Market picks up on us pick-ups
American pick-ups are hot. Generation Xers have embraced vintage trucks in a big way and are prepared to shell out serious money for the proper stuff.
At January's Scottsdale auctions $74k was paid for a 1948 Dodge Power Wagon and $59k for a '49 Ford F1. Mint Seventies Ford Broncos are being advertised at $100k and hailed as blue-chip investments while Jeep CJs, Chevy C10s, 3100s, Apaches and even Silverados are all attracting interest. You can see this upswing in affection in movies like Gifted, Logan and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri where the hero drives a battered SUV or pick-up. There could be a market lift here too, because younger UK enthusiasts see these Midwest icons as cool practical classics with room to haul bikes, surfboards and quads.
I'd start looking at the sixties/seventies Ford F-series because they haven't been hyped, have that square-jawed look and aren't expensive. ABC Auto Finders in Texas has a green '73 F-100 with 65,000 miles, 302ci V8 and lovely green velour insert seats for just £5k. With the 30-year import rule you could ship that one back and pay 5% duty for just over £2k.
Here in the UK a private online seller is offering an unmolested '75 Ford Rancher F-250 Super Cab with 76,000 miles, 460 V8, four-speed auto, original paint and still wearing hubcaps for £11,750.
This may sound like one of my more demented predictions but these classic pick-ups have massive presence and radiate tons of American nostalgia. And don’t forget Ford now sells a new F-150 here – modern pick-ups are everywhere – so market acceptance of these utility vehicles is growing.
Don’t go for restomods. Instead seek out the really original, stock, straight ones. Over in the US, dealers have latched on to this upsurge in demand and are trawling farm sales buying fresh-out-the-barn trucks. Some are doubling their money overnight.
You could do worse than look at pick-ups already landed in the UK. Last year Brightwells sold a well restored ’54 Chevy 3100 for £16,500 – a price that’s actually behind the smoking US market. Find a virgin survivor American pick-up, ideally with a V8, and you might find yourself ahead of the curve.