10 Of The Rarest Pickup Trucks Ever Built

Buckle up for a trip through automotive history! We're exploring some truly unique trucks today, giving you some fuel to burn in that collector's fiery spirit. These unusual pickups weren't always built for commercial success and many of them had fairly restricted production runs. Some, like the Syclone, were simply ahead of their time. Others, like the quirk-inherent Subaru BRAT with its backwards-facing jumpsuits, were just plain peculiar!

Rarity is a word that can mean a few different things, depending on what kind of enthusiast you're talking to. For transparency's sake, we'll define it here as one of two things: a model that had a limited production run or a model whose runs were short enough and long enough ago that to survive until today is of note. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list but one containing 10 rare, awesome trucks intended to delight many collectors.

All of the featured models have some blend of unique design, performance, and limited availability that turn them into coveted artifacts of another automotive time. From the break-neck speed of the Syclone to the luxury-incarnate Lincoln Blackwood, from the revolutionary REPU to the weird but fantastic Chevrolet SSR, we'll explore a diverse range of these short-lived marvels that dared to redefine what "pickup truck" meant.

GMC Syclone

The GMC Syclone was a pickup like none other. It had a limited production run in 1991 with limited reruns through 1993, and it blew everyone away with its speed. We're talking crazy levels of speed, here. With a souped-up, turbo-charged V6 engine, it left some contemporary sports cars in the dust.

It could hit 60 in just 4.3 seconds. The Syclone was outfitted with a sport-tuned suspension and four-wheel anti-lock brakes, further enhancing its performance capabilities and providing a driving experience more akin to a sports car than a traditional pickup.

With a short production run (only about 3,000 were ever produced), the truck was super rare and is valuable today as a result. The Syclone was ahead of its time, showcasing what was possible in terms of performance and technology in a pickup truck, making it a contender for one of the most powerful pickup trucks of its time. Though it's a bit of a relic, a testament to pickup evolution, and even more valuable to collectors.

Not only was it an absolute blast to drive, but with its aggressive styling and cool features, like a digital dashboard, it stood out as a big-ticket item. The Syclone featured a unique and aggressive design, with body cladding and special badging that set it apart from other trucks. Its blacked-out aesthetic and aerodynamic enhancements added to its distinctive look.

[Featured image by dave_7 via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 2.0]

Ford SVT Lightning

The Ford SVT Lightning is certainly no boring old run-of-the-mill pickup. It had two editions with separate production runs, from 1993 to 1995 and then again from 1999 to 2004. With the newest generation, the prices stayed fairly affordable, around $30,000, which is pretty comparable to some other affordable classic pickup trucks.

During the first run, around 11,000 units were made and the second edition run only had between 20,000 and 25,000 produced. In production, special editions and unique models added to its rarity. For instance, the 2003 and 2004 models saw some tweaks that made them more powerful and refined for the second generation, making them particularly sought after.

It offered incredible power and sharp handling, leaving other pickups in the dust. The second generation boasted a zero to 60 mph time of just 5.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest production trucks of its time. Its performance was comparable to some sports cars, a rare feat for a pickup truck. This wasn't just a souped-up F-150, though. The Lightning's body featured lower suspension for better cornering and unique trim pieces that set it apart.

The SVT Lightning has a decent following among car enthusiasts and collectors. It blends performance, limited production numbers, and historical significance, which has made it a sought-after model in certain circles. It's no wonder it gained such a lively fanbase. These trucks are valuable collectors' items now, sometimes even appearing in media or video games.

Jeep J10 Honcho

Check your idea of ordinary at the door and check out the Jeep J10 Honcho. The Honcho was a limited edition from the late 70s and early 80s, which means there are very few in good condition these days. Not only were there only a handful ever made, but with their bold designs, head-turning colors, and attention-grabbing graphics, the Honcho was on a mission to stand out from the crowd.

While exact production numbers are difficult to find due to its nature as a limited edition, it's reasonable to suggest the numbers are low, despite the production run stretching from 1976 to 1983. This rarity has made the Honcho a legend amongst collectors. It's not just the stand-out design and its reputation that keeps it on the minds of collectors everywhere. It is a Jeep through and through, from a time when that truly meant something. A true Jeep meant to conquer any trail and even give some stiff competition to more modern off-roaders.

Owning a J10 Honcho isn't just about owning a truck, it's a piece of history, from when makes really meant something. It represents an era in American design when exploration was a natural extension of human curiosity and this truck was meant to be a tool to explore that freedom.

Dodge Ram SRT-10

Produced from 2004 to 2006, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 is a pickup unlike any other. This absolute unit boasts a titanic 8.3-liter V10 engine lifted straight out of a Dodge Viper, pumping out 500 horsepower. which is a big deal, even among modern trucks. It will shock next to no one that this truck can hit 0 to 60 in no time flat, leaving even some sports cars in the dust.

Only a limited number of SRT-10s were ever made, around 5,000 in its first year's production run with each subsequent year showing declining sales. Due to the limited production run and the relatively small number of these trucks actually made, the SRT-10 is a standout gem for any truck enthusiast. It's mouth-watering on paper, and it looks a slick as Henry Cavil in a three-piece suit.

It's not all bark and no bite, either. It's a Dodge SRT, meaning it's built from the ground up for speed. The suspension, the brakes, and everything in between are tuned to handle that immense muscle power. It's kind of a muscle car in a truck's clothing.

Over the years, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 has gained a bit of a cult following. Its rarity, distinctly handsome chassis, and performance on paper and in use have all solidified its status as a collectible. As we move further and further away from its production run, finding well-preserved examples will become more and more difficult.

Lincoln Blackwood

Have you ever been physically attracted to a pickup truck? Well, prepare yourself for the Lincoln Blackwood, produced in a limited production run in 2002, there were less than 3,400 of them ever made. This beauty featured plush leather seats, wood trim, and a power bed cover.

This truck had more in common in terms of comfort with a sedan but had the added hauling capabilities. The whole design philosophy behind the Blackwood was combining the features of a high-end sedan with the utility of a pickup. It offered a unique blend of comfort and functionality and represented Lincoln's contention for being a great, if unexpected pickup truck brand. Features included a plush interior with leather seats, wood trim, and advanced (for its time) electronics, like a navigation system and a premium sound system. The Blackwood was never truly intended to do everyday dirty work—it was always more of a showpiece.

Because of its rarity and unique position in automotive history, the Blackwood is a collector's item. One can appreciate it for its distinctiveness and its boldness as an experiment by Lincoln in the luxury truck market. It remains a gorgeous reminder of a time when car companies were willing to go out on a limb and try new things, particularly because Lincoln isn't exactly known for its contributions to the trucking world.

Subaru BRAT

The BRAT (Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter), yeah the one with the jump seats in the back, is a pretty sweet classic truck. It initially hit the scene in 1978, not having much in the way of competition when it comes to compact trucks. It continued general production until 1987, with sales dwindling in the end. Initially, it was going to be hit with a high tax, as a truck, so they shifted the jump seats back into the bed area and voila! it became a "car", not a truck.

Fast forward to today and there aren't too many BRAT "trucklets" left around. They weren't exactly mass-produced, though the argument could be made. In total, over a 9-year run, they produced around 120,000. While that may not seem like a terribly rare truck, time is a fickle creature and these trucks weren't originally slated to be collectors' items. Despite how interesting they are, they are still highly sought after and a good condition BRAT is still relatively rare.

Limited numbers, quirky design, a cool history, and the fact that finding a good one is like finding a needle in a haystack? It might look a little weird, sure, but it's definitely one-of-a-kind. Its 4-wheel drive, compact, car-truck origin story even snagged the attention of the likes of Ronald Reagan.

Chevrolet SSR

Hitting the production line in 2003 and just three short years later in 2006 finishing its run, the Chevy SSR is a lovely, otherworldly vehicle that looks right out of a work of science fiction. This model sincerely looks like an alien replication of a pickup truck after having one described to it. Calling the SSR unique would be underplaying how off-the-wall this chassis is. That said, it's no wonder it was produced in quite limited numbers.

With its smooth lines and sleek design, the SSR features a convertible hard top, the SSR packs a mean punch. It has a powerful V8 engine that can launch it from 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds—wicked fast. This, coupled with its special editions and vibrant colors makes certain models even more sought after.

Not only is the SSR rare, it's become a legend in its own right. It was featured in the media and has developed a bit of a following online full of devoted fans. This is despite it only having a three-year production run resulting in just over 24,000 units being pushed into circulation. This truck is rare by design and has already, despite not being more than two decades old, become a big-ticket collectors' item.

Mazda Rotary Pickup (REPU)

The REPU (Rotary Engine PickUp) is an absolute testament to automotive experimentation, even if it didn't result in the wild success it ought to have in its 3-year production run from 1974 to 1977 with around 15,000 units produced. The Mazda Rotary was the only pickup truck ever powered by a rotary engine, the Mazda 13B. Beyond being an engineering rarity, it is a gorgeous specimen of a truck, one that would be a standout in certain collections.

The REPU offered in some aspects fairly impressive performance and handling, for what it was, thanks to its relatively lightweight and high-revving rotary engine. It delivered more of a car-like driving experience, which was uncommon for a pickup truck.

The fact that the REPU was the only truck powered by the Mazda 13B is enough to mark this truck as a collector's item. The rotary engine's design was fundamentally different from the common piston engine. The special construction of the engine allowed it to offer a higher power-to-weight ratio and a smoother operation than other engines.

The REPU was targeted at a niche market of enthusiasts who appreciated the experimental rotary engine's performance characteristics. This limited the overall mainstream appeal, unfortunately, making it less popular than mainstream trucks at the time. This, coupled with the fact that this is a fairly old model, means that the total number of units still in good condition is sadly low.

[Featured image by Rex Gray via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 2.0]

International Harvester Scout II Terra

The Harvester Scout II Terra is a beautiful classic pickup truck that began production in 1976 and stopped in 1980. This model in particular was a variant of the Scout II but featured a much longer wheelbase and pivoted in design towards serving the idea of "pickup" more with its bed. Despite its distinctive features, it had, unfortunately, quite a short production run, resulting in relatively few trucks surviving today in good condition.

Try as one may, it's near impossible to pin down exactly how many of these bad boys were produced in its four-year run. That said, between the age of the production and its production run, it's safe to say that this belongs in a category with other rare trucks.

The Terra was built tough to handle rugged conditions, and boy did it manage that. Its durable construction and boasted off-road capabilities made it a favorite amongst adventurous drivers at the time and continues to draw the more outdoor-oriented collector.

Even for folks who don't count themselves truck aficionados, just look at the Terra. It's a truck from another era, a simpler time, and harkens back to rough-and-tumble weekends and ripping down dirt roads.

[Featured image by John Lloyd via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 2.0]

Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

Produced from 1980 until 1984, the Rabbit Pickup, known outside the U.S. as the "Caddy", is a pickup that seems to exude that quintessential 1980s aura. It was rather small, some might even say puny, in comparison to other trucks at the time. This was because it was based on the Volkswagen Rabbit (the Golf, for non-US readers), which meant that it was incredibly fuel-efficient for its time.

Looking at the two models side-by-side, it's clear that this pivot away from a compact car and towards a pickup strongly influenced the chassis design. Resulting in a uniquely compact truck, the Rabbit Pickup benefitted from this whole design concept by becoming noteworthy in its own right.

Unlike other pickups at the time, the Rabbit Pickup had a relatively short production run which resulted, of course, in a relatively low number gracing the streets even during peak production. Herein lies the essence of its rarity: the scarcity of a short production run, coupled with the age of the run itself, helps make this model a particularly rare one.

There's no getting around it, though: the Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup was a hot mess. Its horsepower was sad. It was a truck only mom could love and yet ... It had a certain je ne sais quoi that garnered it a small cult following.