How a Road Whale is Properly Used

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(Photo courtesy of ramtrucks.com gallery)

You’ve seen me complain about the huge size of today’s full sized pickup trucks and to be quite honest if you’re not going to use that big thing as a bloomin’ WORKING truck, why even have it?

That said, as my wife and I were driving home from bowling last night, we came up on a car hauler with two full-sized trucks and a car on the top rack and two cars underneath. The trailer itself looked just like the same style trailers you see on the road all the time; typically pulled by a big Peterbilt or other Class 8 over-the-road tractor rig. This one, however, was being pulled by a Ram 3500 in a deep red paint job and corporate lettering on the doors. That’s right, at nearly ¼ the size and probably 3x the fuel economy, this Ram 3500 was basically performing a Class 8 task, admittedly one of the lighter ones, but still towing roughly twenty thousand pounds of payload and another seven- to eight-thousand pounds of trailer (weights estimated at 5500# each for the pickup trucks and 4000# each for the cars.)

My point is that these newer, bigger pickup trucks do have value for those using them as part of their business; the ability to carry and/or tow heavy loads is an advantage with them. But to have a truck nearly the same size that can’t even carry 2000# of payload and only 7000# of towed weight? Why? We’ve got governments all around the world trying to reduce carbon output (and other pollutants) and yet the single most popular vehicle type in the US is a pickup truck so large that a heavy-duty version can basically carry three of its twins plus two other vehicles over the road? We’re talking a vehicle now over 25 feet long in its crew-cab configuration (the most common sold today) that won’t even fit in most garages and is a notorious road hog when trying to manage tight maneuvering even in suburban areas. My ’97 Ford Ranger can do a U-turn on a Maryland rural highway (two lanes plus 10-foot-wide shoulders) without setting a single tire on dirt and without the need to reverse in a three-point turn. Even on a divided highway I watch these big trucks try a legal U-turn (where permitted) from a turn lane onto two-lanes plus shoulder and still need to reverse unless they’re willing to risk a steep ditch as they still need more road than what’s available. That ’97 Ranger doesn’t even encroach onto the farther lane.

Last night I was happy to see a full-sized pickup doing what it was built to do. But it consistently makes me shake my head when I see a similar truck all dressed out in chrome and bling with a tonneau cover over the bed, looking like it’s never done a minute’s real work in its life.

Would I call it an Orca or a Dolphin?

A little over a month ago, I’m sorry to say my step-father passed away at age 92. He was an ideal companion for my mother and his passing will be felt dearly by her. I can’t claim to have known him all that well, but at the same time he was an attentive and caring person. He also liked to do nearly everything for himself rather than hire work to be done. As such, he owned a compact pickup truck to make all of his supply runs for lumber, tools and materiel. With his passing, I inherited that truck.

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Continue reading Would I call it an Orca or a Dolphin?

Is Ford really losing its mojo?

I see a lot of commentary about how Ford is losing sales, etc. and some of it just doesn’t make sense. There’s no logic or understanding of how businesses work, just emotional noise that doesn’t do anybody any good. Big Al from Oz at least shows a modicum of understanding when he says:
“Ford has an issue with the new Ford, as I have pointed out in many previous comments. The cost of developing, designing, refitting factories, new processes, etc, makes it harder for Ford to reduce costs to be comptetitive with the other manufqcturers. If the new aluminium F-150 is offered at a comptetitive price Ford will have little or no profit. Oh well, Ford has made a poor decision or more correctly the aluminium wonder truck is premature in the market.” Continue reading Is Ford really losing its mojo?

On the Hyundai Santa Cruz (In response to a comment on Pickuptrucks.com)

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The Hyundai Santa Cruz concept — image courtesy Hyundai Motors
A commenter on pickup trucks dot com stated: Stuck between giant rigs used as “lifestyle vehicles” and cute toys like this, there must be room in the market for a real work truck stripped down for contractors and farmers that is not gargantuan.” Continue reading On the Hyundai Santa Cruz (In response to a comment on Pickuptrucks.com)

Yet another Road Whale™

Today, RAM trucks announced another new model. “… Our new truck takes our brand to a new level of Luxury and Elegance,” says Bob Hedgebloom of RAM.
Just what we need, something heavier and more expensive than ever as exemplified by its model name, The Laramie Limited; their “… most exclusive, well-appointed truck.”

http://new.livestream.com/fcalive/RamTruckBrandChicagoAutoShow

Continue reading Yet another Road Whale™