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Best Looking Pickup? 1948 Diamond T Model 201

C. A. Tilt was the gentleman who founded the Chicago company, Diamond T, which made some of the most beautiful trucks maybe of all time. He reportedly said many times, “A truck doesn’t have to be homely.” That’s certainly the case with this 1948 Diamond T Model 210 pickup. This one can be found here on eBay from a familiar seller in Ottertail, Minnesota. The current bid price is $3,600 but the reserve isn’t met.

We have seen our share of, um… interesting-looking pickups lately, but homely is a pretty subjective word. What’s homely to one person may be beautiful to another. I think the Tesla Cybertruck is pretty cool, but the new Ford Ranger, not so much. We all have our opinions on what looks good and what doesn’t and all of our opinions are valid.

The Diamond T Model 201 is a heavy-duty one-ton pickup and Diamond T started out making cars at the turn of the 20th century. In 1911, a customer asked for a pickup truck and the rest, as they say, is history. The one-ton Model 201 came out in 1938 as a replacement for the 3/4-ton Model 80. The cool Do-Ray Nobby marble reflectors on the tailgate and left rear side of the bed are a nice period touch, as are the side-mount road flares. Very cool stuff.

A luxury vehicle this is not, but they were fancy trucks in their day and they still provide a nice experience, although being a one-ton truck, they don’t exactly have a cushy ride like today’s one-ton pickups do. This one has a factory heater which is pretty nice to see and overall, other than the typical heavy surface rust on everything and the obvious upholstery work, it looks good inside. You already know that this truck most likely has a full restoration in its future, they’re pretty valuable trucks in like-new condition.

The engine should be a Hercules 236 cubic-inch inline-six with around 90 horsepower. There’s no word on whether this one turns over but hopefully it does do that at least. I’m assuming this is the gas tank sitting in the back of the bed so there’s a lot of work to do on this one. Are there any Diamond T Model 201 pickup fans out there?


  1. Avatar photo junkman Member

    Wow, that is a serious rig to be sure. Just the right amount of bling with that grille. Power steering by Armstrong, about the only thing from those years that doesn’t look like an old lady with a hunch back in black lace-up Oxford shoes.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo ChingaTrailer

      Most beautiful pickup truck was the early 1950s Armstrong Siddeley Coupe Utility. At one time I owned one that was probably the best in the world!

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo PoPPaPork

        Nah bud, the most beautiful truck is a Studebaker Coupe Express

        Like 4
  2. Avatar photo timothy herrod

    I was at a mud run in union star MO about 10 years ago, someone had a truck like this set up to run there. It was a pale green color with a visor and in mho the best looking truck there. I thought that the roof was chopped but after looking at this one i am not so sure now. Oh, by the way, that thing was a beast, it shot right thru the pit and into the trees on the other end

    Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Always nice to get a jab in the gut every so often. As many regulars know, I had a ’49 just like this, fact is, when I found it in a junk yard, it looked exactly like this, only no wheels, and certainly, no wheel covers, an extremely rare item, and no hood badges,( which I found later in another yard) so I wasn’t really sure what it was. Luckily this truck has them ( and not gracing someones garage wall), another tough item to find. Cost for the truck in 1980? $100 bucks WITH a rebuilt motor! For a while, seemed everyone of these brought 5 figures, restored ones 6 figures.. Apparently, the steam ran out on ambitious restorations like what is needed here, and the fact it’s “struggling” at $50 dollar increments, tells me interest is waning for something like this, that simply can’t be used as is, and a resto mod is the only way. One reason I got rid of mine( aside from that pesky court order) I had no place to keep it, and 40 mph just didn’t cut it, as a driver. I’m sure buyers today find that out the hard way, but can be easily remedied. Cool find.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Randy

      Working on restoring my grandad’s 48, 201. He bought it from the dealer and it never left the farm. We all learned to drive in it on the back forty. These guys were in Invincible! Chrome is beautiful. Called the Cadillac of trucks. Bought a donor truck so looking to stay connected with other owners. Proudpop@hotmail.com

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Ike Onick

    1939 Studebaker gets my vote as best looking pickup.

    Like 8
  5. Avatar photo Lance G Nord

    Everyone is going to have their favorites and this is a beautiful truck. But my heart is set (pipe dream) on a 1935 Hudson Terraplane pickup. That is an art piece!

    Like 7
  6. Avatar photo Keith robertson

    Like to try to make a de8 with the ow6. Need a truck.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo tommy

    almost looks like the tires are losing air as the take the pictures ;)

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo 1Ronald

    Those Hercules engines were the best. As any Willco owner will say. Sorry to see both Hercules (Ohio) and Willco (Colombia) out of business now.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo NW Iowa Kevin

    A Diamond Reo it is not as T and Reo didn’t unite until 1967. He’s using Reo to attract buyers but had he also put other brands in, it’s grounds for removal, false advertising. I love this truck and it’s around 300 miles straight north of me. Up to $4650 right now. Years ago a local man had an auction. He had owned and operated a gravel pit. On the auction were some old Binder (IH) pickups and a really cool ’34 Diamond T semi tractor. It even had a visor. This was in the early 1980’s and it hadn’t run for decades. I couldn’t make the auction, thought about leaving a bid with the auctioneer. I should have as it brought only $400. Apart from the large wheels and duals it was a small truck. Haven’t seen it since…..sigh.

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Steve R

    It’s looks haven’t withstood the test of time. The front end design, with the narrow upright grill hasn’t aged well. Both Ford and GM had moved forward by the late-40’s. The quality may have been a better, but these aren’t going to be working trucks at this point in time. The aftermarket has kept the F100’s and GM trucks relevant, that’s not the case with these and many other brands of what are now “orphan” makes of trucks. They are oddities at this point and their price and interest reflect that.

    Steve R

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      That’s true, these still had styling from the 1930’s, but 1949 was the last year, and in 1950, they came out with the “222”, essentially, a rebadged IH, but didn’t go over well, as an IH, and all the others, were probably half the cost. It was the last pickup Diamond T made. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/583990276665997439/

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Arden

    Have a pair of nobby reflectors. Real Marbles, set in polished chrome dimples, poured over with tar, and sandwiched in a cover. Wow!

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Jack Gray

    I never knew there were pickups made by Diamond T. My father was a farmer in South Jersey and drove to the factory to bring back a new 1947 chassis that had a flat bed built later to haul hay. As a 5 year old, I learned how to stretch waaaaaaaay out to reach the clutch pedal when I had to stop in a hay field. For me, that big truck needed both hands yanking on the steering wheel just try and get it to turn. Remember also the crank out windshields and the little vent doors near the floor for 1940’s air conditioning!

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo Dave

    I have a 1941 201 flatbed. This is a gem of a truck and have had great luck finding replacement parts. I’m also located in Minnesota and this is one of interest.

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Rick

    You almost lost with your inane comment about Tesla looking better than the Ford Ranger. It must have been a Monday and my brain hasn’t started working yet situation….

    Like 4
  15. Avatar photo On and On Member

    Where’s geomechs, this is his territory………….between him and Howard I’m done on trucks, gospel.

    Like 5
  16. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Diamond T truck. I’ve always been interested in Diamond T pickup trucks of 1945-50. Assuming that parts are available, I would think this would make an awesome restoration, or possibly a restomod. If I were to buy a truck like this, I’d keep as much as original as possible, but I’d also upgrade some things.

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo Don Hubbard

    I am interested in this Diamond T is there a contact number.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Cycle Salvage Kevin

      Don Hubbard, read the article to see the link to the eBay auction. It’s in the first paragraph.

      Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Tommy C

    There is a link to it in the description on EBAY. still 5 days to go.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Don Hubbard

      Thank You

      Like 0
  19. Avatar photo Stu Neilson

    I’d love to see the original painted markings on the doors and tail. Every truck has a story and it’s fun to read.
    My 23 International was restored in mid 60’s and they retained the original “North Wilmington Nursery” marking. Got me blocked from a parade in Boston once, because it had “advertising”. Here’s a link to a story in the local paper about the orig owner and the history of the truck. http://homenewshere.com/wilmington_town_crier/news/article_91ce5904-21fa-11e3-9ae5-0019bb2963f4.html

    Like 0

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