Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Autocar finale .....for now

I have just about reached the bottom of the shoebox for Custom Driver Cab Autocars, so here is a round up of some offbeat Acars: 1. Ace towing had this extra long wheelbase wrecker attending to a pranged up International 1990-07-21 on Lady Hammond Road and Mackintosh Street in Halifax.
2. Service Provincial had a long wheelbase single axle Acar in wrecker service 1990-08-30 at Baie-St-Paul, QC. The huge non-stock front bumper was integrated with stainless steel fenders and mounted rectangular headlights. I believe this unit was rebuilt from a highway tractor, possibly from Transport Poirlier. The massive lifting gear looked about ready for anything.

3. A.W.Leil had the rig for housemoving, in James River, NS, ca. 1985. Note the twin steer axles, then see below.
4. Leil had rebuilt the truck by June 1989, removing the second steering axle and installing a drop axle. This involved some repositioning of the fuel tank.
5. Another view shows the front differential, so it is a 6x6. I like the rectangular fuel tank converted to a storage box, complete with padlock. Halifax waterfront.

6. Also on the waterfront, but this time the Montreal waterfront, this long wheelbase Acar tractor from Les Entreprises Gilbert Denis Inc was still running. 1995-10-06.
7. Still port related, Port Paving (back in Halifax) had finally removed the plates from this sturdy dump truck 1994-04-16, but it looked capable of taking on another paving season if called for.

8. This dandy twin steer 8x6 was a pulp cutter/loader. The giant saw blade mounted on the trailer was set to cut pulpwood in 8 foot lengths. The crane was mounted on the truck body and the boom was fitted with a grapple and another fitting - purpose unknown. Although they were certainly economising on tires for the trailer, the truck meant business. Ile-Verte, QC, 1997-09-07.


Super singles

Sysco Food Systems delivers food stuffs all over down town with this short wheelbase tractor/short reefer trailer. The trailer is also used as the second unit on a B-train for longer hauls back to a central distribution centre in Moncton, NB.

The trailer is fitted with super single tires - still very rare on Nova Scotia roads.

The tractor is a single axle Navistar International Transtar.

Another new Liebherr

The parade of new cranes for Mammoet continues with this unit, just arrived yesterday on the ship Elektra. It was already on its flat car this morning and may well be on its way tonight.

The unit is a 6x6x6 (six wheel drive, six wheel steering) and is either a LTM 1050-3.1 (50 tonne at 3 m) or LTM 1055-3.2 (55 tonne at 2.5 m) The telescopic boom reaches 38 m or 40 m respectively, with a jib that extends 16m.

Some interesting details include the ladder stored under the cab, and the three overlapping windshield wipers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Had enough Autocars yet?

Not me - I'll never get enough, so here are some more: 1. This garage in Baie-Ste-Catherine, QC promised 'Service Rapide' 1980-09-03. This same truck was sold to Garage Dallaire, and can be seen in its 1983 paint job in the previous post.

2. Named "Captain High Liner"after the National Sea Products ad character, this Acar was carrying fish (or the inedible results therefrom) on the Halifax waterfront 1979-12-01.

3. This one was for sale at the International dealer's lot in Dartmouth, 1980-05-30.

4. And a rare sleeper equipped unit for sale privately, 1979-09-03 in Bedford, NS. Lots of miles left on this one.

5. Coastal Tank Line had this well worn Acar at the dealer's in Dartmouth in March 1976.

6. Bowling, Texaco gas and Autocars - what more could you want? Brand new on the lot, March 1976.

7. A contradiction in terms - a light weight autocar. The plastic hood and fenders said White, but the badge said Autocar. This one was painted in Speedway Transport colours, and was therefore meant for long haul highway work. 1976-05-22.

8. L-J Transport's #31 had a bit less pinstriping than #32, shown previously, August 1978.

9. L-J's #30 - good front, bad rears- hope the operation was a success, also August 1978.

10. I've seen the future. Irving Oil house-built Scots flanking a pair of vintage Autocars. The big Scots would soon replace all the Acars, but they didn't have the staying power. If the stencilled on numbers are dates, the Acar on the right dates from 1971. Photo in Dartmouth 1980-07-06.

11. One of the same trucks #70-145, at Irving's Pleasant Street depot, 1979-09-03 .

12. This is an early Owen Davis Acar, photographed doing parade duty in Halifax, July 1983. The pinstripping and elaborate labelling was a feature of many Autocars in the day.

13. Kaizer Transport, part of Kaizer Construction, had this Autocar hooking up on the waterfront 1983-11-17. It featured a Mercury sleeper, and decorated mud guard with Autocar dogbone logos. It also had the embossed "Autocar Diesel" plate below the cab door (which is slightly open.) The plates must have come from a 1950s era Autocar, which had them on the sides of the hood (see the L-J units above.).

To be continued..........

Freightliner Argosy - Custom Build?

Apparently discontinued in 2006 after five years of North American production, you can still see what appear to be new Freightliner Argosys. They are still built for Australia, New Zealand and South America, so perhaps they do make a few left turns on the assembly line and glue one up for North America.
This one sure looked new at Nova Enterprises in Truro on Saturday, but it was in the service lot, not in the new vehicle compound - so mybe I'm only fooling myself.


Do Western Stars rule the road?

For heavy work, it certainly appears that Western Stars rule the Nova Scotia roads. Anybody who is anybody in the heavy load biz seems to have them, and many more that one! The tridem seems to be a popular option for the specialist carriers, but the standby tandem is still out there for the day to day hauler. 1. Owen Davis Sons & Daughter run this set back axle tridem from Bedford, NS. 2011-03-26.
2. Atlantic Tiltload has this Star hooked up and ready to roll with a Grove crane truck 2011-03-25.

3. Well used Star at the Big Stop in Enfield awaits its next assignment 2011-03-26.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

There's a Freightliner under there

Under all that decor there is a Freightliner. It is apparently laying over in Halifax for the weekend, probably waiting for a load to be released Monday morning.

The truck runs for Deck-X, a flat deck and drop deck specialty division with Trans-X, based in Winnipeg. The much lived in truck carries Manitoba plates.

It is well equipped with lights and storage (there is a large headache rack behind the sleeper for chain and rigging gear) and a very nicely integrated moose gooser on the front. He's still got his rad blanket on too - it's still winter in these here parts!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring in the Air

Despite some snow on the ground, spring is apparently in the air. How can I tell? The classic trucks that have been garaged all winter are starting to come out of hibernation and roam the highways once again. They will now be relatively safe from road salt until autumn. 1. Once a lowly Ford Econoline pick-up - now a juiced up dually, but with Antique Auto plates! [A vehicle over 30 years old (or a recognized classic) old may carry antique vehicle plates, if it is safety certified, is not a family vehicle, is not used for business. Unlike ordinary cars, which receive one plate, the antique has to carry two plates.]
2. Outdoors at Elmsdale, NS 2011-03-26.
3. A pristine Chev 4X4, back 0n the road.
4. Parked - where else? - the Canadian Tire Store in Truro, NS 2011-03-26. .

Friday, March 25, 2011

Autocar Custom Driver Cabs

One of the great benefits to the White Motor Co when they acquired Autocar in 1953 was the Autocar Custom Driver Cab. White's standard cab, dating back to the 1930s, was SMALL! It was also narrow and as engines increased in size wider cab firewalls were needed.

There was also the issue of driver comfort. Most Whites were fleet trucks, the operators were not overly concerned about such matters, but there must have been some demand for better accommodation.

White used the Acar cab for many many years, and it also migrated to Western Star, Diamond T (which morphed in to Diamond Reo.) They discontinued the smaller cab in a few years, but did use the similarly sized Reo cab for vocational trucks.

Regrettably I do not have an interior view of an Autocar Custom Driver Cab, but I do have a shot of the old White cab.

1. Interior of the White cab. Based on a 1930s design, it was still in production in the 1950s. Stylish, but basic.

2. The White Super Power, gas engine tractor. Charron Transport, Chatham, ON, May 1966.

3. The tiny rear window was a trademark of the Super Power's cab.

4. Bigger gas engines demanded bigger hood, as in the White Mustang. Charron Transport, September 1975 had this one semi-retired.

5. The Autocar cab was put to use in several of White's trucks including the Diamond T (later the Diamond Reo) and the White Western Star. Seen here on the dealer's lot in Dartmouth, NS in 1977.

6. White diesel engined trucks really need a bigger cab! This old cab model was still running for Charron Transport in 1975.

7. A short hood, short wheelbase White Diesel bit well into the drivers leg room. 1966.

8. The Autocar Custom Driver Cab must have seemed like a living room by comparison. 1966.

9. A front end view of Charron 126- same hood and fenders as the White Mustang and earlier White Diesels. 1966.

10. Thames Valley Brick ran this White Diesel from Chatham, ON in 1966.

11. Connelly Transports Ltd of Chatham and London, ON ran a pair of White Diesels with Autocar cabs for St.Lawrence Cement. 1966.


Halifax has a new crew cab

Despite the Halifax Regional Municipality's almost completely Volvo winter fleet of plow trucks, they do have some other brands in the garage for summer paving and other work. This FL Business Class crew cab looks to be new (aside for a few greasy finger marks on the door handles)

Some four door cabs are more elegant than others. It's what happens when you use the same doors for the cab extension that determines the outcome. Sometimes you get lucky, other times - well you decide.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Autocars, Autocars and more Autocars

You can never be too rich too thin or have too many Autocars - you may quote me. Yes they are still making Autocars - the brand was sold by Volvo in 2001, with the rights to the name and to produce the Xpeditor model vocational COE. However poor old Autocar had been relegated to a badge only for many years. The real guts of Autocar actually was spun off as Western Star - but that is another story. Autocar got its start making cars in Ardmore, PA but concentrated on trucks after 1907. In 1953 White bought them out, moved the plant to Exton, PA and appropriated the driver cab. Nevertheless the White era was the heyday of Acars for me. Perhaps because of the greatly expanded dealership network with White, but certainly because of the tailor made and tough nature of the beast, Autocars became very popular in Canada. When Volvo took over White in 1980 the writing was on the wall, production moved to Ogden, UT and the last custom driver cab conventional was produced in 1987. Thereafter the Autocar badge could still be seen until 2000, but the image had faded. The last working (classic) Autocar I saw in Halifax was in 2005 - attesting to the ruggedness of these trucks. In commemoration of those five dry years since, here is a gallery of some of my faves. 1. L-J Transport of Dartmouth, NS ran this heavy hauler. It was well pinstriped, a tradition with many US owners of Autocars. It carries plates for Nova Scotia through to Ontario. Undated 1970s photo.
2. J.C. Tremblay & Fils ran this old Acar at Escoumins, QC, 1986-08-02.
3. Tremblay also ran this convincing 4x4 with a tag axle. It would would do winter duty as a plow.
4. At one time this was a typical Route 138 sight in Quebec. Heavy Autocar, and tarp top trailer with removable side boards. Murray Bay Transport ran this one out of Clermont, QC 1987-06-09.
5. Irving Oil was a big Autocar user. They used Acars exclusively to haul their tank trailers until they started to build their own Scot trucks. Here a semi-retired highway tractor has been "converted" to a tow truck for one of their Scot COEs, somewhere in New Brunswick. 1987-09-03.
6. Autocars were right at home hauling float trailers. Fernand Harvey of La Malbaie had this one in road construction work near St-Irenée, QC, 1988-09-02.
7. Ace Towing ran several Acars as tractors and and wreckers. This pinstriped tractor would make light work of carrying a couple of towmotors (as all forklifts are called on the Halifax waterfront.) 1988-03-05.
8. Harold Hines Services of Sydney, NS wisely employed an Autocar for heavy towing. This truck had to haul over the Cabot Trail from time to time, and needed to be rugged. 1989-07-13.
9. A typical US Autocar, nicely pinstriped, ran on some large tires for Wardwell Construction & Trucking in Bucksport, Maine. It also left no doubt about the nature of its load, unlike Canadian trucks with their international "D" symbol. 1991-08-22.
10. Garage Charlevoix of Baie-St-Paul, QC used a gantry rig wrecker for those heavy tows. They advertised themselves a radiator specialists, and probably had lots of work with overheating on the nearby mountains. The Michelin main is getting a free ride on the air cleaner.
11. JJ's Trucking had their Acar in for service in Halifax, NS, despite the Newfoundland plate. The truck may be a 4x4 judging by its stance, and what appears to be a transfer case just visible below the hydraulics. 1993-05-10.
12. Garage Dallaire ran this fine looking Autocar wrecker from Clermont, QC for many years. It was always spotless. That may be the driver at the right waiting for the call. 1993-07-30.
13. The Municpalité de St-Hilarion, QC kept good care of their prize Acar and ran it year round. It had a dandy array of lights mounted to clear the plow in winter. August 1995.
14. The last (classic) Autocar I saw working in Halifax was in the summer of 2005 when this beauty run by Lee G. Troop of Bedford, NS was working on the excavation of the new Marriot on Lower Water Street. This picture could have been taken any time over a 50 year span, but is unlikely to be seen again.


To be continued....................