal, pickup truck buyers who require uncompromising performance will certainly appreciate the added horsepower and torque ratings on the Chevy.

Fuel Economy: While not on the short list of must-have features, fuel economy in a pickup truck is still an important consideration for some buyers. In this instance, the Ford F-150 outshines, with an EPA-estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city, and 23 on the highway. The 2016 Silverado 1500 falls short with just 15 MPG in the city, and 21 on the highway. The gap in fuel economy is a result of the added power under the hood of the Silverado, which the F-150 is lacking. While the Silverado doesn’t win in the efficiency department, Chevy does offer a larger 26-gallon tank, over the 23-gallon tank on the F-150.

Size and Price: The 2016 F-150 offers a longer wheelbase than the Silverado by about two inches, while the Silverado offers more headroom than the Ford pickup by the same two-inch discrepancy. When it comes to price, the 2016 F-150 base model featured a starting MSRP of $26,540 when it first came out. The 2016 Silverado 1500 base trim started at $27,195 when it was released, which is noticeably higher than the Ford.

While there are plenty of auto brands still selling pickups, Chevy and Ford have been in a tight race over the past few decades to outsell one another in this competitive vehicle segment. While both American-made brands offer exceptional options for buyers who need the utility and capability of a pickup, one seems to be constantly trying to out-do the other. There are plenty of positive aspects that have come out as a result of this age-old rivalry, including an impressive list of pickup trucks available on the new and used market.

 

Compare in Person at DePaula Chevrolet

Both the 2016 Ford F-150 and the 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 are great used pickup trucks to buy in the coming year. Comparing these two popular pickups side-by-side helps buyers see that while small differences do exist, the final decision between the two comes down to a matter of personal preference. Come down to DePaula Chevrolet to test drive each model, and find which one is the right fit for your unique lifestyle.