Breaking Out

When you see one of today’s modern trucks laden with logs do you ever wonder, where did it all start from, these specialised trucks built just to carry logs?


To answer this question, it is necessary to travel back to the early 1900’s, barely two decades after the first motorised vehicles appeared. They were little more than horse buggies with engines but soon evolved, along with the first vehicles designed to carry goods.


The early trucks arriving in New Zealand landed as just a chassis, cowl and mechanicals. The cabs and flat decks were made mainly from wood by local body builders and were very rudimentary. Solid rubber tyres, no lights apart from kerosene types, with only a crank handle to start the engine and usually equipped with two-wheel external contracting mechanical brakes.


These trucks had low powered petrol engines and a three-speed crash gearbox was normal. Some models had worm drive differentials and, in some cases, the final drive was by chains.


Cabs had a wooden bench seat and no doors, leaving the driver exposed to the weather and experiencing a hard ride.


Some of these early makes were; Leyland, Republic, White, Federal, Fargo, Stewart, International, REO, Fargeol, Thornycroft, Albion and Dennis. There were also other makes by minor manufactures. Of these brands, International is the longest survivor....


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