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TBB Time Travelers: September 1973—Super cool, super-sized trailers

In 1973, the September edition of Trailer/Body Builders didn’t focus on helping our readers prepare for the snow and ice season, as it has for the last 20 years. Back then, the month was reserved for our extensive preview of the annual Truck Body & Equipment Association (TBEA) Exposition, which still was in its heyday 45 years ago. The association finally ended is long run in the mid-1980s—but Trailer/Body Builders lives on.

So does the Federal Excise Tax on trucks, originally introduced in 1917 to help pay for World War I.

Our September issue didn’t hit on FET directly, but rather the Highway Trust Fund, which the tax helps subsidize. Then-editor Paul Schenck lamented the “Bust the Trust” coalition taking advantage of a wave of “anti-truck publicity” fueled by the “consumer press” to divert trust fund money away from interstate projects and toward more urban highway improvements, while also predicting the “anti-truck publicity has not yet peaked.”

Sound a little too familiar?

As we’ve discovered during our work on the Time Travelers series, the more things change in trucking, the more they stay vexingly similar.

The September, ’73 issue also highlighted Timpte’s new standardized reefer design, Fruehauf’s 17,000-gallon gasoline transporter – then touted as the largest tank semi-trailer ever built for highway service –  and L-Z Company’s efforts to build 100 ramp bodies for the EZ Haul division of National Car Rental System.

So, climb into the Trailer/Body Builders Time Machine and travel with us back to September 1973 with a photo gallery gleaned straight from the time-worn pages of the only magazine published specifically for those who produce and sell commercial truck bodies, trailers and truck equipment.

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