Until well into the sixties or so, the US heavy truck industry was almost totally segregated geographically. The combination of just geographic distance and vastly more lenient length and weight regulations nurtured a distinct industry of “West Coast” trucks that were bigger, longer and more imposing looking, suited to the wide open spaces and tough jobs like logging. The dominant West Coast brands were Fageol/Peterbilt, Kenworth and Freightliner.
The East Coast/Midwest companies increasingly saw the growth and opportunities out West, and eventually most of them opened plants there and built models specifically for that market. I’m not totally sure, but I believe International was the first, with a plant in Emeryville, CA right after the war. And this factory shot from 1947 shows one of their first trucks, with all the typical West Coast features: long wheelbase, big hood and a bigger than average cab, very unlike anything International built back east.
This was just the beginning, and I’ll show you a few more “Emeryville” models below.
Here’s one hard at work as a winch truck.
Another one with a sleeper cab.
In addition to the conventional, there was also a COE. This one was shot still hard at work in 1971. These were pretty rare; I can’t remember consciously noticing one ever.
Curiously, these early Emeryville boxy cabs didn’t last long, and were replaced by this, a long nosed version of International’s cab used back east. I suspect those early cabs may have been outsourced, and it was cheaper to utilize existing cabs.
The R-400 Series brochure shows them in typical West Coast configurations of the time.
The COE went through the same transformation, shedding its boxy cab for a traditional International cab set high. This IH DC-405-L PIE rig sports a 165 hp turbocharged Cummins and 10-speed gearbox to tackle the mountains of the inter west region.
In 1957, Emeryville introduced the new DCO-405 COE cab, a modern truck that would also soon be seen increasingly in the eastern half of the country. It augmented the older style COE that had been quite popular in the east.
These are the definitive “Emeryville” Internationals.
In 1969, Emeryville did something rather unusual, using the COE “Emeryville” into a conventional truck. That included its very large windshield, giving these trucks a rather unusual appearance.
Although this was done out of necessity, it was rather prescient, as conventional trucks with larger windshields and side windows with a dropped down front section became rather common in more recent decades. They were just ahead of their times.
Emeryville made other trucks too, and continued for some time longer, but we’ll leave this little survey for now.
You wouldn’t happen to know where in Emeryville their plant was? it would be interesting to see what is located there today vs then and vs what I can recall from the 70s-80s.
I had the same question… a plant that our company had in Emeryville is now a shopping center. It was once a pretty industrial area.
This article says 59th and Hollis, converted to small offices and workshops for high tech:
Thanks, Mr Solberg… that was just a couple of blocks from our old pigment plant.
The building looks pretty similar to the photo that George Ferencz posted below — good reuse of an old building.
2021 Google StreetView image below:
1946 International/Emeryville ad:
Here, International tells us they started in Emeryville (in leased space) in 1945: https://content.wisconsinhistory.org/digital/collection/ihc/id/46239/
Early 1946 ad below:
Late 1945 IH press release:
“The Harvester World,” July-August 1947 (four pages):
(page 2 of 4)
(page 3 of 4)
(page 4 of 4)
More such period stuff from IH here: https://content.wisconsinhistory.org/digital/collection/ihc/search/searchterm/emeryville
As always, thanks for adding so much to these posts with your finds. If only I could find them ahead of time; but they make a fine dessert.
You’re welcome, as always, Paul. Somewhere in those IH papers it mentions that the midwest plant is building trucks up to 30K lbs GVW; Emeryville building to 90K GVW…wow! (I hadn’t thought about the off-road side of things)
Any thing I contribute = OK for you to stick into an article, anytime .
Last one: IH photo of Emeryville facility, 1947:
(I only skimmed this, apologies if I’m repeating what’s already been written.)
Of course the IH Emeryville cabover (and conventional variant) was based on the Diamond-T C Series COE tin.
The truck in the first pic, with the long wheelbase, tandem axles and welded up guard in front of the grill, reminded me of the WWII production M-5-6, which was built at International’s Fort Wayne plant during the war. The M-5-6 ranked a distant, very distant, third in deuce and a half production, behind the CCKW and US-6.
IH had 2 plants in California. Emeryville was the first, but later they moved to a former Chrysler plant in San Leandro:
About the Emeryville cabs, the large square generic looking cab was known as the ‘Western’ 3 Man Cab, and originally the 30’s era ‘HFW’ or Fort Wayne cab was an option. This was the common rounded cab used on most IH trucks including the pickups. The ‘Comfo-Vision’ cab eventually replaced all other Emeryville types including the cab-overs
Great pictures and history. Any idea what years IH built trucks in Emeryville, CA 1945 to? and in San Leandro CA (Old Dodge plant). I work on 67th and Hollis from 1970-1974 and the HI plant had moved to San Leandro.
Great photos and information. It never gets old with me seeing pictures of and reading about old trucks. Interesting note about the IH DC-405-L PIE with a 165 hp engine.I guess in it’s time that was decent horsepower, and would be sufficient with a 10 speed transmission. Maybe the Cummins engine was a 6 cylinder resulting in substantial torque.
Emeryville production 1945 to 1963. San Leandro 1963 to 1975.
A good day for this post, as a friend and former colleague just posted on Facebook that this day, 10/10 in 1966 was his first day working at the IH plant in San Leandro, south of Emeryville. By the time I met him in 1977 he had moved on to Peterbilt a few more miles south, but still the same county. And even further south, but still in Alameda County, an unsung hotbed of automotive industry, is our last factory … Tesla.
Thanks for the information about IH plants in San Leandro SF east bay area, Alameda Co. When I started working in Emeryville in 1970 there were about 5 or 6 truck chassis builders in the SF east bay. Ford Milpitas, GM Fremont, Peterbilt Newark, Mack Hayward, (Gillick Bus Hayward), IH San Leandro, and Fabco Emeryville. The GM Fremont plant is now the Tesla plant and Gillick Bus moved from Hayward to Livermore. I think IH is still building truck chassis in Ohio and Mexico.
Just FYI, it’s Gillig not Gillick. But I guess I’m pretty lucky (and old) I’ve been inside the Fabco, Peterbilt, GM and Ford plants. and knew folks at IH San Leandro, Mack Hayward, and Gillig. Only two-wheeled, but Zero Motorcycles plus Santa Cruz Bikes, Ibis, and Specialized Bicycles are companies with global sales that are HQ’ed in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties with some or all local manufacturing. And then there’s OneWheel, a skateboard company.
You are correct it is Gillig Bus Co. I was inside their new Livermore Plant in 2018.
I own 3 cabover emeryville. Best looking cabover ever made. I got one I drive around for run the other 2 I have needs restored
Where was the Emeryville plant
The IH truck plant was at 59 th and Hollis in Emeryville CA from 1945 to 1963. It moved to San Leandro CA from 1963 to 1975.
I remember the oldtimers calling the ihc 400 conventional Emeryville the (donald duck) corn binder! What was the address for the San Leandro plant!
I do not know the address in San Leandro CA but I think it was near 880 (Nimitz FWY) and Davis Street West. It was originally a CHY Dodge Truck Plant then IHC Truck Plant, then CAT plant, and know a Wal-marts, Home Depot shopping center I think.
1933 Davis St. San Leandro