Whether it’s a pickup, van, or wagon, the cab-over design is one of the most space efficient in all of automobiledom. Many of the American designs were based on small car frames, but instead of limiting passenger space to between the wheel arches, the Cab-over extends the cabin all the way to the front bumper. The benefits are maximum use of available space, excellent forward visibility, and ease of entry for driver and front passenger owing to the stepped door opening. On the downside were complicated steering mechanisms, a bus-like driving position, and the likelihood that the first thing to go through your mind in a bad frontal collision will be the windshield.
That last item is why we don’t have consumer-grade Cab-overs on the U.S. market any more. Trying to meet modern crash test requirements with so little crush space is a folly destined for failure. Still, we have a ton of cool Cab-overs remaining in the herd, and a lot of them are now reaching classic status, meaning prices for decent ones are heading up the ladder. Trucks like the Corvair Rampside pickup, Dodge A100 wagon, and Ford Econoline all debuted in the sixties, and by the end of the decade, all were gone, replaced by nosier renditions, or in the case of the open-bed editions, discontinued forever.
Only Volkswagen managed to keep the old school Cab-over flame alive here in the states, offering the Bus and then Vanagon. Both of those are now seeing prices rise, and in fact editions of the original Bus now often go for six figures, which is insane. Does that however, make the first generation Type 2 the coolest Cab-over ever? I don’t know about that, as I myself am partial to the Corvair Greenbrier with its crazy front overhang, and that’s ignoring the Japanese offerings of the eighties. What about you, what do you think is the coolest classic Cab-over?