1955 International Harvester Cab Over

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Pug Nose IH

You don't see a lot of these around. This is a 1999 photograph of an IH pug nose. The cab sits higher than in a conventional, with some engine access under the short hood. There is a major doghouse inside for the rest of the engine. This sort of design allows the bumper-back of cab (BBC) measurement to be somewhat less than in a conventional which usually has a BBC measurement close to 8 feet (on a medium truck like this---10 feet on a Class 8 freeway cruiser). The mechanics really hate these things because access to the engine is difficult. Although this design is not as bad as the true cabover (where the driver sits directly above or in front of the front wheel), cabovers generally as not as popular with drivers as conventionals either because they don't ride as well. To the extent that the driver is sitting well back from the front wheel, the shocks of chuck holes are averaged out between the axles, but if you are directly above a wheel all the shocks of the bumps go straight up, and if you have one of those 'low cab forward' models where the driver sits in front of the front wheel, the shocks are magnified.

The benefit of a short/no nose vehicle is improved visibility. Small cars, and pedestrians can disappear from view behind the radiator of a conventional truck. This is not an issue with the cab forward models. Because of these issues you find cabovers used primarily under two conditions. They are often used in highly congested areas so the drivers can see what they are running over, and they appear elsewhere due to regulatory restrictions. In many places there are tax, license, and regulatory issues impacting the maximum length that a truck is allowed. The short nose allowed more hauling area for any given length.

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