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FEATURE for in-cab storage space really was.

History of Extended Cab Pickups

How They Changed the Industry Forever

By 1972, talk in the industry was that a stretched cab was imminent. And as Ford and GM were battling for top spot in the pickup world, it seemed obvious that one or the other would be first. But, surprise, it was Dodge that actually built the first extended cab - also in 1973 (late 1972 in the United States) - in the form of the new Club Cab. Added to the full-size D100 pickup, it created a backseat, albeit a very narrow one. Adding just 18 inches t o t h e c a b b o d y, t h i s Club Cab had two flipdown seats mounted on the sides of the cab. This space had to be accessed by folding the front bench forward. It also added two small windows behind the Bpillar. In reality, this first version was space for two kids, one skinny adult, or several bags of stuff - and the public loved it. There is no doubt that this advancement not only boosted the sales of Dodge - the perennial third place finisher in the Detroit truck race - but it also shined up its image as the forwardthinking truck builder. This innovation was as much a surprise in its execution (nicely incorporated into the body) as was the fact that Dodge did it. Except for a few good, but sporadic, technical advancements in the previous couple of decades, Dodge just was not on the cutting edge of truck development. Finally, here was a secure, weatherproof space for all the “other” stuff truck owners carried. It was obvious from the first debut that others would soon follow the trend, and by trend, I also mean that designers were catching wind of the changing

By Howard J Elmer

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xtended cab pickup trucks were an innovation that changed the fortunes of truck builders when they first debuted in the 1970s. That’s a fact, but before that could happen, we have to realize that it was the rise of the glamourous pickup era (as evidenced by GM’s sales dominance from ’68 to ’73) that really shifted pickups from just-work vehicles to personal transportation. This signalled a real cultural shift in the minds of pickup buyers - one that would lead to the need for storage space in trucks of the ‘70s. In fact, this issue had become so acute in the early years of that decade that when GM moved its gas tank from behind the seat in its cabs to under the frame rails in 1973 (something Ford also did), buyers were ecstatic. For the first time, the seatback could be flipped forward, offering up a whole seven inches of space. Seems silly today, but back then, this change was celebrated as a huge innovation, one that spoke to how pent-up the need FEB / MAR 2013

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