Open mic

Open mic: What classic car should have been offered as a pickup?

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.

francis-lombardi-camioncino-1

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15 thoughts on “Open mic: What classic car should have been offered as a pickup?

    • What generation Golf? They had the Caddy in the 70s and 80s, which worked pretty well.

      The Volvo would have been awesome, imagine a single-cab pickup based on the 240 wagon.

  1. They say that there was a gentlemen agreement between Fiat and Piaggio : Fiat wouldn’t build scooters, and Piaggio wouldn’t build small cars. Maybe that’s why Fiat didn’t offer an Ape rivaling truck.

      • Sorry for the late reply. I can’t find a reliable source, but it’s usually said that it’s because of this unwritten agreement that the Vespa 400 was built in France by ACMA and never officially imported in Italy.

        And speaking of the Ape, in Dante Giacosa’s “Forty Years of Design with Fiat” (which you can download for free at the link below), page 276, there’s a picture of a three-wheeler prototype that totally looks like an Ape with a 500 face. It was developed in a R&D center in Heilbronn, Germany, it had the engine of the 500 giardiniera and it was first shown at the 1962 Frankfurt Motor Show.

        http://www.fcagroup.com/en-us/group/history/pages/dante_giacosa.aspx

  2. The Volvo 240 springs immediately to mind. (Also, my Mercedes-Benz 508 tow truck is registered as a pickup.)

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