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Vintage Pickup Trucks From the 1930s That Prove Grandad was Pretty Cool

The Dirty Thirties was when men were men, and trucks were built to take a beating. As the nation struggled through the Great Depression, the humble pickup truck became a trusty companion for hard-working Americans looking to make an honest living. These no-frills workhorses didn’t just get the job done – they embodied the resilient spirit of a generation. From hauling tools and materials to the job site to transporting the fruits of an honest day’s labor, the pickup earned its stripes as the do-it-all vehicle of the era. With their simple yet rugged designs, these trucks were a testament to the ingenuity of American manufacturers and the grit of the men who drove them.

1930 Ford Model A Pickup

1930 ford model a pickup in red
Volo Museum
The 1930 Ford Model A was one of the original tough, no-frills pickup trucks that helped establish this iconic American vehicle segment. With its rugged flathead V8 engine, simple steel body, and wood-spoked wheels, it could handle hard work on the farm or job site back in the day. Ford’s early investment in these light pickups paid off massively, paving the way for today’s incredibly capable and popular modern trucks.

1930 Chevrolet Pickup

1930 chevrolet pickup
With a marketing ploy of “a six in the price range of four,” there is a reason this was a popular truck in the day. Consumers were looking for a car with more pep, so Chevy added a 194 CID “Stovebolt Six,” which offered up to 50 horsepower. This engine increased horsepower from the more common 20-30mph.

1935 Dodge KC Half-Ton Pickup

1935 dodge kc half ton pickup in green
H and H
Dodge took a big risk launching its series HC pickups when it did, but it proved it was a smart move. Even during the Depression, trucks proved to be a popular option with consumers. The standard model cost just $480, but not much was standard. Many items like front bumpers, an air cleaner, and even a hood ornament would be “extras.” 

1936 Mack Jr. Pickup Truck

1936 mack jr pickup truck in showroom
Stahls Auto
While it bears the Mack name and moniker, the 1936 Mack Jr. pickup truck was built by the REO Motor Car Company. In 1935, the two companies agreed to manufacture a line of pickups under the Mack name. Between 1936 and 1938, almost 5,000 trucks were sold. 

1937 Plymouth PT-50 Half-Ton Pickup

1937 plymouth pt-50 half ton pikjup in white
Plymouth entered the light-truck market in 1937 with the PT50. It would become a huge success for the company, with 10,867 units being built. Standard equipment included a spare wheel in the fender, safety glass, and a six-foot-long bed—all this for just $525. The Plymouth L-head six offered 70 horsepower to move the car. 

1937 Hudson Terraplane

1937 hudson terraplane
The Terraplane is a model from the Hudson Motor Car Company. One of its early claims to fame was that it clocked a whopping 80 mph, making it quite the speed demon of the day. The Terraplane was available as a car and truck. The truck featured a front end that seemed more like a car with a pickup attached than a true pickup truck. While it looked like a fancy car with its art-deco design, there was no lack of ability to do hard work. 

1937 Studebaker Dictator Coupe Express

1937 Studebaker Dictator Coupe Express in red
The 1937 Studebaker Dictator Coupe Express was a rare and desirable model, with only around 5,700 built during its three-year production run. Featuring a sleek three-window design and a powerful inline-six engine, the Dictator Coupe Express is considered a collector’s item today, with enthusiasts in various forums discussing restoration projects and sourcing hard-to-find parts for these classic American automobiles.

1937 GMC T-14 Pickup Truck

1937 gmc pickup truck at a car show
With its Art Deco look, this pickup is not just functional but pretty and a bit more upscale than the other brands of this period. The unique design was a popular option and was partially credited for GMC’s growth in sales that year. 

1938 Dodge RC Pickup

1938 dodge rc pickup beige
The 1938 Dodge RC Pickup was a real workhorse back in the day, with around 1,300 of these bad boys sold that year. Powered by Dodge’s trusty 218 cubic inch six-cylinder engine putting out 75 horses, this pickup was built to get the job done, whether you were hauling cargo or just cruising around town. The truck would be $600 and be the last year for the Dodge Brothers.

1937 International D-15 Pickup Truck

1937 international d-15
The International Harvester Company was the original manufacturer behind the International line of trucks. While they were originally marketed to farmers, the trucks grew in popularity. The D-series was in production from 1937-1939 and featured a range of light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks. While the styling was a nice touch, the HD-213A L-head engine made it desirable.

Vintage Trucks Recycled Into Furniture

chevrolet truck made into a bar
Custom WoodWorx
Maybe you found an awesome vintage truck that is lacking in available parts, or will be too difficult to restore. You have options! Check out what other creative truck fans have created with vintage trucks. View vintage truck furniture ideas

The Ultimate Mack Truck Museum Every Truck Lover Needs To See

mahan collection 1929 mack truck
Jill Caren Photo
If you love trucks, this is the place for you. Take the whole family to explore the ultimate Mack truck collection – and more in New Jersey. View Mahan Museum details

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