Regional Haul Trucks

What is the number one issue facing the trucking industry today? Is it fuel costs? Increasing government regulations? The ever increasing mechanical and technological complexity of trucks? To be sure all of these are challenges but perhaps the most glaring is driver retention. The American Trucking Association estimates that U.S. trucking firms would need at least 30,000 more drivers immediately to fill open positions and have proper levels of staffing. In an industry where the turnover rate can be as high as 80 percent an enormous amount of resources and energy is spent just attempting to keep a driver in the truck.

The answer to driver retention is a complex one with the largest issue being time spent away from home. More experienced drivers are less willing to be on the road for extended periods of time as they age while younger drivers express an even lower desire for long runs. In an effort to attract and retain drivers the hub and spoke method of distribution has seen a raise in popularity as it greatly reduces the miles traveled before returning home for a driver.

Yesterday both International and Volvo trucks unveiled their latest models designed specifically for the regional haul markets and it’s no surprise that both manufacturers sited driver comfort and drive time as guiding principles behind their new trucks.

At first glance the new VNR doesn’t look much different from current models but there have been changes. The hood and fenders have been softened a bit with more sweeping curves promising increased fuel economy, up to 3.5% when paired with specific Volvo powertrain options. A wheel cut ratio of 50% speaks to the intended use of these trucks.

On the International side of things you will hear a similar story. A short sloped hood offers increased visibility while increasing aerodynamic efficiency, up to 6% over previous models. Under the hood the new International A26 diesel promises increased power, decreased weight and noise and increased fuel economy. The RH also features a 50% wheel cut, like the Volvo, for the cramped loading docks.

Both trucks feature completely redesigned car like interiors demanded by the drivers of today. With regional haul routes on the rise these could be the dominant form of trucks found on the round in the next five years. While new trucks won’t completely solve the driver crisis they will be a part of the overall puzzle.

Links: How The Trucking Industry Handles Driver Retention; Navistar Reveals Class 8 Regional Haul Tractor; Volvo Unveils New Regional Haul Tractor

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Heavy Snow Removal – A Photographic Archive

It has been over a year since the concept of a snow plow book was presented on these electronic pages and while there has been no update since that time rest assured that action was taking place behind the scenes. I have seen the most recent version of the manuscript and it is good. I did not fully appreciate the history of mechanized snow removal until browsing through the pages compiled by noted author. M.E. Folsom. If you are familiar with his work chronicling the history of Northwest Engineering then you know the finished product will be worthy of a spot on any truck or heavy equipment lover’s bookshelf.

Right now the book is on schedule for a Christmas 2017 release but there is still much to be done. In fact, you can help. Photos of plow equipment from trucks to graders, loaders to scrapers, are needed. If you have something you would like to contribute please email

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1941 International KB State Police Truck

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the New York State Police and to celebrate a century of public service various events (open houses, memorabilia displays, etc) will be held across the State. The “kick off” to this party took place last week at the NYS Fairgrounds where this 1941 International KB was on display.

Now lest ye be confused this International is an original NYSP vehicle that once belonged to Troop D in the Oneida, NY area for many years. Back in those days it hauled a trailer of radio equipment. Think of it as the precursor to the mobile command units often seen at big emergencies today. After years of service the KB went into hiding and was presumed gone for good. Thankfully that was not the case and it was eventually found in a barn near Oriskany Falls, NY. Ed, a retired trooper himself, provided this photo and recounts that he probably drove by this truck in hiding countless times while on patrol. A barn find to the fullest!

Currently part of the Tackaberry Collection this truck is graciously brought to various functions from time to time. Now, if someone could only find that trailer….have you checked your local barn lately?

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Ebay Finds – Liteway Truck

Here is a vehicle that many of you have never seen before and probably never will see again. It’s a 1953 Liteway, later know as the Road King. The concept behind the Liteway was to maximize payload through the use of an aluminum body and frame. Weighing in at just 18,000 lbs and with a cargo capacity of 42,000 lbs I would say the original goal was met. Power was provided by a rear mounted White 150 gas engine connected to a 10 speed Road Ranger. Twin Timken steering axles made for an interesting front end.

Below are the words of the original listing which contains quite a few jewels of information.

The truck up for Auction is a Liteway.  It is a prototype carrier vehicle built in 1953 by the McBright Corporation of Lehighton, Pennsylvania.  The truck was built to carry a maximum pay load while conforming with city codes.  Built entirely out of aluminum (produced by the Reynolds Company, their first foray into the automobile industry) it weighs 18,000 lbs. and can carry a load of 42,000 lbs. for a total weight of 60,000 lbs.  It is 36 feet long.  I purchased the truck from an individual after spotting it parked at his residence in Port Jervis, New York while eating lunch at a diner.  He told me he had used it commercially as a Cargo Vehicle.  Because it is a Prototype, the truck does not have a traditional VIN number, only Model No. TT 000-001.  After purchasing the truck, and about a week of tinkering, I drove it home to New Jersey.  A friend and I took a trip to Lehighton to see if we could find out anything further about the Liteway.  We met some Old Timers who remembered the McBright Corporation and one Gentleman (who actually still owned stock in the McBright Corporation and was the Brother of one of Engineers, Sid Heisner, now deceased).  He gave me the number of his Niece who helped me get in touch with her Brother Robert Heisner, the Son of Sid Heisner. Turns out, the truck was designed and built by a team of Aeronautically trained men from World War II.  In talking with Robert he sent me photographs, brochures, and newspaper articles. He also put me in touch with Roy Handwerk who worked for McCoullough Motors which I understand was the reorganization of McBright Corp. after they decided that Liteway was not a strong enough name for the truck.  They had changed the name to Road King. I also met Mr. Moyer, the Comptroller of the McBright Corp.,who gave me stationary from the McBright Corp. with their Letterhead and an original Road King sales brochure.  He also sent me a seven page letter with his memories of his days working at McBright and driving one of the first Road King Trucks.

My Friend, having been a  SAC mechanic in the 8th Air Force, noticed the Aeronautic rivets and bulk head wiring.  Presently, the original White 150A engine is in the truck and mounted in the rear.  The motor is seized and the motor mount bracket is cracked.  I was told that they had an agreement with White that if they had engine trouble a White mechanic could change the engine in the field.  This would take one hour to complete.  The Liteway is unibody constructed, no chassis. The truck has twin steering made by Timkens Axles Corporation.  Air accelerator and air clutch.   It also has power assist steering by Bendix Westinghouse.  

I’ve kept the truck for 30 years now and it is in the exact condition it was when I found it.  The Liteway, dubbed the “Truck of Tomorrow” by William McCoullough, Vice President of McBright Corporation, is a piece of automotive history.  The engineering was ahead of its time for the day and it is the predecessor of the Road King.  From what I was told, there were only 3 of this Model built so I believe that with the number TT 000-001, mine is the first off the assembly line.  I am hoping that the truck goes into the right hands and will be preserved.

I totally agree with the seller. This truck is unique piece of Automotive history and should be preserved. Will it be you who steps up to the plate?

Click here to visit the listing.

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Autocar Mondays – C is for Construcktor

Can it get much better than this? Wow. Take a look at this 1978 Autocar and tell me you don’t want one. Believe it or not this truck is daily runner for McEnnis and Sons Excavation of Tyngsboro, MA.

Just imagine the reliability of truck that only requires you to turn a key and it starts right up. No computers telling you to service or regen. No plastic pieces shaking off with every bump in the road. Nothing but heavy duty engineering waiting to get the job done. That’s an Autocar.

What an awesome show quality truck. Thanks for sharing Mark.

Do you have an Autocar you would like to see featured on Autocar Mondays? Email today!

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The New Obsession

With winter hibernation drawing to a close I’ve begun to wonder about what construction projects I will be able to stalk during my lunch breaks. While there is always something happening downtown I’m looking for those larger projects that guarantee day in and day out action. I’m talking projects like the the Connective Corridor, the repaving of Harrison Street, and the demolition/replacement of the I-690 overpasses.

I think I found what I’ve been looking for in the construction of a new luxury student apartment complex near Syracuse University. Ah, just look at that action with pile drivers, excavators, dump trucks, and more. 

Somehow, I missed the demolition of the existing three story building on the site. I guess I should have spent less time screwing around at the slow moving Brennan Motor demo and checked out this accelerated project instead.

Plans for the building call for a basement parking lot which helps to explain the growing hole in the ground. Bad dirt is leaving while good dirt is arriving. That is the best non principal engineer explanation I can give. The ramp down to the pit is a little steep and soft at the moment for heavy trucks. Thankfully there are more than enough heavy pieces of equipment available to help out.

Below, video proof that every truck should be a 6×6 behemoth.

Summer is looking up!

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Brockway 759

Now here is a truck that I’ve often told myself I should stop and check out but for some reason never did. It’s a 1974 Brockway 759 that is clearly losing the battle with rust. Thankfully David had the good sense to grab a photo of this truck before it crumbles away for good. As the cab shows this truck has been a few different colors over the year. The yellow/green color points back to a day when the 759 was a town plow truck. Now the truck resides in the country, quite literally put out to pasture. Under the hood a Cummins waits to roar back to life.

I suppose it could look worse after sitting for 12 years! But you know me, I’m a softie when it comes to old trucks. Save them all is my motto. Thanks again to David for the share!

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Still Working – International Trucks

I make no apologies about it I am in International Trucks fan. Despite the woes of the more recent product line few would find much to complain about regarding the early to mid 90’s lineup of International trucks with limited electronic mumbo jumbo and voodoo emission control devices. This truck particular truck is at least 20 years old and still going strong. Based on past still working entries RoadOne Intermodal Logistics doesn’t appear to have a minimum age for Owner/Operator trucks. That’s a good thing!

At the local International dealer setback beauty was being prepped for the impending construction season. I’m not entirely sure but I believe I saw this truck parked on a back street not to far from my home. It might be a fell coworker with this International Paystar.

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Autocar Mondays – One More Storm

So what do you think about this old rig? Does it have enough life in it to plow during one more storm? Considering that it is an Autocar the answer is undoubtedly yes.

Marc came across this truck awhile back but only recently stopped for a photograph. I’m glad he did as this is a very unique truck by the standards of today. It’s hard to tell exactly the year of this Autocar but by looking at the cab we can see it is NOT the Driver’s Cab style introduced in 1950. This fact alone tells us the truck is most likely from the late 1940’s.

You’ll also notice the use single rubber on the drive axle. This was a common setup in the old days on plow trucks. It might be the yellow color but I’m getting an airport vibe from this truck. I can just picture it with large block numbers painted on the bed with a rollover plow up front. Thanks again to Marc for sharing this great photo.

Do you have an Autocar you would like to see featured on Autocar Mondays? Email today!

Posted in Autocar Trucks | Tagged | 2 Comments

That Will Buff Right Out

That will buff right right out. That is the favorite joke of nearly everyone when looking at catastrophic damage on a vehicle. It’s usually funny expect when looking at ones own vehicle. Sadly, accidents are a way of life in this imperfect world of ours. The WorkStar you see below slammed into a house after it’s brakes failed while going downhill. The driver escaped with minor injuries and no occupants of the home were injured.

This poor Western Star 4700 was the victim of frost heave that caught the plow blade and forced it under the truck. Catching a heave with your plow blade must be one of the more scary things to happen to a driver as there is little to no warning. Once second you’re driving along the next you are staring at the sky. A few days before this Clifton truck was caught a rig from the Town of Leon also fell victim to this winter time trick.

These photos serve to illustrate the point that driving for a living is a dangerous job. Have you hugged your trucker today?

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