Historic Truck Brands
Pacific Truck & Trailer Limited was a Vancouver, Canada based manufacturer of heavy trucks, famed for their durability. Pacific built both highway and off-road trucks, particularly for logging, heavy haulage and fire fighting.
In addition to the Canadian and USA markets, Pacific trucks were sold in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and South Africa.
In 1947, in Vancouver, three ex-Hayes Trucks employees; Mac Billingsley, Vic Barclay and Claude Thick set up their own truck building shop – Pacific Truck & Trailer – and built their first truck, known as a model ‘EMAD’, at West Coast Shipyards in Vancouver BC.
Hayes Trucks was founded in 1920 and later became part of the Signal Corporation, one-time owner of Mack Trucks.
This Hayes is a pre-War model.
The first Pacific vehicle was built for Bowater’s Pulp & Paper in Newfoundland. One year later the trio expanded to a larger facility on Franklin Street in East Vancouver. In 1967 the Pacific Truck operation again expanded and moved its production facilities to North Vancouver. Only three years later, in August 1970, the privately owned business was sold to International Harvester.
In September 1981, International Harvester sold Pacific Truck and Trailer (Vancouver) to Inchcape Berhad (Singapore), after Pacific Truck became a casualty of both the Canadian recession and the financial woes of International Harvester.
Inchcape’s interest in Pacific Truck was due to Inchape’s involvement in the South East Asian forestry boom.
Inchcape’s strategy was to supply vehicles to the logging and mining companies in Malaysia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Step two was to return Pacific Truck to profit, with growth coming mostly through the distribution of parts to the heavy-duty aftermarket.
In 1988, Inchcape down-sized the truck plant by outsourcing all fabrication and doing assembly only and grew the parts business through acquisition.
By late 1989, the Singapore parent company had changed strategies once again and a forced sell off of retail locations and the cancellation of franchise contracts in Western Canada was undertaken.
In October 1991 the last ‘production’ Pacific was built and the manufacturing plant was closed and torn down, with only the Pacific Truck parts department left in operation in Vancouver. By the end of 1991, Pacific Truck had only the two wholesale parts distribution operations, one in Vancouver and one in Edmonton, as well as a distribution affiliation with 17 former Truckline outlets.
In 1993 improvements were made, with new management, a head office move from Vancouver to Edmonton, investment in new technology and added financial assistance.
Pacific also purchased the assets of Artic Gear and retained the people in order to regain a more secure distribution channel.
Pacific Truck was once again a dominant heavy-duty parts player in Western Canada and remanufacturing transmissions and differentials remained core Pacific products.
In early 1994, the parent company (Inchcape Berhad) decided that Pacific Truck had become saleable and one year later Crane Carrier Inc. purchased the newly styled and profitable company. Crane Carrier Inc. headquartered out of Tulsa, Oklahoma is a major distributor of heavy-duty parts across the US and a manufacturer of vehicles, so the fit was obvious.
In the summer of 1995 the Vancouver depot built the last Pacific Truck in the back of the parts warehouse: a hand-built, 100-tonnes-capacity ore tractor, model P12W3. It weighed in at 26,000kg.
With a relocation from North Vancouver to a new facility in Surrey, BC in February 1997 the business carried on the wholesale distribution of truck parts for North American vehicles.
On February 1, 2002 the corporate parent, Crane Carrier Inc. decided to close the Pacific Truck (Surrey) location and to consolidate all business activities from the Edmonton, Alberta office of Pacific Truck & Trailer.
Crane Carrier Inc. consolidated only the parts and re-man operations to Edmonton. The Pacific Truck proprietary business was sold to Coast Powertrain Ltd. of New Westminster, BC, Canada.
Coast Powertrain Ltd. physically took possession of all 55 years of original Pacific Truck blueprints, bills of material, illustrations, engineering library, jigs, moulds and templates in March 2002. Some of the Pacific Truck personnel also moved to Coast Powertrain Ltd.
Coast Powertrain had been founded in 1972 by Wilson Stewart and operated as Stewart Truck Parts until changing its name to Coast Powertrain in 1982. Coast Powertrain had been a close parts customer of Pacific Truck’s for over 20 years. During those years Coast Powertrain rebuilt old Pacifics and put them back to work.
Pacific Down Under
Tasmania’s Hydroelectric Commission had the need for heavy duty tippers and low-loader prime movers in the 1950s and 1960s, and took delivery of its first Pacifics in 1965.
The six P14 tippers and four P10 prime movers were powered by 335hp Cummins diesels, driving through CLBT-5860-4 Allison automatic transmissions. The P14s had 14-inch-deep chassis rails and the P10s had 10-inch double rails.
Two of the P10s were subsequently converted to 8×4 configuration, with lowered radiators and sloping bonnets.
The HEC sold its Pacific Trucks in the 1980s.
We’re chasing up info on other Pacifics that were operating in Australia.