Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ford Wreckers

Back in the days when the Ford Motor Company built heavy trucks, their Louisville model was particularly popular for highway tractors and so it was that some of them were built as or became wreckers.

1. This Louisville single screw No.24 served Chatham Towing Services of Chatham, ON with a Holmes 750 wrecker body. Not a heavy weight (Chatham did have heavies too) it is more or less the definitive Ford tow truck. Chatham Towing is related to Anchor Towing of Halifax - not sure how or why- one of those mysteries yet to be unfolded. Photo'd September 27, 1995 in Chatham, ON.

2. This Louisville 9000 was for sale July 31, 1993 in New Brunswick. Its previous owner's name had been erased, but it was apparently used for some long distance work, judging by the size of the sleeper and fuel tanks. You have to be careful with tow trucks, because sometimes the sleepers were actually large tool boxes. This one has some nice chrome and pinstripes.

3. Dumont's spring shop used to keep this Louisville busy on the Trans Canada Highway at Edmundston, NB. Many were the broken springs from the state of the nearby Quebec stretch of the TCH. Of course they did all sorts of repairs and provided "remorquage de tous genres" [towing of all kinds.] The drop axle suggests some heavy work from time to time.
The Chevy next to it is fitted with a Holmes 750. July 3, 1992.

4. Top marks for creative naming goes to Ruggles Towing of Dartmouth, NS for "Forty Ton Louie" their famous unit No.15. The Ford (Louisville) LTS9000 cab and chassis appear to be at least number two for the wrecker body. Seen here hooking up to a Midland Transport tractor in Dartmouth, on a snowy March 12, 1994. I've seen several Ruggles trucks lately, but there are no Louies among them anymore.

5. The Land of Evangline was home base for Kelly's Towing of Grand Pré, NS and this massive Louisville LTL9000. It's giant sleeper "Devil's Den" stretched out the wheelbase to give it excellent weight distribution on soft shoulders and other dodgy spots it might have to go. It had some pretty big gear on it too, surpassing the 40 ton mark.

6. The last heavy Fords offered the Aeromax hood, still with the Louisville cab, and I venture to say were not often seen as wreckers. This one lived at Mecanitek Centre de Camions in Edmundston, NB and was on 24 hour call. It carries a wrecker body called "The New Slider" Model 9735S, manufactured by NRC Industries of St-Paul d'Abbotsford, QC. Photographed August 3, 2001.

Ford sold its heavy truck division to Freightliner(Daimler) in 1997 and it became Sterling. Sterling did continue to use the Louisville cab, and assembled the trucks in St.Thomas, ON, until 2009 when it eliminated the Sterling brand.
Holmes, the original wrecker manufacturer, is now one of many brands within Miller Industries, which include Century (originally started by a Holmes grandson). See
NRC wreckers, are sold worldwide from their Quebec base. See

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