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I love old pickup trucks. Hell, these days, it seems like everyone likes old pickup trucks. As the market for boxy old boys keeps climbing, we figured we might as well add some fuel to the fire. Everyone knows old Ford F-150 and F-250 High Boys are cool. We know the wartime Dodge Powerwagons are next-level cool. But during the oil crisis of the 1970s, carmakers tried everything they could to make people buy pickup trucks – and by everything, I mean they created special edition pickup trucks that come in fun colors and decal packages. Here are some rare special edition pickup trucks you probably haven’t heard of. 

Jeep J10 Honcho

The Jeep truck is having its moment with the strange and intermittent success of the Jeep Gladiator. However, for some a little longer in the tooth the Jeep truck has already had its time. The Jeep J10 is a badass little pickup that proudly sticks out among the normalcy of the common Chevy and Ford from the period. Frankly, no other car maker could compete with the sheer volume of variously badged offerings from Jeep during this period. 

The “Honcho” was a special edition version of the J10 that is rare nowadays. Dripping in a very-70s metallic brown (it came in other colors too, but who cares?) and burnt-yellow decals and pinstripes, the Honcho was a tough truck to miss. It sat on bigger tires than the normal J10 and also had the full run of Jeep options. The Jeep J10 Honcho was in production from 1976 to 1983. 

Ford F-150 Free Wheeling

The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup truck America has ever known. It is THE truck. But even the F-Series struggled in the 1970s. So Ford decided to dress up the F-150 with some bright sunset gradient decals, and the Ford F-150 Free Wheeling was born to us. 

This vintage special edition pickup truck is a Ford F-150 Free Wheeling.
Ford F-150 Free Wheeling | Mecum

Special Edition decal packs like the Free Wheeling were available on nearly every truck in the showroom. Ford had two different color packs for either dark- or light-colored trucks. However, there was really nothing else special about the Free Wheeling than the decals. It’s still pretty rad, though. 

GMC Indy 500 Official Truck

Apparently, as also noted by MotorTrend, GMC was all about Indy car racing in the 1970s. The marque couldn’t get enough of slapping “Indy 500” all over everything. First was the GMC Indy 500 Official Truck. This now-rare treat donned a white and gold decal pack. Later versions got a giant eagle on the hood and down the sides of the truck. 

An old ad for the GMC Indy 500 Official Truck
GMC Indy 500 Official Truck | GMC

While I won’t pretend that the eagle doesn’t look awesome, it seems oddly similar to a number of other iconic cars with birds on the hood from the same time period. 

Ford Courier

While not quite as cool as some of these other vintage special edition pickup trucks, the Ford Courier was interesting because Ford was trying everything it could to keep up with the changing market. Due to the oil crisis and the adoption of Japanese cars and trucks in America, there was a growing demand for smaller, more efficient pickups. 

Vintage Ford Courier ad
Ford Courier ad | Ford

The Ford Courier (1972-1982) was a Japanese-inspired little thing. Taking after the popular Mazda B trucks, the little Ford was light and small. It didn’t rely on heavy decals and macho branding; it was simply small and affordable. While these are still pretty rare today, they are still relatively affordable. 

GMC Sierra “Beau James”

Back before the luxury trims like the King Ranch and the existence of a Cadillac pickup, there was the “luxury” GMC Beau James truck. This was a black and gold GMC Sierra with soft suspension, a velour interior, a tonneau cover, and fancy wheels.  

The “Gentleman Jim” (as the rear quarter panel of the truck read) was GMC’s shot at making a luxury pickup truck that would be more out of place on a work site than a fish waiting in line at the DMV. If you find yourself wondering who “Jim” is, “Jimmy” was the nickname for GMC during these days. That’s where we get the GMC Jimmy SUV from. 

Are vintage special edition pickup trucks expensive?

All pickup trucks are expensive these days. The plainest vintage square-body truck is irritatingly expensive today. However, these vintage special edition trucks are rare, so the prices are even more irritating. If you are lucky enough to find one of the original trucks, the decals are typically in really rough shape. So finding a nice one is twice as expensive. That said, keep your eyes peeled; there is always hope. Who knows, you might find a Jeep J10 Golden Eagle hiding behind a barn.