Vintage Car Carriers: Convoy Shop-Built Mid Engine Carrier With “Basement” Sleeper Bunk

After spending some time immersing myself in vintage car carriers, Convoy quickly became my favorite company. Based in Portland, OR, they had that typical free-thinking West Coast attitude about making their carriers ever more efficient and productive. I’ve shown you a number of them, including the very long 105′ rigs they ran under a special use permit. Convoy not only built their own trailers, but also built some unique trucks too, like this one. It’s a Ford cab, but other than that, it’s quite unique. It has a mid mounted flat (“pancake”) engine, and uses the space where the engine might usually reside for a “basement” sleeper bunk, the only one I’ve ever seen with such an arrangement.

Full color picture and more details:


It was built in 1953, and is seen hauling a colorful load of ’53 Fords here. The one main source says it used a flat “pancake” Cummins 220, as used in so many Crown school buses. But I’m quite sure I read somewhere that initially it used a flat gasoline 12, which would undoubtedly have been a White engine, one that was written up at CC by Jim Brophy. That engine was famous for its thirst, so if it was used, I’m not surprised Convoy settled on the Cummins.

This low forward cab was so ideal for car carriers, Freightliner eventually built a low cab forward truck, and Convoy bought a number of them, as in this one hauling Volvos. Other companies favored this cab style too.

Convoy also built a tall version, which I showed you here before, hauling these ’55 T-Birds. Its engine was under the cab, in more typical COE format. But it can only carry six cars, unlike the seven in the other rig.