European pick-ups

  • 10 July 2021
  • 4 min read
  • 9 images
European pick-ups image

To understand just how different the United States and Europe are, just look at the market and the offers for pick-ups: last week we looked at some of the American pick-ups, neglecting a few magnificently “ferocious beasts” such as the 1991 GMC Syclone and the romantic vehicles that preceded World War II. We also neglected the future, and the visionary Tesla Cybertruck.

1-1 (1)1953. Morris Minor was one of England's most successful post-war utility vehicles and was also produced in this lovely pick-up truck version

In Europe, on the other hand, we had a hard time finding sensational vehicles, except for the curious Mercedes sold in South Africa and South America that was only half built – or rather, the front half up to the cabin, with the rear liberally interpreted by the recipient countries – or entertaining BMW-branded inventions where serious experiments have been passed as April Fools' Day jokes to avoid damaging the image and sportive nature of the Bavarian brand.

2-1-2048x2009The Italian pick-up: launched in 1948, here in a 1966 version, with its minimal footprint and maximum versatility, the small three-wheeler Ape by Piaggio is a success that has no intention of declining

Very little else is out there, and it's a shame because for a surfer or a BMX or off-road cycling enthusiast, a nice pick-up would come in handy. Fortunately, VW's historic Bullies are always there to save the day.

3-1Maximum safety, maximum performance. In 1973, the Imola racing circuit commissioned 5 Maserati Quattroporte vehicles in a fire-fighting pick-up version for the Formula 1 races

4-1-2048x1366The Renault Colorale from the 1950s – where Col means “colonial” and Ral means “rural” – did not rewrite history. The most charming version was without question the pick-up that can safely be defined as quite rare

5-1-2048x1367For all uses: the Volkswagen “Bullies” also came in a pick-up version. The usual functionality and large cargo space for both the single cab and the dual cab versions

6-1They called it “Bakkie” – which means car-floor in German – the “half Mercedes” that was exported to South Africa in 1956. To overcome customs restrictions, the pick-up part was created on site. A decidedly out of the ordinary Mercedes

7-1The years may pass but the idea of a Mercedes pick-up truck derived from sedans equipped only with the front part of the cabin, was revived in Latin America with this beautiful “La Pickup” based on the W114/W115

8-1BMW spirit for quick deliveries, perhaps under the sun with the roof down. This 1986 M3 E30 shows how even a sportscar can maintain its charm when forced to work. Just one was built and it was never approved for road use

9Reality or April Fools'? BMW declared it was an April Fools' Day joke when it handed out these images to the media. But in fact this M3 E92 was developed, tested at the Nürburgring and road approved. That's a lot for an April Fools'. Maybe someone changed their minds?