Reader Question: Bigger and Bigger?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Oskar asks: I am surprised how big the new Silverado is in comparison to my old Silverado. Can you explain what is driving this trend to bigger and bigger utility vehicles?

My reply: Javol! The reason has to do with what I style Cod Piece Fever. Americans have been PTSD’d into a state of quavering fearfulness about . . . everything. Attending this is a feeling of powerlessness. So, they are attracted to ever-larger, ever angrier-looking vehicles that make them feel safe and present a threatening facade to the world. That is y theory, at any rate.

With regard to trucks, it has gotten so absurd that a man my size – I’m 6ft 3 and about 210 – feels small relative to the truck. I can barely touch the floor of the bed of any new 1500 series truck without standing on a step ladder. This is why all the new 1500s come with or offer step ladders (and poles) built into the bed – just to give you  a measure of how idiotic it has become.

As powerful as the new trucks are, I’d much rather have an older truck that is less powerful – and a lot less idiotic!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. And now they sell “lifted” trucks right from the dealership. My neighbor bought one since he’s about 5’5″ and couldn’t get in without the rail that defeats the purpose of 4WD. I rode in it and it was smooth, something I’d never experienced in an F 250 powerstroke. What it also is is too high and I felt like I was in the cab of a Freightliner I had been driving.

    One reason, among many, I want to get my 93 K 3500 on the road again is it’s ability to corner at high speed. Our Z 71 1/2 ton handles badly in comparison and is much taller but it’s nothing compared to a new one. I don’t mind 17″ wheels to clear big disc brakes but the 20’s are just stupid and the very reason they “lift” so many new trucks, so they can clear big tires with some semblance of sidewall on those huge wheels.

    I have a nephew who had a Tahoe. It was nice enough and low mileage but the front end was worn out so he traded it for a slightly used Caddy of the same ilk. We were looking it over when he realized it didn’t have his “wife’s” 22’s on it. He made an emergency run and swapped wheels and tires. I didn’t even try to tell him the 22’s were the very reason the front end was ruined. If he never figures it out, he’s got plenty money to replace one. I’d bet those stock wheels off the Escalade made the Tahoe drive better. Cue Forrest’s mother.

  2. Agreed: My ’02 S10 is on three cylinders, but the ease at which the bed can be loaded and unloaded cannot be denied! That feature (and hell, that’s pretty much the primary reason for a truck) is far and above better than any new truck offering. And yes, the Ranger is stupid! Nissan Frontier is the best small truck out there.

  3. Pickups are now the size of a medium duty truck from the 1960s.

    My GMT400 looks like an S-10 next to the new pickups.

    • Hi Anon,

      A current “mid-size” truck like the new Ranger is almost exactly the same length as a ’90s-era 1500 and even it (the Ranger and others of its modern ilk) are stupidly jacked-up with bed walls so high you can hardly see the bed unless you’re standing on a step ladder.

        • Hi Joe,

          My buddy Tim’s a professional mechanic; he uses a step ladder to get at the engines of modern trucks. Modern 1500s – not 3500s. It’s as ridiculous as it is pathetic.

          • eric, I see a lot of guys now using a device that holds them over the engine and is adjustable in height. They can lie down and work on the engines since they can’t get there any other way.

            Decades ago I was right on the cusp of building a pickup with an “oil field” front end which is simply aluminum diamond plate with an engine cover like the old style where the sides flip up mounted on a firewall to radiator brace. It’s not out of the question to this day. You only need to use an engine that wasn’t made for smog controls and you’re good to go. I’d advise to use seat belts to not be hassled constantly on the road but using an old Blue Flame six or a flathead V8 and nobody can argue with that(the state and its minions).

  4. Love my 5th gen Rebel, but it’s size becomes a problem in the city, where it’s too yuge for most garages and tight parallel jobs

    Had a 4th gen Warlock that felt like a Tacoma in comparison, now I always got the idea of downsizing, even though the upgraded exhaust is beastly

    If it weren’t for taking a hit financially, sure I could downsize


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