Vote: Old iron
Well being that I'm a Chevy guy, there is no question that I would have to have an old truck in perfect condition, if for no other reason than I could have a solid front axle and a 205 transfer case. Trucks built in the '60s,'70s and early '80s were built with the purpose of using them as trucks. Even the SUVs (Blazers and Suburbans) were trucks. They were built to take on the off-road and still get you home. If you did break down, they were easy enough to fix or at least fix good enough to get some help. I, too, like the comforts of the newer trucks, not to mention the fuel mileage and reliability. But I think that sometimes it goes too far. I don't need an entertainment system in my truck. I would rather listen to the sounds of a healthy V-8, and have the wind in my hair-what's left of it! Although the seats and interior of the new trucks are very comfortable, I'm sure that a brand new '75 Blazer was very comfortable too. There is something to be said for less is more. Now I know "they" say that the newer vehicles are safer vehicles and I'm a believer in four wheel disc brakes, but I would rather be in my Blazer than in my Yukon in a crash. I think that best reason hands down for having an older SUV has to be that you could get a fullsize convertible. There is nothing like cruising on the street or on the trails with the top off. My dream truck is a'70-to-'72, or '73-to-'75 Blazer, fuel-injected big-block, 4L80 trans with a 205/203 doubler transfer case, Dana 60 front axle with crossover steering and hydraulic assist, 14-Bolt rear with disc brakes, coilover suspension in the front (I hear that Offroad Design makes a cool kit for this), full rollcage, and seating for four, along with 37-inch tires.
This is what I have forward to be working on when I get home from here, but if you need a project truck that's just down the street from you, I know where you can find one.
EO2 Sherman Ronald C USN
When I first read the Rant and saw the question, I thought this is a no-brainer. Old-style all the way! The stronger boxed frame, lower gear ratios, solid axles, heavy thick skins that can handle trail wear and tear. Man, no way would I choose a new-style truck! Think about all the work and dollars that have to go into a newer truck just to make it half the truck that an old-style one is. The money would be better spent on an old truck, to make a great truck awesome.
But then I thought about some of the things you mentioned in the article and the items I would miss in my newer truck. This leads me to my dream truck-a combination of both the strong backbone and simplicity of repairs of the old-style truck, and the pretty face and reliability of the new truck. Not to mention adding things like lockers and on-demand tire airing.
If this sounds like the ramblings of a man who can't make up his mind, well that's exactly what it is. I love the strength of my '54 Jeep M-38A1 but wouldn't trade the comfort and reliability of my Toyota Tacoma.
Long live old iron.
Norfolk, New York
Vote: New Truck
I will try to keep this as short as possible as there is obviously a lot that can be said.
The reliability of a new truck is too much to turn away from. There is nothing like getting in my truck, turning the key, regardless of weather conditions, and knowing it is going to start up. No pedal to pump, no choke to play with, no warm-up period.
Trucks from yesteryear had their selling points. Simplistic engines, cheap maintenance you could do yourself, solid front axles, none of the nanny features like automatic braking, reverse proximity warnings, and automatic parallel parking. But they had their drawbacks too. A carbureted engine, tuned to run at sea level, will run badly while driving over tall mountains. Besides, who amongst us doesn't love air conditioning?