Now that the Ford Ranger and the Jeep Gladiator pickups are back, let’s take a drive down an old country road lined with forgotten trucks. Though it’ll be a challenge to locate an old Mercury or Studebaker truck, finding one with a Mitsubishi, Lincoln or Mazda badge is as easy as a few clicks on Autotrader.
Each of these forgotten trucks was economically feasible at the time because it shared mechanicals and sheet metal with more popular siblings from brands with a wider reach and a stronger heritage of truck-building. They’re downright bargains used because they mostly come from brands not normally associated with light- or heavy-duty hauling. They’re not as easy to find as their mainstream twins, but they’re worth considering if you’re in the market for a cut-price pickup truck.
Here’s a look at five forgotten pickups that might be worth remembering after all.
Ford bailed Mazda out of dire straits in the 1970s, eventually taking control of about one-third of the Japanese automaker. Beginning with the Ford Courier pickup, which was based on a Mazda design, the two automakers shared the development of smaller trucks globally for decades. Confusingly, the Mazda B-Series that sold in the U.S. from the mid-1990s until 2009 — and until 2010 in Canada, eh — was a rebadged Ford Ranger built in Minnesota.
Sold in B2300, B3000 and B4000 versions, which signified engines that ran from from 2.3 to 4.0 liters, the truck was mostly Ford bits and pieces, but it had a Mazda transmission. The B-Series truck was moderately successful and even spawned a Troy Lee special edition marketed in conjunction with the action sports brand. Perhaps because of their relative obscurity, B-Series trucks tend to undercut similar Rangers on Autotrader, making them smart used buys. Find a Mazda B Series Pickup for sale
Suzuki teetered on the edge for much of its short stint in the U.S. Sensing a need for more volume, Suzuki contracted with Nissan for a version of the latter’s Frontier pickup, which was already starting to gray at its temples in 2009. Thus was born the Suzuki Equator, which differed only in its badges but was often heavily discounted when new compared to the Nissan Frontier. The model was dropped from American dealers in 2012.
The 2020 Frontier is the same truck as it was in 2005 — meaning a used Equator is a bargain version of what Nissan dealers ask upward of $30,000 for. The 4.0-liter V6 is short on refinement but offers good power, and the relatively compact dimensions mean the Equator is easier to park than full-size trucks in urban settings and overstuffed garages. Tanked resale values make the Equator a great used buy on Autotrader. Find a Suzuki Equator for sale
The Mitsubishi Raider’s name dates back to the Dodge Raider, a clone of the original Mitsubishi Montero, except this time the Japanese automaker borrowed the Dodge Dakota as its base. Talk about a lineup of forgotten vehicles. Mitsubishi — or maybe it was Dodge — put a little more effort into differentiating the Raider from the Dakota than the typical rebadge job. The truck had its own front- and rear-end styling and a slightly different dashboard that was nonetheless festooned with Mopar bits and pieces.
The choice Raider comes with the optional 4.7-liter V8 engine and the DuroCross package, which added off-road tires, skid plates and a limited-slip rear differential on 4-wheel-drive models. Dodge kept a few finer touches — such as side airbags, automatic 4WD and leather upholstery — for its Dakota, however, which helps explain the depressed Raider resale values. It takes only about $8,000 to drive home a clean Raider with reasonable miles, and there are plenty on Autotrader. Find a Mitsubishi Raider for sale
Lincoln Mark LT
Sensing that Cadillac was onto something with the Escalade, itself a version of Chevrolet‘s Avalanche, Ford created a Lincoln version of its F150. It wasn’t a bad idea — I mean, it was better than the Blackwood — except that the Great Recession hit pickups and luxury brands hard, and the Mark LT was both. And the Ford F-150 was getting swankier all time — today’s F150 Limited can list for $80,000.
The Mark LT made it three model years in the U.S., and it was renewed for round two in Mexico for a few years. Finding still-new 2006-2008 models here isn’t tough. They’ve held their value surprisingly well, so expect to spend upward of $15,000 if you want one in good shape with reasonable miles. Find a Lincoln Mark LT on Autotrader. Find a Lincoln Mark LT for sale
Hummer‘s last hurrah was the H3T pickup, a crew-cab version of the H3 SUV that bowed at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show just months before the Great Recession sent global markets tumbling. The H3T preceded today’s Jeep Gladiator by pairing 4-wheeling ability with space for five passengers and a reasonable amount of pickup bed utility. Underneath its blocky exterior was a beefed-up version of the Chevrolet Colorado‘s chassis, and it shared the Chevy’s inline-5 and V8 engines. Like the Gladiator, the H3T was enormous, stretching nearly 213 inches — making it about half a foot longer than most competitors — and it came only with 4WD.
GM’s bankruptcy effectively spelled the end of the Hummer brand, meaning the H3T only stuck around for two model years. The pick of the litter is certainly the H3T Alpha, which came with a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 300 horsepower. Look carefully and you might find one with the optional Off-Road Adventure package, which added locking front and rear differentials and a chunkier transfer case. The H3T was cheaper than the standard H3 when new, but they’ve held their value well — low-mileage ones still command $20,000 or more on Autotrader. Find a Hummer H3T for sale