Pacific and Hayes are arguably two of the most rugged heavy duty makes of work trucks ever produced…PERIOD! Overbuilt and engineered in every way, either could be called upon when the the conditions were not just difficult, but demanding to the extreme. Catering to the logging and mining industries of Western Canada (BC in particular) and to a much lesser extent, over the road haulers, nothing it seems could touch them when it came to working hard and taking abuse. They’re the kings of tough!
Neither make was terribly common and with both long since out of production, finding one or the other today rarely happens. We’ve only seen a handful. Imagine our surprise, when we stumble across a pair of these rare hulking beasts, one of each make, sitting side by side like old friends, clearly visible along the highway at the entrance to the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta. A Pacific and a Hayes together, especially so in an area where they were rarely seen: now that’s an event!
Hayes was founded in the 1920s in Vancouver BC. It remained an independent firm until the late 1960s when it came under the ownership of Mack Trucks. Sold to Pacaar in the mid-1970s, makers of Kenworth and Peterbilt Trucks, that firm almost immediately shut the factory down. The reasons are lost to time, but one can surmise that Kenworth, who had their own heavy duty models sold in the same markets, probably wanted Hayes gone. Common business practice: buy a competitor and then shut ’em down.
Hayes, at various times, also made heavy duty trailers and other equipment.
The truck seen here is a mid to late-1960s model HD – some have told us it’s a 70s example, but the cab does not seen right for that later era (we could be wrong). The HD was mid-range between the firm’s over the road COE and Clipper conventional models, and the super-extreme-kickbutt HDX, a specialized off-road giant that has to be seen to be believed. Many HDs were used for logging, mostly on the coast and in the interior of BC. This example is outfitted as a construction site water truck.
We’ve actually documented this Hayes before and earlier this year it was located at a road building firm’s storage yard in nearby Blairmore. As you can see, it’s for sale. We called the number but didn’t reach anyone. It’s not known if the truck runs.
Pacific Truck and Trailer was founded by some ex-Hayes employees in the 1940s and their factory was also located in the Vancouver area – these connections help explain why both makes look so much alike – notice the hood, cab, fenders and many other parts are similar in appearance between the two. Independent for most of their history, for a time in the 1970s Pacific was owned by truck making giant International Harvester. The last trucks were made in the early 1990s (with one more in 1995). Interestingly much of the final production was not heavy duty models, but COE fire truck chassis instead.
This model is a Pacific P10, one of the “smaller” examples the firm made (like Hayes they also made heavy duty trailers too). The rest of the range included the P5xx series for vocational, over the road and “lighter” work, P9 and P10 for logging, mining and other heavy duty jobs, the brawny P12 that was mostly meant for off-road applications and finally the monster P16, a very specialized machine that found employment almost exclusively on the west coast as a super-sized logger.
This truck is a 1974 model and it, along with a modest sized fleet of other Pacifics (P10s and P12s), worked until recently at a coal mine in the Sparwood area, just west across the BC border. That a vehicle this old was still at work until not that long ago, especially so in the grueling environment that is a coal mine, says a lot about just how well made and durable these beasts are. Thirty plus years on the job!
What this Pacific is doing here, and whether it runs, or even if it’s for sale like the Hayes beside it, is not known – but we think it is (for sale that is), or why would it be on display by the highway?
The paint job seen on the truck seems to be stock. We’ve seen other Pacific trucks from that era with the same scheme, but sometimes in different colour combinations.
Both a Pacific or Hayes could be compared to a battleship or perhaps a tank. This meant they were heavy, bad for fuel economy, and expensive to buy. That they were long lasting also killed any repeat business, a classic case of something being too good for its own good.
Notice the simple interiors on both trucks. Function and durability was paramount, form and comfort nothing but an afterthought. I heard both makes were LOUD!
So which of the two, Pacific or Hayes, comes out ahead and wears the crown as the toughest made? I suspect a Hayes owner would likely claim their make is superior, with a Pacific owner arguing loudly otherwise. Shades of Ford verses Chevy? For most tasks, they must be an even match. If you have something to say on this, comment below or email us.
Seen next to the trucks is the body of an old railway tank car cut in half lengthwise. Who knows what purpose it serves?
We love old trucks, the bigger, the older, the more rare, the better. These two were nirvana. If you own something similar and would like us to document it, message or email us. We’d love to show it off here on BIGDoer.com.
Another even BIGGER Pacific (which also worked at Sparwood area mines)…
A rugged Pacific truck.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: July, 2015.
Location: Crowsnest Pass, AB.
Article sources: Hayes and Pacific Truck Clubs, Hanks Truck Pictures and Forums.
The trucks, if still there, can be viewed from public roads.