Some would argue that Pacific should hold the title as the toughest all around truck ever produced. All business and with few frills they could be found hauling logs, transporting oilfield equipment, working on construction sites or in mines. The one seen here was an example of the latter, a coal hauling monster that spent its entire life hauling the black stuff at a nearby operation just across the border in BC.
This beast was made in North Vancouver BC by Pacific Truck and Trailer. A small custom builder this manufacturer offered trucks of various sizes and capacities (ALL heavy duty), tailored to the needs of the customer. While most often considered a logging truck, they were equally at home anywhere a tough no nonsense hauler was needed.
The company was established in the 1940s and for the next couple decades its output was modest. The 1970s could be considered the glory years and this is where the company enjoyed it’s highest level of sales. Pacific was purchased by the giant International Harvester at that time and this allowed that company to enter a new market for them. For the most part the Pacific line was carried over as before with few changes. The only really difference we see is that some trucks (the lighter duty ones, if Pacific ever made such a thing) were manufactured with International cabs.
The 1980s started off well enough but quickly began to slip. The recession of the early 80s impacted demand and each passing year saw fewer and few tucks made. International sold the company in the early part of that decade.
Sales continued to fall and by the late 1980s were a trickle. It was a tough market to be in and a custom maker just couldn’t complete against the big boys. The last trucks made were interestingly fire chassis completed in 1991 when the factory was closed. Actually one more special order truck was made in 1995, long after regular production ceased. The company still had a large parts business to keep them busy.
The truck seen here is a burly Pacific model P12 W3, one of the company’s larger models, built in 1982. It was employed at a coal mine just over the BC border near Sparwood. Spending its entire career there, it worked in retaliative obscurity, rarely venturing outside it environs and only seen by those working at or visiting the mine.
One of a large fleet of Pacific’s working there, together they certainly must have been the largest collection of trucks from this maker seen outside of the west coast. According to Hank Rabe, a Pacific authority, there was a fleet of 40 at the mine, of various models, this example being one of the last bought.
This author has seen pictures showing some of the fleet at work as late as 2010, which is remarkable for a vehicle subject to such harsh conditions. It appears the group was dispersed not longer after that at auction.
This coal hauler did not have far to travel after being sold, and where we found it is less than 100km away from where it worked. What the future holds for this one, or any of those sold, is unclear. Let’s hope they’ll be put to work and not scrapped.
This truck has all the typical Pacific features, an all steel cab and hood, heavy duty everything, an overbuilt frame and chassis and a huge engine. Everything about it is simple, functional and heavy duty. Their motto was: “Pacific, Built Like No Other Truck”. How true.
Pacific trucks were most commonly seen deep in the woods of the west coast and interior of BC, and it was rare to see them elsewhere, but some did make it further east like this one. Most trucks made by this company would be considered “off-road” qualified for use mostly in rough or primitive conditions often away from pavement or highways. These would be the models P9, P10, P12 and P16. None the less, the company did offer a truck specifically for over-the-road or city use (model P5xx). They too were a tough beast, but some considerations were made to lighten the weight.
A company called Hayes also made heavy duty trucks on the west coast and like Pacific catered mostly to logging and industrial users. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell these trucks apart (at least I have that problem). They were both overbuilt using similar components and I am sure many arguments could be made as to which maker offered the toughest of the tough. Hayes closed in the mid 1970s.
This truck was found entirely by accident and only a wrong turn down a side brought us to it. I’m glad I made the mistake! It’ll be interesting to see what happens to this beast and we’ll try and keep an eye on it.
The yard behind the Pacific had a nice collection of machinery and old trucks, including a good number of vintage Dodge Power Wagons, and in back a row of Euclid dump trucks can be seen. I’d like to return when that business when its open, to shoot these.
To see some other interesting old trucks we found in the Crowsnest Pass, including one of those Hayes mention in this report, click the link below…
Old trucks of the Crowsnest.
If you wish more information on this truck, by all means contact us!
Date: June, 2013.
Location: Crowsnest Pass, AB.