We have owned this silver GMC Sierra Work Truck since 2005 when it was purchased new. It is a basic pickup, no frills. Not even power windows.
The transmission is manual. It has a V6 engine for gas savings without sacrificing too much power, and four wheel drive on-demand for sticky situations. Also note that it features a regular cab with seating for 2.5 people and a regular bed that measures 8 feet by 4 feet of usable area on the inside. You can fit a piece of plywood in there, or carry home a whole pile of plywood or drywall, up to 1/2 ton if necessary. It will also easily haul 30 regular square bales of hay or 1/2 cord of firewood. This sort of truck was once the industry standard. It is a real workhorse, as the name implies. Just the vehicle needed on a farm.
Well, our good old work truck, with an outward appearance as above and less than 50,000 miles on the odometer, is broken. The frame has rusted so badly that it actually cracked apart this past week. It is not safe to drive. The steel that supports the truck, including vital components like the gas tank, is rotted away. It cannot be repaired without replacing the entire frame. The end. Our last GMC pickup, a 1991 model, lasted 14 years. The frame was solid, and we only traded it because it need a $2000 paint job. We decided to put the money in a new truck. The 2005 model cost around $17,000, a reasonable price.
Now it’s time to look for another new truck. Surprise! Everything in the truck manufacturing world has changed. We are not able to find the new vehicle we want, not from any manufacturer selling in America. It is unbelievable. And the prices! New trucks start at $30,000.
Manual transmissions are out. Guess they are just too hard for most people to drive so there is not enough demand. Forget that manual transmissions have less parts to replace, cost less and give you infinitely better control over the operation of your vehicle.
Regular cabs are now rare. New trucks today have extra seating, with at minimum an extended cab to create two very small and uncomfortable perches behind the main seats, right up to crew cabs with full seating for four with four doors, no less. Why not just get a car?? Truck beds are also rarely available in the normal eight foot length. They now are standard at 6 feet or 6.5 feet with some as short as 5 feet. Once again, why not just buy a car? A five-foot truck bed is pretty useless on a farm. Can’t get much in there, a dog, maybe. Certainly not enough hay bales to make a difference. The new trucks are a bad joke for real working people who need a utility vehicle.
So, if we buy a new truck we have to pay twice what we should for something we don’t want. Sorry, truck manufacturers, that isn’t going to happen. We find ourselves on the used vehicle market, a place we avoided in the past due to not wishing to buy other people’s problems.
We are trying to find a late model, low mileage, 4×4 with a regular cab, 8 foot bed and V6 engine. We’ve given up on the manual transmission. Yesterday I spent several hours online searching nationwide for a truck like this. Discovered a nice one in Nebraska and one in New Mexico. This type of truck is truly rarer than hen’s teeth! I found a total of ONE at a dealer in the State of Maine, down in Rockland. We took a 1.25 hour ride to the coast and looked at a nice truck with an automatic transmission, over-priced by $4000 based on the best Blue Book rates. We haggled for a couple hours, but the dealer won’t budge. Probably because he knows how rare his beast is and figures someone will pay the price to take it home.
Today we go to the privately-owned market. Somewhere near us there has to be a decent truck we can afford and be proud to own. Our beloved vehicle has value only as parts. The engine is excellent as are all the other components besides the frame. So sad.
The GMC dealer told us yesterday that rotting steel frames are a problem for trucks made by many manufacturers between the years 2000-2007. Aren’t we the lucky ones to have had the misfortune of purchasing a truck when the auto industry decided to use cheap steel or inadequate rustproofing? For people owning trucks from that time period, there will be no future classics, just junk with rotted frames. Planned obsolescence forcing buyers to pay double for new toy trucks? Welcome to the age of throw-away vehicles.