The fascination with old-style American Pick-Up Trucks continues in the wild, whacky world of hot rodding and classic custom car collecting. At each and every rendition of The Classic Car Show held over the past six years, more and more of these soulful American “trucks” make an appearance, and there is a whole industry dedicated to restoring them these days, globally and in South Africa.

The 1954 Ford Pick-Up, converted to six-wheel configuration!

At the most recent Classic Car Show held in December 2017 at Nasrec, the most ambitious Pick-Up Truck was a six-wheeler with tilting bodywork to go with its potent Chevy V8 running gear, and it was one of the stars of a show that included over 1000 classics, rods and muscle cars.

Expect the event on July 1, 2018 to be no different.

Classic, mild custom or all-out hot-rodded?

As with all facets of classic car restoration these days, there are all sorts of schools of thought when it comes to configuring a Pick-Up Truck rescued from the automotive graveyard.

You can go the classic route, where you bring the truck back to life in the form it left the factory. Or you can go for a mild custom, where you fit a V8 engine and suitable gearbox and appropriate American style wheels, and a non-period metallic paint job.

Or you can go the whole dropped-to-the tarmac route where you lower the old bakkie with shorter stiffer suspension to give it that mean road-hugging attitude. Flame paint-job, chrome, maybe a scoop for a blower (supercharger) and an outrageously customised interior. And wild sound!

You can even go for a more-modern Japanese bakkie chassis

It’s all down to how you envision your ride. Some pick-up restorers discard the American chassis completely and fit the American body onto a late-model Japanese bakkie chassis, some of them with all-wheel-drive. A Chevy or Ford V8 is then dropped in. The advantage of this is you get much more modern brakes, a stiffer chassis, more accurate steering etc. There are small firms in the Gauteng area that will do the job for you, sourcing the appropriate Nissan or Isuzu chassis, fitting the V8 (you don’t want an old diesel four-cylinder in your custom pick-up) and rigging the proper automatic gearbox and wheels.

As for what pick-up you should go for, it’s a matter of personal choice. As long as it’s American. Any Chevy from the late 1930s to the early 1970s is now considered a classic in the pick-up truck stakes, as are Fords and Dodges from the same period. These vehicles were all sold here. International pick-ups, available here in the late 1960s and also the early 1970s are considered very cool, as they are much rarer than Fords and Chevys.

Then there are more obscure makes, such as Fargo, which also have the right look. You also get Chevy variants known as GMCs, which are hard to tell apart from the Chevy equivalent, and these were all available in South Africa for sale.

The great thing about a classic Pick-Up Truck  is that from a body and trim point of view they are easy to restore. There is very little exterior trim on these pick-ups, and you can paint the bumpers if you don’t want to go to the expense of having them chromed, as they left the factory with painted bumpers!

The same goes for the interiors. They are extremely simple, with a bench seat and a single gauge for speed, fuel and oil pressure. So your restoration is simple and doesn’t involve importing dozens of interior trim and exterior trim kits from the USA, to make the Pick-Up look the part.

What’s more, a classic Pick-Up Truck makes great practical sense, as long as you don’t have a big family. You can load up two passengers up front for car shows, and yet use it to haul motorcycles or bicycles or furniture around during the week. And because of their sheer size, you always have a big presence at any car show you attend in our Pick-Up Truck.

Pick-Up Trucks will just be one of the attractions at The Classic Car Show at the Nasrec Expo Centre on July 1, where over 1 000 classics of all sorts are expected.

Plenty of Entertainment  for the whole family

Quite apart from the plethora of V8s, hot roads, custom cars, pick-ups and 100 per cent original classics, there will be plenty of entertainment on offer besides the classic cars.

This will include:

  • A special Japanese vs German modern classic display
  • Special prawns on sale to eat, as well as other tasty cuisine and a beer garden
  • Live music
  • Helicopter rides
  • Drifting at the Nasrec skid pad
  • Stalls selling motor-related paraphernalia and clothing
  • And much, much more.

The Classic Car Show is held at the Nasrec Expo Centre, just off the N1 highway, south-east of Johannesburg, on July 1, 2018. The gates open at 8 am and the show runs until 4 pm. And the ticket prices are amazing value, a fraction of other car shows held in the Gauteng area.

Drivers of Classic Cars which are at least 30 years old will be admitted free of charge, along with one passenger. Additional passengers in classic cars will have to pay full admission price.