Whether you recognize this distinctive vehicle likely depends on your answer to the following question; Which actor did you first see portray Superman; A-Henry Cavill, B-Christopher Reeve, C-George Reeves?
Yes, if you remember George Reeves (…and Noel Neill and Jack Larson), then you no doubt will know this is a Fageol Super Freighter Van – a product of the Fageol/Twin Coach Corporation, of Kent Ohio.
Fageol/Twin Coach was a manufacturer of trucks and buses from the early to the middle of the last century. Though nowhere near as popular as the GM Old Look, their Twin Coach urban transit bus was used by transport authorities in several large US and Canadian cities. In 1953, the bus portion of the company was sold to Flxible.
But their most successful product was this truck. In the decade of the 1950’s, the company found a niche marketing this model to the growing moving and storage industry, which was doing big business transporting post-war families to new homes out in the suburbs, or new jobs across the country.
They certainly had a unique design – they essentially took a trailer body and placed it over a medium truck chassis. There was no cab to speak of – the floor of the truck was flat from front to back. They came in a variety of lengths and heights. Fageol used International Harvester chassis and power plants – primarily the company’s Red Diamond series inline gas six in 6.1 to 8.2 liter displacement.
From a packaging efficiency standpoint, this made a lot of sense. But while you could add a plywood partition between the cockpit and the rear cargo area, one wonders if a panic stop would result in the driver sharing his seat with a Steinway…
“Performance” – perhaps, “Economy” – likely, “Beauty” – that’s a stretch… They had an “other-worldly” look to them, especially the stubby, short wheelbase models.
Fageol made larger models of this basic design that were used as buses and in other special applications…few were sold.
An experimental, mid-engined, one-off version built in 1950, named “Cargo Liner”, was even more unique given its tandem front wheels and steerable front axle – yes, the entire axle (and bumper) pivoted.
Imagine looking into your rear view mirror and seeing this bearing down on you…
Perhaps these “one-box” trucks were trendsetters – I found this picture of a 1980 Bedford moving van operating in the UK.
These Fageols really caught my attention in the late 50’s and early 60’s – they were just so “different” – they still have that affect even when I see one today.