Fabco Trucks

Green in the field doesn’t translate to green in the wallet unless you can get those crops to the consumers that want them. In this case were talking lettuce and lots of it. Ryan was passing through Salinas, California last weekend when he was greeted by the sight of a strange looking truck approaching him from the opposite direction. With an offset cab that sat far over the front axle this truck was a strange one indeed.

Fabco Truck

Most would simply scratch their heads for a moment or two and then move on with life but most people are not Ryan. Having passed through the valley hundreds of time he wondered how he could have missed so a unique truck. Unsure of the exact model Ryan turned to collective brain power that is Facebook. You may laugh at that statement but an answer was provided within moments of posting. The truck was a Fabco.

Fabco Trucks

Like ants, when you see one Fabco there is probably more nearby. After questioning local family members and a little recon work through Google Earth Ryan had a location in which to focus his search, Massolo Brothers Trucking. Arriving at the yard he was greeted by a friendly dispatcher who happily opened the doors to the entire operation.

Sitting on 6×6 chassis the FABCO WT is specially designed for row crop harvesting with a 81 inch wide wheel base. Engine options include gas powered Fords and Detroit Diesels. Gearing choices are nearly endless with 5 speed Clark main and a Spicer 3 auxillary. Cominded with a Fabco 2 speed transfer case drivers have 30 gears from which to choose. Speeds can be as low as one mile per hour.

Fabco Trucks

Massolo Brothers used to run around 150 of these trucks and are the last company in the valley to still run a fleet of this size. Each winter the Fabcos are trucked to Yuma, Arizona to continue with crop harvests. What a life.

While these trucks might seem antiquated or just plain bizarre they play an important role in the production of food for the United State and beyond. From less than one percent of total land the farmers of the Central Valley produce nearly eight percent of crops grown nationwide.

Thanks again to Ryan for another interesting and unique find!

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12 Responses to Fabco Trucks

  1. Brian Kelly says:

    Man these things are old. Fabco hasn’t built them in quite a while. I would guess at least 20 years, probably more. They could be 30-40 years old. Well maintained. Must have a good parts supply. I first saw them about 1970 in CA when I was in the Navy. I saw them in the 80s and early 90’s in the San Luis Valley near Alamosa Colorado. Probably some sitting around there somewhere. Fabco also offered a similar drive train for regular Ford trucks too. Engines were Ford gas V-8s and Detroits, 3-71s and 4-71s I think.

  2. Joe says:

    With California’s ever tightening grip on diesel emissions, I surprised they are still able to run them.

    • Eric says:

      Good point. I wonder if there is a farm exemption?

    • econobiker says:

      It is probably the tightening grip on diesel emissions is that gives the reason why these units continue to be an attractive enterprise. Essentially these are “grandfathered” in under what ever emissions (or lack of emissions) level was in place when these were manufactured. The parts are simple to replace and they probably can be repowered by any type of engine that will fit. Couple that with longevity due to lack of road salt/extreme road conditions and the units probably will be still running in another 20 years…

  3. econobiker says:

    Pciture #6 has a unit that maybe for local road use because it appears to have “super single tires” on all six positions versus the thin standard tires…

  4. Cliffy says:

    Our family Farm In Santa Maria Ca. Used To Run 4 Units To haul 300 Acres of Produce Around 75 to 1994–We Still Have a 64 Fabco in The Junk Pile !! Parts Were Expensive !! All Bought Used We Had a 56-64-66-and a 76 !!

  5. Steve Barton says:

    I have a running 59 fabco for sale if anyone is interested

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