I mentioned a few weeks ago that as I child I would spend countless hours browsing through books like Commercial Truck Trader. Over the years I amassed quite a collection. Sadly in a moment of weakness I dumped them all under the guise of getting organized. However, one survived. The grandfather of them all that started the obsession. The February 1988 edition of Auto Trader’s Big Truck Book, U.S. National Edition.
Looking at the cover you can tell we’re in for some goodies. This publication contains more cabovers than you can shake a stick at. Trucks that are rare by todays standards are plentiful. GMC Generals? At least two dozen. White Road Boss? Too many too count. International, Peterbilt and Kenworth blur together in a haze of black and white poorly framed photos.
Let’s take a look at two pages that sum up this 244 page plus collection of vintage iron. Click to enlarge.
I feel like I’m looking at the back pages of Wheels of Time! Look at that selection. That ’78 Autocar looks nice. Or what about that 71 Diamond Reo with twin screw! That seems to be a phrase that has left the modern pages of Truck Trader. Maybe you prefer a nice 73 White or Mack RS-700L with a 235 turbo. Endless selection. Unbeatable prices.
As I mentioned, I spent years staring at this particular Trader. Page after page is filled with notations on what trucks I liked. What prices I felt were too high or to low. At one point I even tried to color a few of the trucks with less than stellar results. I still remember the day my dad bought this book for me. Our family had made a regular trip to a second hand book store contained in an old warehouse on the northside of the city. The collection of books this place had was amazing. Despite the boundless classic literature I was drawn to this used copy of Auto Trader. Why anyone thought they could sell a publication like this nearly five years after its original print date is beyond me but I’m glad they did. It has been a treasured pieces of my truck collection every since and I have to believe this is the last one in existence.
Before the internet this how you sold a truck to a national audience. There was no ebay or craigslist. In the front of the book there is a page of telephone area codes for “quick” reference to help you determine the location of your dream truck. You only on a few lines of text to convey stats, condition, location and contact information. Almost like Twitter but not as annoying. Most of the items for sale seem to be located in the southern part of the country with Florida being a real hotbed.
Last night as browsed this book again I came across just one Brockway. I guess the rest were still working in the hands of their original owners and not yet ready for sale. Looks to be in great shape with a 350 Cummins, power steering and air conditioning!
So there it is. I can scan more pages if people would like to see more. Don’t forget to check out the advertisements for 18-20 year old U-Haul trucks and a truck salvage yard in Alabama that had every type of Detroit you could want. Good times indeed.