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Modern Beasts of Burden - TrucksTrucks have turned out to be one of the major workhorses of our modern society. From early times, people have had the need to transport goods, supplies, and other objects that were just too large or too heavy to move under human power. This need to move things has been around for as long as people have lived, and various devices have been made to help get the job done. Trucks have turned out to be a big way in which we transport goods today. Big trucks like semis move a tremendous number of items over the road today. Without trucks, the world we live in would be very different. The information on this website does deal so much with the big commercial trucks that are widely used today, but rather the smaller consumer sized pickup trucks accessible to almost anyone. Some of these trucks are also capable of towing & hauling tremendous loads. Modern diesel powered pickup trucks are capable of generating large amounts of power. Drag racing of diesel trucks is becoming more popular. Who would have ever thought that big, heavy diesel trucks could be so fast!
Looking back at the humble beginnings of trucks, the first truck was invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1896. It consisted of a carriage like design with a rear mounted 2 cylinder 1.1L engine that generated 4hp. It was capable of hauling up to 3000lbs. Later models were released with more powerful engines up to 10hp and greater load capacity, and a top speed of a little over 7mph.
Times have changed and modern trucks have come a long way! Today, a consumer can go down to a dealer and buy a truck with a powerful engine and chassis capable of hauling large loads with relative ease. Below are examples of trucks from the big 3 U.S. automobile manufacturers. Click the links below to be taken to pages highlighting some models of different trucks from each of these companies.
Trucks provide the average consumer with a workhorse capable of towing very large loads. In the past, each of the Big 3 automakers offered heavy duty pickups with big gas engines and heavy duty 1 ton suspensions. Ford had their 460 V8 gas engine that started off life as a carbureted engine and later was upgraded to fuel injection. Chevrolet had the 454 V8 gas engine which also later was fuel injected. Chrysler/Dodge had their 440 V8 that they put in some of their trucks. As pickup trucks have evolved, more of the heavy duty models now come with diesel engines.
All three of the big U.S. manufacturers of pickup trucks offer turbo diesel engines and heavy duty transmissions that allow these "smaller" trucks to work hard like their larger commercial counterparts. Ford has their Powerstroke V8 turbodiesel engines that were originally developed through a partnership with International. Ford now is developing their own truck diesel engine. Chevrolet partnered with Isuzu to develop their Duramax V8 turbodiesel engine which is a popular powerplant choice for Chevy truck fans. Dodge went with Cummins which is probably one of the biggest names in diesel engines. The Cummins straight 6 diesel engine is an impressive workhorse in the Dodge trucks. In addition to diesel, big powerful gasoline engines are also offered in these 1 ton pickup trucks for those that prefer gas power. Even so, many people still choose the turbo diesel engines because of the massive amounts of torque and load carrying capacity that they give these trucks. Some of these pickup trucks have more power than the full size commercial trucks of yesteryear. Trucks have come a long way!