For decades, pickup trucks have been nothing more than straightforward utility vehicles with purpose of providing the helping hand. As time progressed, markets evolved and so did consumers’ preferences. People weren’t satisfied with plain old pickup truck anymore, and they wanted the same level of individuality and pizzazz offered in passenger cars. Thus, special edition trucks entered the fray. Some of them only offered unique colors and badging inside-out, but some offered much more than that, like numerous performance-edition trucks, for instance. Furthermore, some pickup trucks were downright outrageous or even outrageous to the level they were actually great. Whatever it was, special editions were rare then, and they’re even rarer today. I bet you haven’t even heard about some of these. Take a look at what we’ve dug up for you.
Dodge D100 “The Dude”
“The Dude” was present long before the “Adult Toys” and their colorful lineup of custom edition vehicles. “Dude Sport Trim Package” which was its official name, appeared right at the end of Dodge D Series’ second generation. Available with the 383ci V8, “The Dude” was essentially the predecessor of performance-oriented pickups. You could have recognized it by its all-over C stripe in either black or white, unique badging on the rear end of the box, and dog dish hub caps with trim rings. There was also “The Dude” adorning Fargo trucks marketed as Dodge clones in Canada. These were sold by Chrysler-Plymouth dealers only, while Canadian Dodge-Desoto dealers sold Dodges like it was the case in the US. Only between 1,500 and 2,000 Dudes were produced, and there aren’t many of them left today.
GMC Sierra Classic Gentleman Jim and GMC Sierra Classic Beau James
These two packages for GMC C/K pickup truck were offered at the same time and they both targeted the upmarket customers. It was one of the first attempts by GM to create a luxury pickup truck. Gentleman Jim came in black and gold paint scheme which was complemented by air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with 8-track player, tailored tonneau cover, CIBIE headlights, and woodgrain interior trim.
Beau James, on the other hand, came in silver and blue, and had velour seats, unique floor mats, hood ornament and decals, and wire-look hubcaps among other things. It was exclusively offered with 350ci 4bbl V8 and 454ci 4bbl V8 which clearly demonstrated Beau James was more than simply good-looking truck.
As its name suggests, it’s actually a special edition of the Ford Ranger. If you haven’t heard about it, don’t get depressed. Less than 20 of them have been produced. Records vary, but either 17 or 19 would be the exact number. SkyRanger was basically a conventional Ranger with extended cab, 4.0L Cologne V6 engine, and all-wheel drive. It was then converted to the SkyRanger by American Sunroof Company. ASC added the targa removable top and had great expectations for it. Unfortunately, Ford scrapped the project after less than 20 of them were made, as noted above.
Dodge Ram Rod Hall Signature Edition
Years: 1986 and 1990
Famous off-road racer Rod Hall wasn’t only known for his insane driving. He also created one of the rarest and most badass special edition pickups, together with Dodge, and later Carroll Shelby. First they made 14 units in 1986 and early 1987, but the NHTSA would have none of it. High and stiff racing suspension might have been normal to Hall, but it wasn’t in accordance with the safety regulations. NHTSA seized all of them and only 9 would end up being retrofitted. Hall then teamed up with Carroll Shelby and tried again in 1990 with more success. This time, he made 33 units. They had distinctive Rod Hall off-road lights, paint job with stripes, bed-mounted lightbar, and 318ci V8 mill generating 170 horsepower.
Ford F-150 Nite
Nite package was only available in ’91 and ’92, but it wasn’t entirely limited to Ford’s half-ton pickup truck. If you had ordered a brand new Bronco, you could have had it with the package as well. However, it was limited to the XLT Lariat trim of the F-150. Moreover, in ’91 only regular cab worked, while in ’92, Nite migrated to all other configurations. Although both 2WD and 4WD were compatible with the package, only 302ci 5.0L V8 and 351ci 5.8L V8 came into consideration on powertrain part. That is to say, Nite was an appearance package for the most part. It did have a sport suspension, though. Other than that, you could have distinguished it by Raven Black paint job, forged aluminum wheels, white-letter tires, and special bodyside multi color tape stripes. Interior was offered in Dark Charcoal, Scarlet Red or Cyrstal Blue.
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