No one can deny that the pickup truck has played a major role in the shaping of America. Whether it was contributing to the production on farms, helping out at construction sites as industry exploded around the country or safely transporting drivers across the nation's roads, these trucks have been immensely important to the U.S.
One facility is finally giving pickup trucks the respect they deserve. The Petersen Automotive Museum is debuting a new exhibit titled "Pickups: The Art of Utility," which will highlight the history of these vehicles.
"The Art of Utility"
With a history spanning more than 100 years, pickup trucks are fascinating vehicles. Over the years, the pickup has transformed from a purely practical automobile into one of the coolest ways to get around, and drivers all around the world can make their own changes to the ride to turn it into whatever type of machine they want.
"Whether custom showstoppers, off-road adventure vehicles or bone stock cargo transporters, pickups have been an integral part of the automotive landscape for more than a century," said Leslie Kendall, chief curator of the museum, as quoted by PickupTrucks.com. "The pickup truck means many different things to different people, which is part of what we want to explore in this exhibition."
Pickups on display
A few of the vehicles included as part of this display show off the most important styles and truck mods that occurred throughout the evolution of these automobiles. Currently, there are 19 of these trucks on display as part of the exhibit, ranging from a horseless carriage to a modern show vehicle that has been completely redone with truck modifications.
The oldest truck in the collection is a 1909 International Harvester Auto Wagon. It was built in the model of a horse-drawn carriage - minus the horses, of course - and was used as one of the world's first multi-purpose cars. Alterations could be made depending on if it was transporting people or cargo, and it could handle some of the earliest forms of off-road driving.
Fans of off-road vehicles will be particularly impressed with the 1953 Dodge Power Wagon. With its use of a Willock Swivel Frame, this truck was one of the first to incorporate special alterations catered to off-roading. According to Hemmings, the frame allowed the front and rear halves of the truck to move separately, reducing the risk of damage from extreme off-roading and making the entire process of driving over rocks or uneven surfaces much smoother.
Another can't-miss model is the 1952 Ford F-1 Half-Ton Pickup. While truck mods later in its life gave this vehicle four-wheel drive, it originally came with amenities like a radio, heater and windshield washer - uncommon inclusions at this time, Hemmings reported. Unlike many of its peers, this Ford was intended only for light use, making it one of the first models to be aimed at everyday driving instead of heavy-duty work.
About the Petersen Automotive Museum
There are more than just pickup trucks on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Located in Los Angeles, Calif., the museum aims to fill its 300,000 square feet of space with collections that show off some of the auto industry's most important and interesting creations. Fewer than 200 automobiles are on display at any given time, but the collections are constantly rotated and interspersed with cars on loan to keep the exhibits fresh. This means that, even if you have toured the space before, you are guaranteed to see something new when you visit.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. "Pickups: The Art of Utility" will be in the museum thought April 6, 2014.