RM Auctions: Add A Pickup To Your Collection

RT Gavel photo II

By Richard Truesdell / photos courtesy of RM Auctions

Judging from the feedback we’ve received over the past three months, we can say there is a strong interest in classic pickup trucks on this site. But is it strong enough for any readers to take the plunge and consider buying a classic American pickup?

On Oct. 20 in Grapevine, Texas, RM Auctions in will sell the cars and trucks of Charlie Thomas, a well-known Texas-based auto dealer and former owner of the Houston Rockets. Among the more than 100 lots are almost a dozen pickups covering a wide range of trucks: prewar pickups, drivable postwar half-ton trucks, dead stock originals and modified offerings, including car/truck hybrids.

Each is offered at no reserve, so you could score a bargain if you're interested in a truck that doesn't garner interest from other bidders.

Here are the trucks that merit your attention, listed from oldest to newest.


1930 Ford Model A Roadster

RT 1930 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup Truck II

This Model A-style 76-B 40-horsepower pickup might be considered the granddaddy of the modern pickup truck. It was a dedicated pickup, clearly separated from Ford's passenger cars from the windshield to the back bumper. The pickup bed floor is done correctly in varnished oak with painted sub-strips and a differential cover. This well-restored classic is sure to make a stunning impression at any classic car show and certain to be a crowd pleaser.  


1940 Ford Custom Pickup Truck

RT 1940 Ford Custom Pickup Truck II

In the years leading up to World War II, the modern pickup continued to evolve, as shown by this 1940 Ford. This two-owner pickup is powered by Ford's classic flathead V-8 and sits on a 112-inch wheelbase. This example benefits from a body-off restoration and has been tastefully modified with an Isky camshaft, Edelbrock high-compression polished-aluminum heads, new Stromberg 97 carburetor, Mallory ignition and a 3.78 rear end. A 12-volt system was installed with an upgraded 50-amp alternator to provide creature comforts, such as the Alpine stereo.


1941 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup Truck

RT 1941 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup Truck II

This 90-hp truck was Chevy's answer to Ford's prewar half-ton pickups. It countered Ford's flathead V-8 with a 216-cubic-inch overhead-valve six-cylinder mated to a four-speed manual transmission. Chevy trucks of this era feature many art deco styling touches, especially the grille, which lends a distinctive look. This Chevy benefits from a body-off restoration in 2005 and will provide the new owner an example of a Chevy truck whose design has truly stood the test of time.


1941 Ford FlareSide Custom Pickup Truck

RT 1941 Ford Flareside Custom Pickup Truck II

If a more modern drivetrain would serve your tastes better, this customized 1941 Ford FlareSide is sure to please. In the mold of a street rod, it's powered by a small-block Chevy V-8, in this case displacing 350 cubic inches with 330 hp on tap. Adding to the modern driving experience is the 700R4 automatic transmission and the independent Mustang II front and leaf-spring rear suspension with a floating axle. Adding front disc brakes enhances the FlareSide’s stopping power.


1951 Chevrolet 1300 Five-Window Pickup Truck

RT 1951 Chevrolet 1300 Five-Window Pickup Truck II

This 1951 Chevy model 1314 is a bit unusual because it was produced in Canada. This 92-hp, 216-cubic-inch overhead-valve six-cylinder engine is mated to a three-speed manual transmission, and it represents the 1951 version of Chevrolet's Advanced Design models introduced for the 1947 model year. It’s interesting to note that Chevy led Ford in sales over the model's production run until the design was replaced at the end of the 1954 model year. Since then, Ford has dominated the sales race for half-ton pickups.


1954 Ford F-100 Custom Pickup Truck

RT 1954 Ford F-100 Custom Pickup Truck II

This pickup looks stock on the outside, but under the hood you'll find the heartbeat of a much more modern Mustang — in this case, a Cleveland 351-cubic-inch overhead-valve V-8 coupled to a three-speed C-4 automatic transmission. With a wheelbase of just 110 inches, this pickup would be considered a compact today, but in its day it was the very definition of a full-size pickup. With their fat fenders, these Ford F-series pickups have found favor with street rodders over the years, but unlike so many of those hot rod trucks, this one is Blue Oval all the way. No small-bock Chevy V-8 is to be found under the hood of this classic.


1957 Chevrolet 3100 Half-Ton

RT 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Half-Ton Pickup Truck II

This 1957 Chevrolet 3100 is what many Chevy loyalists think of when they name a classic Chevy truck from the Eisenhower era. It’s powered by Chevy's 140-hp, 235.5-cubic-inch six-cylinder mated to a three-speed manual transmission. It still looks showroom fresh and looks like it's ready to serve the needs of any local tradesman. Its design is credited to famed GM truck designer Chuck Jordan, who would later lead all of GM's design efforts over his long career. Even though it was into the third year of its styling cycle, the overall design retained a freshness that makes it still a favorite among Chevy truck fans. The catalog description notes that like most pickups of its era, it is not equipped with a radio, but it has the correct “delete plate” in the dashboard.  


1958 Chevrolet Half-Ton Cameo Carrier

RT 1958 Chevrolet Half-Ton Cameo Carrier Pickup Truck II

You're looking at one of the best examples of the first modern factory-built sport truck. First offered in 1955, the Chevrolet Cameo Carrier was never a strong seller, mainly because of its hefty price tag compared with the rest of Chevy’s pickup range. The Cameo is important because it marked the start of introducing passenger-car styling elements to the utilitarian truck field. Its fiber-glass rear fenders are widened to the same width as the front end, producing a unique flow-through look. Again, the work was attributed to Jordan. The catalog says “this is truly an elegant worker, perhaps too nicely restored for utilitarian duty, but certainly one of the best half-ton pickups we have seen to date.” We agree.  


1959 Chevrolet 3100 Apache

RT 1959 Chevrolet 3100 Apache Pickup Truck II

Stock appearance on the outside but modern under the hood, this 1959 Chevrolet 3100 Apache is powered by a 350-cubic-inch small-block V-8 backed up with a five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel leaf-spring suspension with live rear axle and power-assisted hydraulic front and rear disc brakes. With modern amenities like air conditioning and a stereo, this is an older restoration that might go for a reasonable price, given the auction's no-reserve basis. And don't you just love the idea of a side-mounted spare?


1972 Chevrolet C10 Custom Fleetside

RT 1972 Chevrolet C10 Custom Fleetside Pickup II II

Now we're clearly into the modern iron with this customized 1972 Chevrolet C10. Its 250-hp, 350-cubic-inch V-8 shows the overall purity of the Chevy C/K pickups. When the C/K line was introduced in 1968, Chevy advertised this truck by saying it was “the most significant cab and sheet metal styling change in Chevrolet history.” Its simple yet elegant lines were aged gracefully. With new trucks coming in 1973, this last-of-series 1972 model will be a welcome addition to the garage of any Chevrolet collector.


1978 Chevrolet El Camino Black Knight

RT 1978 Chevrolet El Camino Black Knight II

This is one of the 1,200 limited-edition Black Knight models that became so popular that Chevy dealers would clone other super-sport models to mimic it. The 1978 model was the last El Camino equipped with a 350-cubic-inch motor; subsequent models would get the 5-liter 305 V-8 under the hood. This is a well-equipped El Camino with power steering and brakes, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and locks, and a remote mirror. If it were our El Camino, we would swap out the wheels for a set of classic Rallye wheels. Wouldn't you?

Ready to Bid?

If any of these trucks interest you, here's how to get set up to bid. You can accomplish all of this over the phone and online, but we strongly suggest attending the event, arriving early so that you can do a pre-auction inspection. Then do your homework: Check out the completed auctions on eBay and other recent auctions (use Google to search for similar vehicles sold in the past 12 months), then set a bid limit for yourself.

To register as a bidder, contact the car specilaists at RM Auctions. They can walk you through the registration process that will include the financial arrangements, such as registering a credit card or submitting a letter of credit from your bank.

If you are a serious bidder and attend the event, don't let the emotions of the bidding get the best of you. Stick to your limit, and if bidding goes higher than your comfort level, let those with bigger bank balances fight things out. Chances are that they will overpay; that's how new pricing benchmarks are set. And if you win, be prepared to close the deal within 24 hours and be ready to take title and arrange shipment of your prize. Good luck.




cool old trucks. Too rich a playground for me to play in.

Beauitful trucks wish i could own that 1954 f100 custom pickup .

OH MY God!!! the 57,58,59 Chevy's look amazing! I'll take either of the 57-58's with a 283 4 speed, or the 59 with a 348 4bbl, HD 4speed!

Good looking old trucks. Maybe its just cause they are from far before my time but without looking at the name on the side, I wouldnt have a clue as to which one is which. lol

love the old truck articles keep coming , with every body doing a rertro re style I would love to see GM do a 68-72 over again !

love the old truck articles keep coming , with every body doing a rertro re style I would love to see GM do a 68-72 over again !

@gpc85, I have to agree with you and many others on here who have commented on the 67-72 Chevy's many times. What a beautiful and timeless design. They really should have made the wheelwells round on the new truck like this 1972 above and even that 1951 to get people excited again. Just gorgeous! I love all of the old Chevrolet trucks though. It's what made me the Chevy guy in a Ford family for many years. I can't think of a single Chevy truck pre-1999 that I don't love to be honest. Anything after that I really don't care for at all. The GMT800's and 900's just won't have a place in classic truck history like the 400's and those that came before it. Someday I'd like to restore a 1940 Chevrolet truck just for show. It will have to enjoy a spot next to a new Ford truck though. Much to the pleasure of my family Ford finally made me a convert with their modern day trucks. Mainly the Super Duty and 1997 and up 150's. You can never take away what Chevrolet used to be though!

@FT1- sellout.

@BlueOvalEmpire - An iconic design stands the test of time. The badge on the hood has nothing to do with that fact.
Those BlueOval glasses are clouding your vision.
Ford has made some ugly trucks too.
I don't care much for the Seventh generation (1980–1986) trucks, especially the ones they made with the huge holes in the frames to save weight. Those were crappy trucks.
The Tenth generation (1997–2004) weren't very pretty either.
The current SuperDuty trucks with their massive protruding snout grills are ugly. Change the grill and it would be a decent looking truck.

Thanks for the article Richard. I use to live in Houston (29 years) and I familiar with Charlie Thomas Ford. Charlie Thomas had a group of dealerships which at one time included Isuzu. At one time Charlie Thomas Ford was Jim Sanders Ford in the 60s but Jim Sanders died in a boating accident and the family sold the dealership. I would love to see the collection and it is too bad that this collection is being broken up and not kept in an auto museum. I like all the trucks pictured and I have always liked 4o Ford Coupes which the 40 and 41 Ford are similiar to. The 54 Ford is neat as well. You could give me a truck from the 40s thru the 50s in any brand, they were all neat.

@FordTrucks1--All they need to do to the Silverado is make it look more like the Tahoe on the front and sides and then it would be a much better looking truck. I will always have a special love for old Chevy's from my Dad's Roman Red 62 Chevy II 4 door with red interior that I learned to drive on and the 64 Impala wagon that my mother had with a 327 V8, 250hp, 4 barrell Rodchester carb. I would like to see Chevy make a comeback.

@BlueOval, care to clarify? Am I a sellout because I left Chevrolet? Or am I a sellout because I'm a Ford truck guy now yet still give credit where I feel it's due? Sorry man, I never did like old Ford trucks. Maybe someday they'll grow on me but I just can't see it. I think the Chevrolet's had excellent build quality and were better lookng. It's the exact opposite of what we've had the last 15 years or so which is precisely why I drive Ford trucks and cars now. Between my new Super Duty I finally caved in on buying and the Platinum 150 my wife plans on trading here Expedition in on for a family hauler, I'd say Ford is happy either way. That's a lot of dough coming from my family to theirs.

this is nice post which have a more value in all over the world. it is being appriaciated even in interial side. i hope that it will be the need of poeples.

Cool! Those old trucks are still adorable. I especially like the red 1959 Chevrolet 3100 Apache.

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