Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Dog in the Park

You never know what you may see when you go for a drive in the Park. That would be Burnside Industrial Park (bearing little resemblance to any real Park, except for a few spindly trees.)

Last Saturday I spotted this old R model Mack, with a strange axle spread.

On closer investigation it appears that the rear axle is an add-on tag axle. Even then the drive axle looks oddly close to the cab. No doubt it was built for some specific purpose, but it is now just another old tractor.
The R model was introduced in the early 1960s and had one of longest (if not the longest) run of any truck model. [1965-1990]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Shot #48 - Out with the Monday trash

What I guess to be Suzuki mini truck (kei) cabs, are carefully put out with the trash in the Burnside Industrial Park, November 27, 2010. Enough said.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It is time to decorate your house, your Corolla, your truck? - whatever - for Christmas.
In fact I do hope to see some decorated trucks before the Day, and if so I will post them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Big Sterling

This heavy duty Sterling runs for Marid Industries, a steel fabricator. The truck carries it own knuckle boom crane for unloading steel at construction sites. It has to go into some fairly unpleasant places, and perhaps that is why it appears to have some wear, tear and grime on its undercarriage - not to mention a leak! (October 30, 2010, Burnside)

Ford cargo (updated)

1. Ford Cargo cab, badged Freightliner with Johnston sweeper and dual controls.

2. The Halifax Regional Municipality still has this Ford/ Johnston dual control street sweeper on the payroll.

3. The HRM also has a Sterling/ Elgin sweeper, also with dual controls.

4. Shred-it operates this mobile shredder on a Sterling "cargo" October 30, 2010, Burnside.

Some truck cabs survive for years in production. The Ford C and Mack R are notable examples of 20 plus years.

One which has now come to an end (in North America) with the demise of Sterling in 2009, is the legendary Ford Cargo.

Developed by Ford UK and introduced in 1981, it remained in production in the UK until 1993, even after Ford sold its UK Ford truck brand to Fiat, and became Ford Iveco. Ford brought it to North America somewhat later.

Daimler/Freightliner/Sterling got it when they took over Ford's North American heavy truck line. Some were re-branded as Freightliner and some as Sterling. There are a few left on the road under all three badges, but they are no longer built on this continent.

Production continues today in Brazil, Argentina, India, and Turkey according to various sources.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hino made in Canada

1,2 and 3 all taken today, and three different sizes and varying vintages.

Another Japanese truck maker is on the move. Hino Motors Canada has introduced a newly designed truck for 2011. I haven't seen one in real life yet, but like all Hinos sold in Canada it will be built at their factory in Woodstock, ON.

The plant, which started up in 2006, can produce 2,000 trucks a year, although recent production figures are about half that. Engines and cabs are still built in Japan, but that may change according to recent news. Currently about 60% of the truck is sourced in this country.

Hino is after a bigger slice of the class 5, 6 and 7, with 1 model of class 5 and 2 models in each of the other classes. They have 20% of the Canadian market in the class and looking for 30%.

Internationally Hino builds trucks up to class 8, and last year built 100,000, of which 60,000 are exported from Japan to the rest of the world. They have been the best seller in Japan for 37 years!

Hino is the truck building division of Toyota.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Isuzu joins the mainstream

1. GMC W5500 with Dynamic box, November 23, 2010. The season's first snow is busily melting off the bumper.

2. Isuzu NRR with step side body. (The step side is on the passenger side only.) November 22, 2010.

3. Sears/Budget crew cab Isuzu FSR, June 23, 1993. (Oklahoma plates)

4. Isuzu NPR with Spectra, No-Mar towing gear, Tampa FL April 27, 1994

Isuzu Motors Ltd has been the number one best seller in the low cab forward mid-weight range trucks in North America since 1986. That is when they joined with GMC and Chev to produce the N series. Marketed under the Isuzu, Chev and GMC banner, that arrangement has apparently ended, with Chev and GMC folding their W series into Isuzu. After November 1, 2010 only Isuzu dealers will be supporting the Chev and GMC W series, and all new truck sales will be Isuzus.

The story grows a bit murkier however. Apparently GM built all the Isuzu, Chev and GMC trucks in North America, and have or will close their factory. Isuzu has therefore turned to none other than Spartan Motors Inc (originally founded by Diamond Reo execs when White pulled the plug) to produce the Isuzu LCF models. At the same time Utilimaster (which is associated with Spartan -see previous post on Step-Vans) will develop a new type of step-van using the Isuzu frame and engine (strip chassis.) These will be gas engined trucks.

Isuzu is a major player on the world truck stage, including large trucks, but in North America confines itself to class 5-6 and 7 trucks-no heavies, and has gotten out of cars and SUVs long since. The largest shareholder in Isuzu is Toyota, with Mitsubishi also a shareholder.

The competition in the light LCF market includes Blue Diamond Truck Co (who?) a joint venture between Ford and Navistar, which since 2004 has been building vehicles in Escobedo, Mexico, using Mazda cabs. Thse are the Ford LCF and International CF500.
Also Hino, and UD (formerly Nissan, marketed by Freightliner) are in the LCF game.

For 2011 Isuzu will produce the NPR/W3500, NPR HD/W4500, NOR/W5500 and NRR/W5500 series with crew cab options.

Step Vans duke it out in the streets of Halifax (and everywhere else)

Just as the school bus builders are down to two main competitors (Thomas/Freightliner and Bluebird) so the step van builders are down to a pair of main players.

1. Purolater runs this Utilimaster.

2. Canadian Linen Supply has a Morgan Olson, that carries a Freightliner hood badge - very rare!

3. Canada Post operates a fleet of small Utilimasters.

4. FedEx ground has thisUtilimaster in its fleet.

Utilimaster builds the Aeromaster model. Utilimaster was, until 2009 owned by John Hancock/Manu-Life, the Canadian Insurance giant. They have now found a home with Spartan Motors Inc, which builds chassis/cabs for fire apparatus and entire fire trucks, specialist and military vehicles. Interestingly they do not build the chassis for step-vans! Utilimaster is based in Wakarusa, Indiana and Spartan in Lansing, Michigan.

Morgan Olson (until 2001 Grumman Olson) is owned by JB Poindexter & Co (JBPCo) which also owns Morgan truck bodies, Commercial Babcock truck bodies (Toronto based), Eagle Coach and Federal Coach (hearses and buses) and a raft of truck accessory outfits including Leer, Raider and Pace Edwards and other companies. JBPCo is based in Houston, and Grumman Olson in Sturgis, Michigan.

All step vans are built on"strip chassis" - basically a frame with a drive train. These are made by only three manufacturers: Ford, Freightliner and Workhorse (a division of International Truck & Engine Corp, which is owned by Navistar International Corp)

Both Utilimaster and Morgan Olson offer step-vans built on any of the three strip chassis. There is usually a choice of Diesel or gasoline engines and light duty and heavy duty frames.

On any given day it is possible to see about equal numbers of step-vans from each manufacturer, but it is not always easy to determine whose they are! There is little badging going on, sometimes the mudflaps are used to advertise the step van builder, and very rarely does the strip chassis manufacturer get any credit.

Both builders offer specialist vans for bakeries, linens, utilities and other uses, in addition to the more or less standard vans, but even these are offered with many options. All the big van operators such as FedEx, Purolater and UPS seem to buy from both builders, and all are rather coy about which strip chassis they use. It's a bit of fun to try to guess.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Shot #48 Reasonable Pete

If you are Resonable Trucking, you should have a reasonable truck, so this Peterbilt and Kentucky trailer would certainly be a reasonable solution.

Despite their low key name, Reasonable Trucking is a full service moving company, based in Halifax.

You also need a reasonable number of air horns - four on the roof and three under the cab should do it.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cab Extensions (ii)

A unique idea - a woodlands tour in a truck! What's the fun of taking a bus tour if you could take a TRUCK tour? That's the idea that this gentleman and his daughter had, and so they fitted out a Ford Aeromax with a large sleeper box, then converted the sleeper to passenger seating, with overhead and side and back windows, to get a view of the woods.

The tractor was fully fitted out to work as a commercial timber hauler, which it did in the off season, but during the summer it was reserved for tours.

A glimpse in the background shows some other members of the fleet - all days cabs. Transport Janifer, Sacré-Coeur, Saguenay, QC, June 29, 1996.

Cab Extensions (i)

Factory sleepers are back in with most manufacturers these days, so it is not unusual to see extended cabs, and of course there are four-door crew cabs. However non-sleeper cab extensions are pretty rare, except in fire apparatus.
On June 2, 1990 I was passing the Commercial Safety College in Belmont NS, near Truro, and had the presence of mind to take the following series of photos.
In these trucks, cab extensions were built to accommodate student drivers and instructors. CSC had a wide variety of trucks, no two the same, presumably to give students experience on a variety of engines, transmissions and makes of trucks.

1. Ford Louisville tractor.

2. Chev and International Harvester.

3. Freightliner, Western Star and Chev Bruin.

4. Ford Louisville straight truck.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

FWD Trucks (Part 3)

The "classic" era for FWD trucks, in my opinion, was the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1940s and very early 1950s, FWD made its own cabs, then by the mid 1950s started to use the same cab as the International R series. Here are some examples:

1. R-model cab, set up for a gigantic wing plow, with passenger side viewing window in the door, and spotlight to keep an eye on the road side. Very wide spaced head lamps, and elaborate hydraulics for the front plow. Shop made fenders replace the originals. St-Fidèle, QC, August 2, 1984.

2. Parked in a pasture, this unit looks ready to go at a moment's notice. It still has its factory fenders, despite about 35 years of wear and tear. May 20, 1991.

3. Construction Levesque in Beresford NB, had this 1940s era unit on its lot, and may have used it only for wing work, but it hadn't been out for a while when I saw it January 16, 1987. It also still has its factory fenders, that might have been 40 years old. It has the FWD cab and gigantic steering wheel. (Someone has added a Mack bulldog hood ornament.)

4. In the Miramichi area of New Brunswick they know how to handle snow, and this veteran FWD COE had seen many winters by January 12, 1985. Note the huge steering wheel and right hand drive. The driver had to be his own wing man on this rig, but he had lots of light on the road.

5. A side view of the same truck shows the roof escape hatch and tiny exhaust pipe. It had its chains ready for really nasty going and a covered ballast body. This shot shows the transfer case and the winch used to raise and lower the wing plow. This style of cab was unchanged from the 1930s, but was likely a post war product in view of its excellent condition.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Shot #47 -Wood Chip B-train

A little ray of sunshine is needed on a dull day, so I went back into my summer files to find this Sunbury B-train. Nothing remarkable about it except that it was apparently still pretty new when I saw it at Fredericton, NB on June 18. It does appear to have a cab heater, which does seem to be a bit odd in a day cab.

The Freightliner day cab is the tractor of choice for these units, that can be seen all over New Brunswick, but also in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

It is always amusing to see loads of wood chips going in opposite directions, but that is the reality of sourcing "fibre" these days.
The driver is taking a bit of a break to watch the work on an aged International dump truck.
[Photo taken at the Circle K Irving, Riverside Drive (route 105) Lower St.Marys, NB]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FWD Trucks (part 2)

There are some FWDs that defy categorization in my collection. Here they are with a word or two about each.
1. Lévesque Construction Inc of Beresford N-B operated a rare cab over FWD. Photo taken January 16, 1987. This truck may have been a Department of Highways surplus vehicle or a converted snow blower. It has an odd wheelbase and a huge fuel tank for a dump body vehicle.
2. Here it is next to a more common (once) conventional FWD (with Dodge cab.)

3. Gabriel Raymond Inc of Baie-des-Sables, Comté Matane, QC were in the housemoving business. I would like to have seen that derrick in action, but housemoving was slow on August 19, 2006. A 6X6 with typical Dodge cab, but its fibreglass hood and fenders were certainly more refined looking than the usual heavy duty construciton types seen on snow plows.

4. I saw this tuck only once even though it was operated by John's Crane Rentals of Halifax. This type was common in the US for carrying concrete block and even for transit mixers. It also has an FWD cab-far roomier than the Dodges of earlier years. December 22, 1990 (it was not going to be a white Christmas that year.)

5. An FWD 6x5? A home made cab and hood graces this one, but it still carries a few vestiges of its ancestry. I think it was used for crop spraying, but it wasn't going anywhere on this day, September 11, 1982, in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.

6. Not exactly a homemade cab, but certainly a shop modification. The Truro depot of the Nova Scotia Department of Highways rebuilt a number of FWDs with Louisville cabs and shop fabbed sheet metal. I believe the cabs came from the Scot truck plant in nearby Debert, which had ceased production, but had inventory in hand. Photo taken June 1989.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big Os in the north

1. The Big O emblem= king of the hill.

2. 82645 looks to be out to pasture.

3. 82654, with front plow off shows the massive bolster and elevator.

3. 82658 wearing a high speed plow. Note the high mounted right headlight - perhaps to clear a wing plow.

Northern (mainland) Nova Scotia, is noted for its whitetouts and heavy snow blowing in off the Gulf of St.Lawrence. It has long been home to some heavy snow moving apparatus. The Department of Transportation garage at Antigonish had these three Oshkoshes out back November 12. The trucks look a little hard done by, but the plows look newish, so I hope these haven't been put out to pasture.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Natural Gas Transport

Light weight composite reinforced pressure vessels are manufactured in Saint John, NB by FPC Inc, to be used for storage or transportation of compressed natural gas (CNG.)
One of the systems they make is mounted in ISO container type frames for easy handling on trucks and ships.
These two units arrived at the Halterm container terminal today for export (they were not carrying gas.)
Black's Transfer of Saint John, a specialist dimensional load carrier, used two of their Peterbilts to haul the units on standard flat bed trailers. By the time I took these pictures, the securing straps had been removed, so that the units could be removed by straddle carriers or fork lifts inside the terminal.

Expect to see more of this type of gas transport in future.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

FWD Trucks (Part 1)

The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company was founded 100 years ago, initially to build cars, but they also turned their hands to trucks. The US Army used FWD trucks in 1912 to chase Pancho Villa in Mexico and the trucks were a great success. The army didn't catch Pancho, but they caught on to the FWD truck and used large numbers in the First World War. FWD became synonymous with tough, go anywhere trucks.
Snow plows, and utility vehicles were big sellers, but they also produced highway tractors and perhaps surprisingly, fire apparatus chassis.
In 1963, FWD sought to expand this business and purchased Seagrave Corp of Columbus, OH and moved it to FWD headquarters in Clintonville, WI. They also purchased Baker Aerialscope, and mounted these devices on FWD chassis, and branded the apparatus as FWD. They also purchased Almonte, a Canadian fire apparatus manufacturer.
Gradually FWD was absorbed within the growing Seagrave operation and by 1974 FWD had largely disappeared. A later re-organization, saw Seagrave as the lead company and the elimination of the FWD name and brand.

1. Valley Kemptown District Fire Brigade restored this 1957 FWD/ Thibault to first class operational use.

2. The pumper was built originally for government use, and the brigade's own members did all the work themselves . Note the use of the International R series cab, typical of FWDs of the era. February 5, 1984.

3. This unhappy fire department had an FWD with the Budd built cab used by Ford for its C series. It was likely built as an airport fuel tanker (the forward exhaust is a clue) and was likely a government vehicle. December 28, 1983, Truro, NS.

4. Fraser Paper had this FWD as an inhouse fire engine based in Edmunston, NB. FWD built their own cabs until the mid 50s. However, based on the grille on this one, it might be a late 1940s model. The paint job is probably not original. Edmunston, NB September 20, 1995.

5. FWD cab and chassis, aerial ladder, of about 1959, vintage. The cowl mounted siren and rad mounted spotlight are distinctive features. The black over red Chicago style paint job, and gold leaf pinstriping make for a handsome truck. Thibault's used truck yard, Pierreville, QC, September 19, 1986.

6. FWD 6X6, 2000 gallon tanker. Built for airport duty, it also has a foam cannon. FWD had their own unique COE cab for a variety of different vehicles. Rogersville, NB September 6, 2004.

7. Those industrious Valley Kemptown volunteers converted this former military fueler into a magnificent tanker. August 9, 1990.

8. This shot at Valley, NS shows the truck before they started work on it, April 4, 1984.

9. Perhaps the same truck, but certainly one of the same class, in military service as a fueler, Pleasant Street, near the Shearwater Air Base, Dartmouth, NS October 13, 1980.
More FWD models and types to follow.