CC Video: Middle East Trucking In The Seventies – Big Fiats On a Dusty Roll

Overland transport from Northwestern Europe to far destinations like Iran (Persia), Pakistan and Afghanistan. Being away from home for three months, while driving around 20,000 km in harsh conditions (harsh in the widest sense of the word). In Europe, the seventies was peak long distance trucking for sure.

You were the king when driving a 300+ hp tractor, like a Volvo F89 or Scania 140/141. But somewhere between 250 and 300 hp under the cab was more common. Communication devices? Sat nav? Luxurious, tall sleeper cab? Non existent.

Rynart Trucks - Fiat tractors Middle East

These are the three big rigs -owned by the Rynart hauling company- as shown in the 1975 video. A trio of heavy Fiat tractors, on their way from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to Karachi, Pakistan. One Fiat 619 T1 4×2 and two Fiat 697 T 6×4 tractor units. Rynart has a long history of Middle East transport.

Rynart - Fiat 697 T

In that specific branch of long distance transport, Fiat had an excellent reputation, back in the seventies. Especially the stout 6×4 tractors could cope with bad road conditions really well. Overbuilt, that’s the best way to describe them.

Fiat 697 N

The 697 was the 6×4 version of the contemporary 619-series of heavy trucks and tractors, equipped with Fiat’s H-cab, as introduced in 1970. The 697 N was the truck chassis, the 697 T was the tractor unit.

They were powered by a Fiat 8210-02 diesel engine, a massive inline-six with 13.8 liter displacement and a maximum power output of 260 DIN-hp. The transmission was an Eaton-Fuller eight-speed.

Fiat 697 T

You’d better take this set of wheels seriously. El Bruto, that’s a nickname I found when searching the web for Fiat 619-697 information. The drive axles come with hub reduction, which has been the norm on Euro dual-drive tandems for tough (weight-wise) and rough (off-road wise) jobs for ages. Dump and concrete mixer trucks, logging, heavy haulage, that kind of work. And for doing Middle East runs, obviously.