Pickups Get Their Due at L.A. Museum

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Let's face it: Pickup trucks are often taken for granted and relegated to second-class citizen status. So when we heard there was a Southern California museum dedicating an entire exhibit to the often-maligned workhorse, we thought we'd stop by and have a look.

It's not every day pickup trucks are deemed worthy of being the focus of a museum exhibit, but the curators at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles thought this special category of vehicles had been ignored long enough.

Here's what chief curator Leslie Kendall said about the exhibit: "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. The pickup truck means many different things to different people, which is part of what we want to explore in this exhibition."

"Pickups: The Art of Utility" is meant to be something of a historical tour through the last 100 years. It begins with a 1909 International Harvester Auto-Wagon and marches up to today with more than 20 different vehicles on display. Some of the highlights include a 1934 Hudson Terraplane, a 1953 Dodge Power Wagon Swivel Frame, a 1958 Jeep Forward Control, a 1980 Dodge Lil' Red Express and a concept 2002 Isuzu Axiom XSR.

The exhibit runs through April 6, 2014, at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. For more information, call 323-930-2277 or visit the museum's website at www.petersen.org.

Here's a look at a few of the exhibit's featured pickups.

 

1909 International Harvester Auto-Wagon

1909 International_Harvester_Front_Quarter II

Intentionally built to look like a horse-drawn buggy, the International Harvester featured solid rubber tires and large wheels to allow for high clearance on the rutted, unpaved country roads of the day. Normally fitted with two or three rows of seats, the International was one of many "high-wheeler" passenger cars popular among rural motorists during the early 20th century. With its rear seat removed (with just two wing nuts), the car became a load-carrying utility vehicle, making it a pioneer in the "pickup" truck market because of its passenger car underpinnings. The 1909 Auto-Wagon was powered by a horizontally opposed, air-cooled engine located under the front seat.

 

1934 Hudson Terraplane

1934 Terraplane_Pickup_Rear_Quarter II

Built between 1932 and 1938, the Terraplane began as a model in the Hudson lineup before becoming a marque in its own right in 1934, the year in which it was significantly restyled. The newly streamlined half-ton pickup shared many styling features with the remainder of the Terraplane model line, making it one of the sleekest pickup trucks of the era and increasing its marketability to style-conscious motorists who may have otherwise resisted buying a utility vehicle. One of an extremely small number of survivors, this pickup was painstakingly restored to as-new condition by the current owner.

 

1953 Dodge Power Wagon Swivel Frame

Dodge_1953_Power_Wagon_Side II

The Willock Swivel Frame was created by the owner of the Willock Truck Equipment Co., a manufacturer of specialty equipment for on- and off-road trucks. Willock's invention separated the front and rear halves of the chassis, allowing the two sections to move independently and minimizing the likelihood that the frame and cab would crack or break during heavy use or when navigating extremely uneven road surfaces. Priced at $350, the Swivel Frame was designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, but was also appreciated by buyers of lighter-duty one-ton trucks who lived in areas with rugged terrain.

 

1968 Volkswagen Single Cab

1968 Volkswagen_Single_Cab_Rear_Quarter II

The Volkswagen pickup was completely restyled for the 1968 model year, doing away with the split windshield and V-front motif of its predecessor. Unlike virtually every other pickup on the American market, the VW was equipped with a rear-mounted engine and bedsides that could be hinged down for access to the load area. A lockable compartment under the forward half of the bed provided storage for smaller items. Following the trend established by Volkswagen, every major domestic manufacturer eventually offered a pickup with a cab-forward design, most of which required that the front-mounted engine be placed inconveniently between passengers in the cabin.

 

1978 Dodge Li'l Red Express

Dodge_1978_Lil_Red_Express_Side II

The high-performance Li'l Red Express was introduced in 1978, a year of increasingly stringent safety, emissions and fuel economy standards from which most trucks were exempted. Fitted with vertical exhaust stacks that resembled those on its enormous 18-wheeler counterparts, the Dodge was powered by a 360-cubic-inch-displacement small-block V-8 equipped with a Holley induction system and LoadFlite transmission. Tested by Car and Driver magazine, the Li'l Red Express was the quickest vehicle in the zero-to-100 sprint of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 1978. Dodge planned to limit production to 2,000 units in 1978, but its popularity stretched the final count to 2,188. Production ended in 1979 after production reached 5,118.

For more historical pickup truck photos and background information, go to the PickupTrucks.com Facebook page. 

 

Comments

Power Wagon....Ford owners be like what? Lol

Great run though time when trucks were truely trucks.

Trucks are an important part of the American experience, song and culture. Why wouldn't they get their due? Import pickups too.

The Little Red Express is almost as ugly as a 2011 Toyota Tundra.

Almost.


Great run though time when trucks were truely trucks.

Posted by: Scott | Aug 14, 2013 9:50:50 AM

Yes now notice the don't picture a Ford LMAO!

Great article. Good to hear that Petersen's is giving trucks some space. I remember the VW pickups and the Dodge Li'l Red Express.

Great run though time when trucks were truely trucks.

Posted by: Scott | Aug 14, 2013 9:50:50 AM

Yes now notice the don't picture a Ford LMAO!

Posted by: johnny doe | Aug 14, 2013 12:07:14 PM

Preach it brother! You are the man!!!

And notice that not one of those trucks had four doors.

The Power Wagon is pretty Sweet with the bed that articulates.

@Vulpine--The first crew cab trucks I remember were International and Dodge highway department road crew trucks from the late 50's. I remember the 73-79 crew cab Chevy trucks and the IH crew cabs that were for consumers, but I never saw a lot of them. One farmer I knew had a 79 Chevy crew cab dully but those were rare. It would be great to see one on those old road crew cabs from the 50's in a truck museum display. The first extend cab trucks I remember were the late 70's Datsuns. Crew cabs have been around for a while but were rare and were considered more commercial. I hope that they don't decide to make them any longer by adding 2 more doors for a total of 6.

No, i think we will see crew cab with and extended cab behind that kind of an extenuation of the mega cab.

I owned a "EXPRESS" truck.
Great truck.
If Dodge had got what they wanted, it would have been really fast! The prototype had the W2 cylinder heads, aluminum intake , Holley carb & true Ram air ducts to the turn signal hole next to the headlamp.
They used a 1972 filler panel between the bumper & grille for the turn/park light assemblies.
This would have been a BadAss truck for sure.

I also noticed that the exhaust tips are turned outward, instead of being sraight back on the Express pictured.
I had a problem with soot blowing back on the fenders when using modern unleaded fuel.
I assume that old style leade regular was soot free.

@ Johnnypeckerhead, looks like a FORD in the first picture to me. Hell Ray Charles could see that!

@experience - agreed. Isn't it a first generation F series?

It is interesting to see the VW truck in this display. It is appropriate since is was the first import to get hit by the Chicken Tax.

I am waiting for everyone to start bashing that Power Wagon.

I learned on PUTC that a pickup should have the stiffest, rigidest, frame possible, and ultimately bend/fail when cyclically loaded--but not flex or twist... .

I still think that bodystyle Chevy in that top pic is the best looking truck ever built bar none. Looks sharp in black! I'm digging that Dodge Powerwagon too! Never seen that before.

We had the Hudson Terraplane Coupe Utility a Ute version of the Hudson in the late 1930's
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2611/4015427905_ea06cc67f9.jpg

@Lou - You just had to go there, din't ya... Torpedoed the thread in 4-3-2-1...

@Lou,
Nice to bring a Historical perspective too this. The VW's were as far as I now only sold as Vans here. Their "put put" made them sound like a quiet Harley Davidson soft tail.

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

@moparrules

Yeah the SRT10 was the quickest production truck. The quickest factory truck would have to be the Tundra with the TRD supercharger (can be installed from the dealer).

@RobertRyan - thanks. It makes sense for museums to explain the historical significance or reason why a particular model is deemed appropriate to be in a display over countless other pickups. I see the odd one still running around.

@Lou--You are correct the Chicken Tax was directed against the VW trucks. I remember seeing a number of them as a kid. Actually the VW van and truck was before the Ford and Chevy vans. Ford's predecessor to the Econoline vans were the 1960 Falcon van and a pickup based on the van and Chevy's was the 1960 Corvair van and pickup based on the van (both forward cabs with rear engines). Maybe the competition would have eventually caused the VW delivery van and truck to disappear but the Chicken Tax quickened the process. If you look at Wikapedia the VW truck is referred to in the history of the Chicken Tax, so you are absolutely correct. VW trucks and vans are significant not only because of the Chicken Tax but as I mentioned mainly because they started the vans in America. Before vans there were the panel trucks which were based on the pickups. Of course with the introduction of the Ford Falcon there was also a pickup based on the car as well similiar to the Ranchero and El Camino but compact which were both based on the Australian Ute.

GUTS
GLORY
FIRST MINIVAN ON THE MARKET
INNOVATIVE
ATTRACTIVE
LOVED BY EVERYONE
EXRTREMELY DURABLE
LOVED BY CHILDREN ACROSS THE COUNTRY
DODGE CARAVAN

International Harvester had the first crew cab pickup in 1957

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Harvester

The Travelette was a crew cab, available in 2 or 4 wheel drive. It was available starting in 1957, and was the first 6-passenger, 4-door truck of its time.

Don't get drawn into DenverMike's debate. He uses half truths and unsubstantiated opinion to rope you in.

Don't get drawn into DenverMike's debate. He uses half truths and unsubstantiated opinion to rope you in.

Don't get drawn into DenverMike's debate. He uses half truths and unsubstantiated opinion to rope you in.

This site is terrible at displaying a post. The above is really a double posting by me. Because the original post didn't appear.

Read this link.

This has been what I've been talking about for the past year. All I get from some of you guys is $hit (not Jeff S).

Open your market and let mid sizer compete and adopt UNECE regs like most of us do and you will still have full size trucks.

Not as many because midsizers will take sales away. Irrespective of what DenverMike/Greg Baird states midsizer will sell more.

But you will still have your V8 pickups.

Read and weep.

http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/fuel-to-curb-vf-commodore-exports-20130328-2gvpe.html


@Lou
Thanks, but don't say too much as they will start on you.

I nearly threw the towel in the other day, but I woke up and thought, no. I will still add my points of view as necessary.

These guys will destroy the site first, they obviously how no sense of value or integrity.

Sad but true.

If this problem has been with Cars.com (PUTC) for a while, why haven't they improved security?

@DenverMute aka DlM,
The union is fully aware of the chicken tax, especially since it was aligned with the manufacturers who initiated the tax back in the sixties. The UAW is one of the architects of the tax.

Please, when posting use Google to obtain information that is more accurate than your union news letter and Fox News.

If the chicken tax were to be repealed there would be an increase in both sales and number of manufacturers selling pickups in the US. This would in fact increase competition.

The biggest winners would be the consumers. Quality of pickups in the US would improve also.

If, as you say the tax has a negligible impact on full size sales, do you support the removal of the tax?

A simple yes or no response would suffice.

Yes or No DlM? Not some long winded bullsh!t comment to deflect your ignorance of the subject.

Have you considered opening a Ford full size pickup dealership in Spain? Sounds like a great business proposition, maybe you could work for Ford?

@DenverMute aka DlM,
The union is fully aware of the chicken tax, especially since it was aligned with the manufacturers who initiated the tax back in the sixties. The UAW is one of the architects of the tax.

Please, when posting use Google to obtain information that is more accurate than your union news letter and Fox News.

If the chicken tax were to be repealed there would be an increase in both sales and number of manufacturers selling pickups in the US. This would in fact increase competition.

The biggest winners would be the consumers. Quality of pickups in the US would improve also.

If, as you say the tax has a negligible impact on full size sales, do you support the removal of the tax?

A simple yes or no response would suffice.

Yes or No DlM? Not some long winded bullsh!t comment to deflect your ignorance of the subject.

Have you considered opening a Ford full size pickup dealership in Spain? Sounds like a great business proposition, maybe you could work for Ford?

@DenverMute aka DlM,
The union is fully aware of the chicken tax, especially since it was aligned with the manufacturers who initiated the tax back in the sixties. The UAW is one of the architects of the tax.

Please, when posting use Google to obtain information that is more accurate than your union news letter and Fox News.

If the chicken tax were to be repealed there would be an increase in both sales and number of manufacturers selling pickups in the US. This would in fact increase competition.

The biggest winners would be the consumers. Quality of pickups in the US would improve also.

If, as you say the tax has a negligible impact on full size sales, do you support the removal of the tax?

A simple yes or no response would suffice.

Yes or No DlM? Not some long winded bullsh!t comment to deflect your ignorance of the subject.

Have you considered opening a Ford full size pickup dealership in Spain? Sounds like a great business proposition, maybe you could work for Ford?

Sorry, I more or less posted the same twice. The first comment didn't appear to work.

Sorry, I more or less posted the same twice. The first comment didn't appear to work.

@JeffS: Well, that's kinda my point; pickup trucks were WORKING vehicles for almost 100 years, they were never intended or built as family-style vehicles. Why are they now?

@Greg: I believe that's the 2002 Isuzu concept mentioned in the article.

@Mopar Rules!: And was that 1963 "factory four-door" a family car, or a working truck?

If you read the article, the Isuzu you so proudly tout as a four-door is a prototype and as far as I can tell by ANY of the photos posted, is the ONLY 4-door in the collection. The whole intent of that display is how trucks were made to be functional--even the IH Auto-Wagon had the second-row seats easily removable AND was purpose built to resemble a buckboard wagon to declare its WORK capability. With somewhat limited exceptions, today's trucks are all about luxury and very little about work--those exceptions being the HDs and even those have such short load beds today they're practically useless for anything but towing.

@Vulpine--True, but that is true with many items. Trucks are less work and more family and recreational in nature. The 1957 IH crew cab was more for working crews as were some of the early Dodge crew cabs. There were no extended cabs. Trucks in the 50's and 60's were considered for tradesmen and farmers and few suburbanites would have ever though of owning a truck. The station wagon was the truck of the suburbanites. My grand dad who was a farmer all his life didn't get a pickup until about 1953, a dark green 53 Dodge step side with a straight 6 and 3 on the tree, which was followed by a black 58 Dodge likewise equipped, and then a 63 IH blue step side 3 on the tree (none of them had radios). My grand dad always had a one ton stake flat bed. Even when my grand dad had a pickup he never would drive it when going to church or going to a board meeting at the local bank. A pickup was considered a work only vehicle and not something that you would go out socially in unless you had to. His 4 door Dodge Coronets or later a 64 Olds 98 were considered the social, non work vehicles.

@Big Al from Oz or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn how to debate, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support Australia, then how good are they.

@Big Al from Oz or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn how to debate, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support Australia, then how good are they.

@Big Al from Oz or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn how to debate, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support Australia, then how good are they.

@Big Al from Oz or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn how to debate, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support Australia, then how good are they.

@Big Al from Oz or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn how to debate, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support Australia, then how good are they.

Don't get drawn into Big Al from Oz's debate. He uses half truths and unsubstantiated opinion to rope you in.

I heard DenverMike plays on the other side of the fence if you know what I mean.

Good grief. Look at the spam on this board from BAFO and all the multiple posts saying the same thing over and over again. Enough is enough.

@Vulpine--I do appreciate the history of the pickups in the USA especially the history of being a workhorse. As we all know the horseless carriage replaced the horse and the truck replaced the wagons drawn by horses. The early history of auto and truck makers were that some early manufacturers transitioned from making carriages and wagons to cars and trucks. Studebaker was originally a wagon and carriage maker.

Trucks like many things have transitioned from strictly a workhorse to multifunctional vehicles. One can debate the pros and cons of this transition, but the fact is there is no going back. Whether trucks get bigger, get smaller, use lighter materials, use smaller more efficient engines, or whatever other changes they will remain trucks. Change is inevitable. Sometimes one longs for a simplier time, but the truth is most of us would not go back and it is always easy to see the past in a more favorable light. I don't like many of the changes I see but then realistically I know that adaptation is many times the only choice.

I am glad I have the memories of my childhood and my grandparents who were wonderful people, but they too had to adapt to the changes they faced when they were my age. My grandparents went through the dawning of a new century (20th century), WW I, the Depression, WW II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam era and the changing 70's. My parents went through all of those except WW I and up to the 21st century. We will see a lot more significant changes to come in our lifetimes.

When I travel I love to go to museums. This is one museum I will put on my list.

It will be fantastic to see the pickups of old and newish.

Also, if some of you guys have never been to DC, drop into the Smithsonian Museums. They are free and can offer a great insight to very thing natural, American history and my favourite the National Air and Space Museum.

Museums are great in any country and is a must for me to visit.



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