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A panel truck (also called a panel delivery or pickup truck-based van) in U.S. and Canadian usage is a small delivery truck with a fully enclosed body. It typically is high and has no rear windows in the rear cargo area. The term was first used in the early 1910s. Panel trucks were marketed for contracting, deliveries, and other businesses. Often described as a small van (based on the chassis of a truck or pickup truck) used mostly for delivery rounds, the British equivalent is a "delivery van."
Consumer demand from farmers and businesses for stripped-down Model T versions prompted Henry Ford to market vehicles that independent builders could supply cabs and cargo enclosures according to users' needs.
The U.S. Army ordered 20,000 Dodge half-ton chassis sets for use as cargo trucks and ambulances During World War I that were then marketed after the war as the "Screenside Commercial Car" - a pickup with a roof and roll-up side covers or a fully enclosed cargo-bed.
Chevrolet made a van-like version of their Chevrolet Suburban, which was a station wagon version of the Chevrolet pickup truck from the 1930s. Panel truck versions of the Suburban were made until 1973.
Ford made panel truck versions of their pickup trucks until 1960. Panel trucks were also converted into canopy expresses, which were primarily used by farmers. Panel truck versions of the Agrocar were also released until 1978.
The difference between a sedan delivery and a panel truck is that the sedan delivery is based on the chassis of a sedan, hatchback, or station wagon, while a panel truck is based on the chassis of a pickup truck. Unibody-based vans are similar in size and in functionality but have a unibody chassis.
Chevrolet Apache panel truck
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