by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

Collector trucks have surged in popularity over the last decade. The rusty old pick-ups that spent their days working for a living have been rescued, restored and now appear at classic car shows. Toy car makers have done a wide variety of trucks too and the American pickup truck is our topic for review.

Before discussing the many pickup truck models that have been produced in approximately 1/64 scale, we should first set parameters as to the definition of a 'pickup'. According to various historical sources on early trucks, it appears the pickup (p/up) developed soon after the advent of the automobile. By the late teens and early 20's, this vehicle was available from many of the prominent truck manufacturers at that time. Sizes ranged from half ton to 3/4 ton. Today, p/ups have become one of the most popular production items for major auto manufacturers!

It appears the first p/ups were developed from small open trucks called express utility vehicles. These consisted of a double seat cab with a flatbed supporting a box on the rear portion of the vehicle. Some of these boxes were on modified car bodies while others were mated to smaller truck chassis.

In this analysis, I do not consider the SUV or other utility vehicles such as the early Ford Bronco, Chevy Blazer and Jeep Universal bodies to meet the definition of a p/up truck. However, some Broncos, Blazers and Jeeps were available with the open box in the rear. Naturally the enclosed sedan delivery is not a p/up; yet some were modified to carry an open box! A lot of p/ups now are covered with custom made add-on caps. Some p/ups served other purposes than to provide an open box for hauling. For example, some early p/ups were converted into tow vehicles with the hook and boom being fastened to the flat base of the open box storage area. It seems that p/ups have developed from two paths; the larger trucks were flatbeds with sides added to contain the cargo. The smaller trucks actually emerged from automobile bodies. Some of these used an open box extending out from the rear where the trunk area later appeared . A bank in the mid 20's used this idea to transport payroll checks to various locations. This bank car has since been modeled by Ertl ( see below). This design can probably be cited as the original sedan p/up later popularized by the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero in the 60's.

This summary is limited to representative models of real trucks. Inclusion of modified customs and concept vehicles will be kept to a minimum. I have attempted to include all known models . However, I may have missed some either by omission or oversight. Some older published lists I reviewed did not indicate the actual year the truck model represents. Some models issued in the early 70's may have been representative of trucks made in the late 60's. These may not be in the following review. But I do believe I have included most of the models of p/up vehicles manufactured prior to 1970.

The best way to review these models is alphabetically.

ANSON/ TIGER WHEELS is the most recent producer of a p/up truck. Their model is of a 58 Chevy Apache # 90040 . The most notable feature is the heavy all metal casting.The reason for the weight is to provide weight when these toys are raced on a gravity track. The models/ toys are imported through Puerto Rico where racing small scale vehicles has become a hobby and pastime for many of the residents on the island.
BEST BOX/ EFSI of the Netherlands produced a 1919 Model T Ford as model # 250 and later #101 over 10- 20 years ago. This simple casting is quite sturdy and represents the style of the earliest p/up trucks with no doors and minimal cab for protection from weather. The EFSI 1919 truck also came in a variety of other commercial applications including a fire truck and tanker.

ERTL, prior to merging with Racing Champions produced a 1953 Chevy in their Farm Series in the mid 90's . Due to darkened windows, no interior is visible. In the late 80's or early 90's Ertl produced a 1927 Essex Bank Car in very limited availability as a promotional for a Chicago bank ( as I recall). Since it had a box installed in the area where a trunk or extra seating would be, I classify this vehicle as a p/up truck for purposes of this article.

GOODEE formerly of Northern NJ produced a somewhat stylized 1953 GMC which had a single piece casting and an open base similar to the Tootsietoy models of about 25 years ago.

GUISVAL of Spain produced a 1930 Model A Ford with a tow tower implanted in the middle of the rear open box. This model was available in the early 90's and is very detailed. It presents a soft top truck with the top in the up position. It is a model other manufacturers have not chosen to produce.
HOT WHEELS (HW) is one of the most prolific producers of p/ups. In 1974 HW issued a highly customized off road 56 Ford model # 8258 called the Baja Bruiser. I chose to include this model because the grille and some of the body are original. In 1977 HW followed up with a realistic version of the 56 Ford called the Hi- Tailer # 9647. This model was first issued with 2 motorcycles in the rear bed. Later editions sported a cap over the bed. In 1998 a model of the 1940 Ford was issued in the First Edition series and was presented as a drag vehicle. In 1972 the 1956 Chevy Flashsider # 2029 was issued. No interior is visible. A highly detailed 1959 Chevy Apache was part of the Collectibles Smoke n' Water set in 2000. Also in the same year HW issued 2 Chevy El Caminos. The 1968 model was a First Edition and had a large and unsightly engine protruding out of the p/up boxed area. Also it had a large racing wing attached at the rear bumper area. The second p/up was a 1970 detailed model in the enhanced Collectibles Popular Hot Rodding set. In 2001, HW recently issued La Troca as First Edition #15. It appears to be a slightly modified 53 Chevy.

'Flashsider'1956 Chevrolet

1968 Chevrolet El Camino

1940 Ford

'La Troca' 1953 Chevrolet

IMPERIAL TOY CO has issued a 1956 Ford in a 2 pack . These recent offerings from Imperial are a major improvement from their previous castings. The quality of this model is equal to that of the major diecast producers and, if it was painted in realistic colors, would be better than most.

1956 Ford F100

JOHNNY LIGHTNING (JL) has also been quite prolific in producing early p/up models. In 1998, the Truckin' America set was introduced. Included were a 1929 Model A Ford # 411, 1940 Ford F-1 # 412 and 1955 Chevy Cameo #414 with wraparound rear side windows and windshield. This set also included a 1959 Chevy El Camino # 415, 1950 Ford F-1 # 413 and a 60's Studebaker Champ #416. In 1996 JL produced a model of the Little Red Wagon which was a model of the 65 Dodge cab over engine model #153. Both JL and its predecessor Topper produced the Custom El Camino of 1968 in both the Commemorative set # 101 in 1994 and originally in 1969. A Barris custom Chevy Cameo was also produced in the Show Rods series.

1929 Model A Ford # 411

1940 Ford F-1 # 412

1950 Ford F-1 # 413

1955 Chevrolet Cameo #414

'Kopper Kart' Barris Custom Cameo

1960 Studebaker Champ #416

1965 Dodge cab-over #153

1959 Chevrolet El Camino # 415

Custom 1968 El Camino #101

LINDBERG offered a late '60's Chevy p/up as #22 in their Mini-Lindy line. While this model is plastic, the level of detail is very good for such small scale. The Mini-Lindy models were assembled just like larger scale plastic models and held in place with tiny screws.

LLEDO- DAYS GONE produced a 1939 Chevy p/up in 1989 from a modified sedan delivery casting tool. It carries model # 36000.

MAISTO introduced a stylized model of the 1956 Ford reminiscent of the original Tonka play toys in their Tonka line which is licensed from Hasbro.

MATCHBOX (MB) Lesney produced a Jeep Gladiator p/up # 71B in 1964. It appears to be a model of an early 60's truck. In 1968 a Ford model # 6D was introduced and in 1969 the Ford Kennel Truck # 50-C of a 60's model truck was produced as well. There may have been other MB models introduced in the 70's that were replicating earlier trucks. From the limited data available, I am unable to make that determination. Recently MB issued a model of of the 1956 Ford. It carries # 15 in the 2001 lineup. Also MB issued a 70 Chevy El Camino #60 which was available until this year.

Jeep Gladiator p/up # 71B

1969 Ford Kennel Truck # 50-C

1956 Ford F100 #15

1970 Chevrolet El Camino #60

RACING CHAMPIONS (RC) in their Mint Edition series have issued 4 p/up models The first was a 1950 Chevy 3100 # 2 in 1996, also issue in the Street Wheels toy car line. It has a hinged engine hood and is equipped with a drivers side view mirror. RC followed in 97 with 3 Ford models. They were a 1935 # 66 with a removable engine cover, 1940 #10 (also as Street Wheels) and a 1957 Ranchero # 130 both with hinged hoods. The Mint Edition series was one of the best replications of the real cars I have seen to date.

1957 Ford Ranchero # 130

1935 Ford p/up # 66

1940 Ford p/up (Street Wheels)

1950 Chevy 3100 (Street Wheels)

TOOTSIETOY produced a 1914 Model T Ford in 1916 under model # 4610. It measured 77 mm in size. Over 50 years later this firm issued models of a 1949 Ford and 1957 Ford Styleside p/up. Both of these newer models had open bases and were one piece castings. The detail was somewhat stylized; probably due to the avoidance of any requirement for licensing.

WELLY has introduced a 53 Chevy # 2050 in their series IX Street Wheels lineup. The detail is good and for the cost it is a keeper! Like the Imperial model above, this low-cost Asian producer is making some great models, only lacking in more detailed paint.

Finally, ZYLMEX / ZEETOY is reported to have issued a replica of the Model A Ford over 20 years ago. It carried # D18, but no further info is available.

Postscript : I would be remiss if I did not make mention of several of the 50's retro trucks being prepared for production. The concept Chevy SSR - soon to be a production vehicle in the GM line, is loaded with styling cues from the Chevy trucks of the early 1950's. This model is presently available in various product lines by Maisto of which the Showcase Collection is the most realistic. The Dodge Power Wagon concept is produced by Hot Wheels and carries the look of the famous Power Wagon models from the late 1940's. I recognize these vehicles are not a pre 70's models, but they clearly intend to make the most of the popularity of collector trucks, now the rage.

Chevrolet SSR concept - Maisto

Dodge Power Wagon concept - Hot Wheels

Let me admit that I do not believe this survey is complete. It is provided as a starter base to enable collectors to add to their knowledge of existing models.

Primary sources:
'Collecting Toy Cars and Trucks' R O'Brien, Krause Publications, 1997, 'Micro Cars' P Viemeister, Hamiltons, 1982, 'Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels' M Strauss, Tomart ( 4 Eds to date), 'Tomart's Price Guide to Johnny Lightning Vehicles' M Ragan, Tomart, 2001