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.