WALLA WALLA - The Blue Mountain Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society held its annual show Saturday at the fairgrounds, and along with it came a rare look at a full size "snub nose" or "bubble nose."
"You don't see too many of these old Freightliner cab-overs," society member Don Shute said, referring to the only full-size semi cab-over at the show.
The cab-over design, where the engine sits right under the cab and the driver pretty much right over the left front wheel, is still popular with light- and medium-size trucks, Shute said.
New full-size cab-overs, similar to the 1951 Freightliner from Touchet that was parked at the show, have become a thing of the past.
Right along side the 1951 Freightliner was the only other working cab-over at the show, but that was a medium-size 1986 Ford cab-over that was once a trash truck in Grandview.
So what brought the demise of the full-size cab-over?
In the old days, many states set limitations on overall truck and trailer lengths.
So the shorter cab-overs could pull longer trailers and haul more freight, which is a big advantage in trucking.
About the only other advantage was increased maneuverability with the shorter wheel base, retired trucker Tom Pousche said.
The disadvantages weighed in far greater: bumpy, loud and sometimes hot rides due to the position of the cabs over the engine.
"You talk about noisy, with that air (exhaust pipe) going in and out," Shute said.
So when most states dropped their overall length limitations, most truckers dropped their cab-overs.
Other historical trucks at the truck show included a 1929 AB Mack Truck, a 1947 Diamond T, even a 1927 International Harvester bread truck; all of them conventional trucks, with the only thing over the engines being their hoods.