About Wheels List
53 C600 FORD TRUCK READY FOR YOUR RESTORATION OR CONVERSION TO STREET ROD HAULER SHOW TRUCK Someone put a great running 302 in this, still […]
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The Marmon Motor Company has ties to several Marmon brands from the span of the late 19th century to the 20th century. Though there is no direct link between them except the name and product, the Marmon Motor Car Company (which produced luxurious cars such as the legendary Marmon 16), Marmon-Herrington (which began by producing military vehicles), Marmon Motor Company, and the current Marmon Group produced premium trucks for over one hundred years. The name was used, repurposed, and passed around from company to company, but always stuck with the commercial vehicle business.
The Marmon Motor Company was around from 1963 to 1997, when it was dissolved. Navistar purchased the construction plant, which is in Garland, Texas, for their Paystar division. While it was around, however, the Marmon Motor Company was known for its handmade, low-production vehicles, which were dubbed “The Rolls-Royces of trucks”. Unfortunately, the quality and unique look of the trucks were not enough to compete with the lack of a national sales network and the more well-known, mass produced truck brands such as Peterbilt, Kenworth, and Freightliner.
The trucks made by Marmon were suited for a variety of tasks — cabovers, as well as trucks with towing and hauling capacities were most common, some of which have been gathered and curated in a collection of photos by enthusiasts such as Wayne Crane and Russ MacNeil. Of course, some owners hired their own mechanics to make parts in order to put the trucks to other uses, such as logging. There are several Marmon vehicles today that are comprised of various other vehicle parts and even specialty parts to suit their owners’ purposes.
Marmon only made around 100 trucks a year, contributing to the hand-made image of their vehicles. Each one was put together using aluminum and fiberglass, materials that made the trucks pretty light on their wheels. Though there are very few Marmon trucks still on the road, there are still so many enthusiasts that a group gets together every year in Texas to show off their finds and swap stories.
The P57 (P as in “Premium”) seems to be a popular model with the fans, some of whom have purchased their own Marmon truck and refurbished, upgraded, or altered the vehicles, which are now considered classic cars. They attend shows throughout North America to meet other fans, see who has which Marmon truck, and get pictures taken of their vehicles, which are then posted online for those not fortunate enough to attend the various festivals and meets.
The Marmon has been used for film (most notably the Transformers franchise), and it has also become popular as a model car kit, including one for the Transformers vehicle, available in pewter. There are several other models available as well, such as the aforementioned 57P, a 110” cabover, and an 86” cabover. There are plenty of fans who may not be able to afford a Marmon or the cost of refurbishing one, but the kits are often less than one hundred dollars, making them a more cost-effective way of showing off a love of all things Marmon.
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Last year, Caterpillar shocked the heavy equipment world by announcing their retirement from the game, even though a year previously in 2015, they had committed to building their own trucks. The CT660, CT680, and CT681 will no longer be produced, though there will be support for those vehicles already being used. The vehicles, sold only through licensed Caterpillar Inc. merchants, will continue to be used on the road until they are no longer capable of being repaired.
The CT660, a class-8 vocational truck, is used for highway trucking and was built using Navistar’s facilities in Garland, Texas. The specifications for this particular vehicle include axles from either Meritor, Dana, or Fabco, fuel tanks with the capacity to carry between 60-120 gallons of fuel at a time, multileaf shackle or slipper type suspension, heat-treated alloy steel frame rails, and Set-Back Axle (SBA) (166 or 122 inch available). It comes with a Cat CT13 diesel, 4-cycle engine (365-475 horsepower), a Cat CX31 Automatic Transmission ( with maximum input speed of 2500 rpm).
Since 2011, Caterpillar has partnered with Navistar to produce its vehicles. The plan in 2015 was to separate from Navistar and set up a manufacturing plant in Victoria, Texas, in order to commit fully to creating their own trucks, which would allow for more control over the designs and specifications. Unfortunately, the move, time, and finances that would have allowed Caterpillar total control were deemed to be too high, and the company has decided to shut the project down.
Ramin Younessi, the Vice President for the Caterpillar Industrial Power Systems Division, stated, “Remaining a viable competitor in this market would require significant additional investment to develop and launch a complete portfolio of trucks, and upon an updated review, we determined there was not a sufficient market opportunity to justify the investment,” which led to the decision to cancel the move to Victoria, Texas, as well as consolidate the number of employees to cut costs, which will happen gradually throughout the next year at least.
If Caterpillar’s history is anything to go by, however, we will still probably see plenty of their class-8 trucks remain on the roads for some time. Caterpillar is known for its rugged, heavy-duty equipment as well as its maintenance and support available to owners and operators, both of which ensure the longevity of Caterpillar’s popular vehicles.
Despite the decision to forego building their own production facilities due to a lack of ability to compete with larger brands who produce more popular class-8 trucks such as Freightliner and Kenworth, Caterpillar will still remain as one of the most reliable producers of other heavy-duty equipment for building and transportation. It remains to be seen, however, whether Caterpillar will find another niche to fill or if it will just stick with what it knows best, which is nothing to sneeze at, since Caterpillar is the largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world, producing vehicles, engines, insurance, and even a clothing line for its loyal customers. Dedicated to environmental concerns, economic developments in developing countries, and innovation will continue to sustain Caterpillar beyond the present day and into the future.
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Brockway Motor Company, originally the Brockway Carriage Works, began producing vehicles in 1875 in Cortland, New York. It passed from father William Brockway to his son George Brockway, who shepherded the company through the change from building carriages to trucks in 1912. Though the Brockway Motor Company became part of Mack Trucks Inc. in the 1950’s, and closed its doors in 1977, it remains as a beloved part of trucking history, celebrated every year at the Central New York Living History Center in Homer, New York.
Represented by the Huskie (hence Cortland’s nickname of “Huskie Town USA”), Brockway Motor Company’s dogged determination and devotion to producing quality custom-built trucks and military vehicles is still appreciated by fans today. There are several models available to view at the Living History Center, along with a documentary from Wiffle Ball Productions. There’s also a yearly Brockway Truck Show in Cortland for those who are nostalgic enough to make the trip to appreciate these beautiful vehicles.
During World War II, Brockway Motor Company joined the war efforts by building bridge erectors and cranes to accompany their B6 heavy truck and the 6-ton 6×6 bridging trucks. Their vehicles were equipped with Cummins engines, Detroit Diesels, or inline six engines, which were often paired with Rochester 2G carburetors.
Interestingly, Brockway was one of the first manufacturers to include sleeper cabs and quads with their class 3, 4, and 5 vehicles. Provided mostly to municipalities as road maintenance or show shoveler vehicles, or to various businesses such as breweries, dairy farms, oil companies, and meat packers, Brockway trucks were proven to have quite a bit of longevity, some even lasting 40 years after production ended. Used up and down the East coast, the Brockway was popular with conservative businesses that appreciated the Brockway commitment to consistency in specs and design, which helped keep the cost of maintenance and servicing to a minimum.
Its reputation for quality along the Atlantic seaboard helped keep Brockway in business for one hundred years, despite its “assembly” style and unique look due to its backward fenders and hood-top vents. These helped create its singular look, which it kept for its entire run. The majority of the vehicles were put together in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and then sent out to businesses on the North American East Coast, South America and the Middle East.
“The Right Way” slogan of Brockway Motor Company proved true for decades as the popularity of their vehicles remained steady. Unfortunately, Mack Truck Inc was not able to uphold its reputation and after being sold to the Mack Truck company, the Brockway Motor Company became a small division before being shut down in the late 1970’s for good.
Despite the fact that Brockway Motor Company is no more, people still gather yearly to remember its long history, its unique and sturdy vehicles, and its contribution to America’s bridges, buildings, and businesses. If you’re ever in Cortland for the National Brockway Truck Show, you can see the evolution of the business in over 100 vehicles, from the carriages that were made in the late 1800’s to the military vehicles and commercial trucks that served communities along the coast for decades after the manufacturers closed their doors.
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Elon Musk has now revealed the new Tesla semi truck, a tractor that’s more aerodynamic, more environmentally friendly, and faster than any semi truck ever built, showing graphs that made regular tractors appear to be barely moving compared with the fast-accelerating Tesla option. Truckers, can you imagine a fully weighted 0-60 in 20 seconds?
Of course, the first thing people wanted to know was how expensive it would be — how could semi truck owner/operators and companies purchase such a truck, given Tesla’s high price tags? While the final cost of the vehicle is unknown as of yet, Musk gave out an estimate that because of the lower costs associated with owning one of the semis, owners could make back what they paid in two years or less.
The loss of the engine is the truck’s gain, as it allows the vehicle to be roomier. It is also upgraded with the Tesla AutoPilot feature, with two screens on each side of the driver (the driver will be seated in the middle of the truck as opposed to the left side). With the ability to go from 0-60 in five seconds as an empty truck, and 0-60 in twenty seconds with a full load, the semi’s appearance and performance put it squarely in the future of trucking.
While truckers still hold some reservations (the biggest being that the truck can travel for 500 miles without needing a recharge while diesel-fueled vehicles can go for much longer and take a shorter time to fuel), Musk continues explore how best to serve the trucking industry in ways that will make it more efficient and better for the environment. If he manages to solve the fueling issue, we might well be on our way to highways full of responsibly fueled semi trucks. Another issue is the lack of a sleeping area, but since this is the first step in introducing the world to an electric semi, it is assumed that there will be arrangements and redesigns made in the future.
With the drive system guaranteed for a million miles and future upgrades in the works, Tesla might just have created a vehicle that will compete with the likes of Peterbilt and Kenworth. Though the semi will not be available until 2019, there are already large companies like JB Hunt, Loblaw and Wal-Mart that have signed on to try out a limited number of these trucks.
Musk also showed the updated Tesla Roadster, which can go from 0-60 in under two seconds, which gives it the distinction of being the only production car ever made to accelerate at that speed. It’s to be expected that Musk and Tesla would want to improve on the sports car — there are plenty of people with enough money to buy these beautiful, environmentally friendly vehicles to make it profitable. What was unexpected about the night was that this was not the only announcement made about a new Tesla vehicle.
Tesla already has orders for at least 45 vehicles, some that will be put to use in Canada and others that will be driven in the United States. Whether they will continue to be sold and used, and if they will be sent elsewhere remains to be seen, but Musk’s confidence in the product and the innovations used seem to have inspired a new wave of exploration into environmentally conscious products.
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I wrote about the Kenworth corporation and their K-series a few months ago, but this time around I’m going to talk about the W900, a model so popular that it is still being produced despite its classic design.
The Kenworth W900 is produced in North America and Australia, and has been on the market since 1961. It’s a Class 8 truck along the lines of the Peterbilt 379, with a 180-600 engine available from Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, or PACCAR, in a variety of sizes ranging from 9 to 16 liters. There are three transmissions options, all automatic: the 10-speed, 13-speed, or 18-speed. The wheelbase averages around 285 inches. There are several sleeper options available for the W900, ranging from a 38” Aerocab Flattop Sleeper to an 86” Studio Sleeper, making this a convenient way to watch a budget or upgrade to something a bit fancier.
While the W900 (The “W” stands for Worthington) has undergone major updates through every decade, it’s still the same quality truck underneath. There are a few versions of the vehicle, including the W900L (The “Long” version), and the “V.I.T.” (Very Important Trucker), which was introduced during the American Centennial. The V.I.T. came with double beds and a refrigerator, and these options began to be included in later versions of the W900 as people began to want more extras for traveling longer distances.
The W900L is one of Kenworth’s top sellers, especially for owner-operators. It was at first intended as a special edition version of the W900, which had made an appearance in the James Bond Film “License To Kill”. However, due to its popularity, it became a regular option rather than merely a short-run special edition. The “Long” version has a 10” longer BBC for a total of 130 inches. It officially became a regular sale item in 1989.
For the W900’s 25th birthday, an ICON900 was released, complete with its own special badge and almost all the brightwork or chrome options available. In the late 80’s, the T600 was created as a more aerodynamic cousin of sorts to the W900, but the W900 continued to be so popular that it was never retired. There are also two versions of the original W900, the W900A and the W900B, the biggest difference between them being one as round headlights (the W900A), and one has square headlights (W900B). The round headlights, of course, became more popular as time went on, but the early W900B could still be ordered with the specification of round headlights.
As the W-series waned (there were buses similar in appearance to the K-series, as well as other interurban vehicles like mass transit buses), the W900 continued to go strong, its quality, durability, and comfort popular with drivers nationwide. Showing no signs of stopping, this truck looks like it will be around for a very, very long time. With their focus on special orders (like fleet of trucks for the Great Northern Railway) and popularity with small businesses, they have a good grasp of what the market wants, and the W900 provides.
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What comes to mind when you hear the words “Super Truck”? Do you picture a Superman-esque cape flying behind a speeding pickup, or a Batman-like cowl draped around a truck slowly, quietly moving through the city? While super trucks don’t really wear capes, nor are they used for search and rescue missions, they are bigger, more powerful, and able to take more wear and tear than the regular truck.
Super trucks are typically commercial trucks, used in a myriad of ways that utilize their heavy-duty status. There are several companies that manufacture these big guys, including, Nissan, Denby, Daewoo, Samsung, and Bering HDMX, and some make multiple versions of the trucks to enable clients to choose what works best for them, whether they want an 8-ton truck or a 25-ton cargo truck, an 8-ton or 24-ton dump truck, or a mixer or tractor.
Hyundai’s super truck is just such a product, a line of vehicles rather than one particular model. They’re usually rear-wheel drive, with a manual or automatic transmission, and are capable of hauling up to 25 tons. They’re used for all sorts of commercial work, and are competitive with other brands such as Samsung and Daewoo. They’re available in North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Nissan’s Diesel Big Thumb was popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s, competing with such vehicles as the Hino Profia, the Isuzu Giga, and the Mitsubishi Fuso Super Great, which were also made available in Australia and New Zealand. After the Big Thumb retired, the Nissan Diesel Quon took over.
Hyundai’s New Power Truck became available in 2004, again with a variety of options, including different transmission packages, engine options, and cargo availabilities. Whether buyers wanted a truck to haul cargo, dump, mix concrete, or work as a tractor, Hyundai provided an array of possibilities with four or more choices in each category.
The Denby Eco-Link, another super truck, hails from the UK and is designated as a super lorry, and although it has been tested for quite some time, is still the subject of much debate because of its size and weight. Embroiled in a legal battle since 2004, it is not legal to be sold in the UK, although a loophole was found that allowed it to be tested on public roads. It remains to be seen whether the Denby Eco-Link, a truck that was built to answer the need for an environmentally friendly, productive, safe cargo vehicle, will at some point in the future be able to service the UK. It is, however, legal in the Netherlands.
If you are not familiar with super trucks, they are worth looking into and I recommend learning more about them. They are an interesting group of vehicles, and without recognition of all they’re capable of, they are sometimes looked over for flashier models. Without them we would not be able to keep large areas clean, we could not put down new roads, and we would be unable to haul cargo over long distances. Without them, commerce would be nigh impossible. So when you see a super truck next, be sure and notice just how much they’re capable of — they’re pretty heroic in their own right.
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Looking through the inventory of this legendary RV company, I’d have to say I’d be tempted to follow their advice and ride in comfort in one of these big, beautiful vehicles. “Save a horse … Ride a Cowboy Cadillac Coach!”
They offer four main models of coach: the “Champaign”, the “Moody Blue”, the “North Star”, and the “Serendipity”. The Serendipity is a neutral-tone, luxurious model, with tile on the floors in the kitchen and bathroom, leather couches, and a pop-out sleeper. It would bring to mind a resort at a private beach, or an island getaway. With its light coloring and glamorous additions, it would make a perfect vehicle for someone who wanted to get away without having to fly to get there.
The “North Star” is darker in decor, with a deep chocolate brown throughout the interior, in the tile, carpeting, and drapes. It would remind one of a visit to a late-night jazz club performance, or a smoky bar with music playing quietly in the background. One would also think of whiskey and cigars being made available for an even more relaxing experience.
The “Moody Blue” is my favorite, with a more rustic interior. A faux brickwork floor, bi-colored upholstery, and a more open floor plan make this one feel like the inside of a ranch. Its warm coloring paired with spacious accommodations would make anyone feel right at home. While it has the appearance of simplicity, however, do not be fooled. This model is just as full of amenities and quality as the others.
The “Champaign”, on the other hand, looks like its insides belong to a luxurious ocean liner or vintage railcar, complete with sconces, wrap-around seating, and faux wood paneling. One could even pretend, if the road noise were muted, that they had gone back in time to an oil baron’s lavish quarters.
The company is a family business, first owned and operated by Warren Pearce. After his death, his daughter and children took over providing what they call premier entertainment coaches to clients. With their knowledge of the entertainment industry and their background in music, the Mullens family is well-equipped to provide customers with the perfect package.
If you want to learn more about these beautiful coaches, you can view the galleries on their website, www.cowboycadillaccoach.com which provides several photos of each type of coach. You can also follow them on their Facebook page, which indicates how to contact them and where they’re located, should you want to visit. There are also plenty of photos and videos to keep you entertained as you marvel at these fantastic models.
With 5-star reviews, quality service, and gorgeous vehicles, the Cowboy Cadillac Coach company is at the top of the line. If you know of a musician, band, or other performers who are on the lookout for a new road vehicle, you might want to point them in the direction of the Cowboy Cadillac Coach. It sure beats riding a tired horse, wishing there were a way to protect yourself from the dust and the heat. The Mullens family is right — the way of the future is definitely being driven by these magnificent coaches.
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In the mid-1960’s, a custom truck was created that has lived on in automobile history, from taking part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Detroit Autorama, to becoming a plastic model kit and one of the first Hot Wheels cars. This was the Deora, a modified Dodge A100 pickup that went from a blue collar vehicle to a glittering star.
The Deora’s creation started with two brothers, Mike and Larry Alexander. In 1964, they commissioned a designer by the name of Harry Bentley Bradley. Once the design was complete, the vehicle was taken apart and put back together in a sequence reminiscent of the creation of Frankenstein’s Monster, though this experiment would end on a positive note.
The custom vehicle was completed and then shown in the Detroit Autorama in 1967, garnering nine awards, including the Ridler award, which is named after the first promoter of the Detroit Autorama, Don Ridler. The award is given to the vehicle that wins “Best In Show” and has been awarded to deserving vehicles ever since the 12th Annual Detroit Autorama. The Autorama is also known by another name, “America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show”, which hints at the type of vehicles allowed entry: custom vehicles and hot rods only.
While most of the parts for the Deora came from the Dodge A100, it was also comprised of a windshield from a 1960 Ford station wagon. The A100 comes as a compact two-door (truck or van), with a slant-6 engine, a 3-speed transmission (either manual or automatic), and a wheelbase of 90 inches. The remodel moved the transmission and engine about 15 inches backward, and the windshield became the entryway. The Deora was painted gold, and given the name “Deora” after a contest, although it is likely that the boy who named it meant to call it “Dorado”, the Spanish word for “golden”.
The altered pickup was so popular with crowds and companies alike that Chrysler opted to lease the vehicle and display it alongside their own concept cars. After a few years, however, the Deora was sold and then re-emerged in the late 1980’s, when it was restored and used to celebrate the Detroit Autorama’s 50th anniversary. With its glittering body, futuristic design, and glowing history, the Deora is a car most likely not to be forgotten.
As a Hot Wheels car, the Deora has seen a few iterations over the years, including a mark II version that arrived in 2000. In 2003, Chip Foose was tasked with building a life-size, working Deora II for Hot Wheels’ 35th anniversary celebration. It had a Cadillac Northstar V8 engine installed. The vehicle even made an appearance on screen, as a prominent feature in the Hot Wheels Highway 35 film, as well as in various video games, including Hot Wheels Velocity X and Hot Wheels: World Race.
In 2009, the original Deora was unearthed again, and this time was put up for sale in California in an auction. It was sold to an unknown buyer for $324,500. Although it has disappeared yet again, I like to imagine that it will be brought out to celebrate the more unique visions of America’s greatest vehicle builders again, and someday soon.
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