The American Pickup Truck is more than just a collection of auto parts bolted together. It's way bigger than that. It's a concept, an ideal.

Why shouldn't you waste your money on American pickup trucks? Same reason as you shouldn't WASTE your money on anything. Purchasing decisions are, or should be, based on hard rationality and common sense factors, one of which, undeniably, is pure unadulterated emotion.

Is a Toyota Tundra, manufactured solely in San Antonio, Texas, somehow not an American pickup? Is it a Japanese vehicle, even though it isn't made anywhere in Japan? How about a Chevy Silverado, that's built in Ontario, Canada? Is it still an American vehicle, or does it class as a Canadian-made truck, by virtue of being, you know, made in Canada? And then there's the mid-size Ford Ranger (which has a Volvo engine, BTW) - built from scratch in Thailand, in a factory that's half owned by Mazda.

The economic realities of the global supply chain dictate that parts and components for completely different marques of motor vehicles, associated with very different nations of origin, are sourced from any number of suppliers in any number of countries.

A classic case could be a manufacturer in China making fuel lines and starter motors, that are supplied to a car plant in Malaysia, wherein they are incorporated in vehicles that very legitimately bear the livery of, say, BMW or Volvo.

Then there are joint ventures and re-badging. General Motors are sufficiently massive and widespread that they can, and do, conduct this business all by themselves; a car that originates as a Daewoo design in a factory in South Korea (or Turkey or Russia), might find itself hitting the road in Australia wearing the clothes of a Chevrolet. Equally, the same vehicle could be spotted in Britain in the guise of a Vauxhall, or Germany, where it might be dressed as an Opel.

Who's car is it? Human nature being what it is, that might depend on how it's behaving at any given time - going faster than anything else, or getting better gas mileage, might see it adopted unto the bosom of any number of parochial car fans, while breaking down a lot is more likely to engender a more jaundiced view, that results in the same set of wheels being blamed on the Tribe next door instead. Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.

And it's not only The General getting in on the act. Ford and Mazda played first-up-best-dressed for many years in certain markets, and the former's above-mentioned Ranger ute will, in its next life, also be available as a Volkswagen Amarok. Automotive musical beds will see Mazda, in turn, hopping in the sack with Isuzu instead.

The current incarnation of the Amarok is (of course) fabricated in Argentina, but the new bipolar 'Rangarok' will probably continue the tradition of gestating in Thailand, quite possibly in the same plant that's going to produce the next mid-sized Nissan truck - which is, incidentally, also a Mercedes (and has a Renault engine either way). Of course minds could change between now and then, seeing South Africa or Vietnam being given the green light instead.

Round in a big circle we come, back to the Toyota Tundra mentioned earlier. Now if you're still convinced that this is a Japanese vehicle, consider for a moment that you can't even buy it in Japan, at least not in the requisite right-hand-drive - unless you get one that was assembled in Brazil, or at least converted from LHD in Australia.

The American Pickup Truck is more than just a collection of auto parts bolted together. It's way bigger than that. It's a concept, an ideal, an aspiration. The full-sized pickup truck is as American as Mom and apple pie; and no-one else in the world makes them - apart from Brazil, Mexico, and Canada, of course - but even then, they're still American trucks, right?

Big, high, wide, heavy, and handsome; three tons of steel with an empty belly, and 18 feet long with the front paws still tucked in, nothing says 'I Am The American Dream' like a Yank Tank. When Tolkien spoke of the Blood of Numenor he wasn't referring to an ethnicity, but rather an entire culture, set of values, and way of thinking - and so it is with the American Pickup. The rumbling thunder of hundreds of heavy horses under the hood, the deep melodious growl of 22-inch mud-buggering feet on the blacktop, the literally acres of shining steel panelwork gleaming in the sun....ooh, be still, my beating heart.

Why would anyone want to waste their money on all that? Waste? WASTE?? For crying out loud, you can't waste money on a dream. Dreams are priceless. A higher ideal can't come with a price tag....well of course it can and it does, but that isn't the point.

The point is that when it comes to American Pickups, there are good deals and better deals, but there's no such thing as money wasted in pursuit of the noblest of goals. Climbing Mt Everest wasn't cheap. Neither was sending a man to the moon. Don't think of the price of your Big Truck as a cost; think of it as an investment in the evolution of your soul.

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Whatever you end up spending, it isn't a waste - it's a quantified measure of your level of spiritual attainment. . Richard Prosser is a former two-term (six year) New Zealand Member of Parliament, and magazine columnist. He is a winemaker and viticulturist by trade, and has lengthy experience in a wide range of industries and occupations, in New Zealand and abroad; everything from processing film to building anti-tank missiles to running London pubs, from driving trucks to selling tractors to designing farm irrigation systems, from labouring on building sites to installing vineyards to manufacturing fruit schnapps. Richard is an initiated Reiki Master Teacher, as well as being a self-confessed hunting-shooting-fishing petrolhead redneck, and has had a long association with natural health and complementary therapies. Richard’s unique perspective and insight stems from experience within both private sector business, and central Government, as well as from having a slightly odd sense of humour. Richard lives in Northamptonshire in England, with his wife Elaine, and their very expensive globetrotting cat, Juliette.

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