These range from offroad to low rider trucks and everything in between. If it has a pickup bed or a tailgate we considered it for this list.
However, you won’t find any SUVs or Jeeps like you might find on other top truck lists. Instead, we’ve collected the trucks that were trailblazers of their time.
The thing that separates a truck from an SUV or a Jeep is that it’s designed to haul cargo – not soccer teams or groceries. Whether that means a tools, dirt bikes, building materials or furniture – when you need to haul something, you need a truck.
Another feature that almost all cool trucks have is a trailer hitch. If you want to take your boat to the lake or tow your race car to the nearest track – a truck is what you need to get the job done.
While not all of the trucks on this list are the biggest monster trucks you’ve seen or have the largest towing capacity, they are all pretty damn cool.
1919 Ford Model TT Truck
The first truck to make our list is the ford Model TT Truck. This was the truck that set the standard for others to follow. It was durable and had an advanced gear box for hill climbing. I bet you wouldn’t believe that you could buy this truck for only $325 in 1926!
1954 Ford F-100
If you wanted a powerful truck in 1954, this was your best option. With a 239 Cubic Inch V8 under the hood, the F-100 was known as the “Power King.” Today this model is popular at car shows across the country thanks to its unique rounded hood and windshield.
1957 Dodge Power Wagon
A list of cool trucks wouldn’t be complete without the Dodge Power Wagon. This was the first 4-wheel drive truck available to civilians. The design was based on the Dodge ¾ ton military trucks that were used during World War II. Although Dodge continues to use the “Power Wagon” name in newer trucks, everyone knows that they are no match to the originals produced in the ’50’s.
1959 Studebaker 4E Pickup
While the rest of the brands on this list are still in business today, Studebaker only produced trucks until 1963. Maybe this is why the Studebaker brand is so iconic. It doesn’t matter whether you like the way these trucks look or not, they will never be forgotten.
1963 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside
Not to be confused with the Chevrolet Corvair car, the Rampside pickup was a unique truck produced from 1961-65. These were also called the Corvair 95 to indicate the length of the wheelbase in inches. The side ramp was useful for loading cargo from the street.
1966 Chevrolet C-10 Stepside
We can learn a lot about this truck just from the name. Chevrolet offered both C (Conventional two wheel drive) and K (Four wheel drive) models. The number following the letter indicated the capacity of the truck, which in this case was a half ton. What made this truck so cool was that it was available in a Stepside version which meant it was fendered.
1969 Ford Ranchero
Some weird things started happening to trucks in the late ’60s. A great example of these changes is the ford Ranchero. While some might argue that this is not a “real” truck, it does have a tailgate so it made our list. End of argument. Plus, it’s just plain awesome.
1969 Chevrolet El Camino SS
Of course, when one automaker has success with a new style of truck others follow. This is why we were blessed with both the Ranchero and El Camino in the same decade. With a ridiculous amount of power under the hood the El Camino can be found at dragstrips around the country to this day.
1978 Chevrolet LUV
When the Beattles sang “All you need is love” I don’t think they were talking about a Chevy LUV pickup. In this case LUV stands for Light Utility Vehicle. The LUV was unique in the fact that is was designed and manufactured by Isuzu but was marketed by Chevrolet.
1997 Ford Ranger
Also known as the “Danger Ranger” among ford aficionados, this pickup truck was small and nimble. The Ranger was the best-selling compact pickup truck for 17 years in a row. The 1997 model was special because it was the first vehicle in North America to offer a five-speed automatic transmission.
1999 Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford Lightning was marketed as a performance version of the F-150 by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT). To achieve additional performance over the F-150 the 1999 Lighting was offered with a supercharged 5.4L V8 and produced 360 horsepower.
2000 Dodge Dakota
Although there aren’t too many Dodge trucks on this list, we couldn’t avoid mentioning the Dodge Dakota. This was the first mid-size pickup truck to be offered with a V8 engine. Mid-size means it was bigger than the Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10 but smaller than the Dodge Ram.
2001 Chevrolet S-10
While not as popular as the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet was the first American automaker to produce a compact truck. Although similar to the Chevy LUV, the newer models of the S-10 deserved a spot on the list. These trucks were frequently lowered and modified for car shows and exhibits. Unlike other trucks that are designed to go offroad, these lowered S-10s could barely make it over a speed bump.
2004 GMC Sierra Denali Quadrasteer
It might not look like much from the outside, but this is one unique truck. It was one of the first trucks to offer 4-wheel steering capability to the public. The Quadrasteer option cost an extra $5,600 but it was a useful feature for anyone that towed trailers and needed improved steering performance.
2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10
Other trucks we’ve featured were built for towing, hauling and offroad performance but the Dodge Ram SRT-10 was built for speed. It has the 8.3L V10 Viper engine under the hood and produced 500 horsepower. Like to go fast? This truck had a top speed of 154 mph!
2009 Toyota Tacoma
The second generation Toyota Tacoma is a mid-sized pickup, but it started it’s life as a compact truck in 1995. The new verison came equipped with a 4.0L V6 and produced 236 horsepower.
2011 Ford SVT Raptor
Finally, the Ford SVT Raptor is a unique truck because it was specifically designed to be taken off road. It was offered with a 6.2L engine and aftermarket suspension components. The very first production Raptor sold at auction for $130,000.
I know you are probably yelling at your computer monitor now because we missed a few of your favorite trucks. Yes, we knew this might happen when we put this list together. After all we only had 17 spots to work with.