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Mack Trucks, Over 100 Years of Truck

Trucks February 12, 2018

For a company that’s over 100 years old, Mac Trucks seems to be in the know on how to stay relevant. With markets in North America, Africa, and Australia, plants in South America and North America, and plenty of appearances in songs, television shows, and films, Mack trucks are front and center in the public eye when it comes to commercial vehicles.

Founded in 1900, the Mack Brothers Company produced busses and trolley vehicles as well as railroad cars commercially until World War I, when their military vehicles were favored by the British for their similarities to the robust, pug-nosed bulldog, which officially became its logo in 1922. After World War II, military production ceased and Mack went back to being a civilian.

After its stint in the army, the Mack became something of a celebrity, appearing in televisions shows like King of the Hill, films like Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Vanilla Sky, Cars, and Maximum Overdrive, songs (“Phantom 309”), and in competitions (most notably the National Tractor Pulling Association) as the “Buckeye Bulldog”.

Apart from their dabbling in the railroad business and beefing up their truck production, Mack also had a hand in producing several fire-fighting vehicles, including pumpers, aerials, and attack trucks, starting in 1911 and ending in the 1990’s. There are still Mack fire trucks going on calls today, due to the vehicles longevity, practicality, and easy repair. Mack also provides construction vehicles and refuse trucks to buyers as well as the military, highway, and firefighting vehicles typically available.

ACs, the vehicles Britain enjoyed so much they likened it to the British Bulldog, are a heavy-duty vehicle with a 4-cylinder engine. It was suitable for transferring military equipment, but has also been used for a variety of construction and logging jobs. The other two most popular vehicles in the Mack stable are probably the “B” series (medium-duty to oversize vehicles) and the “R” series, which is used on both the highway and on construction sites.

Now a child company of Volvo (who also bought Renault that same year), Mack still hasn’t changed much from its original design. The new concept, Mack Anthem, has the same stubby nose and powerful build that let to its reputation for dependability and toughness. The new engine, however, burns 9% less fuel, and the upgraded interior (complete with screens) ensures that drivers are safe and comfortable during long hauls.

There are also other newer Mack options available, such as the Pinnacle, which is so versatile it can switch between highway and off-road jobs, the Granite, which is a lightweight, heavy-duty vehicle known for its agility, and the TerraPro, which was made for refuse collection and construction jobs.

If you’ve ever been remotely interested in trucks, or gone on a super long road trip and got so bored that you started counting semis, you’re likely familiar with the Mack: a tough, comfy ride for the hard worker that keeps the economy going. Has this piqued your interest? You might want to look at a list of films featuring this big guy and see if you can spot him in action. Either that, or catch him hard at work on the road.

1049 total views, 1 today

Diamond Reo in the Rough

Trucks February 12, 2018

Diamond Reo

Not to be confused with either the REO Speed Wagon or the bands REO Speedwagon and Diamond Rio, the Diamond Reo Trucks Company began with a merger under the White Motor Corporation. Diamond T and Reo Trucks pooled their resources and names together to become Diamond Reo Trucks in 1967. Both Diamond T and Reo Trucks came into existence during the early 1900’s, thanks to the founder of Oldsmobile, R. E. Olds and C.A. Tilt.

Throughout the early part of last century, Diamond Reo found itself creating not only commercial vehicles, but military vehicles as well, particularly for war efforts during World War II.

Times changed, and both companies found themselves in financial difficulties. It was deemed advisable to join together under the White Motor Corporation. This did not last long, as Diamond Reo was purchased in the early 1970’s away from the White Motor Corporation. Without their capital and facilities, however, Diamond Reo found itself once more in trouble and had to declare bankruptcy.

It was once again rescued (most likely due to its excellent reputation and quality vehicles) and production was moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania, thanks to two men, Ray Houseal and Loyal Osterlund, who purchased the right to keep using the Diamond Reo label. Their Class 8 trucks rolled out two at a time, up until the mid-1990’s, in spite of the factory being capable of producing up to ten trucks a day, for a total of about one hundred and fifty trucks a year.

The trucks run on diesel (options are either a Caterpillar or a Cummins diesel fuel engine), with the choice between an Allison or Eaton transmission, and axles by Meritor or Dana. Once the new century arrived, it was thought that a truck that hearkened back to a vintage design would be quite popular with truck enthusiasts and operators. There were also options for owners who preferred a long nose or short nose cab, though the long nose was more familiar to older enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, not even a special edition of the Diamond Reo could save it a third time, and the company quit producing vehicles and parts in 2010 and 2013 respectively, shutting down all offices and facilities in 2015.

Fortunately, however, the remains of the company live on under the name T-Line Trucks & Chassis, which provides vehicles to North America and Europe. By extending its repertoire, so to speak, and offering glider kits, made-to-order trucks, and promising to reinstate Class 6, 7, and 8 vocational vehicles for sale to commercial customers in the very near future, it seems that Diamond Reo isn’t dead yet.

With its classic long nose, powerful engine, and updated technology, the Diamond Reo truck just might just be poised to make a comeback. There are still hundreds of adoring fans around the world who would love to own one of these big beasts and show them off at festivals like the ATHS National Convention and in magazines like 10-4.

Staving off extinction thrice is not something many vehicles can boast, which makes the Diamond Reo motto a perfect fit. It really is the toughest truck.

1284 total views, 1 today

Terex, Thunder on Wheels

Trucks February 7, 2018

Terex, Thunder on Wheels

To me, “Terex” sounds like a cross between a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. If it were a vehicle, perhaps it would resemble some sort of kid’s toy, like a Voltron or Transformer. While the Terex vehicles aren’t some dinosaur vehicle hybrid, they are gigantic, powerful vehicles named using the Latin words “Terra” and Rex”, which mean “Earth King”. Fitting for the company that produced the first off-road dump truck.

Apart from dump trucks, Terex makes a multitude of other machinery, including off-road vehicles equipped to handle materials, lift objects, and make themselves useful in several industries, including mining, hauling, construction, recycling, shipping, and refining. The Terex brand has a variety of both rigid and articulated haulers, as well as cranes and equipment made for airports, construction companies, and ports of entry.

Terex appeared on the scene in 1933 on the East Coast of the United States (the official headquarters are still there, in Westport, Connecticut). It remains an American company, but it has a global reach, partnering with Scotland as its place of production, and has teamed up with Russian company GAZ Group to equip Russian workers with vehicles that can handle a myriad of jobs, including those in the forestry, mining, and utility sectors.

Of course, being as old as Terex is, there have been some accusations and scandals that have broken out over the years and become headline news. The biggest one, courtesy of the New York Times and American businessman Richard Fuisz, intimated that Terex was building military vehicles in Scotland to be used by Iraqi military at the behest of the USA and the UK. A few years later, Terex hit the New York Times with a libel complaint, the result of which was a written apology from the Times, and no legal charges filed from a federal task force investigation. However, that did not stop the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung from reporting that Terex was still sending rocketry materials to Iraq.

Despite the scandal, Terex has maintained a strong, steady business with countries around the world, with the help of their 22,000 employees. They have also acquired several properties, and some quite recently, like the “Heavyweight Champion of Wood Waste Grinders” company CBI (Continental Biomass Industries). While Terex no longer participates in the mining industry or the road building industry, their focus on handling and processing, aerial platforms, and cranes. The properties they have sold only made up about 5% of their revenue, so their renewed focus on their biggest sellers is sure to increase their profit.

Terex has managed to avoid becoming an industry dinosaur by focusing on present clients’ needs, working with other global companies, and providing their employees with a safe environment. While it might not be the most glamorous set of vehicles at work today, they are definitely hardy enough to last quite a long time, and definitely have what it takes to evolve into whatever is needed in the future. If you aren’t familiar with Terex, you can read their history timeline on their website, and there’s also quite a bit of content on YouTube. Marvel at these big monsters and dream about the future when someone does make a dinosaur-human hybrid. Perhaps it’ll be Terex.

840 total views, 2 today

Legacy Classic Trucks

Trucks January 8, 2018

Legacy Classic Trucks

Hailing from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Legacy Classic Trucks has been converting and altering classic trucks and other vehicles for recreational and vocational purposes for almost a decade. Called “The Premier Truck Restoration Facility in the United States”. Not only are they known for their Power Wagon Conversion, Legacy Scrambler Conversion, and the Legacy Napco, they are gaining favorable recognition for their work on rare trucks and special custom builds.

Legacy’s mechanics team specializes in Diamond T, Studebaker, and Hudson vehicles as well, and alter these vehicles to be used for either commercial or recreational use. Winslow Bent, the founder of Legacy Classic Trucks, started the company using his experience in manufacturing, military, and the automotive industry. He has driven the Pan-American Highway and circumnavigated Australia. His knowledge of rough terrain and the people who enjoy adventures off-road has given Legacy Classic Trucks the edge when it comes to providing customers with the exact vehicle they need, whether it’s a custom build or one of Legacy’s famous conversions.

With plenty of inventory and lifestyle accessories, Legacy’s products are suited for every type of driver. One of their most popular models, the Power Wagon Conversion, is called “The Gentleman’s Choice”, lauded as “Arguably the world’s toughest and most beautiful truck ever created”. Reminiscent of the Old West, the Power Wagon Conversion starts with a classic Dodge frame and, 1,000 hours later, ends with a classic red coat of paint and the following measurements: it weights between 6,400 and 7,300 pounds, is almost 7 feet tall, and measures 17 feet long. 80 inches wide with 130 inch wheelbases, the Power Wagon Conversion is ruggedly handsome, hardy, and capable of handling up to 12,000 lbs for 1,000 miles (if using a diesel-fueled engine).

Cruising speed is around 80 miles per hour, with top speeds reaching over 100. Winch capacity is over 16,000 pounds, with a fording depth of 44 inches. Each of these Power Wagon Conversions is custom built, with a starting price tag of $185,000.

Right now, Legacy Classic Truck’s inventory includes an altered 1932 Ford Roadster which can be taken off-road in any setting. With DynaTrac ProRock 60 axles, a 350 horsepower V8 engine, and racing seats, this bold choice will stand out everywhere.

Also on hand for custom build orders are a 1937 Kenworth Touring Bus, a 1949 Dodge Power Wagon (four-wheel drive), and a 1968 Ford Bronco X-Cab, with an added 12” to the wheelbase to stabilize the vehicle when it goes off-road. There are also newer vehicles available for custom builds and alterations, including a 1970 Dodge Power Wagon and a 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60, available with a Ralph Lauren interior, Captain’s chairs, and an Army Green exterior.

With accolades pouring in from the likes of Truck Trend Network, Auto Blog, AutoWeek (which called Legacy Classic Trucks’ Power Wagon Conversion “the King of Trucks”), Four Wheeler, and Car & Driver (which said, “This is a Chrysler product we can actually believe Clint Eastwood would drive”), its work on classic trucks with a western edge is becoming recognized by collectors and the public alike.

14136 total views, 7 today

Peterbilt 579

Trucks January 8, 2018

Peterbilt 579

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Whenever I think of the Peterbilt company, this is the quote that comes to mind. What began as an issue with the logging business turned into a nearly 80-year old company providing trucks to customers throughout North America. T.A. Peterman’s problem-solving skills allowed him to reinvent the logging business and begin a new wave of industry that has now become the gold standard.

Peterbilt, a subsidiary of Paccar, has two plants that produce their range of trucks, one in Denton, Texas, and one in Saint-Therese, Quebec. Originally, the trucks were put together in California (Oakland and Newark) and Madison, Tennessee, with headquarters moving from California to Texas in the 1990’s. After 2009, all plants and headquarters were closed or moved to Texas and Quebec.

The Peterbilt 579 is one of the newer vehicles, more aerodynamic due to its 2.1 meter cab, which was built for maximum driver comfort with lots of space to spread out, as well as a detachable sleeper, and efficient fuel consumption. It’s made with lightweight aluminum, comes with standard air disc brakes, and a redesigned, more ergonomic dash. It sports a 123” BBC as well.

This redesign was completed after consulting drivers via testing and interviews, which goes to show the lengths to which Peterbilt will go in order to ensure that the people actually driving their trucks have a practical, quality vehicle in which to conduct their day-to-day business. It’s for reasons like this that people consider Peterbilt the pinnacle of vocational vehicles.

The Class 8 Peterbilt 579 is built to maximize weight savings, provide a comfortable workspace for the driver, and to retain a high resale value, due to its versatility and detachable sleeper. It is also one of the new line of eco-friendly trucks produced by Peterbilt, with a variety of alternative fuel platforms available, including a choice between liquid or compressed natural gas or an electric motor, making the 579 the most cost-effective Class 8 vehicle in the world.

The 579 is perfect for those truckers who may at times need a vehicle that can accommodate quick changes and adapt to various changes in weather and road surfaces. Whether you’re going to be hauling logs, boxes of merchandise, or cars, Peterbilt’s 579 is up for the job. It’s a tough, long-distance hauler capable of keeping costs to a minimum while maximizing profit. A pioneer from the beginning, and a true North American legend, Peterbilt’s commitment to providing a quality product, reducing emissions, and finding ways to make these vehicles accessible to any size business is a large part of why they remain so popular, nearly 80 years after T.A. Peterman first took old military vehicles and created the prototype for the first Peterbilt.

Since the 1930’s, Peterbilt has been at the forefront of the trucking business, and shows no signs of slowing down. Branching out into eco-friendly options, creating a versatile truck with several available additions, and listening to their customers on the comfort and safety of their vehicles will ensure that Peterbilt remains at the top of the list for consumers for a long, long time.

4352 total views, 3 today

West Coast Customs

Trucks January 8, 2018

West Coast Customs

Have you ever watched “Pimp My Ride”, “Street Customs”, or “Inside West Coast Customs”? If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, as these three are all about the same custom business, West Coast Customs, though of course a few things have changed over the years. With more recognition comes taste and style without the need for gizmos and gadgets to catch the eye.

“West Coast Customs” is the current iteration of the TV show, presiding over other mechanically minded-shows with its own space on Velocity, after a move from Fox Sports Network. After so much exposure to the public in this capacity, WCC is widely recognized as the best known custom car shop in the United States.

WCC boasts several high-profile clients such as Shaquille O’Neal, Trisha Paytas, “Evil” Jared Hasselhoff, Red 5 Studios and the Expendables films, WCC has gone from an entrepreneurial pipe dream to million-dollar franchise in under a quarter of a century.

Located in various cities in California (there have been several moves as the company needed more and more space — they are currently located in Burbank), WCC prides itself on providing its services to upscale clientele no matter the request.

The Expendables franchise recruited WCC to build three custom trucks, starting with 1995 Ford F-100s, one of which was given to Sylvester Stallone. A few years later, WCC was tasked with combining car bodies for a vehicle in Mad Max: Fury Road, which has now become one of the most iconic parts of the film (the vehicles used were a Ford Maverick and a Ford Ranger).

Other customers require more detail work, such as Trisha Paytas, who asked for Swarovski crystals to adorn the steering wheel and headrests of her Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon. Other details requested included customized floor mats and a custom paint job. Kylie Jenner’s custom Ferrari 488 Spider required more subtle changes, such as the tinted windows and white gloss paint, which made it a stand-out among her siblings’ vehicles. Shaquille O’Neal, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Jay Leno, and Sean Combs have also been WCC customers.

Along with providing custom vehicles to the stars and the film industry, WCC also works with globally recognized brands, mostly technology companies like Microsoft, Virgin, and Nintendo, who purchase these vehicles for advertising purposes. Recently, WCC paired up with Jack Daniels to create a

While there have been some bumps along the road for WCC, including criticisms of their employment practices, all the press has managed to grow WCC’s business. Its image as one of the top custom car shops in the world has rarely wavered, and with its branching out into franchise territory in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and China (Shanghai), WCC seems to be looking into becoming a worldwide name.

With a headquarters covering 60,000 square feet (it is considered the flagship of the company), a TV show, lifestyle gear, tours, and an academy (offering seminars and hands-on experience with the team to a few hundred mechanics a year), and attendance at prestigious auto shows, West Coast Customs is sprawling, just like the city it came from.

1709 total views, 0 today

Peterbilt 367/357/378

Trucks January 8, 2018

Peterbilt 367/357/378

Peterbilt’s 367 model has replaced both the 357 and 378 trucks in the heavy-duty vocational applications such as logging, dumping, and construction. All three vehicles are known for their tough exterior and long-lasting performance, particularly because of the lightweight aluminum build, bulkhead doors, fiberglass hoods, and the pod-mounted headlamps.

PACCAR’s own MX-13 engine is used in these Peterbilts, allowing maximum power and great fuel efficiency. Added bonuses to using this particular engine with these Peterbilt trucks include lower operating costs and higher resale value, increased uptime and longer service intervals, all of which serve to lower consumer costs while maintaining high performance standards.

Of course, Peterbilts are also customizable, and these three are no exception. Customers can choose between a variety of heavy-duty equipment, liners, axles, and hoods, so whatever vocation the truck is for, it can be tailored to the customer’s needs. With a 123” BBC and the ability to house up to a 600 horsepower engine, these Peterbilts are built to last, no matter how tough they work.

Though the mechanics and exterior of the trucks are important, there is also something to be said for the comfort and safety of the driver who will be utilizing the truck for several hours a day, several days a week. The Peterbilt interiors are built to be ergonomic, comfortable, and productive, with durable materials that resist stains and scratches. There are five grab handles, power controls, and a turnstalk with multiple functions as well, all of which allow the driver to stay in control and safe during working hours.

There are also sleepers available, and though the sizing has changed throughout the years, the quality remains the same. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, for instance, a 30 inch or 36 inch were the most commonly available, unless a custom order came in — then Peterbilt paired with Mercury Sleepers for their 40 inch, 60 inch, or a custom size. Later on down the line, the UltraSleeper became popular as the most luxurious option at 70 inches long. It contained a closet, table, and “wet closet” (for items like raincoats, umbrellas, and rain boots). The UltraSleeper was discontinued in 2005, and now the Unibilt is the most common sleeper.

Whether you’re going into construction or hauling, Peterbilt is one of the most recognized trucks for its high quality and endurance. The company that started out as a fixture in the logging business has branched out to serve a wide range of commercial customers throughout North America, becoming one of the most familiar names in the business.

Peterbilt’s commitment to high quality materials, innovative technology, and customer care have ensured that they remain at the peak of popularity with the public, even those who don’t own their own Peterbilt truck. Despite changes to the vehicles over time, their integrity remains steadfast, and though they have become a subsidiary instead of their own private company, Peterbilt continues to stand out from its competition by its dedication and loyalty to its customers, as well as by its own high standards for vehicles that need to go the extra mile.

1333 total views, 0 today

Freightliner Trucks

Trucks January 8, 2018

Custom Freightliner

What other trucking company can boast a vehicle on permanent display in the Smithsonian? Freightliner Trucks (child company of Daimler Trucks North America) not only has one of their first vehicles on display, they are largely responsible for creating the higher powered trucks that traverse the Western United States.

The company was officially created in 1942, after a decision was made to reconstruct the Fageol to suit the needs of those living in the Western US — other big trucks did not have enough power to climb the mountain ranges so prevalent on the west coast. Freightliner did not, however, have the sort of network required to make a profit off of this brilliant idea, so an agreement was entered into during the 1950’s with the White Motor Company. With plants in British Columbia, Indianapolis, California, and Oregon, the trucks became a familiar sight on the highways across the US.

Though World War II halted production, Freightliner managed to hang on long enough to outlast the war and began building trucks in Salt Lake City, Utah soon after. The very first vehicle they sold outside the company went to Hyster (a fellow company based in Portland), which is the vehicle now on display in the Smithsonian.

Unfortunately, the White Motor Company began having money trouble and in 1974, Freightliner terminated their distribution agreement and sought to step out on its own with a conventional cab-over-engine (COE) model that performed extremely well, especially in the west, where easy access to the engine, a smoother ride, and smaller size were of high importance.

Only a few years later, however, President Jimmy Carter signed into law a deregulation of transport, and in 1982, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s relaxed standards and heavier taxes proved fatal to smaller trucking companies, including Freightliner, which propelled the company to sell off its trucking production to Daimler-Benz. New plants opened up in Ontario and Mexico, and the Business Class FL-Series did very well in the 1990’s.

Now, after the turn of the century, Freightliner provides commercial vehicles (classes 5-8) to the North American and European markets, and leads the industry when it comes to diesel fueled recreational vehicles and walk-in vans. It even partners with Tesla Motors, which provides battery packs for the Freightliner’s Custom Chassis Electric Van.

Freightliner also makes buses, cargo vans, low COEs, conventional trucks, and regular cabovers, as diesel engines or natural gas engines. Some of these were popular in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa as of 2012. The Cascadia Evolution, revealed in 2014, became the 3 millionth truck produced by Daimler-Benz, but the first to use a Detroit powertrain.

At the time, between 140 and 150 trucks were being made each day, including those with natural gas engines. A regional headquarters and logistics center were added to the company’s property in 2015, though this did not create more jobs as might have been hoped.

Though the current plants in Ohio and North Carolina have seen some downsizing, there are still five Freightliner models being produced, along with three Western Star models, with a total of 2200 employees working to provide trucks to both the US and Europe for the foreseeable future.

881 total views, 0 today

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