The pickup truck has developed from a workhouse offered as an automobile chassis, cowl engine into a luxury vehicle that rivals the best and most expensive cars on the street. Through much of the pickup's presence, the truck was outfitted only with a regular-size taxi and six-foot freight bed. Ford's debut of the four-door crew taxi helped changed the length of the pickup truck indefinitely.
Mass-produced pickup trucks began appearing in 1917 with the introduction of the Ford Model TT chassis. It was not until the first postwar period that Detroit automakers began to take relaxation, body style and safety more seriously. As a result, a wider variety of pickups started to appear.
Four-door crew cabs date into the mid-1950s. Volkswagen in the 1960s offered cab-forward single cab or dual cab pickups. The extended two-door taxi of the 1970s featured additional distance behind the flex chair for storage or for jump seats. The extended cab has evolved into the four-door luxury crew cabs that could accommodate up to six individuals.
Chevrolet popularized the Fleetside body design with its C/K collection that premiered in 1960. The Fleetside had the mattress stretched over the rear wheels with flat side panels. The Fleetside soon became the standard body style for trucks. Conventional step side trucks stayed with the bed found within the wheels with protruding back fenders.
These trucks are basically junior versions of their full-size pickups. The compact pickup's wheelbase averages about 111 inches and measures around 190 inches in length. The compact has lost ground in sales in recent years since gas mileage isn't significantly better compared to full-size variants.
The prevalence of the passenger car-based coupe utility pickup has ebbed and flowed over the decades with the 1957-1979 Ford Ranchero and 1959-1960 and 1964-1987 Chevrolet El Camino being top vendors. Unlike traditional pickups that are set on a truck platform, the coupe utility is put on a passenger automobile platform. It's all the conveniences of a vehicle but has the bed and towing capacity of a vehicle.
The rising popularity of this sports utility vehicle prompted demands by the general public for a pickup truck which provided all of the workhorse capability of a truck, but the comforts of an ultra-luxury car. In 2001, Ford launched the luxury, Lincoln Blackwood. However, the Blackwood proved overly lavish and not functional for pickup duty and stopped production a year after. Its rival, the Cadillac Escalade EXT, introduced in 2002, is a far more versatile pickup with a sensible non-luxurious bed.
Aftermarket truck personalization has prompted automakers to come up with their very own unique edition trucks. The Chevrolet Silverado had featured a Super Sport, or SS, package with stiffer suspension, special exterior badging and an engine. The Silverado SS, however, is not currently offered. Ford produces its Harley-Davidson edition using the bike company's logo emblazoned on the exterior of the truck and a host of other performance characteristics.