A bit of nostalgia this morning.
Do you remember GMC Astro's the cab over truck, not the van of later years.
If you have ever been in the truck side of the business you encountered or perhaps even sold Astro's way back in the day.
This morning The Colonel is jogging his memory about Astro's.
The idea of a cab over (hinged truck) was simple, in the US back in the day the overall lenght for a truck and trailer was 55 feet...you needed a cab over to haul in the US...yes 80,000 lbs GCW which by Canadian standards was "light".
Back in the day an Astro was a popular truck. While the styling was appealing compared to other offerings in the segment.
In the truck business for a sales consultant to sell an Astro was comparable to today selling a top of the line luxury car or SUV...it was HUGE to close a deal on an Astro.
Some perspective here...no computers, no word processors, no showroom software for the product. It was a voluminous "data book", accompanied by a comparable price book, to "spec out" and price an Astro or any truck for that matter.
When you hear today about product knowledge, back in the days of Astro's it was product knowledge, and application knowledge. You were the wikipedia of both product and application knowledge. A myriad of exchanges were going on a daily basis among sales consultants exchanging knowledge among themselves regarding applications, usage, fuel economy, speeds, gear ratios...and on and on.
It was a prime example of humans curating, disseminating the knowledge to prospective customers. Not software, not the Internet. It was and still is with trucks..." I'm hauling this from here to there, my GCW is so much, and I want to travel at that speed"....from there the sales consultant would always ask additional questions to uncover the finer points of the application, and expectations.
In trucking terms...the Astro had to lift the load, move it, and overcome wind resistance". Put this into perspective of when HD trucks had about 300 HP to do all of this and no turbos.
Back in the day when folks acquired an HD GMC truck, it had a GM diesel, you did not sell many Astro's without a Detroit Diesel.
These trucks were assembled in Pontiac, Michigan literally hand made in an aging truck plant, which was fascinating to visit and see all the manual operations from riveting aluminum, to bolting various components.
What were the "specs" of an early Astro?
Detroit Diesel 8V71 with 65mm injectors 318 HP, a Fuller RTO9513 13 speed transmission with a 0.85 overdrive ratio, a 12,000 lbs front axle with soft ride springs, and a 38,000 lbs rear tandem either Rockwell or Eaton, and either an Hendrickson extended leaf (Canada) or a Reyco (US) rear suspension. Depending on how fast the truck had to travel it was a 4.11 or 4.33 or 4.44 rear axle ratio.
The specs on the later versions
A Royal Classic cab, Detroit Diesel 8V92 TT or T (365 to 430 HP), a Fuller RTO 12513, and a 40,000 lbs rear tandem usually a Rockwell SQHP with the oil pump to lubricate the power divider, same rear suspensions, the gear ratios were 3.70 or 3.90 or 4.11. The turbo motors had dramatically more torque, and metallic clutches which presented a learning curve for some old school drivers. "Release to clutch and lift the load with the engine, do not try to slip the clutch as you are accustomed with a non turbo motor".
Today cab over trucks are a rare sighting, having been replaced by "conventional" cab trucks with a hood.