Historic Truck Brands
Fageol was one of the most influential companies in the American truck and bus business, developing far-sighted designs that many companies followed. Also, reminiscently of Macbeth’s mate, Banquo, Fageol was fated to ‘beget kings’ without ever being one.
Founded by Frank R and William B Fageol, and Louis H Bill before Word War One, Fageol Motors began producing motor cars, including an incredible 130hp super-tourer, but switched to trucks and tractors in 1916.
Before this endeavour, the Fageol brothers sold Hamilton Walking Tractors and had developed the Fageol Auto Train to carry passengers around the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. This tractor-dawn bus ‘train’ consisted of up to three low-floor carriages.
Early Fageol trucks were 21/2, 31/2 and five tonners, initially powered by Waukesha, four-cylinder petrol engines. They were prized for their dual-range transmissions that provided crawl and highway ratios and proudly boasted this seven-speed box with a prominent number ‘7’ on their radiators.
In 1921 Fageol introduced its ‘Safety Coach’, with 22-seat low-floor body and powered by a Hall-Scott petrol engine. This design pioneered wide track and low centre of gravity – principles still employed in today’s buses.
In 1926 the Fageol brothers sold their company to the American Car and Foundry Company and the brothers departed a year later to form the Twin Coach Company, producing buses.
ACF continued production of trucks bearing the Fageol brand, featuring aluminium cabs, electric lighting and four-wheel brakes. A 10-ton six-wheeler was launched, but by 1932 Fageol was in financial trouble It was reorganised, but in 1938 was acquired by Sterling Motors Corporation.
Within a year Fageol was sold again, to T A Peterman, who went on to develop the Peterbilt brand in 1939.
The Fageol name emerged once more, in 1950, when the Twin Coach Company produced the amazing CargoLiner concept, billed as a ‘trailer without a tractor’. The bodywork was built by Fruehauf, on top of an underfloor engine and transmission and steerable-turntable, dual-tyred front axle. Production versions had a conventional front axle and were the precursors of pantechnicon bodies around the world.
In 1953 the Twin Coach business was acquired by Flxible.
South Australian Railways (SAR) operated a fleet of Fageol buses converted into railcars from the 1930s. These were initially operated on the SAR 3’ 6” narrow-gauge, Port Lincoln Division.