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Flareside Was a Really Weird Pickup Thing for a Long Time

I think it’s time to discuss a strange phenomenon that afflicted the pickup-truck world for decades: Flareside. It was also called stepside — or, if you ask me, really-weird-side. Why did this happen? And why did it last so long? We may never know.

Here’s the basic background. Back in the day, you could buy a pickup truck in one of two ways: with a normal bed and normal sides that looked straight, dull and unexciting, or with something that Ford called Flareside and that other truck brands called stepside. Basically, it meant that your rear fenders were flared. See the trucks for sale near you

Of course, it also meant that there wasn’t as much room in your pickup truck’s bed as there was in a normal pickup truck’s bed. You were compromising your truck’s ability to actually be a truck … in the name of flared fenders.

“Nah, I can’t haul all that mulch,” you’d tell your mulch supplier. “But I got flared fenders.” And then the mulch supplier would gaze at the fenders longingly, wishing he could have such a thing, but of course he would never, ever be that cool, because he supplies mulch.

Interestingly, despite the obvious limitations, Flareside lasted for a long time. A seriously long time. As late as 2010, Ford was still selling a Flareside knock-off called Styleside (formerly the name they gave to a “normal” truck bed), which intruded on the bed by a couple inches. Chevy offered it into the 2000s. And even the Toyota Tundra got in on the game, offering a stepside bed on first-generation models sold through 2006.

But the days of Flareside are now behind us, so I think it’s time to look back in self-reflection, admire those flared fenders, really peruse them with our eyes, and ask ourselves, “What were we thinking?” Find a truck for sale


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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. The modern style bed first appeared on the Chevy Cameo truck and dodge sweptside in 1957.  Before that all trucks were stepsides.  Starting in 1960 the big three offered fleetside beds and ever since stepsides have become more rare.

  2. From what I can gather over the years, having a smooth-sided inner bed is why certain folks had a preference for this style, esp folks who haul dirt and such things.

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