But it wasn't always like that. Back in the first half of the 20th century, the pickup market was much more crowded and included companies like REO, International Harvester, and Diamond T.
All three were founded only a few years apart in the early 1900s and were quite successful in the then-emerging truck market. Sadly enough, the other thing they have in common is that none of them are still around. Diamond T, for instance, disappeared as an independent manufacturer in 1967 following a merger with REO under White Motor Company ownership.
And because it hasn't been around for over 50 years, it's largely forgotten. At least when compared to the surviving Detroit brands. But even though it doesn't get as much attention as it deserves, diehard truck enthusiasts remember Diamond T, and that was enough to turn some of the company's trucks into beloved classics that fetch big money at public auctions.
And with old haulers becoming increasingly popular with collectors, more and more Diamond Ts are getting saved from junkyards. A cool example is the 1938 Art Deco whiskey panel truck sold in 2022 from the Rob van Vleet collection. A one-of-one gem custom-built by a shop in Toronto, it found a new owner for $20,000 despite its poor condition. The 210 pickup you see here may not be as unique and valuable, but it's yet another super rare Diamond T begging for a second chance at life.
Saved from a junkyard by the folks at "Iron City Garage," this pickup has been sitting for at least a couple of decades. And based on its appearance, it had a rough life on the road. It has several battle scars on the front fenders and the doors, while the bed is missing altogether. One previous owner also meddled with the frame, which has been shortened and lowered.
But it's not all bad news. Despite sitting for so long, the pickup truck is still in one piece, and things look good in terms of rust. Moreover, the original inline-six engine is still under the hood, albeit stuck and needing a rebuild to fire up again. It also includes some of the nice components that are hard and expensive to find nowadays, including the hood ornament, the wrap-around front grille, and the stylish door handles.
So what makes the Diamond T 201 super rare? Well, even though production lasted from 1938 to 1949, only about 7,000 of them left the company's factory. That's fewer than 700 per year on average, an extremely low figure for a workhorse-type vehicle that gets battered and bruised. It's also a rather unusual rig for Diamond T, best known for bigger trucks.
The 201 was also one of the fanciest pickups available at the time and one of the first to feature a passenger car-style grille and similar appointments. Aimed at customers looking for a more upscale truck, it was notably more expensive than similar products from the "Big Three."
It might not seem fancy nowadays, but the 201 became known as the "Cadillac of pickup trucks" back in the day. And needless to say, fully restored examples go for more than $50,000 at public auctions, which is significantly more than a Ford or Chevy truck in similar condition.
Granted, this Diamond T is far from being a Concours-ready rig, and it would probably be better off as a hot-rod project, but it's still nice to see it being rescued and cleaned up for a potential buyer. And hopefully, it will make it back on the road soon as a restored truck or a V8-powered restomod.