I certainly don’t know what the non-truck type of “fifth wheel” is doing attached to this rig. But I’m quite confident that the answer to my question posed in the title is infinity, as there’s no way this is going to ever hit 60. More like 35 or 40, at best.
Vintage Truck of the Day: 1950’s Sterling Hauling Big Load With A Different Kind Of Fifth Wheel – 0-60 In How Many Minutes?
– Posted on September 11, 2021
Road & Track April Fools road test?
I would guess it’s used to measure distance, not speed … perhaps for brake testing, or speedo calibration. Or it’s more accurate than the vehicle odometer for jobs that charged by the mile 😀 Belyea appears to have been in LA; here’s an article about a heavy load they moved for CalTech. https://www.truckinginfo.com/159478/a-fruehauf-lowboy-carried-palomar-observatorys-mirror
Here’s another picture of a Belyea Truck Co. rig.
From what I can gather, Belyea did many kinds of heavy hauling, but cranes were their specialty due to their association with (or maybe ownership of) Pacific Crane & Rigging, whose sign is on the truck in the truckinginfo article you linked.
What a monster! That is HEAVY HAULING personified. Love it. Thanks for the photo.
A 7 wheel tractor maybe they were charging by the yard for that job, thats why hubometers were invented to accurately record mileage instead of relying on notoriously inaccurate speedo odometers.
Fuel consumption measures in yd/gal too.
And if you could get up to 60, how many miles would it take to stop?
I dont see any chains on that crane stopping the truck might be easier than stopping the load
I’ll bet measuring mileage was the reason for the bicycle wheel, for billing purposes. Cost-per-mile must have been astronomical for this rig, all things considered. Aside from obvious fuel costs (and this might even have been powered with a gigantic Hall-Scott gasoline engine, I presume) consider the number of tires required on a rig like this. Not only was there that “jeep” between the tractor and the front of the trailer for weight distribution, but I suspect that if you could see under the rear of the trailer, you would see additional wheels inboard of the ones you see, also for additional load capacity. Some of these old lowbeds looked almost like they had a continuous row of tires all the way across from side to side. We do the same thing these days by adding multiple extra axles, and sometimes a detachable dolly axle behind the actual trailer. That’s a lot of bias-ply rubber to wear out, just as one example of why they needed to be able to charge for every foot this beast moved.
I wonder if the ten-wheel Sterlings were chain driven to the rear wheels. Single rear axle Sterling trucks that I recall seeing had chain final drives to rear duals mounted on a straight beam axle. The chain links seemed huge to me, and there was some type of “total-loss” oiler mounted over the chain for continuous lubrication. I never saw a tandem dual Sterling around here, just six-wheeler straight trucks.
Great pic. Gotta wonder what’s under the hood – I would have thought maybe a gas Hall-Scott 1091, but the stack seems to indicate a big diesel, maybe a Cummins NVH.