Many truckers love old semi trucks. The saying 'they don't make 'em like they used to', certainly applies to the big trucks of yesterday.
The new iron being produced nowadays is pretty slick and cool looking, no doubt about it.
We see those bad ass Peterbilt, Kenworth and tricked out, extreme trucks on the roads and at truck shows.... they certainly capture the attention of the majority. After all, how could you not be attracted to a knock-out paint job, chicken lights, stove-pipe stacks and all that chrome?
However, today, there is a distinctive, dedicated following for that old school style of big rigs, that is growing in size. This group of old school truckers, is becoming larger and stronger, even more so since the newer model rigs are changing so dramatically in their looks, cost and reliability.
The old trucks were simple rigs..... simple to drive... simple to fix.
Old school truckers like the pre-emission diesel engines and no wonder. They prefer these older engines as they are more reliable and have a proven track record and don't break down so frequently. They also like the fact, they are able to work on the engines themselves, rather than needing a specialized truck mechanic, as the engines are not computerized and loaded up with the complicated, unreliable pre-emissions junk.
The old semi trucks are also favored because of their traditional, classic styling: the simple body lines, the long hoods and the round headlights are a few features considered symbols of the old school style, big trucks.
In fact, many new trucks are customized to resemble the old big rigs with round headlights, visor, and factory paint schemes of some the vintage big rigs.
The old classic big trucks, not only looked good, but were built to last. They had power, and overall, had far fewer mechanical issues than today's emission-friendly, space-aged models.
Another more recent trend due to the unsettled nature of the trucking industry, is the surge in restoration of older model trucks.
We're seeing more and more complete restorations of the classic models of trucks, such as the 359 Peterbilt, Kenworth W900A and Kenworth W900B, some of the older B-model old Macks and of course the old cabovers, especially the Kenworth KW-100 and the Freightliner models.
Truck owners are stripping some of these old trucks, right down to almost nothing and restoring them to sometimes, better than new condition. Some are just for the truck show circuit, but many are actually restored to go on the road again, as working trucks. It's quite a thrill to pass one of those older model rigs rolling down the highway!
The old trucks remind truckers of the days when our trucking industry was at it's best.....when the average truck driver made 'good money'. The job wasn't any easier back then, before de-regulation..... the trucker was still away from home for long stretches of time, the driving days were long, the trucks weren't very comfortable. But, the driver was paid well for the work he did.
I talk to many drivers who really miss seeing and driving those old semi big rigs. They miss the years of trucking when they communicated by CB and truckers helped one another.
They miss driving those older models.... they remind them of their youth and for many, when they first learned to drive big trucks. These rigs remind them of their dad, grandfather or uncle who taught them to drive....... who plunked them behind the wheel and let them shift those gears!
These beautiful old rigs take truckers back in time. They remind them of
their roots in trucking and when they learned to drive.Those WERE the days.
I hope these photos bring back some fond memories of those good old days for you, when life and trucking, was much simpler.
A video of older model rigs.
1982 Marmon 110P Cabover
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