If you've got an old pickup truck sitting in the weeds rusting away but you would like to do something with it, and it still has a decent engine, then you should get started fixing it up. You could make the process of restoring it (or at least getting it into good shape) a project you work at on weekends. It's totally doable on a budget, as long as you know how to source good used auto parts, and are adept at searching salvage yards for the right materials. Some items you will want to buy brand new, such as brake pads, but other items are perfectly fine sourced from a used car auto salvage yard. Here's a list of some of the best items to look for at a local salvage yard.
New Quarter Panels: Don't Bother With Body Filler
Old pickup trucks tend to get rust on the body, and while a rusted old pickup truck might be quaint on a postcard, it's not something you want to drive around town in. So, you should deal with it. Now, one way to do this is to use auto body filler, but that requires a lot of skill. If you don't know what you are doing with the fill, you will create a bumpy mess on your car. Then there is the risk that you didn't sand down the rusted out sections of panels enough and the rust is spreading. The better option is to just get a replacement quarter panel from the salvage yard. When cars are junked, many of them have perfectly fine panels which are removed by the salvage yard before crushing the car. These panels are then sold on the secondary market.
You can get a perfectly rust free panel, remove your trucks rusted out panels, and then install the rust free one.
Rust Free Tail Gate
Another part on pickup trucks that often fails are the rear tail gates. These tend to get a lot of abuse. Perhaps they were left open and heavy cement blocks or gravel was loaded up, and eventually broke the support wires. The tail gates can get banged up and they also can get rusted out. So, a great part to get at a salvage yard is a new used tail gate that doesn't have any rust, dents, and the support hinges are still intact and not warped.
Fenders and Bumpers
Odds are the pickup truck has a lot of wear and tear on it, including the bumpers and fenders. A work truck goes through a lot of bumping and jostling during it's workday. Of course, this results in damaged fenders and bumpers. Maybe they are just dented, or maybe they are dented and rusted. Whatever the case, you should just contact a salvage yard and get replacement bumpers and fenders.
Check out your local used car parts dealer for the parts you need to do the restoration.