• Truck Rewind: Before the Tesla Semi, There Was the 1975 Hendrickson Paymaster

    Hendrickson Paymaster

    Dean Hobbensiefken built the Hendrickson Paymaster to be an aerodynamic, easy to work on, easy to drive, and inexpensive to maintain truck. Power came from a Detroit 6-71 or an optional Cummins VT-903 diesels. Other than its unique cockpit (which looks like the precursor to the Tesla truck’s exterior design) the Hendrickson Paymaster had advanced features such as the power module which sits behind the cab, can be swapped out in around two hours. There are no fuses, it has circuit breakers that are pop-up manual – they sit on the dash.

    “The Paymaster was a truck ahead of its time. Major truck manufacturers told Dean his design would be impossible to build, so he did it himself. After building the first two, Dean granted a license agreement to Hendrickson International of Chicago, Illinois, who produced ten Paymasters in the 1970s.” – – tenfourmagazine.com

    The rest of the package had self adjusting, anti-skid brakes (without cams, slack adjusters or bushings) and clutch. There were no “V” belts either. Only 14 Hendrickson Paymasters were built with a few of them built by hand by Hobbensiefken.

    Nobody knows how many Hendrickson Paymasters still survive, but we found one at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum a few years ago. It’s an amazing place that’s right next to the “Worlds Largest Truck Stop.”

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    20 thoughts on “Truck Rewind: Before the Tesla Semi, There Was the 1975 Hendrickson Paymaster

    1. Merry Christmas! and here is my gift to you all.
      I will help you all learn how to find TRUTH.
      AND , I do all the work for you this time, rather than tell you to be a man and go READ it yourselves.
      Aint I swell?

      Just Announced: TRUCK OF THE YEAR (go figure, its a Chevy pickup).
      (and Truck Trend (M.T.) has been doing this for 50 years, with more intelligence and critical thinking than the vast majority of other sites. However, TFL has an edge for showing us on video so much tough towing and off-road stuff.
      In this test:
      Total Miles Driven: 7,747
      Total Gallons of Fuel Used: 513.979
      Total Cost of Fuel Used: $1,641.40
      Total Fuel Pumps Used: 50
      Worst Single Tank: 5.59 mpg (Ram 3500 Track Flogging)
      Total Judging Book Pages: 791
      Total Hours Driving: 384
      Pounds of Ballast Moved: 52,100
      In other words, this aint no puff piece like other reviewers. Its a laborious test.
      *******Toyota Tundra***************
      -Hal: Thank you Toyota, sincerely,. Go see Tundra’s LSD really work on one of the videos.

      “Thanks to an all-new electrical architecture, the new Tundra now features the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), the company’s comprehensive suite of safety and convenience features designed to avoid collisions. TSS-P, which comes standard on every Tundra trim level, boasts forward collision monitoring with automatic emergency braking, lane monitoring, pedestrian detection, and radar-based adaptive cruise control. Mind you, this 11-year-old design now comes standard with features that are optional on some pickups, if they’re even offered at all.
      The Tundra’s Auto LSD and Active Traction Control aid low-speed crawl traction, with impressive suspension travel doing its best to keep all four wheels planted.”

      -Hal: Daniel, GM “owns platform dynamics”, and Ford is really poor–including Raptor, BTW.

      “In panic maneuvers with and without a payload the Tundra’s stability-control system activated almost transparently, keeping the truck on course with minimal drama. The same couldn’t be said of the Ram 1500 or F-150, which featured jittery intervention on those emergency lane-change tests.”

      “The Tundra left our offices with fans, folks who appreciated its off-road provenance, cushy freeway ride, test-winning V-8 engine note, and approachable familiarity. And with a surprisingly low $52,513 asking price, it represents a reasonable value as well.”

      ******RAM 3500 cummins Mega Cab***********
      -Hal: Oh, Ford has more legroom and better electronic features… NOT

      “And our Mega Cab tester also featured limo-like legroom, with comfort compounded by segment-exclusive reclining rear seats and a commendable 7 cubic feet of covered storage in the way-back.
      Surprisingly, the Limited also made for a decent daily commuter. A rearview camera and comprehensive front and rear parking sensors made it easier than expected to park in tight spaces. The Uconnect infotainment system remains state of the art, with good ergonomics, a logical menu layout, and user-configurable shortcuts for frequently used functions. And thankfully, climate and radio controls still feature duplicate analog inputs. The column-mounted shifter also opens up plenty of space in the console for snacks and drinks, and the nine-speaker Alpine sound system kicked out heavy metal or talk radio with equal clarity.
      Possibly the best ergonomics in the test. ”

      ******Ford F-150****************
      -Hal: Boy, that Ford has better technology features than the others… NOT! Fools gold, but fools pay for the real gold Ford prices.

      “Drawing ire, however, was that updated infotainment system. SYNC 3… still requires too many touchscreen inputs for simple tasks like adjusting the radio. It also occasionally exhibited glitches, particularly when Apple CarPlay was active. One driver was unable to access the climate-control screen, for example, unless he disconnected his phone to deactivate CarPlay and return to normal SYNC 3 operation.
      Also frustrating was the active lane assistance, which would occasionally attempt to steer toward the wrong lane line or become confused by a highway’s rain grooves. Turning off this feature requires using the menu display between the primary gauges, an electronic maze of vehicle settings. Overall, we found the driver interface to be too complicated.”

      -Hal: F-150s are built ford tough… NOT!

      “We must address one concern: By the end of our 1,200-mile test, the F-150’s structure had developed a few creaks, which were most noticeable on ditch crossings.

      -Hal: Those GMs jsut have too low of air dams… NOT

      “With a low-hanging air dam…”(even with 20 ich wheels).

      “In the end, keeping the truck out of top finishing position was the frustrating infotainment interface, those worrisome structural groans, and somewhat limited off-road abilities. One editor said it best: “Sorry I’m not being more specific, but the F-150 kind of left me wanting. I thought it might have a little more to offer.” For about $63,000 as tested, we have to agree.”

      -Hal: But as I’ve said many times, Ford sure knows how to win over boys and dumb men–with the shiny, skin deep things.

      “And its interior and exterior design made most, if not all, of our editors happy. The not-actually-red Magma Red paint code attracted a few snickers, but the blackish-bronze exterior still drew plenty of longing gazes, and the Platinum-specific brightwork provided a few visual highlights to the F-150’s modern, architectural design.”

      **********RAM 1500****************
      -Hal: A few TFL carazoids didn’t belive me when I said RAM’s new management outpaces competition and are not to be underestimated now that they finally get to have their first new platform coming out soon.

      “it still rocks a whole host of class-exclusive features. As an example, Ram is the only company using a link-coil rear suspension on its ½-ton pickup. It’s also the only one with an available four-corner air suspension and optional diesel engine. To keep the aging pickup relevant and competitive until the next-generation 1500 debuts sometime in 2018, Ram has continued to improve on the pickup that it has and usher out special editions at a cadence that hasn’t been matched.”

      *********Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Gas*************
      -Hal: Its not powerful or high speed enough… NOT.

      “From the onset of the test, we noticed the truck’s zippy attitude and great on-highway performance. Part of the magic of the MutliMatic DSSV damper is its uncanny ability to provide a fantastic ride over broken roads while also keeping everything composed when the pavement fades to dirt. Our judging crew was consistently impressed with the pickup’s ability to hug corner and punish pavement. In fact, the ZR2 was one of the favorites when it came to highway ride quality, among the field of super-plush luxury trucks.
      Off-road is where the truck really shows its true colors. The suspension flexes well and the shocks handle nearly everything that can be thrown at them. Rough roads are smoothed out, and big bumps are a non-issue. Combining the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires with front and rear locking differentials provides traction in all conditions, even at full air pressure. And the electronic system’s off-road mode allows for some tail-happy fun on loose terrain. we can say without a doubt that this truck was by far the best suited for any kind of dirt.
      Spunky acceleration. Great suspension tuning for both on- and off-road. ”

      ********GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali******Winner Pickup Truck of the Year
      -Hal: Well, GMs are just engineered smarter. don’t believe my words, read below for yourself.

      “The ’18 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali displayed a level of poise, composure, and competence in each of our judged categories. Being a one-trick-pony doesn’t bode well for our test; it’s an all-around good showing to take home the hardware.”

      “GMC’s Intellilink infotainment system is often lauded as one of the best in the business,…
      … the Intellilink system was among the best of the bunch. Our Denali also came rigged with cameras aiding in backup, parking, and hitching, {and you an get }the optional trailering camera system.”

      “The Sierra’s mirrors are the best towing mirrors I’ve ever used.”

      “everyone agreed that towing is where the Denali excelled. Before we punished the truck with a payload, acceleration was bold and locomotive-smooth, and neither quality degraded with a loaded bed or trailer in tow. We don’t think the truck even noticed the 10,000-pound trailer behind it, even when grinding up a 6-percent grade. We maintained full control of the trailer downhill by utilizing the built-in exhaust brake, which held our speed easily and was agreeable all the while. Coupled with the GMC’s Grade Braking function, the Sierra was as competent descending a grade as climbing it. Not even our extreme towing duties were enough to break the near silence of the Duramax engine. Stopped at a red light, it’s easy to forget the truck is even running.”

      “That said, this truck can play in the dirt almost as nicely as it does in front of a trailer. The independent suspension in the front was enough to quiet most of the rumbles from the grapefruit-sized rocks and washboards we encountered, ”

      “With a couple tires hovering above the dirt teeter-totter–style, we were able to navigate steep ruts with relative ease thanks to the well-programmed traction control that didn’t kill all forward momentum. The Sierra even came outfitted with Rancho off-road shocks and GM’s automatic-locking rear differential.”

      “Our test truck also impressed us with storage flexibility. The 6.5-foot bed was not only protected from the factory by the standard spray-on bedliner but was made more accessible by the corner steps molded into the bumper. Some of our trucks were optioned with steps that fold down when needed, but we liked how GMC’s solution was always ready to use and at the same time out of the way when not necessary. ”

      -Hal: I’m iting my lip, but…Ha!

      The truck’s bed also featured outstanding LED lighting in the cargo box, illuminating the bed from back to front when light is scarce. Adjustable tie-downs made securing cargo simple. And for those looking to tow a larger trailer, GMC has made a gooseneck hitch standard as well.”

      “…we are hard-pressed to find any drastic flaws in the ’18 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali’s armor. Its swell of torque and stout heavy-duty frame prove it’s purpose-built for heavy loads, while GMC’s “Professional Grade” creature comforts were much appreciated on highway trips. Plus, the Sierra 2500HD’s styling is aging very gracefully, with an appropriately bold chrome grille, modern LED lighting accents, and an L5P-specific functional hoodscoop. Combine that with the ability to tolerate the occasional jaunt away from manicured asphalt and you’ve got a fantastic all-around pickup.
      With a long list of numbers-based wins and an equally impressive amount of subjective praise, there’s just no beating this GMC for our 2018 Pickup Truck of the Year title.

      “Class-leading horsepower. Incredible speed and agility for such a large truck. Great overall fuel economy. Comfortable and quiet cabin accommodations. Well-thought-out towing and hauling provisions. Ease of roasting the rear tires…”
      Class dismissed, we’ll have a quiz, oh, about every day next year.
      But for a few of you, don’t even worry, you’ll probably never learn.
      And stop asking me to do your homework for you until its Christmas again.

      1. Hal I think you need to do more homework because the 2018 Ford super duty has class-leading horsepower 450 to gmc 445 hp so you get a B- as your grade but have wonderful Christmas.

      2. Truck Trend/Motor Trend truck and car of the year are both jokes.

        They only look at brand new vehicles, there could be a 3 model your old truck or car that is better but because it is not a new design it is not counted.

        Sorry but anyone who takes Truck Trend/Motor Trend truck or car of the year seriously is a fool.

        1. It a free country, you can present your evidence from whoever you want. But you did not. In court, that means you lose.

          And like I say Motortrend/Trucktrend/4wheeler is the most respected independent tester out there for 50 years.

      3. To be far Hal, you should also have quoted their gripes with the Sierra HD (and not pulled those sentences out of their article): steering wheel position, malfunctioning/difficult to function navigation and Apple car play, stiff ride, difficult to use tow hooks, and price.

        If you compare the scores, it only clearly won the highway and towing/hauling. And it got beat by a megacab Ram 3500 in offroad haha!

        Not saying it didn’t deserve the win…but only 1 judge would have chosen then Sierra as the truck he wanted to take home.

        As I lean Ram i was happy to see the outdated Rams due relatively well. Their gripes with each were what i would expect, and the old hemi kept right on the heels of the new 5.0 and 10 speed while pulling down a slightly worse worst tank but higher best tank (even with 3.92s). Impressive it beat the Motortrend 2018 TOTY F150 (which was a pretty silly comparison this year). May have been different if they sent a different engine or optioned truck, but the reasons it didn’t do well (creaking, infotainment) were mostly non-engine related.

        I wish every year each manufacturer was able to send 1 truck to these comparisons, and they did separate mid sizes, 1/2 ton, and HD comparisons. But if you’re buying your trucks based on what some publisher is saying, you’re doing it wrong.

    2. Now why is it when someone quotes a trucktrend comparison that has a Ford winning you claim it has no place here because it’s not a TFL comparison/shootout? Kind of funny how you give Zviera crap for being a Ram fanboy, because your as bad or worse hating on Ford’s.
      It’s also interesting that when you DO quote another source a Ford comparison is lacking because it quite possibly would’ve mopped the floor with the Denali.
      Oh well haters just gonna hate on the market leading seller.

      1. Brewhaha,
        You must have me mixed up with someone else. I would buy a Ford if they built the best truck. And I always take into account results from an independent tester.

        So, Brewhaha, which truck do I drive then, if I am such a brand basher? Eh? IF what you say is true, and I only am some kind of brand basher, and I am not interested in the truth at any given time, then I am driving what? If you are wrong, will you never comment on this page again?

        And you will have to be specific about “that response”. I know, its hard for you to think for long enough to be specific.

        But I have noticed you are easily confused. So, Merry Christmas James Petersen, not so good mechanic in Wyoming, who obviously makes more money working on Fords than other vehicles that work.

            1. You did say if ford built the best truck you would buy. Best truck go by year not brand. Especially in hind sight. Unfortunately, best is a subjective matter.

        1. An educated guess on what your 100k+ completely functional custom truck is hmmm….
          I’m going with a 1984 Blue bird with a highly customized chassis that has been cut down to around 12ft. The interior is custom padded with Velcro walls, coloring book holders and SUPER CUSTOM crayon dispensers. The mechanical diesel engine has been upgraded to a highly efficient design that burns unicorn poop, and is mechanically linked to a hopes and dreams generator that needs no wires to transmit its power to the 4 independent pixie motors at each wheel. These motors need absolutely no form of axle or support to keep them in place since you obtained a spell of holding to keep them in an eternal state of levitation.

    3. Interesting nobody said anything about the paymaster in the above article.

      I went by the ia truck museum at the world’s largest truck stop, just never had time to go in and look at it. Pretty impressive equipment in there. It goes to show we have come a long way.

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