Flat Tops are Back!

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No, no don’t start heading to your nearest barbers, I don’t mean the hair cut of choice for the American Marine, but the truck cab type. Flat tops were top dog in the cab world back in the 80’s before the space cabs, Toplines and Globetrotters took over. As a boy growing up in the 80’s flat tops were my bread and butter, a flat top 143, now when I mean flat top I mean an original Toplines in the same statement, basically anything pre being able to stand up and put your trousers on, which we all take for granted these days.

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These days the norm (in Europe anyway) is a Topline, a Globetrotter XL, a Super Space Cab or even the awesome Gigaspace and I think they have become so common place the delight of a flat top cab has been totally forgotten……this is of course until our Dutch and European cousins have turned it into a retro trucking marvel! At the best truck show in the world this year, or Truckstar Festival to those who haven’t been, it was a pleasure to see the flat tops making a strong come back. The difference now in 2014 is that the flat tops are probably still slightly bigger than the originals, but then again everything is bigger than it used to be (Mrs TB will disagree). Most of the trucks at Assen were Scania’s and a few Volvo’s. The Scania still comes in the original proper standard sleeper, I think it’s still called an R-cab and also the seemingly more popular Hi-line which according to the Scania website, gives you an extra 30cm headroom over the standard R-cab sleeper.

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When we all think of Volvo’s new FH series we all immediately think Globetrotter, Globetrotter, Globetrotter, how many of you even realised you can still have a standard flat top sleeper can just like the delightful old F10’s and F12’s. Well you can and the couple of examples you can see here are just awesome. Looking at them it’s so easy to realise that we have forgotten about the flat top. Then again perhaps because the big cabs are so common place on sleeper cabbed trucks these days that we (it wasn’t just me who noticed them at Truckstar!) were surprised back into realising how cool and retro the modern flat tops are. Then again anything that has been customised by the Dutch looks cool and enviable to us English. Just a side note people, hardly any shiny alloy wheels, painted wheels is still the way forward.

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By now you have realised that you need to be buying a flat top to be in with the gang. It really didn’t take much walking about at Assen for this to sink in, but to achieve perfection it seems that you have to select the chassis with a twin wheel tag. Sorry you must excuse me my European cousins, it’s not a twin wheel tag, you must call it (please read in a Dutch accent!) how do you say “rear bogie lift”. Phrase of the show. A flat top cab with rear bogie lift is the best looking carsch you could see this year. Just to convince you once and for all just have a look at the red beastie below from Belgium. Scania fan or not you have to admit she looks rather well. Hi-line cab, painted wheels, roof rack, straight pipe exhausts, rear bogie lift and of course a retro (3 series in this case) sun visor. Why on earth is the 3 series visor not offered by Scania as a standard fit option??

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2 thoughts on “Flat Tops are Back!

  1. Great article! Very interesting to see, and I agree they look awesome. I wonder though how practical a flat top really is these days though, even as a day truck where you don’t need to stand up, the high cab must offer better aerodynamics I would have thought when pulling the fridges and canvas sides trailers that most trucks pull nowadays?

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