Need commercial trucks that are beyond pickups but not as mammoth as tractor-trailers? To the rescue: the versatile, rugged stripped/cutaway truck chassis. These are cabs and wheels with customized bodies. You specify the box section appropriate to your business, and the truck manufacturer outsources the order to an automotive body building company.
Most cabs are equipped with amenities such as speed control, tilt steering wheel, anti-lock brakes and seating for three. Prices begin at about $23,000. Among the most popular are the Ford E-Series Cutaway, the Sterling 360 and the Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab.
Ford offers several choices, including the 2007 E-250 Cutaway with a 4.6-liter 225 horsepower engine, four-speed automatic transmission and a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, of 8,600 pounds. Other models available are the E-350 and E-450. Engine choices include a 6.8-liter V-10 with 305 horsepower and a 6.0-liter V-8 turbo diesel.
The Sterling 360 has the widest doors in the industry and a range of seating options, with a center console serving as a desk. The 360 is available in five wheelbases. Its straight frame rail is among the strongest in its class and one of the easiest to upfit. The GVWR is 14,050 pounds. Go to www.sterlingtrucks.com and www.betterallaroundtruck.com for more information.
Dodge boxless chassis models include the Ram 3500 with a new 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine. A 5.7-liter 330-horsepower HEMI V-8 engine with a six-speed manual transmission is standard. A part-time four-wheel-drive transfer case is included on 4x4 models. The GVWR is 10,200 pounds. Other truck chassis manufacturers include Chevrolet and GMC.
Jill Amadio is an award-winning automotive journalist and author.