Vintage Truck of the Day: 1935-1936 Mack CJ – The Streamlined Mack of Vans

Isn’t that a handsome beast? At first, I thought I didn’t know Mack built vans. But I quickly realized that this isn’t really a van as we think of it nowadays; it’s just a unitized truck, where elements of the cab are incorporated into the body. That was kind of a big thing in the 1930s, as part of the new streamlined look, to make trucks look more modern and less like horseless wagons. This fad lasted into the early ’50s, but was mostly pretty short-lived, as it had its limitations.

But looks was not one of those.

And here’s a look at some other Mack CJ/CH trucks; before and after streamlining:

The Mack CJ/CH line of COE trucks was developed specifically in response to the new length regulations taking effect at this time, and arrived in 1933 with this much more traditional boxy look. But that cargo body in the back is very much in the Streamline Moderne mode, and really deserves something better suited up front.

Here’s a semi truck version, with a sleeper cab. Werner was a significant pioneer in refrigerated express truck service, hauling produce from the Twin Cities to Chicago and…probably meat from Chicago back to the Twin Cities.

There’s even a van with the original cab style.

The new streamlined cab arrived just two years later, in 1935. Ironically, this boxy coal truck would be better suited to the old style cab.

That’s more like it. Gasoline tanker trucks were commonly styled extravagantly during this time, as a form of promotion for their respective brands of gas.