Classic Pickups Are Just One Bid Away

Mecum 1955_Chevy_Cameo II
By Richard Truesdell
Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions

Among 140 lots, vintage pickup truck enthusiasts will find more than a dozen trucks from the postwar era that would be a welcome addition to any collector's garage.

Over the last couple of years, especially since the Great Recession, the collector vehicle market has been negatively impacted in many ways. The value of muscle cars in particular has plummeted but they remain beyond the means of most enthusiasts. At the same time, interest in collectible trucks from the 1950s and '60s has increased dramatically with a corresponding steady rise in prices.

This momentum will be better gauged this weekend when Mecum conducts its Salmon Brothers Auction in North Little Rock, Ark. A number of especially tasty trucks will cross the block, covering many categories: stock, restored, original and modified. Best of all, each will be sold at no reserve, including the 1955 Chevy Cameo pictured above.

Mecum 1949_Mercury_M-47 II

In reviewing the lots, more than a dozen interesting pickup trucks were spotted. They included a 1949 Mercury M-47, a Canadian-built version of the Ford F-series, a 1949 Diamond T-201, a 1957 Chevy Cameo, a 1961 Corvair Rampside and our favorite, a 1973 Jeep Commando. There's even a 1993 Ford Lightning available.

Mecum 1947_Ford_Ranchero II

Car-based pickups, like the Ford Ranchero and the Chevy El Camino, are well-represented at the auction. A beautiful 1957 Ford Ranchero sporting a 292-cubic-inch Y-block Thunderbird V-8 caught our eye. Blue and white and equipped with wire wheels, it certainly can be considered the precursor to today's modern sport truck. It would be a great way to attend a local cruise night.

Some vehicles — like a very rare stock 1945 Hudson from the period just after World War II or a tastefully modified Corvette-powered 1948 Studebaker pickup — should go for big bucks, yet there should be some bargains among the lots.

Mecum 1971_Ford_F-series II

We checked out a 1971 Ford F-series long bed with a freshly rebuilt engine and air conditioning that might be more budget friendly and could do double duty as a daily driver, great for runs to The Home Depot to pick up some 4x8 sheets of plywood.

The Salmon Brothers Auction, with 140 vehicles, engines and automobilia, will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at 4343 Roundtop Drive, North Little Rock, Ark. Previews will be held noon to 5:00 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. (All times Central Daylight Time). You can register to bid at the Mecum website.

For more details on the trucks, check out the photo feature at Automotive

Mecum 1948_Studebaker II 


I have one of those Chevy's in the top picture sitting in the barn. Exact same colors.......

I had a '56 Ford and my boss had a '55 Chevy in the '70's. We were lucky to get 8 mpg w/3 on the floor. No AC but you had those vent windows that turned out enough to blow air on you when up to speed. I'm not nostaligc enough to go back now, but it is the stuff of fond memories.
I watch these auctions on Velocity and see the cars we grew up with that look like they came out of a time capsule.

Tha top truck is one good looking Chevy. Dad had an old green Ford just like the one pictured years and years ago. Fond memories I have in that thing but those beds were bad for rust. They'd get really flimsy without the tailgate (which we never used) so you always had to bungee strap the two sides together. It was Ford's GMT800 as far a rust buckets go.

Check out this classic with new drive train.

pulling that cataround the parking lot is one thing, but get up to speed in that old PW and try and stop them together, well lets just say I wouldn't want to be in front of them, that cat and the trailer in was on would be around 25,000lbs.!

Here's a follow-up on the prices the trucks mentioned in my feature sold for last weekend.

1945 Hudson $22,000
1948 Studebaker $31,000
1949 Mercury M-47 $27,000
1949 Diamond T-201 $23,000
1955 Chevy Cameo $32,500
1957 Chevy Cameo $53,000
1957 Ford Ranchero $49,000
1961 Corvair Rampside $24,000
1971 Ford F-series $4,500
1973 Jeep Commando $37,000
1993 Ford Lightning $8,500

Four of the 12 trucks sold for between $20-$30K, which I think is the sweet spot for collectible pickup trucks. The Jeep Commando sold for well above what I expected it to, nudging into the price range of what one would expect to pay for a rare 1971 Hurst Jeep Jeepster Commando.

The top prices, for the red 1957 Chevy Cameo and the first-year 1957 Ford Ranchero didn't seem out of line, based on the descriptions and photos.

And someone did drive off with a solid 1971 Ford F-series for just $4,100.

All in all, as was the theme of the article, pickup trucks are an emerging collector vehicle category, one where the cost of entry isn't too high and where there's still room for appreciation.

Richard Truesdell
Editorial Director,

I have a 1996 Chev pickup that I bought from my dad. It has less than 50,000 miles on it and is nearing collector status. It is in great shape and I want to sell it now but want it to go to someone that will appreciate it's value. It sucks so much gas it isn't really a great everyday truck anyway.

Is there any place to list this for collectors or someone I can contact?

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