Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snowy Star

You have to feel for the driver of this Western Star. With dusting of snow on his drop deck trailer and some snow plastered to the front of his cab, he was in a parking lot this morning - a beautiful sunny day - but with nowhere to go. He will have to wait until Monday morning at the earliest for his load and there could be a couple of feet of new snow before then. Not only will his trailer get a full load of snow, but it may take a while to dig it out (he was in the process of dropping the trailer when I took the photo) and the roads will be miserable too.

The Western Star with impressive moose bar runs for Legacy Express of Woodstock, ON, which probably means he will be picking up a piece of farm machinery imported from Europe.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Scary Star and Big Star

A construction site near my house has a small fleet of dump trucks carrying away the excavated material. One of the trucks assigned to the job is this all flat black Western Star. It sports the classic Autocar cab, but the wider version, and a pair of massive chrome air cleaners.

Scary - and cross eyed too.

It won't be long before they are pouring concrete, and they may be using one of the several Western Star twin steers from Osco Concrete's Bedford Ready-Mix fleet.

The company just added some 2016 trucks to its 2014 collection.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

White and Western Star

As one of the dominant truck manufacturers in the mid-20th century, White's sales were being eroded  by the move toward "custom build" trucks. Up to that point most trucks were built in standard models with few options,  and were built for company operators. However some owners - particularly owner operators - were demanding more choice in terms of engines, transmissions, differentials and cab options. This meant custom frame drilling and other manufacturing techniques that did not lend themselves to the mass production techniques White employed.
Although White's Autocar brand did built trucks to owners' specs, they had the reputation as extra heavy duty and heavy weight trucks, built in the east for eastern operations. In the western US and Canada, where the weight limits were much lower, truckers wanted lighter construction. Freightliner's aluminum cab suited the bill, but they built only COEs. 
To respond to the demand for more custom builds and lighter weight conventionals, White introduced the White Western Star model in 1967, and built a factory in Kelowna, BC to build the trucks. The trucks sported a weight saving fibreglass tilt hood and a variety of options. However they continued to use the famous Comfort Cab, acquired by White in 1953 when they bought Autocar.
There were many tax advantages to bringing in parts and assembling the trucks in Canada, so the Western Star  proved popular with Canadian buyers.
White was still not prospering however, and finally became insolvent in 1980. The Western Star brand and factory were sold to Canadian investors Bow Valley Industries and Nova, both Alberta oil companies. The new owners simply removed the "White" name and continued to produce the popular trucks.
The White Motor Co was bought by Volvo in 1980 but there was still some sharing between the new White and Western Star. Western Star re-badged White COEs to ensure a complete product line, but the trucks were in all respects still Whites. And Western Star continued to use the Comfort Cab.

Delving into my slide collection I have found some late model White Western Stars and some early Western Stars.

On the dealer's lot in Dartmouth, NS, this White Western Star  appears to be ready for a transit mix body. The extended front bumper is the giveaway. The temporary stack will be replaced once the body goes on.

Trimac, a western tank and bulk hauler, used this long hood White in their Nova Scotia fleet. Note the single headlights. Duals were disliked by many since the low beams were not bright enough.

J.Baxter of Cambridge Station, NS liked their Western Star for long haul produce work. It is complete with a painted Mercury sleeper (usually these aluminum sleepers were left unpainted.)

Mahar's Transfer Express Ltd of Halifax ran a short hood version. They would probably have been equally happy with an ordinary White for their short haul work, but the Western Star was the Canadian version.

Now vanished Jumbo Motor Express was one of the big long haul operators in the Maritimes and they had this fine WWS with painted Mercury sleeper. They had white painted trucks before their time, when it wasn't the factory standard colour. Baby moon hubcaps were very popular in the 80s.

Kaizer Construction + Services Ltd had their big day cab tractor on parade duty in Halifax, cleaned up and taking a break from hauling dozers and construction equipment. The bird wing theme hood paint stood out.

Petitclerc Inc ranged all over the Province of Quebec doing independent towing with their White Western Star.

Nova Enterprises was the White dealer in Truro, NS and their big boom Holmes 75 wrecker was called out for most accidents in the area. It had the construction grade checker plate fenders.

The first non-White Western Stars were essentially the same aside from the handsome W logo in place of the White name.

According to most history I have read, White sold Western Star in 1980, however this Western Star with set-back front axle appeared on the dealer's lot in September 1979.

Conrad Transport Ltd of Dartmouth, NS, ran this Western Star for years in its container transport and heavy hauling work. There was enough frame length to install a sleeper, but it remained a day cab.

Heavy hauling specialists Lackie Brothers of Kitchener, ON and Saint John, NB ran this Western Star with set-back axle arrangement. It was often used to haul their off-highway units to heavy hauling projects. I have covered the company before here:

R.S. Coughlan Ltd of Fredericton, NB had this Western Star custom painted and pin-striped. They wanted driver comfort so mounted an A/C unit on the roof. Note the big spread on the rear axles.
They hoped the "Keep Off" signs would discourage over-eager window washers from breaking their plastic fenders.

Western Star applied their nifty logo to these White COEs. Mittens of Red Deer, AB ran this one coast to coast for North American Van Lines.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Coulda, Shoulda, Didna

It is a case of could have, should have but didn't and I've been kicking myself for 35 years. Oh well.
Back in 1981 I had the chance buy this 1947 Hudson and if I had..........

No it was not a funeral flower car!

It did have a strange "customized" pick-up body - purpose unknown.

I found this truck in the Annapolis Valley of Novas Scotia, where it probably now rests in peace.

As we leave an old year behind, let's enter a new one without regrets...

Happy New Year


Friday, December 30, 2016

Long haul ahead for long rig

Spotted on the waterfront today, this big Western Star has a long haul ahead.

Hauling a cable reel on nine axles to distribute the load.  

Triton Transport Ltd of Chilliwack, BC and Edmonton, AB got the job to carry cable made by Bridon  to the Jansen Mine, a potash development near Leroy, SK (east of Saskatoon and north of Regina).

See more on Triton's excellent web site:

The truck is well equipped with tire chains (slung just behind the fuel tank) and special flaps just below the door step-box, to equip it for winter driving. Hardly visible due to all the crane clutter in the background, is a very nice low profile light bar on the cab roof.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Truckfax

November 24, 1979. A White COE operated by Ray Merlin Trucking is about to set out for the United States with a load of Nova Scotia balsam fir Christmas trees.
The old auto rack trailer has been "customized" to carry the seasonal cargo.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Maritime-Ontario - back then - a round up

I have pretty much exhausted my Maritime-Ontario photo collection, so this is definitely the last installment -  - Part 7 of 5!
M-O had nearly every truck brand imaginable in its stable at one time or another, so here is a round up of those not previously shown, starting off with Ford. It was not until 1970 that Ford really entered the heavy truck  field, with the Louisville series, and then the LTL 9000 with the option of Cat of Cummins engines under a big fibreglass tilt hood aimed at long haul trucking.

 This basic LTL-900 and sleeper was heading out of Fredericton in the pre-bypass days of 1988.
MO # 570, reefer # 5570
Another basic Ford at the Dartmouth terminal.
MO # 524

There were also Fords with really big sleepers, styled somewhat after the KW Aerodyne.
Glenn Peddle O/O
MO # 678 and reefer trailer # 5678

Same style, different truck, this one on the mail haul.
MO # 571 trailer #3484

Ford also got into the streamliner race with the Aeromax L9000, which also had a set back front axle and a sleeper that may or may not fill up all the space behind the deflector. 
MO # 821, trailer # 3506

International made some sharp looking trucks, particularly the TransStar Eagle, with a wide cab and the unique stacked headlights. This un-numbered unit also has the big mid-rise sleeper that all brands eventually came up with. Trailer # 5560

I think the flat top sleepers were the sharpest however, and this one, with an old fashioned stake side trailer and tarp top, was particularly fine, thanks to the continuation of the stripes.
Dale Forsythe of Centreville, NB was the O/O.
MO # 655

One more Mack Superliner to round out the series. A plain jane mid-rise sleeper and simple colour scheme gives this un-numbered rig a very business-like look.
The bug deflector behind the golden bulldog says "Family Tradition".

A nice KW in the back frames this terrific looking rig. The full width cab, low rise  integral sleeper and tombstone rad made the best looking White ever made. Unfortunately this look was not for long. White and GMC were merged under Volvo ownership, and the diagonal bar (from Volvo) was the first outward sign. GMC was soon added to the badge, but this was still a White, at least in name.
Full width cabs and integral sleepers became the industry standard, but this was the first.
MO # 648 trailer # 5648

Postscript: As mentioned before, the colour fade on print film has resulted in very washed out photos in this last secvtion. Regretably most of my truck pix or on print film. However I will delve back into the slides for the next series.