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Colorized Mario's Tribute to Sleeper Cabs

2024 Volvo VNL Luxury Semi Truck

We’ve all seen those Big Rig 18 Wheelers on the road with their giant Sleeper Cabs. But do you know the History behind them and how they progressed.

I dedicate this Page to my dear Father-In-Law John Rico who was a Lifelong Semi-Truck Driver but has since passed into the Trucker’s Heaven above.

Many semi-truck drivers chose to sleep in their trucks than pay for a roadside motel. For the first time, sleeping berths came into use in the early 1920s.

These were called Coffin sleepers. Considered death traps because they were very small sleeper compartments outside the cab where the truck driver could rest. They were cold, uncomfortable, and unsafe.

From within these coffin sleepers, the off-duty driver had no direct access to the on-duty driver. He had to get out of the truck to get inside the coffin sleeper from an outside door. There were three types of Coffin Sleepers which I will go through on this Page.

In 1933 Kenworth Truck company states that they became the first company to offer an open inside sleeper cab attached behind the cabin of a tractor unit. And in the last 100 years many modern Sleeper Cabs and Cab extensions have been developed offering the driver all the comforts of home.

This is my Tribute to the Sleeper Cab and my Father-In-law John. Enjoy, Mario.

1 A truck sleeper cab is a compartment attached behind the cabin of a tractor used for resting or sleeping. The first sleepers were also considered death traps, which were also called coffin sleepers.

2 1920's Coffin Sleeper Under Cab. This type of coffin sleeper was mounted under the Cab. For the first time sleeping berths came into use in the early 1920s.

3 1920's Coffin Sleeper Under Cab. Small sleeper unit where the truck driver could rest. Not the safest because the road debris, CO2 poisoning, and lack of crash protection was affected by it.

4 1920's Coffin Sleeper Under Cab. They were uncomfortable and living in a sleeper cab like that was unsafe. They were called coffins.

5 1920's Coffin Sleeper Behind Cab. The off-duty driver had no direct access to the on-duty driver. He had to get out of the truck and get inside the coffin sleeper from an outside door. There was no opening to the cab inside.

6 1920's Coffin Sleeper Behind Cab. Sleeper berths allowed team drivers to take on longer routes by using the formula “one driver is sleeping while the other one is driving”.

7 1920's Coffin Sleeper Nose of trailer. From within these coffin sleepers, the off-duty driver had no direct access to the on-duty driver. He was outside the cab in the trailer.

8 1920's Coffin Sleeper Nose of trailer. Coffin sleepers were very small sleeper compartments where the truck driver could rest.

9 1933 Kenworth offered the First Successful Sleeper Cab. Regulations limited the amount of time drivers could drive before taking a mandated minimum rest period. The sleeper cab allowed two drivers to keep driving inside the cab.

10 1933 Kenworth Sleeper Cab. Many drivers chose to sleep in their trucks instead of paying for a roadside motel. Truck mfrs began developing extended cabs to provide a sleeping area for drivers.

11 1970 International Sleeper Cab. Drivers began making requests to truck manufacturers for larger and larger sleeping cabins. Sleepers were initially developed without comfort in mind.

12 1980 Peterbilt 352H Sleeper Cab. Truck sleepers vary in size from 36 in to the massive 261 in. Custom sleepers come equipped with many of the amenities of modern RVs.

13 1990 GMC Cab Over Sleeper. Looking back to semi-truck history, the driver’s fatigue has always been the main cause of accident deaths on the road.

14 2000 Freightliner Century Sleeper Cab. By 2000, approximately 70% of new trucks manufactured in the US included sleeping berths.

15 2013 Kenworth W900 Sleeper Cab. Truck mfrs noticed a truck driver's need for sleeper cabs and shortly after that they began developing the inside layout of tractor-trailer sleeper cabs.

16 2013 Kenworth W900 Cummins ISX15 Inline-6 diesel engine 14.9L 625HP 18 speeds. Cummins made the engines for most of the Big Rig Mfrs.

17 2013 Kenworth W900 Sleeper Cab. In line with the Peterbilt 379, the W900 gained a following among owner-operator drivers.

18 2013 Kenworth W900 Sleeper Cab. Modern trucks have internet access, satellite television, and electricity for cooking.

19 2013 Kenworth W900 Sleeper Cab. Truck mfrs developed sleepers of 36 to 48 inches long with long-haul drivers in mind.

20 2013 Kenworth W900 Sleeper Cab. Some sleeper cabs are so luxurious that they provide drivers with a home-like feeling.

21 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Today, modern truck sleepers may vary in size from 36 inches to a massive 261 inches.

22 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Post-WWII, trucking was booming, and so were sleeper cabs. They got bigger and fancier, offering more than just a bed.

23 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Some sleeper cabs had kitchens and huge storage space – a bit like a tiny home on wheels.

24 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Some sleepers turned into legit apartments on wheels, complete with beds, fridges, microwaves, and even small bathrooms.

25 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Today’s sleeper cabs are like a trucker’s dream come true. Fancy tech, killer designs, and better materials, these sleepers are a home away from home.

26 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Climate control, entertainment systems, and satellite everything, they got it. Second bed lowers down on sidetracks.

27 2016 Kenworth T680 Luxury Sleeper Cab. Truckers can roll down the highway in style and stay connected without skimping on comfort. Even take a shower when wanted.

28 2016 Kenworth T680. Sleeper cabs let long haul truckers sleep in their trucks instead of at a motel. Having your own bathroom is a big advantage.

29 2018 Volvo VNL Globe Trotter Mini Bedroom. A sleeper cab will always include a bed, but may include other amenities such as a closet, small desk, refrigerator, microwave, and TV.

30 2018 Volvo VNL Globe Trotter. Some models also offer red floor lighting or ambient ceiling lights.

31 2018 Volvo VNL Globe Trotter. This allows the driver to have dim lights on without affecting visibility and without lighting up the cabin interior.

32 2018 Volvo VNL Globe Trotter. Storage is often at a premium in sleeper berths, so many have built-in and efficiently designed storage spaces.

33 2022 Freightliner Cascadia Sleeper Cab. Manufacturers are constantly trying to make sleeper cabins more comfortable.

34 2022 Freightliner Cascadia Sleeper Cab. All the controls and gauges are within easy reach of the driver.

35 2022 Freightliner Cascadia Sleeper Cab. As for the actual sleeping space, you have several options, including a basic single bed, a larger bed that can fit two people, even a bunk bed.

36 2022 Freightliner Cascadia Sleeper Cab. Manufacturers began catering to owner operators who requested greater luxury.

37 2023 Peterbilt 389X Sleeper. This Creamsicle Peterbilt is considered by many as the Cadillac of semi-trucks.

38 2023 Peterbilt 389X Sleeper. Excellent layout of instruments and gauges all with the driver in mind.

39 2023 Peterbilt 389X. Sleeper berths allowed team drivers to take on longer routes by using the formula one driver is sleeping while the other one is driving.

40 2023 Peterbilt 389X. This allowed truck drivers to spend months on the road by having two drivers taking turns driving and resting.

41 2024 Lexus GX470 Luxury. Pure Lexus luxury in a semi-truck. All the luxuries a driver could ask for.

42 2024 Lexus GX470 Luxury. Team drivers began making requests to truck manufacturers for larger sleeping cabins.

43 2024 Lexus GX470 Luxury. The mfrs listened and all the comforts of home were built into these massive semis.

44 2024 Lexus GX470 Luxury. Relaxation and pure luxury in your semi-truck for the long hauls.

45 2024 Mack Vision 427 Sleeper Cab. Big Mack still displays the famous Bulldog hood ornament on top of the radiator grill.

46 2024 Mack Vision 427 Sleeper Cab Interior. Simple but functional sleeper cab interior.

47 2024 Peterbilt 579. The price of a brand-new semi-truck with a sleeper cab from a reputable mfr will run between $250,000 to $500,000 and up depending on the make, model, size, and configuration.

48 2024 Peterbilt 579. Brand new model from the famous Peterbilt company. The most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient Peterbilt – ever.

49 2024 Peterbilt 579. A Luxury Bedroom on Wheels from Peterbilt one of the best semi-truck manufacturers and the newest of models from Peterbilt.

50 2024 Peterbilt 579. Bed sizes in sleeper cabs also vary, but generally, Peterbilt and Kenworth have reputations for offering larger bed sizes. A Luxury Bedroom on Wheels.

51 2024 Volvo Big Sleeper Cab. Long haul luxury provided by Volvo one of the top sleeper cab manufacturers.

52 2024 Volvo Big Sleeper Cab. Among the major manufacturers of semi-truck sleeper cabs are Volvo, Freightliner, International, Peterbilt, Kenworth and Mack.

53 2024 Volvo VNL Luxury Semi Truck Sleeper. Volvo offers a reclining bunk option with adjustable positions, which can provide an easy chair feel to your bunk.

54 2024 Volvo VNL Luxury Semi Truck Sleeper. Volvo also offers USB and 12-volt charging ports for top and bottom bunks.

55 2024 Volvo VNL Luxury Semi Truck Sleeper. For entertainment, you can have gaming consoles in your sleeper cab or even in-cab satellite TV through providers like Epic Vue.

56 2024 Volvo VNL Luxury Semi Truck Sleeper. I dedicate this Page to my Father-In-Law John who was a Career lifelong Semi-Truck Driver.

57 2020 Kenworth W-990 ARI 261 inch Sleeper Cab

58 2020 Kenworth W-990 ARI 261 inch Sleeper Cab

59 2020 Kenworth W-990 261 in ARI Extended Sleeper Cab Interior

60 2020 Kenworth W-990 261 in ARI Extended Sleeper Cab Interior

61 Campbell Express Trucking Company. Per Dave's suggestion!

62 Snortin' Nortin' "Humpin' To Please"


Video and audio clips

OLDEN DAYS OF SLEEPERS


2018 Volvo VNL Globe Trotter Mini Bedroom


2022 Freightliner Cascadia Extended Sleeper


2023 Peterbilt 389X


2024 PETERBILT 579


2023 Volvo Mega Sleeper 156" VNL64T 500 HP


2020 Kenworth W-990 261 inch ARI Extended Sleeper Cab


2024 Volvo VNR Atlas S1 $495K



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Comments

Mario on Jan 19, 2024 said:

We’ve all seen those Big Rig 18 Wheelers on the road with their giant Sleeper Cabs. But do you know the History behind them and how they progressed.

I dedicate this Page to my dear Father-In-Law John Rico who was a Lifelong Semi-Truck Driver but has since passed into the Trucker’s Heaven above.

This is my Tribute to the Sleeper Cab and my Father-In-law John. Enjoy, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jan 19, 2024 said:

Well when I suggested you think "OUTSIDE" the box....I didn't mean a box like a truck!

But darn it if you didn't do it again........this thread is like the announcer after Mickey Mantle was done swinging.........THAT'S OUT OF HERE!

Oh can I relate to a lot of these, having been an OTR (over the road) driver for FedEx and my claim to fame, Richard Petty.

Sad to say FedEx's trucks back then were what they call cab overs or day cabs. The sleeper was the cab cuddled up in the fetal position over the doghouse that covered the engine. Not very comfy.

It wasn't until I hit the big times with Petty that I got a Kenworth that made other driver's drool in envy. With a sleeper big enough to hold square dances, I was in the big time.

With more buttons and switches and bells and whistles on the dash, some I had no idea what they did. But I will say this, Richard Petty took care of his employees.

I only filled in for 9 months for Petty while his fulltime driver had a back operation. Multiple trips back and forth across the US from Nevada to Illinois to North Carolina to Texas and back to home in AZ.

I drove some other sleepers in my life but they all paled in comparison to the Petty Suite behind the Kenworth that could pull 80K like it was nothing. Kenworth being one of Petty's sponsors gave him the best of the best of the best.

My fondness of the road quickly diminished as the miles and weeks added. Not being home but for a day and then like Willie Nelson sang, ON THE ROAD AGAIN.

I was so pleased when Petty's driver came back and my braggadocios days came to a close. I feel I've driven some of the worst and one of the best Semis in my life.

I must share that Richard Petty is a true southern gentleman who even allowed me to stay in his apartment over the race shop in Charlotte and gave me a rental car to explore wherever I wished. I didn't tell him I was going over to see Hendricks and see if I could catch a glimpse of Jeff Gordon.

Richard Petty has my utmost respect as a person, who never forgot who he is.

Maybe I shared too much here but when I saw the thread, I just went down memory lane. Sorry if I bored any one.

I can only blame the author of this thread for inspiring me to visit the past life on the road for me. Like anything, there's good and bad and then really bad.

But let's focus on the good and let the bad and ugly stay off memory lane.

Great thread and dedication Mario. If my reply here is any measure of my liking it, THIS ONE IS OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Signed Mickey ROB Mantle.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Well what can I say but a BIG THANK YOU Mickey Rob Mantle, who happened to be my favorite Yankee player on my favorite team.

Saw him and Roger Maris both hit Home Runs at a 1961 Home Game. The year Maris hit 61 and Mantle 54. The M&M Boys were after Babe Ruth's long time HR Record at the time of 60. But that's another story.

Amazing how one story or statement can take you down memory lane. With all the years you and I have, there are a lot of memories ready to pour out.

So I understand Rob how having been a Semi-Trucker yourself, this Page would open up your memory bank and your past experiences would just pour out.

All great stories you shared with us, not at all boring and very interesting. Those Kenworth Trucks are one of the best and you were lucky enough to drive one.

As I mentioned my Father-In-Law John was also a Semi-Trucker driving those huge 18 wheelers across the country. He too missed seeing his family a lot but he used to tell me it's not the quantity of time you spend together but the quality of time you spend together. Words I live by to this day.

We only get one day to live at a time, someday there won't be a tomorrow. So I live it as best as I can and make it a quality time.

Stay well my Trucker friend. We still have many miles to go in our lifetimes. Keep on 'truckin, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

ghpcnm on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Great article and on this somewhat rare occasion ...I am in total agreement with Rob.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Thanks Dave, be careful agreeing with me, I have been known to be be wrong, just that one time, and I wasn't wrong, I was just mistakenly informed.

Stay on your course of recovery.....Mario shares his wise wisdom to living life in the cool lane.

Rob

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Thanks Dave and yes Rob outdid himself!

[Reply to this comment]

ghpcnm on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Mario: Do you remember the old Campbell Express Trucking Company? The one with Snortin' Nortin' "Humpin' To Please". I bet Rob saw a few of them back in the day.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Yes I do Dave! The one hump Camel Snortin' Nortin' who was their mascot. What crazy commercials they were!

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 20, 2024 said:

Check out the two new pictures I just added Dave. Good suggestion on Campbells Express Trucking.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jan 22, 2024 said:

I have always had a lot of respect for men and women that drive a rig for a living. It can be the hardest job there is, much of the time. I have known guys that did this for a living and they all told me the same thing. That there is nothing glamorous about it, like what Hollywood wants you to believe. It is hard work, so they deserve any comfort a rig can give them.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 22, 2024 said:

I totally agree George, which is why I made this Page. The truck drivers bring us all the products we need and it is a difficult profession.

If the truckers can have some of the comforts of home in their travels, I am all for it.

Cheers to you my friend, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jan 22, 2024 said:

I would never deny the fact that at one time driving a rig was far harder than it is now. At one time drivers did not have power steering, air conditioning, power air brakes, floating captain seat (chairs), super sound systems, soft ride and safer engineering all around. To be a trucker back before the 1970's must have been real close to hell on wheels. But it is all in what you are use to, I suppose. Never the less I respect any trucker, whether they are from 1924 or 2024.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 22, 2024 said:

My dear father-in-law John was a semi-truck driver back in the 40's to the 70's and had it rough. I respect all the truck drivers as well as you do George and they keep us well supplied in all our needs.

[Reply to this comment]


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