3 Cherry Pickup Trucks Prove California is the King of Classics

Some vehicles, such as muscle cars or squatted trucks are divisive. But classic pickup trucks have a way of making everyone smile. They are a rare sight in the salt belt where I grew up. But when I lived in sunny California, I snapped pictures of cherry classic trucks on the daily. I post my favorite car photos to my Twitter, so here are photos and my original posts for three pickup trucks that prove California is king of the classics.

1960-66 GMC ‘C/K Series’ fleetside pickup truck

A blue GMC classic pickup truck parked on the street in California, trees visible in the background.
1960-66 GMC C/K pickup | Henry Cesari via Motorbiscuit

This lovely blue survivor belongs to the first generation of the Chevy/GMC C/K line of pickup trucks. This example is a regular cab with a long bed, marketed as a “fleetside” by GMC. It’s a standard pickup truck bed, but this marketing term simply differentiated it from the budget-friendly “stepside” trucks–according to MotorTrend. It also has some chunky tires that make me wonder if its a “K” series with factory 4WD.

When I saw it in East Palo Alto, it had been parked under a tree long enough to collect some leaves. But the interior was in excellent shape, making me think it was far from abandoned. It was a pickup like this that I inquired about, assuming it was a lovingly restored classic, and got my first lesson in how plentiful old trucks are in California. The owner simply called the immaculate truck an “old beater.”

Find out what the letters GMC originally stood for.

1957-59 International Harvester ‘A Series’ step-side

A red International Harvester step-side classic pickup truck parked in a lot, crossovers visible in the background.
1957-59 International Harvester “A-Line” truck | Henry Cesari via Motorbiscuit

Yes, International Harvester made pickup trucks! This company, known for its tractors, heavy trucks, and “Scout” SUV, made pickups until 1975. This beautiful red step-side appears to be from model years 1957-59. It belongs to the “A line” truck series that IH debuted for the 50th anniversary of its first truck.

I glimpsed this lovely classic pickup truck in a parking lot in Redwood City, California. Not only did it appear to be a daily driver, but it had accessories in the bed, such as a toolbox and ratchet straps, that made it obvious this truck had never stopped working.

You can read up on the rarest pickup trucks of all time, or get the lowdown on whether classic vehicles will be banned for emissions.

1978-84 Volkswagen Rabbit classic compact pickup truck

A bright green Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck in a parking lot.
1978-84 Volkswagen Rabbit compact pickup | Henry Cesari via Motorbiscuit

Another potentially surprising vehicle: yes Volkswagen used to make a compact pickup truck. The Volkswagen Rabbit pickup was based on the “Rabbit” car (the compact Beetle replacement, called the “Golf” in other markets.) Like the car, it was a FWD available with a four-cylinder diesel and manual transmission configuration that netted over 40 mpg!

VW only offered its Rabbit pickup truck in the U.S. from 1978 through 1984. This example, often driven around Palo Alto, was a beautiful classic pickup truck with a California twist. It had been tastefully modified with aftermarket rims, a front spoiler, and a very sharp aftermarket paint job. In this photo it is parked in the Homo Depot parking lot, so it looks like it still got soem truck tasks. This rabbit has me wondering why more cars aren’t painted Emerald. Maybe its because some drivers think green cars are cursed.

Next, see more classics on my Twitter or take a tour around the 2021 classic truck Nationals to enjoy more classics: