Monday, October 31, 2011

Amongst the Movers and the Sleepers

It is always a challenge to maximize cube for the mover. The goods to be carried usually "cube out" before the truck reaches its allowable payload, so no one wants to give up valuable space for a sleeper. But for long distance movers, a sleeper is essential.
There have been lots of solutions over the years. Here are a few:
1. Premiere's Pete straight truck has the sleeper in the box. Not an uncommon solution, it uses the maximum width of the box. This particular box is built by A.M.Haire of Thomasville NC (they went bankrupt in 2009 and have re-opened as A.M.Haire Phoenix) one of the most popular straight truck moving box companies. They offered the sleeper in the box and a host of other options. In this case the sleeper is probably fairly small, extending about 3 feet into the cargo box area. Photo 2011-10-31.

2. Hope that's not an extra sleeper behind the tilt cab on this Hayes. It's more likely additional storage. COEs offered various size sleepers, and that was one option. August 1984 photo.

3. Your basic dog coffin, which required slithering through the rear window hole, was the most basic option for the conventional cab. This Campbell Brothers IH didn't even have a side door to the sleeper. May 1980 photo.

4. Make a bigger sleeper, with a bunk beds and a side door on the curb side, and an escape hatch on the drivers side. This unmarked AVL contractor got room, but not much help in the aerodynamics. The KW set back gave a bit more length to work with. It has extra fuel tanks for the long hauls. August 1980 photo.

5. Keep going up, and go out over the cab was the solution for D. Armstrong's International. This one had big windows and a penthouse, with interesting bi-level roof. July 1984 photo.

6. Go all the way up and out was the answer on this Kenworth. The only giveway that this is not a cargo drom box, is the little escape hatch from the penthouse, with slanted window. This guy has extra tanks and a super big extra horn on the side of the hood. Maybe he uses that when someone is trying to sleep upstairs. No doubt there is a door and maybe a window on the curb side to access the camper box. August 1982 photo.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rare CM-1s made it to Nova Scotia

1. The Windsor, Nova Scotia Fire Department operated this 1984 King CM-1 with a rear mount Snorkel platform, which King sold as the Fire King line. 1990 photo.

2. Nearby Kentville operated this 1984 King CM-1 with a 100 ft aerial device. This truck was removed from service after an accident. 2003 photo.

3. Amertek used CM-1 cabs on their airport crash trucks. 1987 photo.

The illustrious King fire apparatus company of Woodstock, ON, could trace its roots back through various iterations as King-Seagrave, Bickle-Seagrave and just plain Bickle, to 1906. In its last years in the early 1980s, it offered the usual array of devices mounted on commercial chassis, but also developed its own cab chassis, called the CM-1.

Only 12 CM-1s were ever built before King went out of business and so it is one of the rarest Canadian trucks. Two of them made it as new vehicles to nearby towns in Nova Scotia.

A successor company which became Amertek, used the cab components for its large series of airport crash trucks. Many of these were operated by the Canadian government and it is likely some were stationed in Nova Scotia at one time. Amertek also went out of business, and it is unlikely that many Amerteks are still operating.

You can read more on the history of this company on the Canadian Fire Truck archive at:


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Big Load for Big Mack

Mills Heavy Hauling's heavy hitter Mack Titan #T41 arrived at Fairview Cove Friday with its low bed Paron trailer for a heavy load. The load turned out to be an unidentifiable shrink wrapped object on a Hapag-Lloyd container. It was loaded onto the trailer Friday, strappped down Saturday, and will likely hit the road Sunday.

We don't see many Mack Titans on the road, but they surely live up to the Mack reputation in looks at least.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gliders to go

1. Pete delivers vehicles for export.

2. This Eagle has been stubbed off to form a glider.

3. Another Inter with a stub chassis.

3. New glider kit at the Western Star dealer June 11, 2011.

Truck manufacturers will build glider kits from time to time. I know Western Star has been doing it for many years, and I suppose others do too. Essentially a glider is the truck minus engine, drive train and rear end. The owner is then free to install those components himself, perhaps from new or more commonly by re-using them from another truck.

Today on the waterfront I spotted deliveries of used vehicles from the Lussier Centre de Camion Ltée of Ste-Julie, QC. This company specializes in vehicle salvage and parts, and runs a large export business of used trucks, buses and equipment. They are also Peterbilt dealers.

Interestingly there were two gliders in the mix, and these are used truck cabs and stub frames, ready to be connected to drive trains and rears.

The Lussier operation is a huge one, see their web site:


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'nother one

Those Autocars just keep on getting in front of my camera.

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal runs this big high mount A'car out of its Middleton plow garage. I hope to see it when they get the plows mounted.

This one has the butterfly hood panels (there's no tilting the hood with all that plow gear) and the sloped back cab. Wow.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Western Star Lowmax

Like many truck manufacturers, Western Star produces a low profile model for the auto hauling industry. Called the Low Max, it is usually seen with the autorack structure over the cab, and so it came as a bit of surprise to see one today without the rack.

Hansen's is a specialist auto carrier using enclosed trailers to protect their cars, which range from high-end luxury, to antiques and top secret. So this particular unit is still in the auto hauling business, but without the need to be low.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Wee cars too

It's usually big machinery rolling off the ships of Atlantic Container Line, but this week the ship Atlantic Cartier delivered one of the smaller RoRo items to reach Halifax.
A 1979 Leyland Mini Estate Wagon (with all of an 89" wheelbase) has just been bought by a local car aficionado.
Not a truck, I know, and with apologies to Old Parked Cars - one of my faves., but those back doors do give it a bit of a commercial look. (There was a Mini delivery panel van model, with the side rear windows blanked out.)


Big Trucks, Bigger Companies

A couple of trucks spotted between the downpours yesterday, appeared to belong to relatively small companies, but a little research reveals a different story.
1. Impressive Quebec Kenworth belongs to Transport Camille Dionne (1991) Inc. According to the company's website they have been around for 35 years (and I've seen several of their trucks in that time), but since 1991 have been part of the larger Groupe Doncar. Dionne specialises in machinery sales, rental and transport and has a 15 truck fleet, including this unit: a 2005 KW LT800 with a 565 Cummins. The trailer is a 1995 Manac. How do I know this? check out their website. The truck is unit 7140, and the trailer is 7507.

2. I've also seen the odd Glen-Tay truck around too. This FL with a large low rise sleeper, was delivering bulk material to a micro brewery. With depots in Perth, ON and Bedford QC, Glen-Tay is part of the larger Contrans Group, which owns a number of former Laidlaw operations, and Brookville Transport from New Brunswick, among others.
Check out their website to see who they are and what they do:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is it a school bus?

1. Volvo 7900 range transit bus, but painted school bus yellow.

I have written about the school bus industry before. Among the major players are Thomas Built (owned by Daimler) and Bluebird (still independently owned by Taxis/ Cerberus Capital).
A major presence in the coach (as opposed to bus) industry is Volvo, through their ownership of Prévost. However Volvo has been notably absent from the school bus business in North America, concentrating on coaches and transit busses.

There have been some other developments in the school bus biz recently, with a startup called Lion Bus, establishing at St-Jérome, QC. To build composite body, Type C (i.e. with engine hood sticking out beyond the body) on Spartan chassis, and Cummins/Alison drive train, the company certainly has a modern design. However Spartan, best known for fire apparatus and RV chassis, could certainly provide a chassis for Type D (that is with front or rear engine enclosed in the school bus body) if Lion decided to expand in that direction.
So why would Volvo paint a city bus in yellow?

Monday, October 17, 2011


Not a snake, but a White, and in fact a series of Whites, both in conventional and COE lines, and extending into Autocar.
White came up with the Construcktor initially to compete head to head with the International Paystar 5000, but it evolved into a whole line of "vocational" trucks.
I have always liked the Paystar look, so I'm not prepared to declare a winner, except that the Construcktor shown looks a lot like and Autocar!
1. This White Construcktor was going strong in 1995 for the Trois-Rivières, QC Freightliner dealer. Looks like an A'car to me.

2. Pair of incredibly sharp Paystars running for Christie Transport of Kemptville, ON in September 1975. Ontario axle regs allowed a 5 axle straight truck (there is air lift on the axle directly behind the cab), dolly and pup.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dodges and Fargos-long gone from the big truck scene

It's hard to believe that Dodge has been gone from the big truck scene since 1975!
Chrysler Corp bought Dodge Brothers in 1928 and Dodge was a player in the medium to heavy truck scene up to the end, although their numbers certainly disintegrated in the 1970s before they pulled the plug completely.
To complete their truck line in Canada, Plymouth dealers got the Fargo truck, which was a Dodge of another name.
1. The Dodge Power Wagon was the 4x4 version of their large pickups. Using a pre-war cab, well in to the 1950s, I suspect the Fargos were the rarest Power Wagons of all. This one was still running strong in Trenton, NS in 1984.

2. The bugeye 1966 version used the contemporary pick-up cab, but was still marketed as a Power Wagon. West River, NS, VFD was running this unit in 1991.

3. The 1948-50 trucks had an all new cab, and smiling face look to them. They did build some fairly heavy trucks at that time, including this Fargo tandem tanker used by the Grand River, NS, VFD, in 1981.

4. This 1954-56 era Dodge was traded in on a new firetruck, and put out to pasture with an American LaFrance bathtub model at Pierreville, QC, in 1982.

5. Dept. des incendies de Rimouski, QC traded in their 1948-50 Fargo too.

6. The Department of National Defence ran this 1958 Fargo/Thibault 65 foot ladder truck at the HMC Dockyard in Halifax. It was recently surplus in this photo in 1979.

7. Pictou, NS operated this 1965-66 Dodge/ LaFrance. It was still in prime condition in 1995.

8. The LCF series was built from 1960 to 1975. It used a pick-up cab, which was continued in this model until well after it was replaced in the normal pickup line. The fenders were hinged at the rad shell and swing out for servicing. This Fargo had been restored in Quebec City in 2010. The quad headlights date it from 1969 or earlier.

9. Some big diesel rigs were built in this model. There was no room under the hood for an air cleaner - especially one this big! The oil cleaner was also usually mounted outboard on the driver's side. Wilfrid Allen was running this one near Trois-Rivières, QC in 1990.

10. Tremblay Automobiles Inc in La Malbaie, QC was the local Plymouth dealer and they had this Fargo wrecker on call. It was a pre-1969 model and was gussied up with chrome wheels.

11. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp had this Dodge diesel tandem, carrying a generator. The diesel model had a special emblem on the side of the hood indicating that they were not gas jobs. This one had seen better days, but was still running in 1996.

12. Pride of the Dodge heavy truck line was the legendary Big Horn. Of the 261 built, 70 were sold in Canada. They were only produced between 1973 and 1975, but they made a huge visual impact. The Big Horn hood emblem was almost as coveted as a Mack bulldog - but much rarer. This boom truck with extended frame was running in Dartmouth in 1989.

13. Another Big Horn, this one with a dump body (likely not its original configuration-most were built as highway tractors) was still going in 1995 in Kentville, NS.

14. Oddest Dodge award goes to these little tilt cabs, built using a Dodge A-100 van cab. Called the L series, they were usually P&D jobs, but this one was well suited to the narrow streets of St. John's, NF. I took this photo in 1982.

15. The heavy duty L series tilt cabs, had an aluminum cab and fibreglass fenders and were produced from 1964 until 1975. A fairly rare sight, they were a "stand up" truck.

16. This Dodge was a day cab version - even rarer- but was fitted with an air conditioner.

Dodge / Fargo R.I.P.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I've got the class 7 blues

They're digging a hole in Halifax for a new library. Hauling away the blast rock today was a selection of blue dinosaurs. All blue, and so am I because we won't see these produced again.

1. The most recent victim is Sterling, a Daimler product, built in St.Thomas, ON and using the Ford Louisville tooling, it was really only ever a brand name, but it competed with Daimler's own Freightliners - it had to go and it's gone.

2. Ford got out of the heavy truck line and this Louisville L9000 was the last of the breed. Ford is still in the class 5 -7 business-the only one of the big 3 still there.

3. GM got out of class 8 when it sold to Volvo, but kept up in class 5-7, with the Top Kicks and models such as this GMC C8500 for a time. They tried to sell off to Isuzu and International without success so pulled the plug completely in August 2009. No more GMC class 7s-probably for ever. They had a newer cab than this 1980s to 2000 version (this one with the increased headroom roof) and the truck was a popular choice for municipalities (countless fire engines), but Freightliner and International were eating their lunch.

Gone but not forgotten by Truckfax!