Home » See If You Can Guess What Truck This Monster Is Based On

See If You Can Guess What Truck This Monster Is Based On

Cmonster Top

When I growing up, I think I had a pretty vivid imagination. Really, I think I still do, as the way I view world doesn’t seem that different than when I was a kid, which I’m not so sure says many favorable things about me. One thing I remember in particular is how my world was filled with monsters. Helpful monsters, sure, but nevertheless still monsters, heavy-breathing, growling, often hot and smelly monsters, and they were constantly prowling around the roads, dragging huge loads of beer or grain or potato chips or collecting garbage from our streets or rushing, while screaming, to put out fires. These monsters were, of course, trucks, large, cabover, medium-duty trucks, in particular one type that had such an evocative and monster-like face. That face was such a part of the background of my life for many, many years, decades really, and has only just recently managed to start to fade into obscurity. I wonder if you can figure out what truck I’m talking about based on the monster it reminds me of?

In America at least, these trucks were positively ubiquitous. They were produced from 1957 all the way until 1990, a staggeringly long run, and I do not believe they received a single signifiant styling update in all that time. They always looked like a monster.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Here, let me show you what sort of monster I always thought they looked like:

C Monster 1

That’s what these trucks always feel like to me: a powerful, shaggy beast, perhaps something like a cross between a lion and a buffalo, but much, much bigger, with wide-set eyes and a huge forehead and always wearing a sort of grimacing expression. It has the same expression as this emoji:


It always looks like it’s working hard, and while it’ll definitely do whatever it is you need, it’s not necessarily happy about it. Are you picturing the truck I’m thinking of yet? I bet at least some of you are. It’s this:

C Series 1

That’s a Ford C-Series Cabover truck, the first cab-over-engine truck with a tilting cab ever made by Ford. These things were used for pretty much every conceivable medium-duty truck use, from garbage trucks to tankers to food trucks to moving trucks to fire engines – there was no job these wouldn’t take.

C Firetruck


These were powered by everything from Ford’s 300 cubic inch straight-six bulletproof engine to multiple V8s to Cummins and Caterpillar and Detroit diesels.

C Series 2

I feel like I’ve spent a significant portion of my life staring at the pleasingly monstery face of these trucks, through rain-spattered schoolbus windows or in the background of almost every TV show I watched on a big CRT,  or lumbering past me as I sweated up a hill on my bike.

C Series 3

These were the unsung muscle of America for decades and decades, and they never stopped looking like they were sick of everything.


Oh! Here’s a strange whimsical thing they had, too: at some point, I think around the 1980s, the turn indicators were moved from those little round units set into the sides of the grille-mouth, and replaced with tacked-on round or square units that stuck out, like ears, from the sides of the cab. The old turn signal housings were filled with what could be the very last example of the sparkle motif in industrial design, as you can see here:

C Brochure Sparkle

That’s a brochure from 1985. That kind of starburst/sparkle/star/whatever was a mainstay of 1960s design; seeing it on a machine made in the 1980s is incredible. And then the fact that they still looked like this in 1990 is just even more incredible.

The C-series is still around, if you look, but time is finally taking a toll, and they’re dying off, slowly. I think I saw a firetruck version recently, which seems to be the last reliable holdout for the old monsters. I miss them, and all of their cranky, grimace-y charm.

It was strangely comforting, growing up surrounded by monsters.





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Von Baldy
Von Baldy
14 days ago

They also made a class 7-8 version with this cab, called a two story falcon

The look of these with an air starter would haunt kids dreams.


Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
14 days ago

Hey Torch I see that you made a “Grimace” tag for this article. Trying to get some SEO clicks from Canada recently getting the Grimace Shake?

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