(first posted 12/3/2016) 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.
All-of-a-piece bodies seem to have been quite popular on removal lorries from way back. While the old normal control (engine out front) layout didn’t lend itself quite so well to the style there’s still integration of the cab with the space over it http://d20u174ifpwkls.cloudfront.net/st-neots/files/2013/02/51050411681.jpg
The growing popularity of forward control /cabover design and the streamline era lead to things like this http://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l610/SCAMMELL7/d75dc290-97a7-4b11-b7c0-baeda8229fe9_zps7f2683ae.jpg~original
I remember Bedford removals lorries like the one above still in use in the 1990s.
The unrestored Ridgeway Super freighter at the head of the piece is a gem of a time capsule and a lovely example of real signwriting.
I have been in love with these since I first saw one. About 10 years ago, I saw one converted to a motor home towing a trailer on Florida Route 326 in Ocala FL.
While I’d love to have one and do the same, it’s been 15 years since I’ve seen one for sale and that one was 500 miles from my home with missing doors.
Sorry about your doors.
Is this the rig you saw in Florida?
It could have been.
I was waiting at a light while it passed through the intersection. It caught me by complete surprise and I didn’t have a camera handy. I do remember it being white……both the van and the trailer.
There were also Spanish Pegaso vans of that type. Pegaso/ENASA only built the chassis that ended up with coachbuilt bodies on it. They were nicknamed “Capitoné” and we’re widely used by moving companies in Spain.
Pegaso then was sold to Iveco in 1995 and Iveco promptly started to axe the brand. It went from a brand, to a badge in Iveco trucks, then to sharing space with the Iveco badge, then to its demise.
Capitonés started getting thin on the ground in the ’00s and are now thin on the ground. At least some enthusiasts are snapping them up (and Spanish truck brands have a HUGE and fanatic fanbase). I hope I’m right, as I’m from the other side of the Iberian border. Perhaps Ibizaguy or B234R can confirm.
Pic from Spanish website pegasoesmicamion.com
As to that experimental midengine one off, anyone who ever had a Radio Flyer red wagon as a kid knows that a steerable axle is not stable at speed.
It would be fine under tow they always are, its just a drawbar trailer with an engine fitted the axle rotates on a proper turntable they are very stable.
the fageols are unfamiliar to me –however bedfords were to us ”brit colonialists” very popular in a variety of variations-trucks -buses-pick-ups– big and small vans-military trucks–built in england by vauxhall motors a general motors subsidiary–i served my motor mechanic apprenticeship with the local vauxhall-bedford dealer in chingola northern rhodesia[now zambia-africa]
Wow, I don’t ever recall seeing one of these. But then I would be at the very tail end of the demographic that was around then.
I wonder if these were more popular in the dense confines of big east coast cities? Midwestern cities were never quite so crowded and a more traditional tractor-trailer setup is all I ever remember seeing.
That’s what I remember too, growing up in the Cleveland area. And as a kid it seemed to me all moving van trailers were hauled by Ford C Series as that’s all I recall seeing 🙂 .
Wonderful! I’ve loved these since I first saw them, in Baltimore after we moved therein 1965.
Yes, this configuration was always very common in Europe, where maximum space in minimum length was essential. This style of truck for moving and other similar purposes was fairly common there.
That prototype with the wagon-type front axle is inexplicable. I’ve seen it a number of times and always leaves me scratching my head. Perhaps it was designed to be hauled behind a tractor for long distances and only driven very locally? Of course trucks like this drove at much lower speeds back then; 40-45 mph was typical for that time. Still…
I wonder where the engine was located? Maybe on it’s side midships like the Crown Supercoach?
You are correct. Original engine was a gas midship pancake like Crown or Gilag. Think it was around 600ci. We re-powered it with a 6V53 Detroit Diesel, Allison automatic transmission and Eaton 2 speed rear axle. Gas engine layed flush under deck, Detroit stuck up into living area so there was a little dog house to cover it.
Wow, what unique vehicles and I have never seen one in person. I am glad some are being saved since preserving a big truck is not as easy as preserving a car.
Is there a particular advantage for movers to the one-box layout compared to a very short tilt cab and conventional box body?
I’ll make a stab at an answer but it’s just a guess – two possible reasons;
– As Paul and others have mentioned, less length makes it easier to navigate smaller streets, alleys and driveways, while maxing out interior space.
– I don’t have any info to back it up but my sense is these Fageols must have been pretty competitive on price, as it was mostly an existing trailer body fitted over a chassis. Jim.
A short tilt cab needs some space over the cab in order for it to have room to tilt. That amount of room is more valuable to a moving company for cargo than it is to facilitate a tilt cab.
My family had a moving business in Connecticut…We had a Fageol…used when we acquired it…I remember as a young man driving it once or twice…my recollection was 1..Difficult to drive as you sat inward of the door area..a passenger could sit ti your left in a long bench seat…It was an International chassis….It wasn’t around for long…It was sold to someone moving to Puerto Rico….loaded and shipped
What a great find Jim !
We called this type of trucks a “tapissière”, although that’s clearly a French word. There used to be many furniture manufacturers in my region, logically these tall integral trucks were also used in that branch.
I caught this 1975 DAF chasis with a Visser body last year at the 2015 DAF Museum Days. This is how I remember them from my youth. For obvious reasons these trucks often had a crew cab.
The older ones had a wooden body, with a nicely integrated truck cab.
It has air suspension on the rear axle, which was a German job. The Visser body is built on a DAF B1600 bus chassis, the long rear overhang is a giveaway.
Thanks for the additional info and pictures Johannes. Jim.
Further back in time, a GMC tapissière.
And a Mack tapissière plus trailer. This truck is still alive and kicking, although it has been modified and converted into a motorhome. It’s pictured in my 2016 Stroe Truck Show “American Trucks” article, a few months ago.
While we’re at the subject of hauling voluminous but not so heavy goods, something like this was very common in the eighties. A truck with a sleeper on the cab’s roof (called a topsleeper), towing a short coupled mid-axle trailer. Drivers hated them, sleeping in a coffin on top of the cab. And often the already short day cab was made extra-short, as an aftermarket job. A reason to hate them even more.
Later on the length restrictions became less strict, so that was the end for this breed of “sleeper cabs”.
Source picture: http://public.fotki.com/modeltrucks25thscale/references_ideas/volvo/volvo_f12/fseriestopsleeper.html
Cool truck and not one I’m familiar with, Ive never done furniture, but most of the furniture trucks here were Luton peak style bodies on cabover chassis not one box style as body swapping was a popular method of moving households the body complete with load is slid off the linehaul units and put onto a local delivery truck, unloaded, reloaded and reinstalled on another linehaul truck, The Fageol at the top would make an awesome house truck fit it out drop in a modern turbo diesel engine a coat of protectant clear or colour and your away.
I’d agree that Lutons were always more common. I think the big difference with the Fageol is that the body is a normal production item rather than a coachbuilt body on a chassis. Outside the US I doubt the numbers would have ever stacked up.
I had to look up “Luton peak style body”. Here’s one made of organic material.
Wow! That thing reminds me of a can of Spam! I like Spam.
Yay, somebody else likes Spam! 🙂
I have it Filipino style: cut into thin slices, pan fried and served on a bed of rice.
A little off topic but as we’re talking about Spam, you may know that the state with the highest sales per capita is Hawaii – Spam is part of the local cuisine there. With its large military population it was a staple during the war and remained popular afterward. Next trip to Hawaii try the Spam musubi. Jim.
Combining William Stopford and Lincolnmans comments has me thinking of pan-fried Spam on a bed of rice topped with sliced pineapple! Sounds like a sure bet to me.
Yup, knew that. We found that out on our trip to Hawaii, they even have different flavors at the ABC store!
I’m up for eating spam, but only in Hawaii. Actually my favorite meal in Hawaii was Anahola Granola eaten at the top of Diamond Head.
Oh yeah nice van, never seen one. Now about that Spam….
There’s something unsettling about these trucks. They look like something Twisty the Clown would drive
I’ve seen pictures of these before, interesting idea.
The prototype stainless steel body of the Cargo Liner was constructed by the Fruehauf Trailer Corporation. It used a lay-down under floor diesel apparently built by International Harvester.
My 1/28th scale diecast 1955 Fageol Super Freighter
Beautiful – that’s certainly a rare one….Jim.
Thanx. Actually not too hard to find. There are a couple on Ebay right now, albeit for a little more than I paid for mine years ago.
I have one of ups model and I learned to drive a super freighter it was 1955 my brother and I sold it in1998
That cover pic brings out the patina fetishist in me.
Another view of the cover pic subject from the 2014 Turkey Rod Run
Absolutely phenomenal. Patina on a *huge* scale plus a dose of ghost signage. Wow.
I’ve never seen one of these, but I’m far too young. Seems like a very interesting idea and evidently it made a lot of economic sense.
Im looking for any other survivors of the 1961 superei freighters besides Liffey van lines 1961 super freighter
Has anybody have more info on this type of truck 1961 international morning truck
Does anyone have more info on this 1961 international moving truck
I built the 1952 white and grey RV conversion pictured above. Traveled in the Florida dirt bike racing circuit for many years. Was probably the rig Turbobill mentioned. Sold it to a guy in California, he flew out and drove it back. Would like to know where is now and how it’s doing?
I bought a 1954 super freighter in Waverly Hall, GA, six months ago. It used to be a Tom’s potato chip truck. I brought it home to Canton, GA. and I love it. Thirty two feet long, eleven feet high and eight feet wide. Hand painted front to back on both sides for an antique store in Columbus, GA. Maybe someone remembers it from there.
Another name (UK) for this style was “Pantechnicon”…
I have one I am looking to sell in the Seattle area
Bet some of those cans were awful to drive!