Have you noticed how few chicken trucks there are on the road these days?
I was lucky enough to catch the Shell Super Rigs Show this year.
I roamed through the show, admiring the trucks, … some of these rigs worked for a living and some are built only for show.
Truly though, while the show trucks are great to look at and it’s interesting to see different innovations that builders have created, I prefer the working trucks that have taken time off from their hectic schedules, to detour to this great show. These rigs are truly awesome works of art.
To keep a working rig in show condition, is an amazing feat of dedication. When one sees a big rig rolling in for the truck show, for a couple of days, and then heads back to work, I take my hat off to them. They are true professionals.
On that note, beautiful trucks like these that work for a living are becoming fewer and farther between. With the down turn in our industry and the big fleets grabbing up the good freight that’s left, there’s not many chicken trucks and large cars around, like there once was.
In the ’70’s, 80’s and ’90’s, there seemed to be almost a steady procession of beautiful rigs, traveling across I-40 and I-80, and I-5. Landing at night at a truck stop in California back then, was just like going to a truck show. The lots were often full of beautiful rigs lit up in the night.
These days, most long haul truck drivers often aren’t able to turn a profit running California and it’s going to get even worse with their new CARB regs.
So where have all the ‘chicken trucks’ (rooster cruisers) gone?
Happily, there are still a few here and there…. like at these shows. There are a pocket of guys out of Pennsylvania, still running nice trucks and a few others.
Drivers in this business, must find it difficult to take pride in their ride, when the money that was once allotted to the truck, is now needed to pay the bills.
The profit margin has shrunk so badly, most guys can’t afford to waste money on aesthetics for the truck and upgrades that don’t bring any return….. and that’s just ‘not right’.
Working hard, long days as long as truckers do, there should be decent rewards, not subsistence living.
Leaving the show, I sadly realized that the death of the ‘large car’, may some time be inevitable, due to the current status and downward swing in this industry.
However, at shows such as the Super Rigs, they’re still a thrill to see. I have hope that they’ll be around for a long time yet. They’re a sign of prosperity, a sign of hope for better things in the industry.
As I headed east, and feeling just a little blue about the present ‘state of trucking’, we passed Malhon Stauffler, headed west in the construction zone in Indiana, in his beautiful Pete!
One glance at this beautiful rig rolling along, and the blues quickly disappeared!
Economy Hurts The Chicken Trucks, by Billy Edwards
I think we are seeing fewer chicken trucks for several reasons. The economy is one of them. Fancy chrome and lights cost a lot more these days. I also think there are fewer owner-operators and more company drivers out there. Most companies just won’t allow drivers to alter the trucks. Some states have laws against adding lots of lights to trucks. Chicken trucks are fast becoming an old school thing. It’s a shame though…..a large car all decked out is a thing of beauty.
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