Perusing the many old carrier pictures at Dick Copello’s Flickr pages, certain ones stand out, like these, where the loads match the carrier truck. Here’s some ’55 Studebakers heading out. Admittedly, the carrier truck does not have special two-tone paint.
1954 Fords on a…looks like a ’53 Big Job Ford. Close enough.
These all appear to be ’53 GMCs.
There’s a bit of a mismatch on the years here, but how often did one see Dodge trucks carrying Dodge trucks of the almost-same vintage?
And going back a bit further, here’s a ’34 Chevy hauling a load of ’34 Chevys, back at a time when the actual physical similarities of the bodies between trucks and cars were still very great.
These may be the best carrier photos we have yet seen. It’s like the automotive version of a mama duck and the baby ducks following it. 🙂
On those Studebakers, that R series front end treatment was the shortest-lived of all of them (1954-56, as I recall) and the best looking.
The GMC reminds me of how seldom we used to see Suburbans. I guess International is the only other postwar combination that could have gotten a seat at this table.
I’m unclear on how matching cars/trucks to the carrier brand became a thing. The car carriers were owned by independent contractors, weren’t they? Did each car carrier stick with shipping only one brand to dealers, or own a fleet of different brands so they could carry vehicles from different manufacturers? Was there a contractual clause that required or encouraged use of the same brand as haulers? It seems like that would become a logistical nightmare, with car carriers sitting idle if sales of one brand were down, but unable to be used for another brand that sold better than expected.
Before trucking was completely deregulated in 1980 every trucking firm had to register as one of three kinds: private, contract or common carrier. Most car carrier firms registered as contract carriers, which meant they could only carry the freight of the company they contracted with. So most car carriers contracted with a specific car company, and those contracts generally required the use of a company-specific truck too, if possible.
Contract carriers for companies that didn’t make trucks usually had to use an independent, like International to carry Ramblers.
Contract carriers were greatly in the majority, as it gave them stability via long term contracts. There were exceptions to the same-brand stipulation, and in a pinch, if a carrier had a good relationship with the car company, I’m sure it was overlooked, at least temporarily.
And undoubtedly the car carriers got the best possible deals on their trucks. Or so I assume.
Convoy, the large PNW carrier that I’ve shown numerous photos of, had multiple contracts, as they only carried cars from the ports in Seattle and Portland to regional dealers. Or maybe they were a common carrier; I’m not sure. But their policy was to buy trucks according to the same percentage as they carried that brand’s cars. If 10% of their hauling was for Chysler, 10% of their trucks would be Dodge. Didn’t have to, but it was just company policy, and probably helped keep everyone happy.
Convoy must have had more than 10% of their business coming from Chrysler as it sure seemed they had a lot of big Dodge carriers! But I get the idea, it makes sense. I remember buying a new ’86 Ram D-150 pretty much off the carrier in the late summer of ’85, and the carrier was a Dodge LNT-1000. They ran those Dodges at least up through 1989 as I remember.
I said “if”. 10% was a hypothetical example. I don’t know the actual breakouts.
Also, what’s the deal with the truck over the ’34 Chevy cab? Thought it was just a chassis for a custom body at first, but then noticed there only appears to be half a rear tire
Umm, you got your glasses on? 🙂
It’s a sedan, with a protective cloth cover. Mainly to protect the paint from low branches. That was done fairly commonly on the highest vehicles.
Ah, I see it now, but that cover is EXACTLY the same shade as the background so didn’t think of covers. Thought it was weird that a pure chassis would have the fenders attached, much less that there wouldn’t be a cab/engine as in cutaways, but I know nothing about how prewar trucks work obviously.
These car hauler pictures are great and very enjoyable. Jim.
Cool fender flare mounted horn on the Dodge. Made me think of a long ago friend’s ’56 Chrysler New Yorker. It had 2 of those trumpet horns under the hood. Very distinctive sound. A bit like a locomotive. As teens, we used to get a kick out of parking by the railroad tracks, cracking a beer and startling unsuspecting pedestrians crossing the tracks. Amazing the stupid memories a photo of an old car or truck can trigger.
Great photos, thank you. Brought back memories driving for Anchor Motor Freight in the late 1970s. As a young guy with low seniority, you often got trips loaded only one way, returning to home terminal Lordstown, Ohio empty. Higher seniority drivers took the loaded return trips, doubling income. However, you were free to check into a non-GM terminal to try to obtain a return load. So several tlmes picked up load of Jeeps from Toledo, as well as Fords from Wixom, Michigan. On eastbound trips to Baltimore area, normally one would try to get return load from GM terminal there. But on one occasion I went to import terminal and picked up load of Ford Fiestas. Remember being impressed how lively they felt just zipping through the “yard”. At any rate, it was not uncommon to see the GM rig hauling “foreign” vehicles, be they Jeeps, domestic or foreign Fords.
In the seventies I worked for Chrysler at their Tappan, NY distribution office. We often received loads of cars that were for promotional purposes or were buy backs that had been delivered to dealers without a purchase order (another story for another time). These vehicles always came towed by a Dodge Heavy-Duty tractor, which was a built up 1955 or 1956 pickup cab with heavy-duty components underneath. There was no air conditioning. One of our regular drivers was a gentleman who always had a pipe and a book in hand while waiting to check the trucks in. In the summer he was always shirtless because the cab was so hot – no decent insulation.
Most of those type of Dodge trucks had a Cummins NH-195 or 220, and about 1/3 of the engine was in the cab under a large ‘doghouse’. They could get pretty hot, but were nice in the winter. I talked to a guy once that ran one with A/C, and he said due to the relatively small cab the A/C worked very well.
At the GM HD truck plant the trucks coming and going could be anything but the GM ones got better treatment. Also GM stopped delivery the trucks in piggy back trains because of too many breakdowns. Trucks were then shipped on lowboy trailers which had their own special problems. The trucks were piggy backed on the next trucks frame. There was a wheeled sled bottled to the bottom of front axle, this sled rolled up the frame as far as it could based on height restrictions or the other trucks cab. Very nerve racking job getting these things unloaded. Had to call in wreckers sometimes to lift trucks off if a tire slipped off the side of the trailer. Lots of damaged bumpers and oil pans.