Back in the ‘old day’s’ that was true, companies did not care about driver comfort and the truck designs reflected that. For the past 10-20 years there has been a shortage of quality drivers and a company with poor equipment will be a much less desiarible place to work.
Cabovers came into favor in the 70’s because size limits where based on the overall vehicle length. At some point the length limit was changed to the length of the trailer only and the cabover began to falll out of favor for the reasons listed above.
On the other hand, when I was a kid, all of the school buses were Blue Birds with the engine in front of the driver, but now I mostly see the cab-over design for school buses. My guess is that this reduces the blind spot in front of the bus driver, which should prevent some of the horrible accidents where a child was hit by his or her own school bus.
Actually I think those cab over P/U’s are quite popular outside the U.S. and maybe Canada. I had one, as a work vehicle in Bermuda, but they have very strict size restrictions there. If you notice, in news broadcasts, foreign documentaries and other film footage, you see them quite often.
I’ll second the assumption of safety… Any kind of impact in one of those things and you’d probably be looking at some serious injury. There’s virtually no crumple zone and the rate of deceleration would be mighty bad for the driver.
The old joke regarding the VW Bus was that the driver’s knees served as the front bumper.
As for the older cab-over pickups linked in the first handful of replies above, to me, they look like someone simply took a Sawzall to a stock van, cut the back end off and smoothed off the edges, rather than looking like they were designed that way.
Besides, a van isn’t a true cab-over. Yes, a good chunk of the engine is between the front seats, but there’s still enough out in front of the windshield to have a usable hood that doesn’t require up-ending anything to open.
Vans now have somewhat of a hood. Vans back in the 60’s did not, the engine was completely inside the vehicle. Look at the Econoline and Dodge pickups linked up thread. Neither of them had anything that could be called a hood. If you have to pull the engine it came out the passenger door.
If you look up pain in the ass, it has a picture of someone trying to work on one of these engines.
I have no doubt that modern suspension has improved the ride considerably although I still have a hard time believing the ride could be as good as a conventional that also has a modern suspension. I agree with you on the macho hood. Really for me it comes down to what you are doing with the truck. When I was running local I hated to give up my COE on the days it needed service simply because even though it was a rougher ride it would get in places with ease that a conventional had to be worked into very carefully. But when I got back on the road I wouldn’t have traded my conventional Volvo for anything, even though it cost me some of the headroom I had in the freightliners that made up most of the companys fleet.
I only have 6 years driving and that was 8 years ago. So things may have changed enough to even out the ride gap between conventionals and COE’s, that would be a wonderful boon to all those that drive a COE because of its better handling.
I don’t think modern COE trucks can get any more comfortable. Nowadays air suspension has become the norm. The cabin has its own adjustable suspension and the driver’s seat has a gazillion of settings plus adjustable suspension.
Unless the road surface is bombarded, the ride comfort surpasses even that of most high end passenger cars. Even my pathetic little Mercedes 814 with metal suspension has great ride comfort.