Born Into Pickups
Growing up in a family where logging, sawmill work, hunting and fishing were synonymous with my Oregon roots and country upbringing, pickups have always been a driving staple for work and recreation.
My first time behind the wheel was driving my dad’s ’60 Chevy C30 from the back of our eight acres to the woodshed where I’d unload and stack cords of Douglas Fir and alder. I was 12 and had to stretch hard to reach the pedals.
A couple years later dad would toss me the keys so I could drive that rough-riding 1-ton with the 160hp 283 V8 to high school and pick him up at the mill on my way home. Those were blue-ribbon days for a 16-year-old kid.
That’s also when I started learning about axle ratios, double-clutching, tire wear and how important it was to have coin in my pocket for gas and vehicle maintenance.
Dad’s old C30 was originally a Forest Service truck dedicated to park-related work duties. The 5.13 rear axle and “granny” four-speed made for some incredible towing power. But with such low gearing the engine would float the valves at 60mph, so a road racer it wasn’t.
Where that pickup excelled was hauling a yard of 3/4-inch-minus gravel, a cord of wet firewood or a 10-foot slide-in camper with ease while motoring up a twisting mountain highway at 50 in 4th. It was one heck of a work truck.
Years later after college, serving Uncle Sam, and switching from being a parts and service manager for a Case dealership to pursue a career in automotive journalism, pickups still play a big part in my life.
I’ve owned Toyotas, Dodges, Fords, and now drive a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500. I’m not necessarily brand-loyal like my nephews or many of my co-workers here at Randall-Reilly.
Price, looks, performance and ride quality play a bigger purchase decision for me than the brand badge. As the pickup manufacturer’s model changes come and go, so do my likes and dislikes.
What remains constant is my love of pickups in general. I see that same passion for pickups in contractors. You guys accessorize and upgrade your vehicles out of necessity to better suit the job and trade.
I’m sure there’s a certain level of pride in ownership involved with those changes as well.