10 farm-fresh pick-up trucks worth buying before values rise | Classic & Sports Car (2024)

  • Pick up a bargain before it’s too late…

    The value of American pick-up trucks from the 1960s and the 1970s has skyrocketed in recent years – and with good reason.

    Enthusiasts appreciate their simple ruggedness and timeless usability; the ability to haul, tow or go camping is just as important in 2019 as it was in 1969.

    Many older trucks are getting turned into trailer queens, and they’ve become correspondingly expensive, but there are other, slightly newer models still lingering at the bottom of their depreciation curves.

    Here, then, are 10 future classics worth buying now before they start showing up at big-name auctions.

  • 1. Chevrolet El Camino (fifth generation, 1978-1987)

    The fifth and final generation of the Chevrolet El Camino continued the nameplate’s decades-long tradition of blending a car and a pick-up into one.

    It was built using parts from the Malibu and its front-end design mirrored Chevrolet’s saloons during its long production run.

    We suggest avoiding early models equipped with the anaemic, 95bhp V6 engine and steering clear of the apocalyptic diesel V8. The various petrol-powered V8s available during the 1980s suit the car’s character well – and they’re reliable, too.

  • Chevrolet El Camino (continued)

    Hagerty pegs the value of a 1987 El Camino in good condition at $9200 (about £7500). Prices began creeping upward in 2017 and they’re expected to continue climbing. The GMC Cabellero, a badge-engineered El Camino, is following a similar trend.

  • 2. Dodge D/W (1981-1993)

    Dodge’s big-bodied D/W trucks – rebadged as the Dodge Ram for this generation – are among the most underappreciated pick-ups made in the 1980s.

    These slab-sided behemoths remain as dependable as an old pair of boots and they’re as simple to keep running as their no-frills design suggests.

  • Dodge D/W (cont.)

    Enthusiasts haven’t discovered them yet, so prices remain reasonably low. Clean examples are readily available for less than $10,000 (about £8100).

  • 3. Dodge Rampage (1982-1984)

    The Dodge Rampage was an attempt to tick two boxes with a single pen stroke.

    On one hand, it gave buyers an American-badged alternative to the Subaru Brat. On the other hand, it offered truck customers a small, efficient option without copying Chevrolet’s El Camino.

    It nonetheless landed in a gray area of the market that attracted very few eyeballs.

  • Dodge Rampage (cont.)

    Dodge improved the Rampage during the 1983 model year, and it gave its Plymouth division a variant named Scamp, but production of both ended after the 1984 model year.

    They’re rare, forgotten and bound to go back up in value, butyou can add a Rampage to your collection for less than $5000 (approximately £4000).

  • 4. Ford Ranger (first generation, 1983-1992)

    Then and now, the Ranger sits below the F-Series in Ford’s line-up of models.

    The first-generation model released during the 1983 model year was small enough to fit in a compact-sized parking spot, yet it could haul almost as much as the bigger F-100 when properly equipped.

    While early models were often spartan, the 1989 model year brought a mid-cycle update that added more features (including a glovebox) and more comfortable seats. It’s humble by 2019 standards, but still daily-drivable.

  • Ford Ranger (cont.)

    The Ranger line-up included four- and six-cylinder petrol models, a diesel ‘four’, either an automatic or a manual gearbox, and rear- or four-wheel drive. Ford also offered regular and SuperCab variants.

    It was mass-produced and mass-destroyed; the Ranger rusted well and many examples were driven into the ground by a succession of owners.

    Enthusiasts are beginning to seek out the cleaner trucks left, but good ones remain available for under $4000 (about £3300).

  • 5. Jeep Comanche (1986-1992)

    Like its American rivals, Jeep wanted a slice of the compact pick-up truck segment that Japanese carmakers dominated during the 1980s.

    Instead of starting from scratch, or searching for a partner to form a joint-venture with, it turned the XJ-generation Cherokee into a two-door pick-up named Comanche.

  • Jeep Comanche (cont.)

    It looks like a Cherokee with a cargo box and that’s exactly what it is. It’s hugely capable off the beaten path and the 4-litre straight-six is one of the most dependable engines ever put in a Jeep.

    The Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet S10 outsold the Jeep Comanche, so finding a good one in 2019 requires patience. Plan to spend at least $5000 (about £4000) for a clean, drivable example.

  • 6. Chevrolet C/K (fourth generation, 1988-2002)

    The fourth generation of Chevrolet’s C/K truck, introduced in 1987 as a 1988 model, doesn’t have the classic charm of its immediate predecessor – but it’s only a matter of time before values start to rise.

    These trucksspent decades meandering across the United States, they’re woven into the nation’s fabric, and they were considerably more comfortable to drive on a daily basis than their older siblings. The major updates made to the fourth-generation trucks notably included an independent front suspension.

  • Chevrolet C/K (cont.)

    Configuring a C/K felt like going to Subway, with buyers havingseveral wheelbases, box lengths, engines, trims and options to choose from.

    Collectors have the same selection to make in 2019, and pricing largely depends on the configuration. Bare-bones trucks start at under $2000 (about £1600) while the rare, desirable 454 SS model with a 230bhp engine and a three-speed automatic starts at around $15,000 (about £12,000).

  • 7. Chevrolet S-10 Baja (1988-1991)

    The S-10 isn’t the original Chevrolet compact pick-up, but it’s the first one the firm developed in-house without the input of a Japanese partner.

    The truck was designed for light-duty hauling and deliveries, rather than as a bona-fide off-roader, but it morphed into one when it received the Baja package for the 1988 model year.

    This added a beefier suspension, standard four-wheel drive plus an array of extra equipment including alloy wheels wrapped by bigger tyres, skid plates and a roll hoop in the cargo box.

  • Chevrolet S-10 Baja (cont.)

    The Baja remains one of the more obscure off-road trucks of the 1980s, so clean examples start at about $6000 (around £4800).

    Regular, non-Baja-ified S-10s cost as little as $1000 (approximately £1200), but the value of original, low-mileage examples is steady increasing.

  • 8. Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible (1989-1991)

    The American Sunroof Company (ASC) helped Dodge turn the Dakota into a cabriolet.

    The aptly-named Dakota Sport Convertible looked like the answer to the question no one dared ask,but it was surprisingly popular in the sunny parts of the United States. It was certainly one of the only drop-tops that let owners drive on a beach without worrying about getting stuck.

  • Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible (cont.)

    The conversion was relatively simple. ASC cut off the top part of the Dakota’s cab, installed a roll hoop in the name of safety and added a manual soft top.

    Fewer than 4000 units were made and the ones that haven’t been destroyed by rain leaking into the cabin trade hands for about $7000 (around £5700).

  • 9. Shelby Dakota (1989)

    Shelby’s take on the first-generation Dodge Dakota brought sports car-like performance to the pick-up truck segment like no model before it.

    The tuner started the conversion by yanking the V6 out of the Dakota Sport’s engine bay and replacing it with a 5.2-litre, 175bhp V8.

  • Shelby Dakota (cont.)

    Alloy wheels, a body kit and an array of emblems informed onlookers they weren’t following a run-of-the-mill, Midwest-spec work truck. Red and white were the only two colours offered.

    Shelby made about 1500 pick-ups in 1989. In 2019, good examples start at around $15,000 (about £12,000)

  • 10. GMC Sonoma GT (1992)

    GMC made 2995 examples of the Syclone, a turbocharged, V6-powered pick-up that could outsprint a Chevrolet Corvette. It’s massively desirable in the collector car world and it’s priced accordingly.

    But few enthusiasts realise GMC released a tamer high-speed truck called the Sonoma GT for the 1992 model year.

  • GMC Sonoma GT (cont.)

    The GT used a naturally-aspirated, 195bhp V6 bolted to a four-speed automatic transmission. It wasn’t as high-strung as the Syclone, so it could still be used to haul or tow, but it did receivea Syclone-esque design characterised by body-coloured bumpers and alloy wheels.

    Plan to spend about $15,000 (around £12,000) on a clean Sonoma GT – assuming you can find out. Only 806 were made and a good chunk of the production run looked worse for wear by the late 1990s.

10 farm-fresh pick-up trucks worth buying before values rise | Classic & Sports Car (2024)


Are classic trucks increasing in value? ›

Readily available parts make it easy to turn one of these classic pickups into a hot rod. These modern classics have become a hot commodity recently, appreciating by 98%. According to Hagerty, the price tag for a 1992-1997 Ford F-Series pickup increased from $14,247 to $28,268 from January 2021 to January 2022.

What trucks will be future classics? ›

Here, then, are 10 future classics worth buying now before they start showing up at big-name auctions.
  • Chevrolet El Camino (fifth generation, 1978-1987) ...
  • Dodge D/W (1981-1993) ...
  • Dodge Rampage (1982-1984) ...
  • Ford Ranger (first generation, 1983-1992) ...
  • Jeep Comanche (1986-1992) ...
  • Chevrolet C/K (fourth generation, 1988-2002)

What trucks are worth restoring? ›

Choosing A Classic Truck to Restore
  • Chevy/GM C10 (1960s and 1970s)
  • Jeep Wranglers (1986-1990)
  • Ford F-Series trucks (1950s-1990s)
  • Chevrolet Task Force (1950s)
  • Ford Ranchero (1960s)
  • Dodge D-Series (1978-1979)
  • Dodge Power Wagons (1946-1968)
  • Chevrolet 3100 (1950s)
Dec 14, 2022

What is the best year for classic Chevy trucks? ›

Top 3 Classic Chevrolet Trucks
  • Chevrolet 3100 (1947-1955) The Chevrolet 3100, also known as the “Advanced Design,” was produced from 1947 to 1955. ...
  • Chevrolet C/K (1960-1998) The Chevrolet C/K series was produced from 1960 to 1998 and was one of the most popular trucks ever made. ...
  • Chevrolet El Camino (1959-1987)
Jun 19, 2023

Are classic trucks a good investment? ›

Start with this, to be certain: Vintage cars on average are still more valuable than vintage trucks. The median value of an excellent-condition truck/SUV in the latest Hagerty Price Guide is 24 percent below that for cars ($17,800 versus $23,400). Yet truck values are increasing much faster.

What is the most reliable pickup truck? ›

Most Reliable Trucks Compared
TruckModel Years to Look forReliability Score
Ford Ranger2007, 2009–2010, 2020–20224/5
GMC Canyon2009, 2012–2014, 2019–20204/5
GMC Sierra 15002004, 2011–2012, 2016–2018, 2021+3.5/5
Honda Ridgeline2010–2011, 2013, 20183.5/5
7 more rows
Oct 11, 2023

What is the most sought after Chevy pickup? ›

1975 Chevy C10

It belongs to the second generation of the Chevrolet C/K series trucks, which were manufactured from 1967 to 1972. With its iconic design and robust performance, the 1975 Chevy C10 continues to be a sought-after vehicle for enthusiasts and collectors alike.

What is the best classic car to invest in? ›

Top 10 Most Investable Classic Cars
  • Classic cars have long been regarded as an excellent investment opportunity, and for good reason. ...
  • Firstly, classic cars are a finite asset, meaning that there are only a limited number of them available. ...
  • Ferrari 250 GT. ...
  • 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL. ...
  • 1960s Porsche 911. ...
  • 1960s Shelby Cobra.

What truck is going to last the longest? ›

Longest-Lasting Reliable Pickup Trucks

Among these contenders, heavy-duty models dominate the field, but notable names like the Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Chevrolet Avalanche also boast a higher-than-average likelihood of crossing the quarter-million-mile mark.

What sports cars are most likely to appreciate? ›

Older high-end performance Porsches, Ferraris, Corvettes and collectible muscle cars from any year will usually rise in value, as will cheaper, nostalgia-inducing models like a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle of a 1970 Chevy Camaro.

What is the easiest classic truck to restore? ›

Ford's first- and second-generation F-series from the 50s and 60s are known for their ease of restoration. Likewise, the "square-body" offerings from Chevrolet and GMC in the 70s and 80s provide an excellent platform for beginners.

Are trucks going down in value? ›

Prices begin to firm after 4.4% average monthly depreciation in first 10 months of 2023. Used truck prices fell about 4% a month in the first 10 months of the year. But the rapid rate of depreciation might be coming to an end.

Do pick up trucks lose value? ›

An established rule of thumb is that a new truck loses around 25% to 30% of its value in the first year and around 10% to 15% more every year after that. This assumption dictates that after five years, a truck that you took home new will be worth around half of what you paid for it at best.

Are classic car prices increasing? ›

Essentially, “values for classic cars increased between 20-50% for a lot of vehicles right after the pandemic with our top 100 most-insured vehicle types seeing a significant rise in value from 2021-2022," Kolle says.

Are classic car prices up or down? ›

The growth in the number of cars sold helped to offset a decline in prices. The average price of a car sold on the site fell to $54,000 in 2023 from $59,500 in 2022.

What increases the value of a truck? ›

The best and most obvious way to increase your car's resale value is regular maintenance and upkeep. Besides mechanical repairs, it is important to keep up with the little things before they accumulate. Little things go wrong with cars all the time and it's nobody's fault in particular, it just happens!

Will classic cars go up in value? ›

Many classic cars are growing in market value, especially those with unique stories or limited production numbers. However, not all classic cars appreciate; some models are losing market value due to changes in collector preferences or market oversaturation.


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