In search of your overlooked legacy

WHAT WILL YOU have to show for the years you have spent in this industry?

You work hard, try to do a good job, and ultimately do what you can to deliver commercial trucks and trailers that meet a genuine need for your company's customers. You do it day after day, year after year.

Most of us are too busy getting today's commitment out the door or thinking about what needs to be done for tomorrow to give much reflection about what we accomplished yesterday.

We tend to view what we do as routine, but over the years people in our industry have created some innovative solutions to move freight, carry passengers, and perform specific tasks. Sometimes these solutions designed for one customer can be applied to help others. But often these vehicles are built to meet a one-of-a-kind need and are never seen again.

What is the most innovative truck or trailer that you have worked on in your career?

Next month, in our annual Buyer's Guide Issue, Trailer/Body Builders would like to pay tribute to the innovations our readers have developed over the years. We are looking for information as well as photos of your most interesting projects. Perhaps a work truck built to perform an unusual job or a trailer that offered an innovative answer to a specific problem. It could be something you completed last week. Even better, it could be a pioneering advancement from decades past that is now an industry standard.

Regardless of whether it is a truck or trailer, new or old, we encourage you to send photos and text regarding the project you are most proud of. We will publish as many as space permits. The result, we envision, will be a gallery of truck bodies and trailers that reflects industry innovations over the past several decades.

The idea to showcase your innovations comes in response to an e-mail we received last week from someone whose company lost more than a half-century of truck equipment history when it was forced to close its doors.

“I think there was a lot of history within that company's walls, considering they were in business since 1914,” Lou Selvaggio wrote of his former company, General Body Company of Chicago. “When they closed, the building was demolished with everything in it — including an extensive photo collection from the 1920s until 1991.”

The photos could have been stored someplace secure. Ironically, the collection was lost when the General Body building was bulldozed to make room for a public storage facility.

“I just have an attachment to truck equipment history,” wrote Selvaggio, an industry veteran since 1986. “I can't help but think that any historian of Chicago or truck equipment lost a massive collection of artwork and photos when the building and its contents were destroyed.”

We suspect a lot of people in the truck equipment and trailer industries have that same attachment. If you are one of them, please send us a photo and information about one of your company's “greatest hits.” You can e-mail it to [email protected] or send a copy through the mail to:

Trailer/Body Builders
Gallery of Innovation
4200 South Shepherd, Suite 200
Houston TX 77098

If you choose to mail photographs, please send a copy that you can spare. We will treat the photos carefully, but we can't be responsible for the fate of irreplaceable photographs.

Also, please send them quickly. Our Buyer's Guide is expected to be big enough to accommodate the anticipated response — later issues may not be. Please let us hear from you by July 5 so that your company can be included in this collection of truck and trailer innovations.

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