Truck Topics is a new series of articles seen periodically in Autobody News that is dedicated to the collision side of the heavy duty truck market.
We see them all the time---semi trucks, trailers, buses, RVs, dump trucks and other pieces of heavy equipment wrecked in what had to be a horrendous crash.
If the 1940s and 1950s marked the industry’s earliest “modern” beginnings and the 1960s signified the industry’s “grammar school” years, the 1970s could be seen as its teenage years.
By the mid-1950s, more than a million Americans had been in car accidents and died on the nation’s roads and highways.
Each month, collision industry trade magazines provide readers with a glimpse of the industry at that point in time.
Anyone who lived through the 1960s knows what a turbulent time it was politically, socially and culturally. There were some profound changes in the collision repair trade as well.
The decade of the ‘50s marked a golden era in the auto industry. American servicemen were back from the war. No longer were factories turning out bombs and bullets. It was time to build some cars that were destined to be classics---and time to introduce some new automotive technology.
We’ve all seen them on television shows, movies and of course in real life---police cruisers all smashed-up, usually as a result of an accident, sometimes sustaining collateral damage when forcing a “bad-guy” off the road, sometimes damaged at the end of a high-speed chase.
By 1943, WWII was in full swing. There were no new cars; tires and gasoline were rationed, and the American public wasn’t driving very far ... or bothering to renew their auto insurance.
The 1940s marked the end of the Great Depression as America was thrust into WWII.