Home » What It Was Like Driving A Diesel Box Truck That Used To Make Hollywood Movies: Trade-In-Tuesday

What It Was Like Driving A Diesel Box Truck That Used To Make Hollywood Movies: Trade-In-Tuesday

Tint Hino 195 Ts1
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Today’s installment of Trade-In-Tuesday is a little different. Last week, I climbed a telephone pole to try to charge a Chevy Volt; before that I hauled a huge junkyard axle in the Midgate-equipped Chevy Avalanche; before that, I ripped a nasty burnout in a Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C. But this week, things are bigger, torquier, and tilt-ier than ever. That’s because I pilot a Hino 195 — a big, diesel-powered box truck that used to be rented out to studios to help them produce Hollywood movies. Here’s what driving this beast was like.

The Hino 195 box truck is a vehicle you probably ignore as it drives past you on the streets, with a hard working person behind the wheel getting ready to deliver something big (or many somethings small). It’s a generic box truck from a company you’ve never heard of — well, unless you’ve been reading The Autopian.

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You see, we’ve written about Hino a few times. Mark Tucker wrote about the Renault Dauphine-based Hiino Contessa that he found for sale:

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And Jason wrote about the one-off Hino Contessa “900 Sprint,” which was shown off at various auto shows around the world but never actually made it to production:

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Speaking of Hino ‘s cars, it built the early versions of the Toyota Hilux after the two companies joined forces in the 1960s:

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Hino remains a part of Toyota, but it specializes in commercial vehicles like the one I drove — the 195. Here, watch this week’s episode of Trade-In-Tuesday:

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The 195 is a medium-duty body-on-frame truck designed for the North American market. It’s got a 5.0-liter inline-four diesel engine mated to a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, feeding power to a dually solid rear axle. It’s honestly quite straightforward:

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The one I drove had been part of Galpin Studio Rentals, which is a fascinating part of our sister-company’s business model. Here, let me quote the upcoming, currently-work-in-progress Galpin book:

Have you ever wondered where the vehicles in your favorite movies and shows come from? There’s a good chance the answer is Galpin.

It all started with A Boy’s LifeE.T.’s working title before its release. Those Fairmonts and Granadas chasing the mysterious-but-charming alien were rented from Galpin Rent-A-Car, which was just starting to offer picture cars (cars you see on the screen) and other vehicles needed for movie and TV productions.

Then there was Back to the Future, a now-classic that featured some incredible old automobiles, many of which (including a DeLorean) Galpin helped source. The Dealership also provided cars for Dances with WolvesNightmare on Elm StreetYoung GunsFriday the 13thTop Gun and The Untouchables during this era.

In the 1980s, Galpin was busy delivering upwards of 200 vans, station wagons, and dually crew cabs each July for the coming TV season to the studios of Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount,  20th Century Fox, Sony and MGM.

In the 1990s Galpin formally established Galpin Studio Rentals to provide production vehicles and picture cars for film, TV and commercial productions, the latter of which was booming at the time. Some of the major feature films that Galpin Studio Rentals was involved with included: Basic InstinctTombstonePulp FictionScreamMighty DucksJurassic ParkFatal InstinctReservoir DogsSomething About MaryDumb & DumberThe MaskArmageddon and Titanic.

The 2000s saw Galpin provide vehicles for movies like Gone In Sixty SecondsPearl HarborNational TreasureKill BillIron ManThe Hangover 1 & 3Fast & FuriousPirates of the CaribbeanSpidermanTraining DayPitch PerfectOcean’s 8Rush Hour and many others.

In the late 2000s through the 2010s, TV production boomed and Galpin Studio Rentals found itself working with all of the major studios on shows such as: Modern FamilyBlackishCSI VegasScandalHow to Get Away With MurderShamelessSons of Anarchy, Big BrotherNCIS LABoschEuphoria, Wipe OutYellowstone, Grey’s AnatomyHow I Met Your MotherCurb Your Enthusiasm, to name a few.

With the proliferation of streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., production volume has grown. A few of Galpin’s recent credits include: Being the RicardosFlamin’ HotPam & Tommy LeeLincoln LawyerBlack Lady Sketch ShowRide or DieBabylonGrace & FrankieGLOWReno 911I CarlyRatchetAll American, Top Gun: Maverick, and more to follow.

Galpin Studio Rentals continues to expand its production vehicle offerings, with make-up and wardrobe trailers joining the mix. On top of that, the group also rents out production supplies and event rentals that have nothing to do with vehicles. It’s all part of an impressive growth trajectory of the well-run, booming Studio Rentals division of Galpin Motors.

Galpin has been involved in more movie, TV, and commercial production than any other dealership in the world since the 1980s.

Fascinating stuff!

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I had the pleasure of using one of those cabled-controllers that hydraulically raise and lower the rear deck. It flips down, then it becomes a flat platform, and then it goes perfectly up and down to raise and lower heavy loads. It’s awesome, and could even work as a lift for a small vehicle; I bet my World War II Jeep would fit on that platform, and it’d definitely fit in the cargo hold (which by the way features a translucent roof, which I found awesome, as it meant the inside was always nice and bright (during the day)).

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There’s a big door on one side of the box, and there’s tons of storage down below. I found a printer in one of the storage bins; it appears to be from about 2012:

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The interior is fairly straightforward. You’ve got a split bench seat, with the driver’s seat actually having a damping system! There’s a little knob under the seat that allows you to adjust the damping rate so that if you’re heavy and you hit a big bump, you won’t bottom the seat out — you’ll just float like a magic carpet. I cannot overstate how incredible this feature is. All cars should have suspension seats!

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There’s a dashboard filled with more blank buttons than I’ve ever seen in a single vehicle (makes sense, as truckers wire up all sorts accessories), there’s a standard floor-mounted PRNDL shifter (a waste of space if you ask me; this should be a column shifter), and there’s ample storage in the glovebox, door pockets, center console, and dashboard cubbies. It’s a decent place to spend time, but basic.

Before I headed off, I checked out that diesel engine, and because the Hino 195 is a cabover, that meant I had to tip the cab:

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I’d never done this before, and the instructions threw me for a bit of a loop at first. You have to pull certain rods and hold them while you pull other rods, then you have to push the cab forward with all your might, and then it latches in place via a prop-rod. The cab is set up such that it can be lifted reasonably easily, but do not try doing this with a person inside as I did:

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Here’s a look at the diesel engine under the cab:

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You can see the intake there on the left; when you lower the cab, the upper part of the intake pushes straight down on that to complete the seal for the intake tube, which goes from the back of the cab (roughly at the same height as the top of roof) down to the turbocharger.

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I don’t want to give away too much because I’d like you to watch that beautifully shot and edited video, but we did run into that^ during the test drive. I truly have no clue what the hell that is. It’s a huge mass of duct tape attached to the front of a Honda Civic’s front driver’s side door. It just droops from the cowl all the way down to the rocker panel. I’m baffled.

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But what I’m not baffled about is that suspension seat, which I put to the test while booking it over speed bumps. Suspension seats for all, I say. Suspension seats for all.

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Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
8 days ago

Wow, I had no idea about all the movie cars! That’s fascinating. The Hino trucks are cool

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 days ago

A bit of history, Hinojosa was forcibly merged with Toyota during MITI’s consolidation drive in the 60s that also saw Prince and Aichi merged into Nissan and Honda, Mazda and Subaru expanding to avoid the same fate.
Hino was semi common in the US in the 80s and 90s but has declined, leaving most of the small cabover market to Isuzu. Currently Hino sells a conventional truck similar to an International Durastar.

Myk El
Myk El
8 days ago

Somewhere in my head I knew someone had to provide vehicles for TV/movie/commercial productions. There’s more to like in the video than that bit of information, but I’m glad that info was included.

Cerberus
Cerberus
8 days ago

I used to drive a shitty old NPR with a regular seat and a blown turbo and I actually kind of enjoyed it besides the whole “holy shit, just accelerate, damn you!” thing. This thing seems like it would be almost fun.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
8 days ago

Future story with David Tracy: have him rent a range of U-Haul trucks and do a safety inspection on each of them.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
9 days ago

Am I the only one who interpreted “we did run into that^ during the test drive” as saying that David *caused* an accident that somehow resulted in such duck tape abuse?

The Matts
The Matts
8 days ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

Nope. That was my initial interpretation as well.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
9 days ago

Coincidentally I drove a Class 3 16′ Chezuzu LCF today to pickup some rental production equipment for an event the non-profit I work for. It was a big trip, under 7.5mi total including picking up the truck, two trips to the rental place and dropping the truck back off. Seriously I spent more time at the rental counter than I did behind the wheel. Most of the time we rent and I drive Class 6 26′ trucks so the 16′ feels like a sports car.

It is an interesting box on that truck. Apparently whoever spec’ed it out thought the customers were going to rip the side door off as it has 5 hinges rather than the typical 3. However they chose to use a pendant control of the liftgate which is much more likely to get damaged than hard mounted dual controls. Skylights are definitely preferred and we always ask for that on the 53′ trailers we rent, and hire a driver, to haul to the venues.

Greensoul
Greensoul
9 days ago

But…but… does it explode if you go under 55mph from an implanted bomb?????

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
8 days ago
Reply to  Greensoul

The girl from the bus…I love Sandra Bullock

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
9 days ago

A couple of points…

First, as long as you don’t hit anything taller than your vehicle, your knees aren’t the crush structure. You’ll be above them! Totally safe!

Second, rewarding the car with the weird growth:
“It might be a tumor”
“It’s naht a toomah!!”

And in case DT has no idea what I’m talking about: https://youtu.be/t_FRWUPcR7Y?si=Y7PeVOt8mihnk8Hm

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 days ago

Mmm…looks like Craft Services.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
9 days ago

You want a challenge, try pulling those things in and out of service bays with pits in the floor. I used to have to do that when I worked at a garage. It’s like playing “Operation” with a big-ass truck.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
9 days ago

There were cars in Dances with Wolves? A movie set during the Civil War?

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
9 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

I’m pretty sure there were no cars in Pirates of the Caribbean either

Space
Space
9 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

Support vehicles maybe, props and costumes.

Lardo
Lardo
8 days ago
Reply to  Space

white ford passenger vans for carrying cast and sometimes some crew (location/production team scouts), all sizes of box/flatbed/stakebed trucks for different departments, studios don’t own much for tax reasons, then maybe cars for some higher paid cast and crew

Last edited 8 days ago by Lardo
A. Barth
A. Barth
9 days ago

I bet my World War II Jeep would fit on that platform, and it’d definitely fit in the cargo hold

A clever fella could store a lot of parts in such a thing. They would be out of the weather (and out of sight) with minimal risk of feline or other intrusion.

And it runs! Maybe this could become a mobile hobby shop. Or heck, it could be the blank slate for the Autopian RV.

(Apologies if you covered any of that – haven’t watched the video yet)

Lardo
Lardo
8 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

the Iszuzu and Mitso Fuso are popular conversion box trucks for overlanding/camper van. Fuso can be had with factory 4×4, conversions for Iszuzu are done, and to lesser extent I think the Hino can to. They are a smaller portion of usa market than the other two

10001010
10001010
9 days ago

David just listed off a boat ton of movie titles, how many has he seen?

SCJeff
SCJeff
9 days ago
Reply to  10001010

Considering that he thinks it’s a lion in The Hangover I’m guessing not many.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 days ago

I wonder if the automatic floor shifter is there for a manual shifter offering?

Von Baldy
Von Baldy
9 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I know on the isuzu ones, where their shifter is basically the same spot, the manyal shifter pokes out through there as well, so highly likely

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
9 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I’ve seen several Japanese COE trucks and vans with column shifters, as well as 1st gen Ford Econoline and Dodge A100 trucks and vans. And every one is a nightmare of rods and levers and bellcranks and fulcrums – never mind trying to make all that work and still be able to tilt the cab for service access on a truck like this. It’s not impossible to make it work (and for the long term) but why would you take those risks in this case? Even with the shifter on the floor, there’s plenty of cab room for the driver and 2 passengers.

Last edited 9 days ago by Eggsalad
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 days ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

I wouldn’t. I love a manual sports car but only bought automatic box trucks for my business. Even then they were never COE, that is just so uncomfortable and inconvenient to manage basic maintenance. My comment was just to suggest why a floor based automatic shifter.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
9 days ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

While the old column shifters used a solid linkage a cable has been the norm for many years both for column and floor shifters, at least where there is still a mechanical linkage.

CSRoad
CSRoad
9 days ago

I remember going on a ride in a semi dump truck to the gravel pit as a passenger, I was beaten to hell on the access roads, meanwhile the driver was perfectly happy in command perched on his Bostrom(?) seat pretty much immune to the beating.

Alpine 911
Alpine 911
9 days ago

I see a new series coming up, David looking at things. Could become a book even

CSRoad
CSRoad
9 days ago
Reply to  Alpine 911

“David Examines” The new Autopian coffee table book.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
9 days ago

If you like those seats, wait until you try an air ride seat. Makes those spring rides feel like crap. And after you try air ride, then try an active ride truck seat(Bose and Sears Atlas makes versions.) Then you will hate car seats forever after that

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
9 days ago

My dear David,

We have all heard the concerns that the move to Hollywood has changed you, but I resisted. I had faith. The Gearhead runs deep, so I thought.
But now, my faith is shaken, perhaps irrevocably. You heard the truck run, drove it, tilted the cab and inspected the engine – and you still mistook an inline four for a ‘5.0-liter v8 diesel’? Woe! Woe betide us. Our David is lost.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
9 days ago
Reply to  David Tracy

XD I know you got it right in the video, I was just joshin’.
Glad you enjoyed your ride on the commercial side!

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 days ago
Reply to  David Tracy

You’re forgetting International Engine of the Year 2006 and 2007: the BMW S85B50 V10.

And Lamborghini’s 5.0 V10, which is proof you haven’t gone full Hollywood yet.

And Toyota’s 1GZ-FE V12.

Also according to Google GM did a 5.0 V6 in the 67-72 Suburban.

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
9 days ago

It’s worth pointing out that Hino is well underway in merging with the Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation that’s controlled by Daimler Truck AG. So, in the not too distant future, it will be a 50:50 split between Toyota and Daimler Trucks. https://global.toyota/en/newsroom/corporate/40505536.html#:~:text=In%20May%202023%2C%20Daimler%20Truck,and%20merging%20MFTBC%20and%20Hino.

Last edited 9 days ago by Silent But Deadly
Paul B
Paul B
9 days ago

Wait a minute, didn’t a Japanese-German alliance cause the original jeep?

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul B

The Jeep and a whole lot more

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
9 days ago
Reply to  Paul B

And Nolan winning an Oscar

JTilla
JTilla
9 days ago

As interesting as this is we are probably all more interested in that duct tape monstrosity you happened to capture. What a bizarre sight.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
9 days ago
Reply to  JTilla

Exactly. What exactly is going on. Is that a duct tape sidecar? Is it covering a spot where a meteorite hit the car? Have they attached a human limb to the side of the car? It’s all possible until we finally see what’s underneath.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

Jewish Space Laser test.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
9 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

My guess: Someone backed up with the door open, hit something, and over-extended the hinges, bending sheet metal and trashing the hinges. They couldn’t afford to fix it right so they reinforced the joint with duct tape. When it didn’t work they added more duct tape.

Cerberus
Cerberus
8 days ago
Reply to  JTilla

Chinese spy balloon wreckage.

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