Archive for the ‘chevrolet’ Tag

12 Pickups That Revolutionized Truck Design

Trucks are thought of by many as being crude, primitive, agricultural implements with a bouncy ride and poor fuel economy—and they’re considered by the hybrid-driving elites as being generally inferior transportation implements. But if you live in a wood-frame house, have had plumbing or electrical work done, or have filled your tank with gasoline—among many other modern-day conveniences—you can thank pickups for facilitating the “American way of life.”

Whether from a standpoint of head-turning good looks, historical significance, or impressive engineering, we’ve picked out 12 pickups from the past century that changed the pickup game for the better.

1988 Chevrolet/GMC C/K Series
The styling of the ’88 to ’98 General Motors GMT400 trucks may seem sparse and plain by today’s “bigger is better” standards, but that simplicity and elegance is precisely why it’s one of the most popular body styles for truck customizers. Still looking modern more than a quarter-century later, the ’88 GM trucks suddenly made all of their competitors look dated overnight. Unfortunately, the boxy, angular dashboard design of the early models did not age as well as the exterior, but the clean lines of these trucks make them modern-day classics.

1994 Dodge Ram
Whether or not you’re a fan of the chunky, in-your-face styling of today’s pickups, you can thank Dodge for kicking the trend into high gear with the introduction of the ’94 Ram. Inspired by “big rig” Class 8 trucks, the ’94 model had an oversized grille and dropped fenders, mimicking the front end of big rigs. Especially among current HD trucks, the ’94 Ram’s influence can be seen in the large, prominent grilles common today. The ’94 was also significant in that it was the debut of the 8.0L Magnum V-10 in 2500- and 3500-series trucks. Its output of 300 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque is relatively modest by today’s standards, but at the time, it was the most powerful gasoline engine you could get in a truck.

1946-1947 Hudson Pickup
The Hudson brand may no longer be with us, but we can thank the icon of Detroit’s golden age for giving us one of the most stunningly beautiful pickups ever made. Following World War II, Hudson debuted its ’46 model pickup. Its sleek, low-profile lines reflected its primarily car underpinnings, and Hudson’s dedication to its car line and transition to its 1948 “Step Down” chassis marked the end for the handsome truck. The truck was also famous for its “three on the tree” column-mounted manual transmission when most trucks still had a floor-mounted shifter. Only a little more than 6,000 trucks were made in ’46 and ’47, making current-day examples extremely rare. We would love to see one of these get the restomod treatment, but we also somewhat wince at the idea of tampering too much with such an elegant design.

1999 Ford Super Duty Series
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and although the ’99 Super Duty may not subjectively be the best-looking truck on this list, it earns its spot by decisively defining the modern HD truck market. Prior to the introduction of the Super Duty, HD truck design largely mimicked that of the lighter-duty ½-ton trucks, with the only giveaways being eight-lug wheels, heavier-duty frames, and beefier drivetrain and suspension components. The Super Duty gave Ford’s HD models a completely distinct identity from the lighter-duty F-150, and a brawny look to match its capabilities. Ford debuted a V-10 of its own on the ’99 Super Duty in the form of a 6.8L V-10, a version of which is still sold in the F-650 and its cab-chassis E-Series vans. Early diesel models were equipped with the well-regarded and generally reliable 7.3L Power Stroke, based on an International Harvester engine design.

1939 Studebaker Coupe Express
The Studebaker Coupe Express was in some ways the spiritual predecessor of the ’46 Hudson with its sleek, low-slung styling. The ’37 model was attractive in its own right, but the ’39 model had a decisively more modern look, with fender-mounted headlights. Adding to the iconic look was a front-fender-mounted spare tire, rounded roof, and pontoon front and rear fenders. The M-series truck, which succeeded the Coupe Express, had a unique style of its own, but its blunter, more upright profile lacked the head-turning style of the Coupe Express.

1967 Chevrolet/GMC C/K Series
The ’67 to ’72 C/K series truck represented many firsts for General Motors’ pickups, including the first use of the renowned 350-cubic-inch Chevrolet small-block V-8 in trucks, the first GM truck to offer standard front disc brakes in 1971, and rear coil spring suspension (more than four decades before the introduction of the ’09 Ram 1500). The year 1968 marked the debut of the Chevy Blazer sport-utility based on the C/K platform, and its companion, the GMC Jimmy. The successor third-generation C/K trucks had a much longer model run than the short five years for the second-gen, but we give the nod to the ’67 to ’72 for the sheer number of innovations that debuted with that generation.

1940-1941 Ford Pickup
Debuting just before the onset of World War II, the ’40 and ’41 Ford pickups were a meaningful improvement over their predecessors, with a wider cab, sealed-beam headlights, and mattress-type seat springs for improved comfort. Although still nominally based on Ford’s car models, the trucks’ frames were made from heavier 10-gauge steel. Most of these trucks were equipped with Ford’s 90hp flathead V-8, although some models had a four-cylinder tractor engine, and some a straight-six from Ford’s car line. The handsome styling of E.T. “Bob” Gregorie’s iconic design makes this truck especially sought after among both vintage collectors and customizers. Due to the disruption of World War II, the pickup carried on largely unchanged until the introduction of the F-Series in 1948.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon
When you say “Power Wagon” among millennial truck enthusiasts, the ’05 model immediately springs to mind. No disrespect to the modern-day rendition, which is also among one of our favorite trucks, but it’s not the original. That distinction goes to the ’46 model, a civilian adaptation of the Dodge WC-series military trucks. Powered by a 230-cubic-inch flathead six-cylinder, the Power Wagon certainly won’t win any pink slips at the dragstrip, but with its low-range transfer case and four-speed manual transmission, there were few trails the Power Wagon couldn’t conquer. The original WM-300 series model sold into the early ’60s, when it was replaced by the “sweptline” body. In addition to the pickup, ambulance, “carryall,” and other variants were produced, making the Power Wagon suitable for almost any utilitarian purpose.

1955 Chevrolet/GMC “Task Force” Series
The ’55 Chevrolet and GMC trucks made our list for being one of the most popular body styles among classic truck restorers and customizers—and for being the first GM truck to offer the venerable small-block V-8 from the factory. This generation also saw the debut of factory air conditioning and a factory-installed four-wheel-drive conversion. Among the memorable variants of this generation are the Chevrolet Cameo, GMC Suburban Carrier, and Chevrolet Apache. The Cameo is credited with introducing the “fleetside” flush-mounted outer bedsides, concurrently with the Ford “styleside” to the truck market.

1956 Ford F-100 “Big Window”
Although the Ford F-Series itself dates back to 1948, the second-generation model deserves credit for setting the stage for the future of the F-Series lineup. The second-gen F-Series marked the beginning of the use of three-digit numerical designations for trucks, such as the F-100, F-250, and F-350. It also marked the transition from Ford’s well-proven flathead V-8 to the new “Y-Block” overhead-valve V-8. One of the most sought-after examples of this generation is the ’56 model, known by many as the “big window” version, for its large wraparound rear window. Seatbelts were also first offered as an option on the ’56 model.

2015 Ford F-150
The 2015 F-150 gets a place on our list for being the first all-aluminum-bodied truck, a radical change in the traditionally conservative segment. The only non-aluminum piece of the body of any significance is the firewall. Showing Ford’s confidence in its choice of material, all the outer fenders, as well as the bed, are made of military-grade aluminum. Incognito testing in some rough environments like mining and oil fields proved the ruggedness of the material. The new F-150 is also significant for having the smallest-displacement engine of any fullsize truck in recent history with the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6. We were initially skeptical when we heard of Ford’s plans for this engine, wondering if it had the moxie to move a fullsize truck. We were pleasantly surprised by the announcement of its 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque—and even more surprised by its seat-of-the-pants performance—delivering a 0-60 time of less than 7 seconds in many instrumented tests. Towing capacity with the smaller EcoBoost is still a respectable 8,500 pounds.

1978 Toyota Pickup/Hilux
The lone import on our list earns its spot by being the model that singlehandedly forced General Motors and Ford to develop a smaller pickup of their own. Introduced to the U.S. market in 1978, the simple, rugged pickup offered no-frills functionality and soon established a well-deserved reputation for bulletproof reliability. Toward the end of its production run in 1983—just before the introduction of Toyota’s fourth-generation truck—the 2.4L 22R engine debuted. With a carburetor, it produced 98 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque, very respectable numbers for its day. The engine received fuel injection in the fourth-generation truck to become the renowned 22RE. It would be five years before Chevrolet came out with the S-10, and Ford with the Ranger. Chevrolet offered the Isuzu-based LUV compact truck starting in 1972, but it was the Toyota pickup that was the real game changer for the segment.

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-trucks/12-pickups-that-revolutionized-truck-design/ar-AAbI0eu#page=13

Ram grille change no big deal?

Opinion/Analysis:  it seems to me that the uproar over the new grilles on the Ram Laramie and Rebel is a classic case of making a mountain out of a molehill: a task made more difficult because it starts without a molehill.

Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette and Allpar’s Daniel Bennet have written about the change, saying it’s a sign that the Ram brand is suffering from an identity crisis. Their argument is that Ram trying to further distance itself from Dodge by moving away from the crosshair grille and the ram’s head badge.

The more likely reason for the change is to let buyers know this is a new Ram pickup [as alluded to by designer Greg Howell].

How long has the Ram pickup used the same general grille design with only very small changes that most consumers won’t even notice? Since Ram became a separate brand five years ago? In fact, the same general grille design was used on the last model year of the Dodge Ram pickup.

Maybe it’s time for a change?

The fact the new grille’s first appearance on a regular production truck came on the top-of-the-line Laramie is an indication that Ram is looking to persuade owners of earlier premium Ram pickups to trade their old truck by making the new truck visibly different.

When I was young, grille changes were an annual event, making each new model distinct from those that came before. Automakers don’t do that any more, but a change after six years seems reasonable.

The use of the prominent “RAM” on the Rebel’s grille is similar to what Ford has done on the Raptor, which has a big “FORD” on the grille instead of a blue oval. It sets the special truck apart from other models.

As for the large RAM on the tailgate, name a pickup brand that hasn’t done this at one time or another.

In short, there’s no identity crisis required to explain the change.

As far as establishing a brand identity, I would imagine that if you asked most male consumers to complete the phrase “Guts, Glory…”, most would say “Ram.” They might even try to sound like Sam Elliott. That’s successful branding.

Worries about losing the classic Ram logo would seem to be unfounded. A look at the interior shows the familiar shield is right in  the center of the steering wheel. Considering that it’s much less costly to change a small badge than it is to change a grille and tailgate, one would assume any effort to rebrand would include that change.

Consider the ProMaster City. While the big ProMaster was already in production, it would have been easy to change the small van’s grille and badging. Yet the ProMaster City has Ram shield badges front and rear.

Now consider at the two brands’ product lines: Ram has pickups, chassis-cabs and commercial vans (ProMaster City is clearly targeted at businesses). Dodge has passenger cars, family minivans and SUVs. The only Dodge fleet vehicles are special purpose, such as the Charger Pursuit and the Durango SSV. There isn’t any overlap, even in the same showroom.

It was Chrysler, not Fiat, that originally pushed for a retail network in which as many dealers as possible sold all the Chrysler brands.

If anyone is worried that Ram is phasing out the Ram logo, the first question that comes to mind is “Why would they?” The brand name is Ram; what else are they going to use?

It’s unlikely that Bob Hegbloom, Sergio Marchionne or Olivier Francois lose much sleep over whether dealers or consumers call the truck a Ram or a Dodge Ram. FCA US and people can call it anything they want as long as it changes hands from the first group to the second group in large quantities, and Ram U.S. sales last year were the best since the all-time record year of 2003 and missed setting a new all-time Graham/Dodge/Ram sales record by just 9,583 sales.

In the end, the grille change isn’t a quest for identity or an escape from the shadow of another brand. It is a relatively inexpensive styling change made by a brand that seems comfortable enough in its own skin to try something new.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/03/relax-ram-grille-change-no-big-deal

Watch the Hellcat pound the C7 Corvette Z06

We have already seen the big, bad 2015 Corvette Z06 lose from a stop and from a roll against a Dodge Viper TA, and today, we have a video pitting the supercharged’ Vette against the most powerful American muscle car of all time – the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The 2015 Challenger Hellcat has a pretty substantial advantage in power, packing 707 horsepower to the Corvette’s 650, and while torque levels are the same, the Corvette is a great deal lighter. To be exact, the C7 Corvette Z06 is roughly a thousand pounds lighter than the Hellcat Challenger while also being more aerodynamic than the big, brawny Mopar muscle car.

When you look at the improved aerodynamics, the comparable torque and the substantially lower curb weight of the 2015 Corvette Z06, many people believed that the most track capable Corvette ever would still hand a beating to the Hellcat Challenger, even with the big advantage in horsepower. Some went so far as to speculate that the Challenger would win in a quarter mile race with everything else equal, but it was expected that on a longer run, the weight and aero properties of the Corvette would be the winning difference.

All of those people appear to be wrong, as the first high speed race video featuring the 2015 Corvette Z06 and the 2015 Challenger Hellcat show the Mopar muscle car handing the Chevy supercar a severe beating in two separate runs. We get to see the Hellcat eating up the Corvette from two different angles and while the on-car view shows how quickly the two high performance American coupes blast away from the slow-moving traffic, they both display the same sad fate for the Corvette…beaten badly at the hands of a “lowly muscle car”.

It appears as though the most track capable Corvette of all time might be a beast on the road course, but it struggles to keep up with the mighty Hellcat Challenger on the open road.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/01/watch-the-hellcat-pound-the-c7-corvette-z06

The dual-minivan plan, revisited

Rumors from Windsor suggested first that the current “RT” minivan body would continue for some years alongside the new “RU,” and then that it would be dropped as soon as the new designs came out — in Chrysler form only.

Where is Reid [Bigland]? If it was up to Reid, we’d be manufacturing up until 2250. There are technical reasons why that car cannot be sold for a much longer period of time than the current time. There are regulations that are coming into effect in 2017 that are going to restrict or are going to require a substantial amount of investment into the old architecture to make the problem go away. Or they’re just not assailable.

That, plus the combination of some of the inherent inefficiency of the architecture and the powertrain, will make the car just not square, to square the numbers. We’ll try to keep it alive as long as we can.

As for the next generation minivans:

Oh it’s done, yes. We’re tuning up now . . . there are bodies that are meandering around Auburn Hills out of the pilot plant. The parts are visible….You’ll see it at the show on January ’16.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/01/the-dual-minivan-plan-revisited

2015 North American International Auto Show

The 2014 Show

NAIAS 2014 featured 50 vehicle debuts with the majority being worldwide. Over 5,000 journalists attended from 60 countries. Over 30 percent of the journalists were international, thus helping to spread automotive news made at NAIAS 2014 to the world. NAIAS is uniquely positioned to be four shows in one – a media preview, an industry preview, a charity preview and a public show with a 9-day run.

2015 Show Dates:

Press Preview – January 12-13, 2015

The North American International Auto Show 2015 is where the global automotive community comes together to catch up on the latest news and events. Join your peers from around the world at the industry’s most substantive annual event. In addition to some of the automotive world’s most eagerly anticipated new vehicle premieres, you’ll gain unprecedented access to more of the industry’s top leaders and thinkers than anywhere else in the hemisphere.

NAIAS issued media credentials are required to attend.

Industry Preview – January 14-15, 2015

Connect with automotive professionals representing almost 2,000 companies and share insights with over 28,000 of your peers. Make new connections. Forge new alliances. Be inspired to lead and succeed. This unique networking opportunity brings together the latest automotive products and services with the key minds behind them all under one roof.

Charity Preview – January 16, 2015

Enjoy the first views of the spectacular North American International Auto Show 2015. Charity Preview is your opportunity to be a part of one of the most exclusive, high profile events in the nation.

Proceeds directly benefit a wide range of children’s charities. Funds raised will support services for children of all ages from birth to 18. Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised more than $91 million for southeastern Michigan children’s charities – over $47 million of which was raised in the last 10 years alone.

Public Show – January 17-25, 2015

Experience the next generation of transportation at the North American International Auto Show 2015. See more than 500 vehicles on display, representing the most innovative designs in the world and experience North America’s largest and most prestigious automotive showcase.

As read on: http://www.naias.com/2015-show/overview.aspx

Ram 3500 still best in class for towing

Ram has confirmed that the Ram 3500 pickup still has a 30,000-pound towing capacity when tested under SAE’s J2807 standards.

Ford, which has, until now, avoided the SAE standard, is now saying that its claim of 31,200 pounds for the F-450 pickup also meets the standard, even when the 150 pounds of “customer-deletable” items, like the spare tire, jack and center console, are added back in.

This answers questions about towing capacities but fails to answer the question of who is best in Class 3 towing, because the F-450’s credentials as a direct competitor to the Ram 3500 are dubious, at best.

The primary criterion for being in Class 3 is having a gross vehicle weight (GVWR) — payload plus curb weight — at or below 14,000 pounds. Ford claims that both its top F-350 and its sole F-450 pickup have the same GVWR, 14,000 pounds. The GVWR is set by the manufacturer.

The Ram 3500 is a true Class 3 pickup, meeting the standards in curb weight trim.

The Ford F-450 pickup, unlike every other model in the F-450 range, is built on an F-350 chassis, but uses Class 4 components. Ford originally skirted Class 3 limits by stripping standard equipment from the F-450 and redefining the term “curb weight.” In other words, a customer buying an F-450 with all the stuff it is supposed to include, such as a full tank of gas and 300 pounds of driver/payload, will likely find their truck’s curb weight actually falls into the Class 4 weight range.

So is the F-450 Super Duty a Class 3 truck? If so, why doesn’t Ford call it an F-350 and drop the current model? Perhaps it’s an F-400? A F-350 Super-Duper Duty? An F-350½?

The Ram’s claim is rooted in the fact that the Ford F-350, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 and GMC Sierra 3500 cannot tow as much as the Ram 3500. Therefore, the Ram claim is supported.

The question is, why does Ford simply not say the F-450 has the highest towing capacity of any factory-built pickup? Since no other standard pickup is rated to tow 31,200 pounds, that would be true. It might also help justify the extra $10,000-plus for the F-450 compared to either the Ram 3500 or the Ford F-350.

There’s no doubt that Ram could produce a similar vehicle by adding a Ram 3500 bed to a Ram 5500. Wonder what the the towing capacity of such a truck might be, if Ram stretched their legs? (The top towing capacity of a Ram chassis cab is 29,600 lb.)

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/ram-3500-still-best-in-class-for-towing

ProMaster City Comparison

During yesterday’s reveal of the new Ram ProMaster City, Ram CEO Reid Bigland frequently used the term “Best in Class.”

Always up for a challenge, Allpar obtained the specifications for the ProMaster City’s primary rivals, the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200. The Chevrolet City Express is a rebadged NV200 and shares its specifications except for price.

Because final ProMaster City specifications have not yet been finalized, Allpar used the figures presented during the reveal where possible and filled in the blanks with specifications for the Fiat Doblò Cargo long wheelbase (LWB).

The Ram ProMaster City is significantly larger than the base Ford Transit Connect so the LWB version of the Transit Connect was used for the comparison. In addition, the Transit Connect has an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine that rivals the Tigershark in the ProMaster City. The optional engine adds $795 to the Transit Connect’s sticker.

As far as any commitment to pricing, Bigland would say only that the Ram ProMaster City will be competitive. Based on prices from Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet, that would indicate a base price, including destination charges, between $22,000 and $23,000.

In 2013, Chrysler, Ford and Nissan sold a total of 53,222 small vans in the U.S. Though May of this year, sales totaled 23,598, up 12.6% from May 2013.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/06/sizing-up-the-competition

Are ProMaster diesel’s coming soon?

Buyers who have been holding out for a diesel engine in the Ram ProMaster van may be satisfied soon, as the company has told dealers that the engine, boasting 295 lb-ft of torque, 174 horsepower, and “phenomenal fuel efficiency,” is on the way.

The van market has long been in the doldrums, with buyers having a choice between ancient, fuel-hungry Fords and expensive Mercedes, but is now becoming hotly contested with new entries from Nissan (including one badged as a Chevrolet), Ford, and Ram. The Ram ProMaster has two powertrains, one already on sale — the Pentastar V6 coupled to a six-speed Chrysler automatic — and the other, a Fiat design, reportedly available for ordering this month. The latter is a four-cylinder diesel, created by Fiat Powertrain (FPT), confusing displacing the same 3.0 liters as the VM diesel in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Ram boasted that the Fiat engine has exceptional low-end torque and cold-start capability, with a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods; 5%-biodiesel compatibility; best-in-class 18,500 mile oil change intervals; an efficient M40 six-speed automated manual transmission (which can be treated as though it’s a full automatic); and a standard towing/hauling package.

The package may be attractive not only to normal fleet buyers, but to the upfitters who have started making ProMaster passenger vans and campers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/02/promaster-diesel-this-month

Used Car SUPER SALE at Dick Scott Dodge in Plymouth!!

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