Lookin' at You

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Excerpt from:
“Here’s looking at you, kid!”

by John Bodden, Seattle, Washington

We olde truck lovers keep and restore many venerable cabovers (COEs). Though vastly outnumbered by conventionals, something about them causes us to buy them. Look at these beauties pictured in this article. Each with a pretty face.

What judgments do we make when we gaze at these wheeled lovelies? Does a truck’s front face really tell us anything or is it all fantasy? What do the engineers convey with all that sheet metal, paint, and chrome? Were we tricked? Did we buy it because it had a pretty face?

Some wise person said: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Neither can you judge a COE by its frontal appearance. What looks strong may be weak. What looks solid may be a rattletrap. What looks fast may be slow. Elegant trim becomes glitz. And so on. Let’s analyze this American COE.

The truth is: frontal appearance is designed primarily to sell the truck. The stylists and engineers try to convey many messages to the buyer. Collectively, they are intended to influence his judgment so profoundly that he selects this truck rather than a competitor’s. What are those messages, and do they really mean anything?

For the whole story, subscribe to Old Time Trucks® and read the Aug04/Sep04 2004 issue.


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