Cars With Truck Beds – The Very Best Of Both Worlds

by Conner Mckay

The majority of vehicles on the road today, by far, do not have truck beds. In fact, no automaker now makes any cars with truck beds, making them as innovative as they are vintage. There are pro reasons why people prefer combining the utility of a pickup truck with the size of a car.

Still, they did not have the customer market that makers had hoped for, rendering most of them outdated and out of production within a few years. In theory, pickup trucks and muscle car trucks are very different. The former are vehicles designed for a strong drive, high horsepower, and lots of torque. The latter is used to transport a large number of things and emphasizes strength above speed.

The muscle car truck concept does, however, have a long history, and numerous manufacturers have made an effort to build tough pickup trucks that can destroy the drag strip. Even while many fantastic modern trucks make use of this power, it’s wiser to consider how the old-style muscle trucks did it, especially considering that some of these vehicles were faster than the sports cars of their time.

Let’s learn more about the car that looks like a truck without further ado.

Cars With Truck Beds #1: The Famous El Camino

The Chevrolet El Camino is perhaps the first vehicle that comes to mind when you discuss a car with a truck bed. While the El Camino isn’t typically seen hauling significant cargo, it’s admired for its unique combination of car and truck features. Interestingly, in places like San Antonio, where classic cars are cherished, it’s important for enthusiasts to be aware of services like a San Antonio Car Collision Lawyer, especially when navigating the legal complexities that can arise from owning and driving vintage vehicles like the El Camino. This Sportster, a blend of coupe utility and muscle car truck, truly offers the best of both worlds.

The Chevy car truck El Camino was introduced with a variety of engines, including a base 135hp, 235 cubic-inch Hi-Thrift I6, a 154hp, 261 cubic-inch Jobmaster I6 with 235 lb-ft of torque, an 185/230hp, 283 cubic-inch Turbo-Fire V8, and a more potent Turbo-Thrust 348 cubic-inch V8 with 335hp. V8s could choose to have Rochester Ramjet fuel injection.

The standard three-speed manual transmission in 1959 was joined by the optional four-speed and two-speed Powerglide automatic. It was lower, had a larger 119-inch wheelbase, a 26-cubic-inch bed volume, Tyrex cord tires, an upgraded complete coil suspension, and new safety-girder X-frame construction for 1958. The maximum length is 210.9in.

The 1960 283 cubic-inch base engine’s output was reduced to a cost-effective 170hp without fuel injection. A six-cylinder was $2,366, and a V8 was $107 more expensive. Chevrolet manufactured 36,409 El Caminos throughout the span of two years.

Second Generation: 1964–1967


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The 1964 El Camino had a shortened 115-inch wheelbase and was marketed as a light utility vehicle. Without the Chevelle’s more potent motors, it had three straight sixes with displacements ranging from 194 to 250 cubic inches, with a maximum output of 159 horsepower, a 283 cubic-inch engine with 200 to 226 horsepower, and an optional 327 cubic-inch V8 with 300 horsepower.

In 1966, a strong 396 cubic-inch big block L78 engine with 375 horsepower was installed. Its ¼ -mile time was faster than in 1965, with mid to upper 14s rather than low 15s.

The 1967 El Camino continued to come standard with air shocks.

Third Generation: 1968–1972

In 1968, the Super Sport debuted. The 1970 SS-396 model had 402 cubic inches of displacement and 360 horsepower; the Turbo-Jet was appealing to muscle car enthusiasts who wanted the utility of a pickup truck.

The 7.4L LS6 454 cubic-inch, which has the maximum power output of any production engine to date and can travel the quarter mile in 13 seconds at 106 mph, was installed in a number of SS models.

Government and insurance rules were affected by the energy crisis of the 1970s, which reduced efficiency, horsepower, and compression. The 1971 GMC Sprint was a rebadged El Camino with the same transmission and engine as the El Camino.

Fourth Generation: 1973–1977


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Because of its excess weight, the 1973 El Camino performed poorly. Only a trim option, the SS was offered with a 350 or 454 cubic-inch V8. An updated 400 cubic-inch and 454 cubic-inch were optional in 1974, in addition to the 350 cubic-inch base engine.

The 105hp 250 cubic-inch I6 basic engine was reduced in 1975. Prior to being discontinued, the 454 cubic-inch and V8 manual transmission choices both generated 215 horsepower. In 1977, the 400 cubic-inch was discontinued.

Fifth Generation: 1978-1987

For the first time, V6 engines were made available. Despite making a brief comeback in 1984, the SS was eventually superseded by models like the Black Knight. It used the 305 cubic-inch V8 with 190 horsepower from the Monte Carlo SS. Oldsmobile was the provider of diesel engines between 1982 and 1984. Both the V6 and V8 in 1985 generated 132 horsepower.

Cars With Truck Beds #2: Cadillac Mirage

An open-bed hauler was converted from a 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in order to fully use the vehicle’s extremely long wheelbase. Despite not having been ordered by GM, the Cadillac Mirage was originally a Cadillac Coupe DeVille that Traditional Coach Works of California altered and then sold to Cadillac dealerships.

The Mirage was designed with discerning hunters and ranchers in mind. Each Coupe de Ville was lengthened and made wider to fit the car with a bed, which had a closed tailgate and could hold objects up to 8 feet long. It had an 8.2-liter V8 engine that produced 400 lb-ft of torque and 200 horsepower, which were both underwhelmingly low outputs.

The Mirage was definitely not the best vehicle for any heavy-duty towing; however, it was sufficient for some showing off around town. It was based on the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, the company’s well-known station wagon, but with some unique modifications that got rid of the wagon roof and made the long body into a usable truck bed space. Style-wise, it was comparable to the El Camino but with a hint of opulence from Cadillac.

Cars With Truck Beds #3: Dodge Rampage

You probably know about the Chrysler truck car Dodge Rampage, a forgotten fan favorite among vehicles that can haul a truck bed. The Rampage is frequently forgotten about, even by the most ardent Dodge enthusiasts, but collectors are aware of its actual value. It didn’t have the kind of power you’d expect from the brand’s authentic muscle vehicles, but its style more than made up for that.

The Dodge Rampage was a fairly cool car, especially considering the utility of a truck bed. In addition to being rebranded as the Plymouth Scamp in 1983 only, the Dodge Rampage was first made available by Chrysler Corporation in 1982. It had a 2.2L K I4 four-cylinder engine when it was first debuted, but it only had 96 horsepower.

Originally powered by a three- or four-speed transmission, the Rampage received a five-speed manual transmission upgrade in 1983, improving shifting efficiency. The Rampage’s load capacity of 1,145 lb for a true half-tonne classification was one of the main selling features of the vehicle as a Sport Truck. This was accomplished while maintaining a 21 MPG city and 29 mpg highway fuel economy.

The 024/Charger, a Plymouth Horizon, and a Dodge Omni derivative served as the foundation for the Rampage. In contrast to other trucks produced at the time, the Rampage’s front-wheel drive configuration allowed for a sportier drive.

The Canadian Direct Connection Edition Dodge Rampage trucks were manufactured in 1983. This was also applicable in 1984, the final year of manufacture for California Dodge dealerships. This included color changes and styling that was distinctively Shelby Charger-inspired.

Due to a decline in the desire for car-style trucks, the Dodge Rampage was canceled after only three years. The Rampage is a very uncommon and sought-after car because of its limited production run.

Cars With Truck Beds #4: 1957-79 Ford Ranchero

Ford car truck unveiled its brand-new Ranchero pickup vehicles in December 1956, rewinding the clock. A ground-breaking action in the history of the vehicle. The Ford Ranchero quickly became popular with the public and the automotive press, which led to widespread panic.

The Ranchero rose to prominence as the majority’s preferred pickup truck and earned the title of the best vehicle for ranching and outdoor pursuits. Although it was initially marketed as a pickup truck, it gradually found its own market.

It established a market for cars with light pickup truck functionality and car-like driving qualities.

Meteor Ranchero, a member of the Ranchero family’s first generation, was the first to speak. The vehicle, which debuted three months after the customary September start-up, was created with a broad wheelbase of between 116 and 118 inches.

Second Generation

In 1960, the Second Generation Ranchero made its debut. At the time, the automotive industry was transitioning to more compact and economical vehicles like the Volkswagen Beetle. It was modified into a two-door sedan delivery version based on the Ford Falcon.

The length was decreased to 189 inches, while the wheelbase was also decreased. There was a 1,123-kilogram reduction in the curb weight. The Thrift-power and Windsor V8 engines predominated at this point.

Third Generation

In 1966, third-generation Rancheros combined the front body of the Falcon with the interiors of station wagons. The engines used were more recent I6 (170 and 200 cubic-inch) and V8 (289 and 390 cubic-inch) models. The extended wheelbase measured 113.0 inches.

Fourth Generation

The fourth-generation Ranchero then surpassed 1958’s largest model. The exteriors underwent quick shift revisions. There were numerous V8s and just one I6 engine variation made available to consumers.

Fifth Generation

A one-year model, the fifth generation Ranchero. It was given the moniker Ranchero Squire, a more upscale trim with similarities to the Country Squire Station Wagon, and it had a wheelbase of 114 inches.

Sixth Generation

In 1972, the Sixth Generation Ranchero made its debut. The wheelbase measured 118 inches, while the body measured 215.7 inches. The 250 cubic-inch I6 engine was retained as a choice in addition to five updated V8 engine versions.

Ranchero altered the front end of the vehicle in 1973 to meet federal front-impact protection standards, which remained the same until 1976. The final Ford car truck Ranchero model, which replaced the Ford Torino, had its début in 1977 and was updated to match the Ford Lt II mid-size car series.

Cars With Truck Beds #5: 2003-2006 Chevrolet SSR

The Chevrolet SSR is not merely a copy of the PT Cruiser or Plymouth Prowler; rather, it builds on Chevrolet’s semi-forgotten legacy of curved pickups. With its pickup truck and sports roadster-like openness, the Chevy SSR is a unique vehicle. It is a useful street vehicle because of its retractable hardtop, which is still present in the production model.

The rear storage bed and the seat are located vertically between the two pieces of the two-piece motorized retractable hardtop. The engine cross member was altered to match the V-8 in the SSR. The only engine option for the SSR in 2003 and 2004 was GM’s well-known Vortec 5300 5.3-liter V8 paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Even though they had a decent amount of power, SSRs with this powertrain were typically timed, completing 0-60 mph runs in the mid-7-second range, which is hardly legendary. The 300 horsepower 5.3-liter engine was replaced in 2005 with a 390-horsepower 6.0-liter engine that could be had with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission.

In comparison to the 2003–2004 trucks, the 2005 SSRs were significantly faster, reaching 60 mph in less than six seconds. The 6.0-liter engine received a minor upgrade for 2006, adding 5 horsepower when combined with the automatic transmission and 10 horsepower when paired with the 6-speed.

Cars With Truck Beds #6: 1978-94 Subaru Brat

The Brat is one of the highly publicized JDM imports that Subaru car truck has produced since 1953. It was a four-wheel-drive vehicle that could easily handle most surfaces. The BRAT debuted at a time when there was a rising demand for compact pickup trucks. It went by several different names around the world, including the 284, Brumby, Shifter, MV, and Targa. As a 2-door coupe utility, this car first appeared on the world market in 1978.

The 1.6-liter EA71 engine that powered the BRAT’s first few years had a 4-speed manual transmission and put out 67 HP and 81 lb-ft of torque. The tiny truck had a respectable 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the interstate. However, these power ratings were insufficient for BRAT enthusiasts, and Subaru consequently released a larger engine for the vehicle in 1981.

The 1.8-liter EA81 engine, which was standard equipment for all BRATs starting in 1981 and producing 73 HP and 94 lb-ft of torque, was mated to the same transmission. Subaru provided 97hp turbocharged engines with a 3-speed automatic transmission for the years 1983 and 1984.

The BRAT featured a single-range transfer case from 1978 to 1980; starting with the 1981 model, it had a dual-range transfer case. Turbocharged Brats had a single-range transfer and four-wheel drive that could be engaged with the push of a button.

Cars With Truck Beds #7: Pontiac G8 ST

Pontiac was the brand that obtained this vehicle first for 2010, despite the histories of Chevrolet and GMC with car-based pickups. The Pontiac claimed the G8 sport truck would have some of the functionality of a light truck while performing like a sporty coupe. However, the automaker isn’t pretending that this is a real pickup.

The same potent 6.0L V-8 engine used in the G8 GT gives the sport truck its power. It produces 361 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. With a six-speed automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management technology, the vehicle achieves fuel economy comparable to that of a car while still achieving an unexpected 0-to-60 time of 5.4 seconds.

The same rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins the G8 performance car also supports the G8 sport truck. The sport truck’s body structure was reinforced in strategic locations to meet its cargo and towing responsibilities. To strengthen the structure, more than 60 new parts were installed. The wheelbase is about four inches longer, and the overall length is six inches longer than the sedan, which has a wheelbase of 118.5 inches (3,009 mm).

Cars With Truck Beds #8: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

With the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, Hyundai is entering the pickup truck market. The Hyundai car truck looks more like a Honda Ridgeline than a popular American pickup truck like a Chevy Colorado or Ford F-150. There’s always a chance that truck enthusiasts won’t appreciate its unique design because it resembles an SUV so much.

Hyundai even appears to be pushing in on this by calling the truck a Sports Adventure Vehicle. This vehicle won’t compromise comfort and beauty for performance, much like the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero. The Santa Cruz will still be capable despite this, though.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine found in other Hyundai vehicles will be installed in Santa Cruz. The company guarantees it will have a minimum of 190 horsepower and will also offer a 275 horsepower turbo-four. The standard engine comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the optional engine comes with a dual-clutch transmission.

The turbo engine comes standard with AWD as well. The Hyundai Santa Cruz offers two different cargo boxes: a 48-inch and a 52-inch one. The bed has lower walls than comparable trucks and is broad enough to fit a lot of gear.

FAQs – Cars With Truck Beds

Does Hyundai Make A Truck

Well, the new Hyundai truck recently debuted in 2021, so it does now! The Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup is what it is named. The new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a two-row, crew-cab style vehicle aimed at city people seeking to get away on weekend excursions. The tiny pickup, the manufacturer’s first consumer pickup truck of any size or design to be marketed in the U.S., with space for four adults in the cabin and their belongings in the bed.

Does Subaru Make A Truck

Yes, but not any longer. The BRAT and the Baja are two trucks that Subaru eventually released in the North American market.

Does Kia Make A Truck

The Kia Bongo is a well-known cabover pickup truck that has been major popularity overseas and is sold in South Korea, Indonesia, and Australia. Unfortunately, Kia does not currently provide a vehicle in the United States.

What Is The Back Of A Truck Called

Although it is more frequently referred to as a bed, the back of a typical pickup truck is known as a cargo bed. A portion of the truck is designated for storage and set off from the cab. This portion of the vehicle provides storage space to prevent the truck’s interior from being cluttered with tools.

What Was The First Truck Ever Made

Gottlieb Daimler was a German engineer and inventor, and one of his greatest strengths was developing new uses for his engine. Before creating the motorized trolley and the motorized fire hose, he first created the motorbike. According to Daimler, the invention of the truck in 1896 was nearly inevitable. The first truck ever made resembled a cart with an engine but no drawbar.

Is An El Camino A Truck Or A Car

The El Camino is, first and foremost, a vehicle. It was frequently referred to as a sedan pickup in early Chevrolet manuals with a bed volume of around 34 cubic feet and a load capacity of 1,150 pounds.

What Is A Small Pickup Truck

A compact truck is a versatile vehicle that serves as a go-anywhere companion for both work-related tasks and recreational pursuits. A compact truck is a smart choice when versatility counts, whether you’re shopping for used trucks for the first time or are well-versed in the advantages of these useful and fashionable cars. A tiny pickup will make you feel as at ease and competent in an urban parking lot as it will on a woodland trail.

Who Built The First Pickup Truck

The first entirely factory-built pickup truck was created in 1925 by Henry Ford. The Ford Model T Runabout soon rose to the top of the list of the most well-liked delivery vehicles in the entire world due to its unique attractiveness.

What Is A 4 Door Truck Called

The terms Crew Cab, CrewMax, SuperCrew, and Quad Cab all refer to a pickup truck having four full-size doors that are often front-hinged (like a conventional car door) and have space for four or five adults. However, the precise designation varies from vehicle to vehicle.

What Is A Mini Truck

As the name suggests, a mini truck is a scaled-down version of a pickup truck. The engine, cab, and bed are all smaller. Typically, two people can sit in a mini truck cab. They are only 4 to 5 feet wide and have an average length of 6 feet. The weight capacity of mini trucks is 700–800 lbs. With 30-65 horsepower, a mini truck is significantly less powerful than the typical pickup truck. Mini trucks are more adaptable and maintain their performance on tougher roads due to rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Facts About Cars with Truck Beds

  1. There is currently no car manufacturer that produces any cars with truck beds, making them as much of a novelty as they are classic.
  2. Cars with truck beds did not have the buyers niche that manufacturers had hoped for, making most of them obsolete and out of production within a few decades.
  3. The Chevrolet El Camino is the most well-known car with a truck bed, and is classified as a coupe utility muscle car.
  4. The Cadillac Mirage was available for just a short time and was based on the popular station wagon of the brand, the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, with some custom touches that removed the wagon roof and turned the elongated body into a useable truck bed space.
  5. The Dodge Rampage is a forgotten fan-favorite that is considered a true gem by collectors.
  6. The Rampage wasn’t particularly powerful but its style made up for its lack of power.
  7. Cars with truck beds are far from the most common things on the road today.
  8. Even though there are plenty of car-based trucks that sit in antique car collections, we don’t expect to see any new ones being put into production.
  9. The El Camino is loved for the novelty of having a truck bed, although it isn’t often used to carry cargo.
  10. The Cadillac Mirage and the El Camino are luxury options that combine the practicality of a pickup truck with the size of a car.

Final Verdict – Cars With Truck Beds

Ultimately, the car-truck combo isn’t just about functionality. In this truck vs car, you can accomplish a little more than the typical vehicle and a lot less than the typical truck. Still, these transportable witnesses to compromise aversion are about more than just their usefulness. People’s faces lit up as they saw them.

Manufacturers equipped their sporty coupes with powerful huge displacement V-8 engines for the duration of the muscle car period. The El Camino and Ranchero models received many of the same engines at the same time, resulting in street vehicles that were just as powerful as a Chevelle or a Torino. Looking back at that time period, it was evident that there were notable and amusing car-truck combos worth mentioning.

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