Pickups are designed to do one thing: be capable workhorses. Ever since Australians in the 1910s and 1920s converted their Ford Model Ts and other comparable cars into Utes for use on farms and businesses, the pick-up truck has become an integral part of the automotive world.
Most vans are still built with the original basic philosophy in mind – a relatively powerful engine up front, enough room for the driver in the middle, and plenty of room for “stuff” in the bed . In the 1970s and 1980s, the idea of a “normal” pick-up was slightly challenged when car manufacturers started turning them into sporty versions of themselves. Chevrolet stuffed a 7.4-liter V8 into its C1500 trucks and called it the 454 SS. GMC went further and turbocharged a Sonoma to create the Syclone and Typhoon. Lincoln, on the other hand, took a Ford F-150 and tried to turn it into a Bentley with the Lincoln Blackwood – which went about as well as one might think.
There have been many instances where automakers have tried to turn the humble, basic pickup truck into something else – only to be met with criticism, laughter and failure. While there are some pretty cool pickups out there, there are also some that should never have left the drawing board. Here are 8 of the weirdest we could find.
8 Lincoln Blackwood
The Lincoln Blackwood was Lincoln’s attempt to create a luxury pickup/SUV hybrid. The Blackwood was a more sophisticated version of the Ford F-150 Crew Cab, with luxurious interior additions, softer suspension, and a unique rear tonneau/bed situation. Instead of using the bed as a traditional bed, it was carpeted and instead designed to be used as a trunk – with an automated tonneau cover and all.
Unfortunately, Lincoln was just a little ahead of his time. The Blackwood failed miserably because it was too expensive and had no market. Lincoln tried again with the Mark LT a few years later, but it also failed. Maybe they should try again now that almost every pickup truck manufacturer offers luxury trim?
seven Subaru Baja
The Subaru Baja was a Legacy Outback with the rear cut off and replaced with a bed. Yes, it sounds as weird as it sounds. The Baja looks like an aftermarket special when seen on the road.
Using the same Outback platform, engines, interior and most body panels, the Baja was relatively hard to tell apart from the front and front quarters, but the missing rear cargo compartment was immediately noticeable from any other view, giving the Baja a rather distinctive silhouette appearance. It’s definitely one of the weirdest pickups ever made.
6 chevrolet ssr
Where the Australians perfected the design of the Ute, the United States tried to improve it – with relatively zero success. One of the American attempts was the Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster (SSR), which was a convertible pickup/Ute. Ouch!
At least, unlike the Plymouth Prowler, the SSR had a V8 engine. The styling was inspired by the 1951 Chevrolet Advance Design pickup – with a twist – and gave a retro-modern look that didn’t quite work.
5 Dodge RAM SRT-10
The Dodge RAM is an excellent pickup truck. Each generation has been on par with the equivalent Ford and Chevy pickup and sold in hordes. Before Ford Decided To Spice Up Their F-150, Dodge Did An Incredibly Awesome Thing And Stuffed The 8.3-Liter Viper V10 in their RAM.
The end result was the RAM SRT-10, a rear-drive-only version that could be optional with an automatic or manual transmission. The SRT-10 was only available in regular and extended cab body styles. It’s a ridiculous model, but we’re really glad it exists.
4 International CXT
International is best known for their massive haul trucks and the 1960s Scout off-roader. What some may not know is that they also sold pickup trucks. Admittedly, these trucks were based on their Extreme Truck Series vehicles, which made them about the size of a house.
The CXT was the commercially available version and featured a massive 7.6-liter turbo diesel inline-6. It also had a more luxurious interior and weighed well over 14,000 pounds, twice the weight of a Hummer H1. Interestingly, if the CXT was only 2 pounds heavier, any owner would need a commercial driver’s license to drive it legally.
3 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6
The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is an amazing vehicle that originated as a military off-roader to rival the British Land Rover and the American Jeep. Mercedes-Benz marketed the SUV, and it sold like sugar cakes – even though it was very expensive.
In 2013, AMG took a G63 and added an extra axle and bed, creating the G63 AMG 6X6. It’s a 6-wheel behemoth, powered by a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, and it was priced around $500,000. Today, the G63 6X6 is worth over $2 million – while they can be found for sale on the used market. Thanks to Mercedes-Benz, the 6X6 trend has continued, and 6-wheel versions of other pickups can be purchased from specialist aftermarket companies.
2 Lamborghini LM002
Like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, the Lamborghini LM002 was a vehicle originally designed for the military. The LM002 was also technically Lamborghini’s first SUV, produced since 1986. The original LM002 featured the 5.2-litre V12 straight out of the Countach supercar.
The LM002 was produced until 1993 and was then available with a different engine – a 7.2 liter V12 used in marine applications. The Sultan of Brunei even had a unique estate version made to enjoy his time in the sun. A little different from the Urus.
1 Dodge Dakota Convertible
The Dodge Dakota, later renamed the RAM Dakota, was a mid-size pickup truck that fell below the 1500 in the RAM lineup, but was still larger than Ford’s Ranger and Chevrolet’s C-10. The Dakota was sold between 1986 and 2011, before being discontinued – however, a new Dakota model is on the way.
The weirdest version of the pickup was the Dakota Sport Convertible. Available with a range of engines – including a Shelby V8 – the Dakota Sport Convertible was truly the answer to a question no one in the automotive community ever asked. We understand that Dodge wanted to take advantage of the Jeep Wrangler’s convertible off-road action, but it turned out to be too odd a vehicle for people to find it useful or appealing in any way.