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Top 10 Classic Trucks

1973 Ford Bronco in blue.

Today, SUVs and trucks dominate the marketplace, but it wouldn’t be that way without these now-classic models. Originally designed for agricultural, military, or off-road use, many of these vehicles evolved into the refined versions seen on the road and off the beaten path today. With devoted, cult-like followings, these classic trucks have retained, if not gained, value over the years as they are kept running or restored for new generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Here are 10 classic trucks that helped launch the 4x4 revolution:

#1 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

Chevrolet K5 Blazer in brown.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Model Years, History, and Features

Built from 1969-1991, the K5 Blazer was created as Chevrolet’s answer to the light 4x4 movement that was beginning to take shape thanks to the Ford Bronco, Jeep CJ-5, and International Harvester Scout. Built on a shortened pickup truck chassis from the C/K line of Chevrolet Trucks, the K5 boasted major off-road chops using Dana 20 axles and four available engines ranging from a 250 ci, 4.1L inline-6 to a 350 ci 5.7L V8 powerplant. The K5 featured removable top or soft-top options until 1975 before switching to a fixed-roof setup. Later dropping the K5 name, it evolved into the Blazer, later becoming the Tahoe after Chevy discontinued the Blazer name. See Chevrolet Blazer models for sale.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Price

Looking at actual market pricing from K5 Blazer listings on our site, most of the Blazer’s were priced under $45,000 leaving plenty of choices for the buyer whose budget is in that range. This is the budget we’d set if we were buying. If you are looking for a project or cheap K5 Blazer, you could find one for as low as $15,000 to $20,000 but beware as many of these could have rust issues, require bodywork, or may not be running. At the top end of the price range, the higher-priced K5 Blazer’s will cost between $50,000 to $95,000 and we even found one seller asking for $120,000. We would expect models at the top end of the price range to have extensive service records, detailed interior and exterior restoration and/or upgrades, custom modifications, new tires, no rust, and a thorough overhaul of the engine.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Chevrolet K5 Blazer.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1972, 1985, 1990, 1989, 1970 1969 – 1972. We favor the first generation, 2-door Blazer, with the removable top.

#2 Chevrolet El Camino

1967 Chevrolet El Camino front left

Chevrolet El Camino Model Years, History, and Features

The Chevrolet El Camino is situated between car and pickup truck, bearing the front of a Chevrolet Biscayne with a truck bed following the b-pillar. Introduced as a competitor to Ford’s Ranchero in 1959, the El Camino outsold the Ranchero and remained in production until 1987, 8 years longer than the Ford.

The first-generation of the El Camino was short, lasting just one year until 1960. Bearing fins along the truck bed, the first-generation was emblematic of 1950’s design, which was phased out throughout Chevrolet’s model lineup in 1961 in favor of a boxier, streamlined look. Subsequent El Camino generations were based on the Chevelle platform, also gaining identical engine offerings up to the 6.5L big-block 396 V8 in the performance-oriented El Camino SS. The El Camino experienced strong sales ranging between 40-70,000 until the introduction of the Chevrolet S10 pickup in 1982, spelling the end of the El Camino. With five generations over 28 years, the El Camino is one of Chevrolet’s most unique and significant models, with over one million examples produced. See Chevrolet El Camino models for sale.

Chevrolet El Camino Price

Based on actual marketing pricing from El Camino’s listed on our site, if you’re looking for a project car requiring restoration, you’ll want to look at those vehicles listed for $12,000 or lower. Most, if not all, of the vehicles listed in this price range, require complete interior and exterior restoration as well as engine work. If you’re on a fixed budget, you’ll find plenty of El Caminos in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. Around the $25,000 asking price, we’d expect the paint to be good but not outstanding, solid interior, a transmission, engine, and brakes that have been improved, and possibly some custom modifications or other upgrades. The upper end of the market prices we observed were those vehicles priced at $30,000 or more with some examples priced at $55,000 to $75,000. The SS trim, which is the version of the El Camino most reviewers and collectors covet, only made up 10% of the listings we found and most of the better SS models were priced between $30,000 and $60,000.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Chevrolet El Camino.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1970, 1969, 1972, 1987, 1968 1968 – 1972. The Camino SS model is the consensus version to buy from collectors and reviewers.

#3 Ford Bronco

1973 Ford Bronco in blue.

Ford Bronco Model Years, History, and Features

Introduced in 1966 as a competitor to open-topped 4x4s like the Chevrolet K5 Blazer International Harvester Scout and Jeep CJ-5, the Ford Bronco is an early and iconic SUV. Equipped with a removable hard or soft top, full-time 4-wheel-drive with Dana 20 axles, many other amenities were available as options, with engines ranging from a 170 cubic inch straight-six from the Ford Falcon to the 289 V8 and Boss 302 V8.

The Bronco’s first generation lasted from 1966-1977 before it was transformed into a larger, fixed-roof SUV retaining its 2-door format. First-generation models are iconic and highly sought after by collectors as original or resto-modded trucks. Today, the first-generation’s design is the basis for the Bronco's modern iteration, sporting a similar grille and round headlights from the original, continuing the design legacy of the classic. See Ford Bronco models for sale.

Ford Bronco Price

Based on actual marketing pricing from Ford Broncos listed on our site, a first-generation Bronco could be found for between $50,000 and $130,000. When it comes to the Broncos made in the first generation, we’d recommend focusing on the $75,000 - $95,000 range as that is where you should find the most availability matched with a well-cared-for vehicle. Among all classic generations, the most available inventory was for the first-generation years which did include several “restomod” examples. These restomod Broncos can skew the pricing of the market since they start at $200,000. If you’re on a budget, a second-generation (1978 – 1979), third-generation (1980 – 1986), fourth-generation (1987 – 1991), and fifth-generation (1992 – 1996) Bronco is where you can find a good buying opportunity as we found many quality vehicles priced in the $25,000 to $55,000 range, considerably less than their first-generation counterparts. Unless you were looking for a semi-project car, we’d advise focusing on the $40,000 or more price range for these later Bronco model years. If your budget is in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, take a tip from us and look at the fifth-generation years. We found numerous great mid-1990s Broncos for around $25,000.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Ford Bronco.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1970, 1979, 1978, 1996, 1969 1966 – 1977. Any first-generation, half-cab Bronco would make an excellent choice.

#4 International Harvester Scout

International Harvester Scout

International Harvester Scout Model Years, History, and Features

Many of today’s classic trucks have roots in agriculture, and the Scout was produced by International Harvester, a now-defunct tractor company that also had an automobile line. Built from 1961-1980, the Scout was available as a pickup truck, or removable topped 4x4 and was a direct competitor to the Jeep CJ, the precursor to the modern Wrangler. Factory equipped with Dana axles and transfer case, the International Harvester Scout was a highly-competent off-roader. During its 20-year production run, IH produced over half a million Scout and Scout II models. Scout SUVs are highly collectible despite no longer being built, fetching new vehicle prices today for classic models. See International Harvester Scout Models for sale.

International Harvester Scout Price

Excluding the new restomod versions of the Scout, which can cost nearly $300,000, we found several quality Scouts in the $50,000 to $70,000 price range. Considering all market factors and pricing of the International Harvester Scout, our advice would be to concentrate on the $55,000 and up range as this is where the sweet spot appeared to be. Yes, you can find a Scout for less than $40,000 but be prepared to put a little TLC into the vehicle. If you’re seeking a true project car, you’ll be able to buy a Scout in need of a lot of work for $12,000 or less.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the International Harvester Scout.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1980, 1979, 1971, 1972, 1974 1961 – 1976. We think the, Scout 800, Scout II and Traveler versions stand out from the rest.

#5 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer

1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer front left.

Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer Model Years, History, and Features

Luxury SUVs of today can easily trace their roots to the Jeep Wagoneer. When it debuted in 1963, the Jeep Wagoneer was unlike anything else in production at the time, combining roomy, wagon-like functionality, car-like handling, and 4x4 capabilities. When trucks afforded spartan conveniences, the Wagoneer offered air conditioning, power brakes, power steering, a power liftgate with retracting glass, and an upscale leather interior. Remaining in production until 1991, the Wagoneer is the third-longest produced chassis in automotive history and a highly collectible classic truck today. The most sought-after Jeep Wagoneer model is the Grand Wagoneer, built from 1984-1991. This model was equipped with Quadra-trac 4WD, allowing changes between 2WD and 4WD on the fly, and a 5.9L V8, the largest power plant offered on the Wagoneer. See Jeep Grand Wagoneer models for sale.

Jeep Wagoneer / Grand Wagoneer Price

We analyzed the market and based on actual listings from our site, premium Jeep Wagoneers are commanding nearly $50,000 while on the lower end of the market, a Wagoneer could be found for around $20,000 to upwards of $35,000. If you’re seeking a Jeep Wagoneer for a project car, you should be able to buy one for less than $15,000, possibly even as low as $5,000.

Be prepared to spend more if you are in the market for a Grand Wagoneer. We found numerous examples priced around $85,000 or more while the bulk of the Grand Wagoneers we found had an asking price between $30,000 to $40,000. On the lower end of the price range, you can get a Grand Wagoneer in need of a little TLC for between $15,000 and $25,000.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Jeep Wagoneer / Grand Wagoneer.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
Jeep Wagoneer - 1977, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1972
Grand Wagoneer - 1988, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1989
Between the original Jeep Wagoneer and its successor, the Grand Wagoneer, there is 4X more interest in the Grand Wagoneer. Focus on model years 1984 – 1991.

#6 Land Rover Series I/Series II/Series III

Land Rover Series I

Land Rover Series I/Series II/Series III Model Years, History, and Features

Few vehicles have a highly-capable, go-anywhere reputation greater than the Land Rover Series I/II/III, which later evolved into the Land Rover Defender. Debuting in the post-war era in 1948, it was England’s answer to the Willys Jeep, which played a significant role in leading to the Allied Forces’ victory of World War II. Due to post-war steel shortages, the Land Rover chassis was constructed out of aluminum alloy, which proved favorable as it does not rust over time. Initially offered with two doors, a pickup variant was introduced in 1954, and a lengthened 5-door model was introduced in 1955. It was capable of transporting up to 10 passengers behind the front seats. Though originally designed for agricultural use, Land Rovers have seen extensive Safari use, boasting the mechanical ability to reach the world’s toughest conditions. See Land Rover Series I models for sale or See Land Rover Series II models for sale or See Land Rover Series III models for sale.

Land Rover Series I, II, II Price

Based on our analysis of actual Series Land Rovers listed on our site, the premium vehicles are usually in the $55,000 to $85,000 but we’ve seen examples priced as high as $125,000. Most of the expensive examples have had an off-frame restoration along with a full interior revamp and new paint. The Series vehicles, either the short 88” wheelbase or the longer 109” wheelbase, are the two most common versions you’ll see listed. Our advice would be to determine which wheelbase version you want and then be prepared to spend around $50,000. If you’re willing to buy a Land Rover Series which isn’t in pristine shape, you should be able to find one for between $25,000 to $40,000. Vehicles in this lower price range would still make a solid choice to purchase but you should expect to invest a little to improve them mechanically and cosmetically.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Land Rover Series I, II or III.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
Series I – 1949, 1958, 1956, 1948, 1957
Series II – 1967, 1970, 1966, 1969, 1961
Series III - 1973, 1974, 1972, 1978, 1976
Of all three Series, the Land Rover Series II is the most sought after. We prefer the 88-inch wheelbase version. This is our personal favorite among all the trucks from this list. 1966 – 1971.

#7 Land Rover Range Rover Classic

1970 Land Rover Range Rover Classic

Land Rover Range Rover Classic Model Years, History, and Features

The Land Rover Range Rover Classic was the first of its kind for British manufacturer Land Rover, who sought to combine car-like comfort, and maneuverability with off-roading chops to create a vehicle just as good on the road as it is off. Having only manufactured and sold the stripped-down, utilitarian Series I/II/III, the Range Rover Classic was an early luxury SUV offering that positioned the Land Rover brand into the high-end manufacturer it is today.

Debuting in 1969 as a two-door truck, a 4-door model came out in 1980. Though it was designed for the American market as a Jeep Wagoneer competitor, safety and emission regulations kept the Range Rover out of the United States from 1974-1987 until Land Rover established a domestic dealer network. However, grey-market imports took place before its official introduction. See Land Rover Range Rover models for sale.

Land Rover Range Rover Classic Price

The Range Rover Classic, which ended production with the 1996 model year, generally can be found for around $30,000 to $55,000 but we did find a 1995 restomod example listed for $200,000. Determining an accurate price range based on live listings was difficult since there just weren’t a lot of these vehicles available when we did our analysis.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Land Rover Range Rover Classic.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1995, 1990, 1991, 1989, 1988 The Range Rover Classic years we recommend are those from 1989 to 1996. You may also want to read this guide on buying a used Range Rover.

#8 Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen

Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen front left

Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen Model Years, History, and Features

The Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen, also known as the G-Wagen and G-Class, was introduced in 1979 as a military-use vehicle built by Daimler Steyer-Puch. Built based on a suggestion from the Shah of Iran (who held substantial shares in Daimler-Benz at the time), it was also made available to the public upon release. Designed as a highly-capable off-roader, the Gelandewagen featured three locking differentials, soft or fixed roof, with few amenities in a bare-bones package.

While the Gelandewagen started with little comfort, it slowly evolved into a luxury vehicle. M-B built the first generation for the European market that favored fuel efficiency over outright power. Because of this, the range-topping 280 GE produced from 1979 until 1990 put out just 156 horsepower. An AMG-tuned 280 GE put out 180 horsepower, propelling the G-Wagen from 0-60 in 14 seconds. In 1999, the G-Wagen showed a big performance jump, with the G 55 AMG producing 354 hp. The G-Class got major comfort improvements in 2001 for its introduction to the U.S. market. Before then, many models were imported and federalized through the grey market. See Mercedes-Benz G-Class models for sale.

Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen (G-Wagen) Price

Of all the trucks on our Top 10 list, other than the first-generation Ford Bronco, the Mercedes G-Wagon has retained its value the most. Even 20-year-old versions of this vehicle are listed at around $40,000 so you should expect to pay between $25,000 to $35,000 for a version from the 1980’s and 1990’s, that is if you can find one for sale. Those earlier years featured rugged functionality more than the luxurious comfort of the G-wagons of today, so the market pricing reflects that. If you have deep pockets and are into a high-end luxury SUVs which the Top 1% can own, expect to pay between $100,000 to up to $300,000 for a slightly used G63 wagon.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1991, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005 The 1985 – 1992 version of the G-Wagen is a lot more utilitarian than the recent luxury versions you see on the road, but these older models can be very hard to find.

#9 Toyota FJ40

1977 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser front left

Toyota FJ40 Model Years, History, and Features

The Toyota FJ first appeared in 1948 as Toyota’s answer to the Willys Jeep. Built with Toyota’s bulletproof F engine, it is known for reliability and was the longest produced engine from Toyota, in use from 1948-1992. The most iconic and popular of the FJ series is the FJ40, which was built from 1960-1984. Available as a short or long wheelbase 2-door and a pickup truck, folding jump-seats in the back made the FJ an ideal personnel carrier, especially off-road. Though no longer in production, the FJ40’s design language was the basis for Toyota’s recently discontinued FJ Cruiser. See Toyota Land Cruiser models for sale.

Toyota FJ40 Price

Based on actual market listing data, the high price range for the FJ40 is in the $75,000 - $150,000 range for vehicle model years from 1960 to 1983. At the top end of this price range, you should expect a fully restored, rust-free vehicle, inside and out along with some features to set it apart from the rest. If you’re looking for a reliable vehicle but not a Concours show vehicle, we suggest looking in the $40,000 to $75,000 price range. Specifically, we were very impressed with the number of fantastic vehicles for around $45,000. When looking at FJ40s which cost $25,000 or less, most of these vehicles are going to be your 1990’s Land Cruiser body style. At the lower price range, you should be able to find a reliable vehicle that runs and has been maintained but has not been restored.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the FJ40.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
1980, 1970, 1978, 1977, 1976 1974 – 1983. Keep in mind, that the early 1980 model years have an improved four-speed transmission.

#10 Willys Jeep / Jeep CJ

Jeep Willy's Wrangler

Willys Jeep / Jeep CJ Model Years, History, and Features

Willys Jeep is the grandfather of the off-roading movement. This 4x4 was built from 1941-1945 by Ford and Willys-Overland and served as light transportation for the Allied forces. With their ability to be flat-packed and assembled on the battlefield, the Willys Jeep became a decisive tool in the U.S. Army’s victory in the war. Legend has it that the "Jeep" name came from “GP,” short for "General Purpose." Regardless of the name's origin, the Willys Jeep is largely responsible for today's removable-topped off-roader trend.

Following the war, the Willys Jeep was sold as the “CJ,” short for "Civilian Jeep," becoming the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle available to the public. While the Jeep CJ was largely seen as a vehicle for farm use, Kaiser gave the Jeep CJ interior and exterior upgrades for the 1961-63 model years for the Tuxedo Park edition, Jeep’s first-ever trim package in an attempt to bring the brand upmarket. While the Tuxedo Park Jeep examples are scarce, the trim level started a branding methodology that continues with Rubicon, Sahara, and Willys Wheeler packages, among others. CJ models remained in production from 1944-1987 over seven generations until Jeep replaced the nameplate and chassis with the Wrangler, a heritage model that remains in production today. See Willys models for sale.

Willys Jeep / Jeep CJ Price

When we analyzed actual vehicle listings we focused on these models: CJ-2A, CJ-3A, CJ-3B, CJ-5, CJ-6, CJ-7, Scrambler CJ-8, and the CJ-10 for determining actual market pricing. Based on live listings from our site, you should expect to pay between $18,000 to as high as $42,000. The top end of that price range should be a coucours-ready vehicle or close to it. If it were our money, we would be looking at vehicles priced around $25,000 as we think that would be a great balance between reliability and needing a few improvements. At the low end of the price scale, if you are seeking either a project car or a vehicle that runs but needs some updating, we’d search in the $10,000 to $20,000 price range.

Which Year Should You Buy?

Based on traffic from the last 12 months, these are the model years that visitors are most interested in. We’ve also listed our personal favorite years for the Willys Jeep / Jeep CJ.

Most Popular Years Editor's Favorite Years
Willys Jeep - 1946, 1948, 1945, 1947, 1954
Jeep CJ – 1986, 1985, 1984, 1981, 1982
We’re partial to the CJ-3A and CJ-3B, which were made from 1950 to 1968. A CJ-5 or CJ-7 from the early 1980s would make a savvy choice.
Top 10 Classic Trucks
  1. Chevrolet K5 Blazer
  2. Chevrolet El Camino
  3. Ford Bronco
  4. International Harvester Scout
  5. Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer
  6. Land Rover Series I/Series II/Series III
  7. Land Rover Range Rover Classic
  8. Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen
  9. Toyota FJ40
  10. Willys Jeep


Published Dec 7th, 2021

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