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Work Vans and Show Trucks: NHS Sneak Peek

August 23, 2016

Three work vehicles that are cool, useful, or interesting from the National Hardware Show

The NHS is a sneak peek into the tool market's crystal ball. The 2016 show was particularly good, with more interesting new tools and products than I have seen in years past. Some recently came out, some are scheduled for release later this year, and some are concepts in search of buyers—years away from being produced or fated to never be produced at all.

Here are three work vehicle displays that stood out to me.

Mercedes Metris

When configured without rear seating this Mercedes Metris is more work truck than minivan. It’s hard to believe such a small vehicle will hold full sheets of material but the 8-sheet of plywood in back shows that it can.

In company ads the Metris is shown hauling a big stack of drywall—something you would not expect to be able to do with such a small vehicle.

Ram ProMaster Van

This ProMaster van was on display at the Ram Commercial booth as an example of how such a vehicle could be outfitted for use by a contractor. Jointly produced by Ram, Knapheide, Sortimo, and Bosch, the van contains Sortimo racks and an assortment of Sortimo and Bosch L-Boxxes.

The boxes are interchangeable because both brands are made by Sortimo—the main competitor to Tanos, which makes Systainers for Festool and other brands.

Diamond T Pickup

This beautifully restored Diamond T Truck was on display at the Ali Abrasives booth at the Hardware Show. Nothing against the abrasives, but I was far more interested in the truck, which was produced in Chicago in 1947.

A rusty wreck before restoration, it now has a pristine paint job, Italian leather upholstery, and a furniture grade oak bed and running boards.

With a GVW of 12,000 pounds and 91 HP motor, it does 0-60 in a glacial two minutes.

But that is okay for this vehicle because it’s too beautiful to take out on the road.

—David Frane is a freelance editor and a good buddy of ours. Formerly, he was editor of Tools of the Trade magazine and website. He lives in Northern California.

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