TBB Time Travelers: April 1978 – Fire trucks, school buses & container chassis, oh my!

Way back in April, 1978, 40 years ago this month, the wildly popular oil-family drama Dallas was beginning a 14-season, 357-episode run that gave birth to the modern prime-time soap opera – and the catchphrase “Who shot J.R.?” – but Trailer/Body Builders already was a well-established publication with a print library boasting 20 years’ worth of storylines.

That month, then-TBB editor Paul Schenck examined the emerging trend of rebuilding trucks and truck-mounted equipment, which he said started with a 1973 oil embargo that artificially inflated oil and gas prices, versus scrapping reusable truck bodies and equipment, and buying new. He vowed to cover the trend, while also promising not to rename the magazine Trailer/Body ReBuilders.

The April, ’78 edition also highlighted in the cover story a South Houston-based fire truck manufacturer, Fire Fox Corporation (no relation to Mozilla’s Web browser), which was using a former Pontiac dealership’s showroom in Columbus, Texas, to display its increasingly popular modular-body trucks, along with stories on the growing chassis-container industry – then third in annual trailer output behind van trailers and platforms – and bus body manufactures’ attempt to make buses safer through rivet bonding, or the use of adhesives to strengthen joints.

School bus safety remains an important issue today, as underscored by the recent crash of a Channelview ISD bus, which plunged 50 feet into a ravine in March, 2018, killing its driver, as do many of the topics TBB touched on 40 years ago this month.

 Here’s a photo gallery gleaned from the April, 1978, edition for your browsing pleasure.

TAGS: Truck Bodies
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