Talk about (not)truth in advertising. There was absolutely nothing soft about these old tin can COE trucks. I didn’t drive them, but I rode in quite a few as a hitchhiker. The ride was punishing and the noise level was absolutely brutal; no wonder I have tinnitus.
But Dodge is is telling us the cab is a “safe, well-insulated, quiet and comfortable–a pleasant place to work…and we’ll even furnish him with a first-class cabin…at very little extra cost. For an idea of that, check out the picture to the right.”
I cropped that picture, so a large version of that delightfully luxurious cabin is available for you to check out in great detail:
I hate to think what the economy cab looked like.
All in perspective. My wife refuses to ride in my ’92 Nissan pickup, she calls it the “jalopy”.
Compared to some of my previous vehicles it is rather refined, if spartan. Downright
luxurious relative to a deuce and a half or military Humvee.
I always remember when I worked for Chrysler. Initially I was interviewed to be the New York Region’s truck marketing representative. By the time Dodge came down to hiring me, they already knew that Dodge medium and heavy-duty trucks were to be discontinued. However, one driver of a Dodge heavy-duty highway tractor used to show up at the regional sales office in Tappan, NY to deliver cars to us (buy backs, promotional cars, etc.) who in the summertime was shirtless. The cab was so beastly hot that when he wd arrived he was glistening. The truck that he drove for the convoy company was the 1955 pickup cab that had been elevated to “grand” heights to accommodate the Cummins Diesel and all other items that make for a heavy-duty truck. The convoy company had to use Dodge trucks because they were delivering Chrysler products.
I’m pretty sure you’re talking about the Dodge Bighorn, produced from 1973 to 1975.
Yes, I’d hate to see third-class!
I looked up an additional ad that focused on the “comfortable cabin” – with text (to the right of the image below). I like the part about “3 different kinds of insulation to keep it cool and quiet.” Based on Paul’s description of the noise, I wonder just how much of that insulation was used.
If I understand the copy correctly, these trucks had vacuum wipers. Didn’t know they were making them that late. Were they considered more reliable?
Air-actuated wipers”, meaning powered by the high pressure air system that also worked the brakes. That was common on big trucks.
Diesels don’t create any vacuum, so that wouldn’t work anyway.
My supposition is that the wipers were powered by compressed air from the air brake system, especially since Diesel engines don’t produce vacuum unless a vacuum pump is fitted. The trucks of this class with which I have been acquainted had an independently controlled air motor for each wiper. I often ran “my” wiper at the normal speed, and fed the passenger side wiper with just enough air to move slowly but consistently. It was a nice arrangement when the windshield configuration would accommodate it. I’ve never seen a relatively modern large truck with vacuum wipers.
Nice work. This picture looks like it may be the base version, since it lacks the “first class” version’s vinyl door panels with woodgrain trim strip and the seats look even more spartan (less lower padding and flatter backrest). It also possibly looks like the first class has more carpet over the engine cover area. And I don’t see a window crank on the passenger door. Could it be the the window doesn’t roll down?
The above comment was meant as a reply to Eric703’s comment.
My paternal grandfather, a lifelong Teamster, started driving “trucks” in 1918, when a “truck” was a horse-drawn, flat deck wagon. When his company switched to motorized trucks, they had open cabs. I’m sure he would have found this to be quite luxurious, by comparison.
Yep I think that’s the key is where you put the baseline. I used to volunteer at a railroad museum that also had a section for buses and fire trucks. Trucks could be pretty basic back in the day.
As has been said, all is relative. I drove an old Brockway with a narrow, cramped cab, nearly non-existent heat or ventilation, and useless wipers and defroster. Compared to that, this Dodge is very civilized. (I also drove a White Road Boss whose doors would sometimes pop open on a rough road unless you remembered to hook the bungee cord that ran from door to door over your lap, but that’s another story.) In my estimation, this truck would have been well aligned with its contemporariese.
Those Dodge Truck boys sure loved headlight pie plate trim.
I remember a lot of trucks with the bungy cords holding doors shut, some using the bungy cord to hold transmissions in gear. The class 8 cabovers were the worst. Driver and passenger were sitting in there separate “fox holes” with the massive doghouse between them. That big diesel engine just inches away hammering away and a ton a heat coming of the exhaust, engine and radiator to keep you warm. Ironically the cabs leaked so bad you froze in the winter time. Drivers would gather up rags to stuff everywhere there was a leak in the cab to try and block the cold air intrusion.
Safe, eh? I see, and where are the seatbelts?
“Seatbelts, where are they?”
Oddly, Larry Storch’s character here is very “Sgt. Agarn”, his character from “F. Troop”, just toned down to nebbish level. What are all those squared off rings behind the windshield for?
Good question Barry! Now that you mention it, that’s what I always wondered too.
I often wondered the same thing about that dashboard item, and finally got around to doing a quick search. Unfortunately there’s no consensus among internet commenters: some say it’s simply to keep small items on the dash, others that it’s some sort of defroster. The mystery continues. Until someone comes along with “just one more thing….”
Having once owned a 403, can assure they’re not original.
I see woodgrain. So of course it was first class. For Chrysler in 1971. The inside of my nicely trimmed 71 Scamp was not significantly nicer than this. Although I will grant that it was surely quieter. 🙂
We often got rentals from TR to supplement our fleet when I was doing night swaps these were Freightliner conventionals and they all had a plate on the passenger side saying business class by Freightliner compared to the Navistar Eagle I regularly drove they were a total poverty pack very reminiscent of that Dodge pic you got seats and nothing else
The Dodge L-1000 series was built from late ’64 through early ’75 with very few changes along the way. They were at least contemporary when introduced, probably ahead design-wise compared to the GMC ‘Crackerbox’ and Ford H series. One interesting feature was if equipped with a Cummins N series diesel, the engine was tilted over to the right side to decrease the height of the ‘doghouse’ in the cab. Shades of the Slant Six! The big L’s never sold in large numbers but they were not uncommon as many fleets seemed to like them, particularly household movers and auto transporters. These trucks were sometimes referred to as ‘Dodge Battleships’ because of the large number of exposed rivet heads on the aluminum cab.
I may be wrong, but the Swedes seem to have led the way in cab comfort and safety. My Father bought a brand new Scania 111 in 1979. I believe that cab design was over ten years old, and still years ahead of any British offerings.
Safety-wise for sure, thanks to the (in)famous Swedish cab crash test. Smashing a heavy weight against the front of the cab (windshield-height), among other things. After that, it was required that the doors could still be opened without too much trouble.
Good luck, furrin competitors. Flimsy, lightweight cabs didn’t have the slightest chance.
The Scania 111 cabover was a minor evolution of the 1969 Scania 110. The six-cylinder conventionals (like the L111) were much older, they already looked classic -as in old- in the seventies.
The 110/111 cabover had the same cab as the 140/141 (the V8) below.
Here’s a random thought.
When I was a kid, and beyond, trucks were just brutal torture boxes, and it should logically be the case that every truckie of those times was a dehumanized product of that abuse, your classic meataxe numbnuts monkey for hire.
But it wasn’t so, not in my experience. I know this from youthful hitch-hiking, and from my work later on.
Truckies were always amongst the more interesting people you could meet. Sure, they didn’t speak with grammatical eloquence or, apparently, wash that often, but they weren’t like machine-creations from the hell-based machine a truck of that era sure was. Lots of time to think, perhaps?
I guess that trucks always had glamour, at least for a car-nut and machine-lover.Oh hell, they still do! Perhaps your average truckie was someone who was taken by the romance of the big rig, and of being elsewhere, always, and could somehow live with the ear-ruining, back-destroying reality of things back then.