You’ve likely heard that Mercedes-Benz is teaming up with industrial partner Nissan to develop a Toyota Hilux-fighting pickup. Most news outlets are referring to the truck – which will likely be called GLT-Class – as Mercedes’ first-ever pickup but that’s not accurate, it’s Mercedes’ first-ever mid-size pickup.
The automaker’s South African arm built a number of car-based pickups in the 1950s in order to circumvent local taxes that applied to imported commercial vehicles. Later on, Mercedes’ Argentinian division famously built both two- and four-door pickups based on the 220D.
That got us thinking: what classic car do you think should have been offered as a pickup straight from the factory?
Our vote goes to the Fiat 500 Giardiniera. Italian coachbuilder Francis Lombardi built a handful of 500-based pickups (see below) in the 1960s, imagine if Fiat had picked up on the idea and mass-produced it. Priced right, it could have been a popular alternative to small, city-dwelling delivery vehicles like the Piaggio Ape.