At The Petersen: Pickups -- The Art Of Utility
Trucks Finally Enjoy the Spotlight at the Automotive Museum
We recently had the opportunity to walk through the pickup truck display at the Petersen Automotive Museum. I will admit that, when I heard about it, my expectations were a little low. After all, automotive museums don't tend to give much credit to trucks and their importance in automotive history. Think about it -- with every race, with every concours, there is at least one truck that serves as a support vehicle. And with big race teams, there are often full fleets of support vehicles that include everything from half-tons to big-rigs. Trucks helped with building roads, and homes. They are the backbone of industry.
Yet the display the Petersen put together is fairly impressive. Before we got to the truck-specific wing, we walked through the Baja exhibit, where we saw Ivan Stewart's '84 Toyota. Then it was on to the main attraction.
The first truck we saw was a 1941 Chevrolet half-ton in dark blue. It was displayed with a ladder, and drywall in the bed. This truck has a gorgeous Art Deco grille, yet was plenty ready for work. Next to the Chevy was an American Bantam pickup in green with black fenders. This may have been the first time I have ever seen one of these in person.
Winning the title of oldest truck on display was the 1909 International Harvester "Auto Wagon" you see here. There was also a 1929 Chrysler Model 75 Roadster, which reflected the trend of converting cars for utility purposes. (It's an interesting idea, but we still think trucks are the better choice.) Ford's Model B pickup was on display as well, with Ford's groundbreaking V-8.
As we continued around the exhibit, we saw a wall that displayed a huge amount of truck advertising from the past several decades. Also on display: a 1934 Terraplane pickup. The smallest truck there: a 1934 Crosley. We saw a 1955 Powell, and one of the coolest pickups was a 1953 Dodge Power Wagon with a Willock Swivel Frame. For fans of the Jeep Forward Control, you can enjoy this 1958 example. Then there was the 1959 Datsun 220. Boy, does a Frontier look big compared with this compact! The Petersen displayed a beautiful 1952 blue Ford F-1, as well as a 1958 Ranchero. There's something for Vee-Dub fans, too: this 1968 van-based pickup. Do you like the L'il Red Express? We saw one of those, too, and a classic 1968 Chevy C10 Custom. The weirdest truck? That might be the Isuzu Axiom XST Sport Utility Truck. But that was just a concept, and concepts are often really weird.
While the truck display at the Petersen didn't cover a huge amount of square footage, the exhibit packs a lot of cool truck history in there. Truck fans will enjoy it. To learn more about the Petersen Automotive Museum, visit www.petersen.org. You can visit the exhibit until April 2014.