Apart from some large cities, the US van A consists of countryside that varies from large-scale agricultural to purely 'third world'. There is no room for the rich and the famous there. People have to work there to survive. And if you cannot support yourself or become ill? Well, then you die. That's why the Americans have come up with some survival strategies. One of those strategies is to have a car that can take you to church, go hunting, and transport a V8 block in the back of the truck. Or a cubic meter of wood. Or a freshly shot deer.
So a pickup
What do you need for that? A conventional chassis made of steel carriers, sturdy bumpers, a tow bar, sturdy wheels and tires on heavy duty axles, a V8, an automatic transmission, a three-seater bench with optional gun rack against the windscreen and a cargo bed. And whether such a V8 is a 5,2 liter or a 7,5 liter copy? Well, that doesn't really matter ..
Not a car, but a tool
Such a pickup was of course once bought new. But soon afterwards they met the fate that most things in the States undergo: After purchase and the warranty period, you use it with minimal maintenance. For example, Americans are masters of refilling fluids. Oil, coolant or brake fluid? If there is too little in it, you pour it in.
Fortunately, American cars were designed with that approach in mind until the mid-7,5s. Because if you look closely at a 8 liter V8.000, of course, it hardly delivers any power if you relate it to liter power. And the rest of the whole stuff is simple and emphatically oversized. They are vehicles for people without any sense of technology. Like the Greek donkeys, they have to make do with little food and a lot of beating. That is why you will never find pickups in an absolute showroom condition. The best older ones have what they now affectionately call 'patina'. And as long as there is a company in Germany where you can have your Mercedes Gelände or Range Rover with almost as good as real dents and dents including mud fixed with clear coat for XNUMX euros, that is of course fine.
That patina is beautiful and nice. But when you buy such a tough American pickup, the structural health counts more than the paintwork or fresh chrome. Americans are masters is cosmetic work that hides the world from misery. For example, in American 'restorations' we regularly encountered centimeters thick filler layers surrounded by Chinese chrome. A pickup must look too technical. Is the block running well? Does the machine shift fine? Are there any broken springs in the spring packs? Does he drive neatly straight on?
All parts are easy and cheap to get. But an overhaul of an automatic transmission is expensive. And you no longer have a good V8 for 500 euros. A lived-in interior is no problem. Everything is new for that, and available for surprisingly little. Moreover, the almost Flintstone-like simplicity of the whole makes working on it yourself more pleasant than challenging.
These considerations occurred to us when we saw these two pickups unloaded during a coffee stop at Venema in Drempt. Fair workers. With real patina.