Friday, September 30, 2011

Crackerbox in the Valley

When I spotted a GMC Crackerbox conversion today - it got my mind ticking.
The GMC F model aluminum tilt cab, produced from 1959-1968 was your basic no frills fleet type tilt cab. The sleeper models had little more than a shelf slung on the back of the cab, and what styling there was, was confined to the front grille.
Lots of these were sold to the big fleets, but they weren't very common in Nova Scotia.
The one I saw today, at Look Off, Kings County [so named because it's on top of a mountain] was not far away from one I had seen before - but I couldn't remember when, so I went digging. Sure enough - I photographed a Crackerbox Jimmy in Canning [at the bottom of the same mountain] in 1983.
Any bets its the same one?
1. A GMC Crackerbox cab and a GMC New Look bus joined together-and quite possibly with the bus engine in the rear (the cab does not tilt anymore). A distinctive mobile home! Photo taken today at LW Layton's scrap yard, Look Off, NS., and apparently owned by the proprietor.

2. July 20, 1983, Canning, NS - long wheelbase Crackerbox, with converted dump body that looks look like it might be used for collecting scrap metal. Too much of a coincidence.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Actros lands in Halifax

1. Rare as hens' teeth in North America, the Mercedes-Benz Actros prime mover and multi-axle trailer makes a brief foray onto this edge of the continent.

2. Fitted out with all the gear, it is an impressive rig by any standard, but won't be seen on any Canadian roads.

Favoured around the world as the truck of choice for many industries -notably heavy hauling- the Mercedes-Benz Actros has been in production since the mid-1990s. In that time it has been in service everywhere but North America! Never marketed in Canada or the US (Daimler produces under different brands names here) sightings are therefore rare and wondrous!

Halifax is one of the few places in Canada you are likely to see one, because it is one of the only ports in this country where Roll-On Roll-Off ships call from overseas.

German heavy hauler Fahrenholz ( ) showed off one of their Actros today on the Halifax waterfront after rolling off a heavy lift earlier in the week. The truck will likely return to Germany on the next east bound ship, but did make a brief excursion out of the terminal to the parking lot to allow for a transfer, which I believe was a Cat 3900L . Why this Cat should have needed such a massive trailer I can't imagine, but it is here anyway.

Update in fact the truck may have been sued for a quite different process - it may have been used to move one of the container cranes in the pier area.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Gasp for the White Motor Co

In September 1980 the White Motor Co was bankrupt. It took eleven months until Volvo AB picked up the US pieces and continued production under the "White" badge (and Autocar too - but we've already done that) but with the Volvo diagonal on the rad.
In 1987 Volvo bought General Motors Corp's heavy truck division and changed the badge to "White/GMC."
But before that happened there was a six year period when there were still new White trucks on the road. Here is a sampling:
1. Sandwiched between a 'binder and a Louis, this White from Victoria Van & Storage was a long way from home in Kentville, NS 1988-07-09. It was no doubt involved in the huge annual military re-posting exercises, which moves families from one coast to the other.

2. A Moncton O/O ran this White for Jumbo Motor Express 1988-03-26. He might need the second fog light in that weather.

3. Big Wheels Transport & Leasing of Kensington, PEI (as with Jumbo, no longer with us) always ran sharp looking black rigs with multi-coloured stripe. 1991-06-28.

3. Colemans/ Mackie ran the more traditional White, with the squared off rad - the best looking White ever. 2011-07-01, Lower Debert, NS.

4. Same model, but with non-factory sleeper added to day cab, on this B-train at Notre Dame-du-Lac, QC, 1991-08-03.

5. Single screw version of the same carried the fleet brand "Mega" in place of White. The truck was leased to Klaussner Furniture Industries Inc of Asheville, NC. Halifax 1991-09-29.

6. Groupe Canam of St-Gédéon-de-Beauce QC built Canam-Manac trailers, but is also a large structural steel fabricator. They had their own fleet of trucks to carry the steel all over eastern North America, including this White - which also had the White GMC badge on the lower side of the rad. Soon the White name would be gone and only the White GMC would remain.

More of those another time.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Pierce XT for HRM

One of five Pierce Arrow XT rescue pumpers ordered by the Halifax Regional Municipality in 2010, this particular unit is assigned to Station#15, on Pleasant Street in Dartmouth. This morning however it was a Station#16 at Eastern Passage.

The rig carries a 500 gal tank and 1250 gpm pump and is fitted for rescue work.

The units are generally assigned to areas where multi-use is essential: Lower Sackville, Lakeview/Fall River/Windsor Junction, and Black Point. However one unit is also assigned to Second Street in Dartmouth.

Still identifiable as a Pierce, it is missing the small fixed window in the door that Pierce Arrow cabs had for many years.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Drop Decks for different work.

I spotted two different drop deck trailers today. Usually seen with over height containers, these were carrying different loads.
1. Splendid US based Pete was here with a container kiosk used to advertise Telus phones. Understated elegance.

2. Quebec based, un marked, KW was probably on a back haul and had picked up a large steel plate and...

3. This military pattern AWD Chev king cab. The topsides look good, but check out that skid plate, and something hanging ahead of the right rear wheel. This one was never undercoated!

Old Fords and Best Place for Gas in Nova Scotia

Old Fords seem to keep on going. Two I saw yesterday:
1. A 1948-50 era F-5 COE cab has migrated to a newer chassis, complete with tilt? deck and sleeper. The set back axle must make for some interesting bus-like turns, but a nice rig nonetheless.

2. The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal keeps its Ford Louisville's running. This one saw duty in plow service, but has now been reconfigured as a liquid calcium chloride spreader so that we can spread dust suppressing salt in summer. (Coupled with our fondness for de-icing salt in the winter, we are year round salters!) This one works out of the West Chezzetcook plow garage (which to my mind is actually in Porter's Lake.)

3. Price of gas got you down? At 123.3 per gallon for regular, it is actually down more than 10 cents since Labour Day, but if you are looking for a deep discount, head for Musquodoboit Harbour. There you will find this tantalizing offer, under an antique sign, but at a real gas station.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When trucks had names, ranks and serial numbers.

Back in the day General Motors Corp was a player in the heavy truck business. They built a lot of class 7 and 8 trucks, under the GMC and Chevrolet banners, and of course had their own line of diesel engines. (Cummins and Cat were also available.)
Like all GM car lines, the truck model lines had names.
In 1978 GMC decided to go military in their naming, and built the Brigadier (class 7) and General (class 8.) Chev went with critters and had the class 7 Bruin and class 8 Bison.
They certainly had a significant share of the heavy truck market, but Chev discontinued heavies in 1980, so Bisons and Bruins were rare beasts on the road. GMC carried on until 1988, so there were lots of Brigs and Gens.
Of course GMC heavies were combined with White under Volvo ownership and eventually disappeared from the scene altogether, taking Autocoar (sob) with them.
But back to the past........
1. The town of Madawaska ME, Public Works ran this convincing Brigadier tanker-perhaps a surplus fueler. Note the two piece windshield in the 9500 series cab (which dated back to 1966.)

2. Brigadier chassis short hood, with extended bumper for PTO and side access panels in the hood. The tilt hood would not open easily when the PTO was set up for a transit mixer or plow, the side panels could be used for oil changes and minor maintenance. 1985-09-14, Halifax waterfront.

3. Imperial Oil had this Brig fueler at the Halifax airport 1987-04-11. Note the non-typical narrow grille.

4. Awkward sleeper transition meant that this was a rare configuration. I like the porthole though. Halifax 1987-07-04. This was a 1982 truck according to my records.

5. Eisner's Transport added some chrome to this straight truck. Note the tag axle, which is not in contact with the ground. 1988-08-12.

6. The Lobo Dragster travelled in style with this single screw Brigadier tractor and "Custom Motor Home" sleeper. 1990-07-06, Fredericton, NB.

7. My only photo of the Chev Bruin version, is this driver training tractor with extended cab. 1990-06-02, Onslow, NS.

You have now been promoted to General:

8. Heavy haul specialists G.M.Smith, more noted for its heavy haul Macks, ran this GMC General 1987-07-17.

9. Thompson's Transfer of Halifax had this General in their lineup. Note the extra width of the cab - a real plus compared to some of the competition. 1988-01-23.

10. Just in off the winter roads. Day & Ross, Fastrax (flat bed) division had this Gen with a huge sleeper, reminiscent of the KW Aerodyne. 1988-02-12.
11. A typical Quebec lumber load, and low profile sleeper, for this single stack General at Rivière Malbaie, QC, 1990-07-01.

12. Location La Malbaie had this General owned and operated by Denis Dufour. As a truck rental agency, perhaps it was necessary to overdo the advertsing somewhat. 1992-09-05.

13. A rare straight General [don't ask-don't tell] on the Tampa, FL shrimp dock, delivering CO2 ? cylinders, has an extra big visor to ward off the heat. 1993-04-28.

14. An equally rare set back axle General hauls a low load of pulpwood for Oxford Transport of Oxford, NS, seen 1994-07-05 at Steeves Mountain, NB.

15. Denis Dufour decided to redecorate (see #12 above) with a somewhat cleaner look, 1996-06-30. By this time the truck is at least eight years old if not more.

16. You didn't expect me not to have a twin steer in the mix? Excavation Camille Dumont of Isle Verte, QC was still running this massive General 1997-09-05. Not bad for eleven years after the General was discontinued.

17. Garage Desmeules of Causpscal, QC advertised short and long distance towing, and this General was still up to the job 1997-09-06. The 400 Cat was once state of the art.

18. Apologies for this one, but it's my only Chevrolet Bison, caught on the fly at the Baie St-Paul, QC fire hall. This rural pumper/tanker #2 was built by Pierreville for les services des incendies intermunicipale de Baie St-Paul. 1992-07-03.

And that's it for the last of the big Jimmys.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Surely you can't mean it!

Yes, astute readers will have noted that in the past I have sniffed at the last generation Autocars (those of the White/GMC and Volvo variety.) I still think that the original Autocars were unbeatable, but I have had second thoughts about the later versions.
My new position is - anything wearing an Autocar badge is worthy of note. Therefore I present the following gallery of 2G and 3G Autocars Even they are becoming rare these days-so it is fun to see some still on the road.
1. Brand new 1992-09-05 at Rivière Malbaie, QC, likely destined for woods or chip work.

2. Another just delivered, in Truro, NS 1993-05-17, complete with headache rack.

3. Also in Truro 1993-06-30 - a little more chrome on this one.

4. The City of Moncton ran several White/GMC Autocars, fitted for plow work. Also no chrome on the rads, 1994-07-05.

5. Gilles Brouillard twin steer dog and pup take a lunch break at St-Siméon, QC ca. 1995.

6. The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Work had a fleet of plows, with salt spreader and dump bodies. 1996-08-25.

7. A rough looking load of timber, on a rough looking 'car, operated by Highland Pulp Ltd of Truro, NS. 1996-09-28.

8. Bright, shiny and new at McKay's in Truro, 1996-10-17.

9. Owen Davis Trucking was a big A'car fan and was loyal even into the White/GMC days. This tri-axle doesn't appear to be overworked hauling a Volvo off road dumper. 1997-02-15.

10. In from the cold, dog dirty and loaded for bear, this Nova Scotia DTPW plow has a hopper type salt spreader, a certain percentage of the cargo has stuck to the truck. Burnside 1997-03-23.

11. Transport Jean-Pierre Langlais of Cabano, QC added some pinstriping to this logger, at Dégelis, QC 1997-08-30.

12. Twin steer dumpster hauler (one of a pair) at Trois-Rivières, QC 1997-08-31.
13. At the dealer's, (McKay's in Truro, NS) the Volvo tag has been added to the arrow, and no more White/GMC. Rankin Pulp Hauling Ltd of Mabou, NS was about to take delivery of this Volvo/ Autocar. 1996-10-17.

14. Volvo is the brand on this pulp loader for Eric Noble Trucking, also at Truro, 1999-10-20.

15. At McKay' in Truro, 1994-06-30, this White/GMC Autocar has just arrived in Owen Davis colours.

16. 2011-03-26 at Owen Davis Sons & Daughter Contracting Ltd, in Lower Sackville, NS. One of two White/GMC A'cars still running.