Pickup Truck Repair: Choosing a Used Homestead Vehicle

Thomas A. Bullock tells you how to choose and buy a used vehicle for your homestead and make your own pickup truck repairs.

| November/December 1971

So you've got most of your cash tied up in land and the rest in agricultural developments and now, on top of everything, you realize that you need a pickup or larger truck to keep things moving efficiently.

O.K. You're probably already committed to a second-hand job, but before you run out and inspect just any old available used truck, try to pare your field down a little so that you spend your time checking out only those models likely to give you the most of what you need for your money.

First off, discount style and age . . . they're generally of little importance per se. Consider, instead, convenience, sturdiness (degree depends on your needs) and cash outlay (both present and future). In a nutshell, you're probably after the handiest farm-worthy vehicle you can get for the least possible purchase, maintenance and operation cost.  

A fine axiom, but where does it leave you? To begin with, it tends to leave you with a limited number of makes to choose from. Chevrolet, Chevrolet Corvair, Ford, Dodge, Volkswagen, International, GMC and Willys are realistic alternatives. Of course, others are available (older Studebaker, Hudson, Plymouth and such foreigners as Land Rover, Toyota and Datsun), but these are pretty unrealistic choices because of the high cost and/or limited availability of parts.

Initial price will obviously be of first importance, and local papers can provide you with some insight as to what to expect. Our papers—Los Angeles Times and South Bay Daily Breeze—offer the prices listed in the box below (I've started with 1968 since I suspect that none of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers care to participate in the losing end of Detroit's built-in depreciation system):

Notice the relatively sharp drop in price for trucks of the earlier 1960's. Pickups of that period are mechanically similar to later models (simpler, if anything) and if you can find one in good condition, you'll be getting the best value for your money.

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