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Market Moment: Truck Mania is Trending!

The great thing about the collector vehicle market is that there is never a dull moment. It is ever changing and evolving. The recent truck mania is no exception. It all started in about 2016 when early Ford Broncos started selling at ludicrous valuations. Today we are regularly seeing truck auctions defying gravity. Nowadays, it will take two or more Bitcoins to buy a delivery-mile 1980 Ford pick up or a new 1975 Chevy C/K series Blazer.

The current truck market is bifurcated. There are “new only once” pick ups regularly hitting the market and often selling for six figures. Where these trucks have been over the last 40 years nobody knows—but digital auctions are bringing them out of the woodwork. Examples of such outcomes include a virtually new 1980 Ford F250 4×4 that sold for almost $100,000 on Bring a Trailer. There have been others as well, including a 57-mile 1975 Chevrolet Blazer that made $112,000. But there are also trucks with miles, rust, modifications, and patina that are gaining momentum in the market.  What is behind this unfolding trend? Demographics and nostalgia are an easy and obviously answer. Sure, factors like age, income, and fond memories play a role—but that only explains a small part of the equation. Trucks are fun, useful and practical. Both delivery mile “in the wrapper” trucks as well as imperfect used trucks are squarely trending north. Driving a pick up evokes a practical image—they make a very different statement than a 1984 Porsche 944 or a MG. There is a fun factor that trucks give you that you can’t get with an entry level sports car.

In general, trucks have a much cheaper entry price than ordinary collector cars. Knock off parts are available everywhere—and they are cheap. While many will swoon over a 58-mile 1975 K5 Blazer, an equal amount of people will probably also appreciate a 1978 Jeep J10 Honcho with some patina! Trucks also have an advantage because there is a huge menu of options out there. You can buy an early pick up from the late 1940s or early 1950s. You can get into a Dodge Power Wagon. International made some interesting oddball trucks and as late as the early 1980s they were still building the venerable Scout. Japanese trucks like the early 4Runner and Nissan Hardbody are also cool. Even the Golf-based VW pick up is something that you won’t ever see in your local grocery parking lot.

In the following video, we talk about the recent astounding outcome of a Ford F250 on Bring a Trailer. Watch as we discuss with fellow SCM experts this outstanding auction result:

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7 Responses to Market Moment: Truck Mania is Trending!

  1. Adam Bray March 18, 2021 at 10:34 pm #

    It really makes me chuckle to watch the reactions from other car collectors to the results of this sale. Undoubtedly, you are into cars because of the same reasons as many others; the speed, the sound, the smells, the nostalgia, meeting others,etc. But when the collection involves something that wasn’t designed to be a show piece, somehow the ‘value’ is perceived to be different?

    The buyer of this truck likely has some very basic desires for wanting this and there was clearly someone else that was willing to pay $92,000 that was outbid. I would be willing to wager that this may be the only truck like this in the world because no one thought to stuff one away and sell it 40 years later like all the, so called special editions from various car makers. There are hundreds of old Grand Nationals, Corvette’s, Porsches and others floating around. Connected to battery tenders, waiting for someone to gaze at them.

    Car collectors can be wonderfully snobby sometimes and I’ve learned, being from LA, that real car people are as excited about a perfectly stock 1980 pickup truck as a 2021 hypercar.

    The other part of the discussion I’m curious about is the idea of practical use. That a new truck is expensive, so this one can be as well, or that the inherent value of this truck relies on it’s usefulness as a truck. I personally have an 80’s 911. It is literally one of the slowest cars I own, heavy in the rear, not that speedy at all when compared to the more modern cars. But it has soul. It has a tape deck that I put in the tapes from my youth, it has a dedicated pair of Wayfarer’s on the dash that I put on when I drive it. And I love it.

    The guy or gal that gets this F250 will likely stick a tape in the radio, cruise to the place they went in high school, remember when they were more slender, had more hair, had open roads ahead…
    Paying out $100,000 to get that feeling is not a lot of money in 2021. I hope they smile all the way to the bank to arrange the wire.

    • Philip Richter March 19, 2021 at 8:11 pm #

      All your points are spot on. Maybe $100,000 is not that much for something that can never be replaced. How many Ford F250’s of this era were saved in this manner? Probably one! Car collectors can be snobby and to your point this is probably a market correct outcome! Thanks for your feedback.

      • Adam Bray March 20, 2021 at 11:00 am #

        This song from Alan Jackson always make me smile and hope that I create these kind of memories for my sons. I bought an old wood boat, with a two stroke motor and a cable choke a few years back and every time I take them out, I hum this song.

        Just an old half-ton shortbed Ford
        My uncle bought new, in ’64
        Daddy got it right, ’cause the engine was smoking
        A couple of burnt valves, and he had it going
        He’d let me drive her when we haul off a load
        Down a dirt strip where we’d dump trash off of Thigpen Road
        I’d sit up in the seat and stretch my feet out to the pedels
        Smiling like a hero that just received his medal
        It was just an old hand-me-down Ford
        With three-speed on the column and a dent in the door
        A young boy, two hands on the wheel
        I can’t replace the way it made me feel and
        And I would press that clutch
        And I would, keep it right
        He’d say, “a little slower son; you’re doing just fine”
        Just a dirt road with trash on each side
        But I was Mario Andretti
        When daddy let me

  2. Mark Bach March 14, 2021 at 4:45 pm #

    C-10s have been hot for a spell

  3. Jack Wuerker March 14, 2021 at 10:58 am #

    The incongruity of these used truck sales is, at least to me, that trucks are supposed to be practical vehicles, so one from 1980 that has never been used is just a much less useful vehicle than a new truck. So why pay $100K for the 1980 when it will not do any job as well as a 2021?

  4. Paul Harden March 14, 2021 at 8:36 am #

    I thought this was an outlier and then a 1978 F150 with a 1000 miles on it just sold for over $90k on BAT. I’ve always loved trucks since I started driving 40 years ago.

    • Adam Bray-Ali March 15, 2021 at 2:59 pm #

      I’m kind of laughing at the discussion here. It’s like you don’t understand that for a giant nunber of the population, a pickup truck like this is a time machine to their youth.
      All classic vehicles like this have nostalgia and ability to transform a discussion. $100,000 may seem like a lot but a solid, zero mile 1980 Porsche sells for a lot more.
      Everything about this sale makes perfect sense. The value is mainly due to the rarity. Try to find me another zero mile Ford F250 and it will be clear how unique this is.